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.