Patients Gather Around Medical Animations, Create Communities of Support and Inspiration

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Online medical communities develop around shared conditions, lifestyle goals, hospitals leverage to reach new patients

Hospital marketing online

Chris Davis says,

I’ve had some hard times readjusting after coming home from Vermont. Because I am no longer under the Spartan umbrella and I don’t have their support mechanisms anymore, I turned to Facebook to help keep me on the path.

Few people foresaw the integral role social media would play in business models when it first arrived on the Internet scene. Nowadays, Facebook and YouTube are ranked number 2 and 3 respectively on Alexa.com as the most visited sites across the globe. These sites have become communities not just for friends to connect, but also for patients seeking advice and support from those with similar conditions or goals.

Take Chris Davis, for instance. After a staggering 330-pound weight loss that earned him a sponsorship for the grueling five-month Spartan Race series, Chris turned to Facebook for the inspiration to reach his goal weight. He created the page “Project Chris Davis” after his race season ended to help him maintain his weight loss with the support of his friends— his 1,487 Facebook followers.

“I’ve had some hard times readjusting after coming home from Vermont. Because I am no longer under the Spartan umbrella and I don’t have their support mechanisms anymore, I turned to Facebook to help keep me on the path,” Davis said.

Many like Davis turn to social media for support making difficult health decisions or maintaining a challenging lifestyle change, and not just on Facebook. YouTube has millions of videos on health topics ranging from diabetes to hip replacement surgery. Many of these videos spawn virtual communities of people seeking support and sharing stories while struggling to make tough health decisions.

One 3D medical animation, created by Atlanta-based Nucleus Medical Media, depicts the dangers of smoking and the harm this habit has on the body. Smokers trying to quit have taken notice, and now offer each other affirmation and support in the comments under the video.

“I'm going to keep watching this video as a reminder of why it's important for me to quit,” one commenter wrote. “Watching this video the 23rd day after quitting, after 7+ years of smoking. Feel much better. I wish every smoker will watch this,” another said.

Many hospitals are taking advantage of social media’s power by launching YouTube channels of their own, complete with physician interviews and animations of procedures the hospital offers. The result is thousands of page views, name recognition, and instantaneous communities of patients rallying around each other, offering their peers advice, stories, and support.

“Hospital marketing teams and patient education coordinators are just now learning the importance that social media plays in their patients’ research of health topics and even in their recovery,” says Kim Carbonara, National Sales Director of Healthcare at Nucleus Medical Media. “Social media is the future of patient engagement and education—helping to both draw in new patients and reduce readmissions.”

For further comment, contact Kim Carbonara at kcarbonara(at)nucleusinc(dot)com.

Nucleus Medical Media, Inc., an award-winning creator of medical illustrations, medical animations, and interactive multimedia, serves the publishing, legal, healthcare, entertainment, pharmaceutical, medical device, and academic markets. Nucleus employs the world’s largest team of graduate-degreed medical illustrators and has a Medical Review Board with more than 125 physicians and nurses. For more information, visit http://www.nucleushealth.com

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