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Dutch Hospitals Lead in Europe Using Social Media – Supporting Cost-Effective Participatory Healthcare

European differences

There are some striking differences in social media usage.
Facebook for instance, the European average usage of 67 percent. The UK outpaces that with 93 percent, whilst in the Netherlands it is being deployed by 15 percent.
Linkedin on the other hand has an European average of three out of ten, where in the Netherlands this is higher, eight out of then Dutch hospitals are on Linkedin.


The research shows that hospitals reach a modest amount of people through social media. On average, in Europe, 271 people follow a hospital Twitter account and regarding Youtube, 400 to 700 views per video is achieved.

Participatory healthcare

The researchers nevertheless see a potential for social media to improve care, particulary to support a greater transparency, better communication and adequate support of the patient. They emphasize further research to understand how hospitals are actually using social media for the purpose of participatory healthcare.

Cost-effective means supporting participatory healthcare

Relationships (between care givers and patients/family) have a major impact on healthcare outcomes. Facilitating engagement and participation among healthcare stakeholders is a major opportunity and digital and social technology support cost-effective participatory healthcare:

  • Physicians believe the Internet is a real asset and love engaging with online communities to share information and understand anxieties and needs.
  • Social media have made people hyper connected and has given the patient easy access to information and more control over their own health.

Social media can help improve the care cycle by integrating participatory healthcare in its phases. Faster, better, cheaper and more likeable.