While the use of social media is growing among patients, healthcare professionals are also turning to the popular medium. According to a recent survey, 62.6 percent of U.S. hospitals have Twitter accounts.

Ed Bennett, director of web and communications technology at UMMC, conducted a study of 1,229 hospitals in the U.S. Although it’s impressive that 814 of those have a presence on Twitter, he learned that the microblogging platform was actually the third most popular social network among them.

Surprisingly, more hospitals are using Foursquare than Twitter, with 946 accounts. It seems like not even surgery can stop some patients from checking in to venues. Facebook leads the pack with 82.2 percent (1,068) of hospitals creating Pages on the social network.

A little less than half of the hospitals surveyed have a YouTube channel. In December we reported that 12 percent of people searching for healthcare information turned to YouTube. It’s unknown whether that number has increased, but video could be a useful (and maybe more effective) way to educate your patients.

Regulations and privacy concerns still limit how patients and healthcare providers use social media, but it seems like people are warming up to the idea of some social integration in healthcare practices. A 2012 consumer survey of 1,060 participants found that 54 percent of patients are comfortable with providers seeking advice from online communities to better treat their conditions. Less than 10 percent said they were “very uncomfortable” with the idea.

The healthcare industry might not be ready for doctor-patient interaction across social media platforms just yet, but that doesn’t mean you should stop looking for new ways to educate your patients. More findings from the survey are available in the infographic below.

[Via: AllTwitter, Image credit: University of Salford]