The objective of this article is to illustrate user characteristics of a hospital's social media structure using analytics and user surveys. A 1-year retrospective analysis was conducted along with an Internet survey of users of the hospital's Facebook, Twitter, and blog. Of the survey respondents (n = 163), 95.7% are female and 4.3% are male; most are ages 50-59 years (31.5%) and 40-49 years (27.8%); and 93.2% are Caucasian. However, the hospital system database revealed 55% female and 37% minority population, respectively. Of the survey respondents, 61.4% reported having a bachelor's degree or higher, whereas only 11.7% reported having a high school degree/equivalent or lower. However, within the hospital patient databases, 93% of patients have a high school degree/equivalent or lower and only 3% have a bachelor's degree or higher in our women's services population. Social media were used to seek personal health information 68.7% (n = 112), to learn about hospital programming 27.6% (n = 45), and to seek family health information 25.2% (n = 41). Respondents younger than 49 years of age were more likely to seek personal health information using social media compared to those 50 years of age and older (p = .02). Respondents with a bachelor's degree or higher education were statistically less likely to search for physician information compared to those less educated individuals (p = .04). We conclude that social media may play an important role in personal health information, especially for young female respondents; however, the survey provides strong evidence that further research is needed to ensure that social network sites provided by hospitals are reaching the full spectrum of health system patients.
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