NHS and social networks – how to measure viral negativity

A new in-depth analysis of feedback posted via social media networks following patient experiences and levels of care provided by the NHS has suggested that reputation is increasingly damaged by social tools.

Risk and Reputation Management (RRM),  a company which developed a sophisticated social media listening and patient feedback tool for the NHS, suggests that reputation suffers with no control through viral negativity.  This  has to be managed by the NHS – but how?

Social media commentary will continue to grow rapidly as the usage of hand-held devices increases, with more hospitals in the UK offering complementary Wi-Fi, providing an immediate platform for spontaneous, indirect feedback,” the company argues.

To help health organisations monitor online conversations, Risk and Reputation Management has developed a monitoring technology which continually tracks online conversations towards healthcare services in the UK, in multiple languages.

Reputational damage can be manifested in varying social media settings:

  • Facebook and Twitter host unprompted feedback, with many often  sharing details of their healthcare experience whilst still in the Trust.  Most often this will not proceed to a formal complaint, but it has the potential to trigger significant local and regional commentary.
  • Twitter is used to share links of news stories from local and regional media, which often resonates into emotive responses which can extended to national commentary
  • Healthcare forums and blogs regularly host stories from patients, carers, relatives and friends often detailing their shorter and longer term healthcare experiences.

Janet Gunner, Managing Director, said: “Reputational risk is a hidden danger that can pose a threat to any Trust and can literally erupt out of nowhere at any time.  Our technology and manual analysis enables every Trust to constantly monitor for reputational damage, enabling them to rectify an issue before it causes significant reputational damage or before it manifests into a crisis or even more worrying a potential risk to patient care.  

“It’s not all bad news though for Trusts because whilst the healthcare community is prolific at sharing negative experiences it is all too pleased to share positive ones too, which we also report to the Trusts”.

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