Whilst many practices who experienced the impact of the cyber attack struggled to signpost patients to services or update them on the impact on practice IT systems, across North Staffordshire practices have developed a clever work around.
Of the 82 practices across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, 62 regularly use social media to engage with patients. This infrastructure came into its own on the afternoon of the attack. Not only were they able to send out valuable information to their patient populations, they were also able to alert patients to the problems being experienced at Royal Stoke Hospital. Insight data shows engagement levels were significant and patient reach for the average practice was over 2,500 people. On the same weekend, practices were also able to use heightened interest in their social media Facebook pages to promote other services - a drop in heart screening session for instance reached over 40,000 people over the weekend with sessions booked up immediately.
The impact of the cyber attack clearly showed those practices that have embedded social media into their communication mix now have a valuable tool sitting outside of the network to get information out to their patients quickly and effectively.
Competing interests: No competing interests