Why children's hospitals are getting into Snapchat: 4 things to know

Snapchat has become an increasingly popular communication medium for children's hospitals in the last three years.

Snapchat is a free mobile messaging app that allows users to send photos and videos which disappear after a few seconds. The platform boasts more than 200 million active daily users and more than 10 billion video views per day.

With numbers like those, companies across industries are using the platform to directly engage their customers and promote their brand. Healthcare is no different — and children's hospitals in particular are deploying Snapchat in creative ways.

Here are four things to know.

  1. Younger generations — millennials and Gen Zers — make up the majority of active Snapchat users. In fact, Generation Z alone (roughly ages 10-22) accounts for more than 50 percent of users, according to Likeable, which analyzed Snap's initial public offering filed in 2016. Generation Z is also the target patient demographic for children's hospitals. Realizing this, increasing numbers of children's hospitals are taking advantage of the media platform as a new way to directly communicate and engage with their patient communities.

  1. Children's hospitals have promoted a range of creative Snapchat content. Physicians or nurses may take over the Snapchat feed for a day, or content may feature a fundraising event or holiday party or attempt to raise awareness for a certain disease.

  1. Boston Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, all have active Snapchat accounts.

  1. Nationwide Children's Hospital uses a free messaging app similar to Snapchat called EASE to keep anxious parents informed during their child's surgery. Through the platform, operating room nurses can send texts, pictures and videos to parents every half hour. The messages disappear after 45 seconds to protect patient information. "It just eases the worry and stress [for parents]," Ashleigh Traster, a parent of an NCH patient, told WCMH

More articles on patient engagement:

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