Managing Social Media for Making Cancer Hospitals’ Brands More Human: A Proposal Model based on a Literature Review

Main Article Content

Pablo Medina
Eva Medina
Toni Gonzalez Pacanowski


Managing social media constitutes a challenge for cancer hospitals: internal processes, quality information, and the role of employees. These organizations resort to social media to enhance their relations with stakeholders and promote their brands at the same time. This paper analyzes how cancer hospitals could use social media to associate their brands with human values (patients’ rights, honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion), and become more credible institutions. To do that, we conducted a literature review on cancer hospitals’ communication initiatives on social media: we considered three databases, four keywords, and six inclusion/exclusion criteria to gather papers published on this topic between 2011 and 2020. We identified 114 papers. Based on that, we developed the PET Branding Model, an online communication model that these hospitals can implement to associate their brands with human values. We concluded that cancer hospitals need to implement a Social Media Unit that employs people from different professional backgrounds and work according to protocols; prioritize a public health approach focused on satisfying stakeholders’ needs in terms of information; and train the hospital’s employees on how to use social media professionally.

Article Details

How to Cite
Medina, P., Medina, E., & Gonzalez Pacanowski, T. . (2023). Managing Social Media for Making Cancer Hospitals’ Brands More Human: A Proposal Model based on a Literature Review. Review of Communication Research, 11, 65–87. Retrieved from
Health Communication
Author Biographies

Pablo Medina, Canadian University Dubai

Pablo Medina Aguerrebere holds a PhD in Corporate Communication (University of Navarra – Spain-, 2011). His main research field is focused on health communication, especially on how hospitals manage social media platforms for enhancing their brand, improving their relations with stakeholders and accelerate their business. He has published more than 60 scientific articles about this topic. Currently, he works as Assistant Professor in Corporate Communication at Canadian University Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Eva Medina, Canadian University Dubai

Eva Medina holds a PhD in Economics (University of Alicante, Spain, 2021). She leads research about how hospitals integrate Law, Public Health and Corporate Communication for improving their relations with patients. She has published different scientific articles, book chapters and medical protocols about this area.  Currently, she is Lecturer in Public Health and Economics at Canadian University Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

Toni Gonzalez Pacanowski, University of Alicante

Toni Gonzalez Pacanowski holds a PhD in Journalism (Pompeu Fabra University -Spain-, 2005). His main research focus is health communication and technology, and more precisely, how hospitals integrate social media platforms and mobile apps in their internal functioning protocols for improving their corporate communication initiatives with internal and external stakeholders. He is Full Professor in Journalism at University of Alicante (Spain).


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