Due to its efficiency and immediacy, social media usage to
communicate during disasters has become increasingly popular.
Social media provides users a way to instantaneously request
assistance, report injuries and provide immediate situational
updates. This medium has become a valuable tool for first
responders because of its usefulness in gathering information
about the disaster.
Although most hospitals have response plans for natural
disasters, chemical releases, epidemics, and biological events,
many are not as prepared for other types of disasters, such as
explosive or incendiary events, according to a recent report by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Social media, already embedded in society, may be the solution to
better preparing hospitals before, during, and after emergencies,
according to a perspective article published today in the New
England Journal of Medicine.
With more than 40 million Americans using social media websites
multiple times a day, tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and other
crowd-sourcing technologies could help hospitals prepare and
respond to disastrous events, according to study authors.