A Complete Guide to Planning a Social Media Presence for Healthcare

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The world of healthcare is inherently siloed,  tethered,  fragmented and prone to poor communication and collaboration.  Today, healthcare workers solve their problems via traditional methods that are often costly, inefficient, nor timely.  Increasingly, more savvy healthcare workers are looking outside the system to digital media and communities for answers, but are challenged with uncertainty over concepts of usefulness, practicality, bandwidth issues, “ROI” and privacy concerns.

Establishing a digital presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for healthcare professionals, medical practices, and institutions.  Many have recognized this fact, yet many more have not.

At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication.  A social media presence is about educating, engaging and growing your audience, improving outcomes, compliance and potentially the bottom line of your practice.

Human beings are innately social, health is social, health care is not social … yet.

Physicians used to enjoy the ability to get to know their patients and the stories they had to tell.  The pressures brought on by fiscal, policy and political will has changed that.  We knew our patients, their families, the impact their issue was having on their quality of life as well as relevant important events in our patient’s lives.  There are those that believe that technology drives a wedge between the patient and the physician.  Alongside the other advantages noted, I strongly argue that the proper understanding and use of digital media can aid us in recovering that relationship we once enjoyed and cherished.

According to a recent AMA study, which also cites a study by the Pew Internet Research Group, in 2011, nearly 80% of  Internet users, or 60% of all adults, have searched online for health information. These empowered or engaged patients are not just using the Internet to become more educated about their orthopedic issues, but they are actively seeking advice as well as support. Currently, the source of this “advice and content comes from a few engaging providers, a few engaging institutions, but most patients are exposed to a significant amount of commercialized nonsense driven by a profit motive.

Simply put, social networking and digital technology enables individuals, physicians, hospitals, and patients to create online profiles and connect with one another.  Perhaps most relevant to the orthopedic surgeon is that the majority of these patients are researching their surgeon and their respective institutions prior to their visit to your office —  they are checking your online reputation, and the message or image you portray.

Read the entire article at www.KevinMD.com.

Next, read Managing Your Online Reputation.

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