Author(s)

Michele Cash

Date Approved

8-15-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

FitzGerald, Suzanne

Subject(s)

Social media;Public relations;Health services administration

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

The purposes of this investigation were to (a) determine how much of an impact social media has on health communication (b) understand the evolving impact of social media effectiveness and (c) consumer preferences for health care communication. The author conducted both qualitative and quantitative research. This research includes an in-depth interview, a survey and a website content analysis of two health care organizations in the Delaware Valley. This will provide health care organizations with communication techniques to use for current and future consumers. The research revealed that the majority of consumers prefer to hear messages from a trusted source. Both age groups (18-24) and (55+) prefer to hear health communication through traditional channels like word-of-mouth, rather than social media. Despite the evolution and effectiveness of social media, health communicators should continue to provide strong and effective traditional channels of communication.

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