Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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Social Media Implementation Checklist

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Set goals first. If traffic, leads and sales are part of the goal, then gotta have the next focus be on content creation. Then, using social to share. Can't get much value out of social unless you're actively creating, publishing and sharing content. 

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Hupertan's curator insight, September 23, 2015 4:32 PM

The implementation of a communications strategy in social media in healthcare need not stick with the drafting of a check list. There she is!

venisabella's comment, November 4, 2015 10:36 AM
http://bit.ly/1FXxmYF
MARGARITA's curator insight, December 31, 2015 5:15 PM

Support our people

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How Not to Respond to Bad Patient Reviews Online

How Not to Respond to Bad Patient Reviews Online | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

I recently attended a lecture advising physicians on how they can use social media more effectively to compete in the marketplace. According to the speaker who cited a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) survey, 20 percent of patients find a physician's ratings on websites very important. Even more interesting is that 35 percent of patients say they picked a doctor based on good ratings when searching for a physician on the web, and 27 percent of patients reported avoiding those with bad ratings.


As most physicians know, reviews on social media websites and other online platforms are hardly an accurate picture of whether a physician is skilled. More often than not, it is completely unknown how the ratings are generated. However, given that patients do look on websites for information when selecting a physician, social media content can imapct you and your practice and is something of which physicians need to be aware.

First, consider all the ways your practice could use social media to its advantage. Establishing an onlinepresence in order to project your practice's brand and to share your "message" can be a valuable tool to attract and retain patients, and can counter poor or meaningless ratings. Practice websites can be augmented with doctor profiles, blogs and video content that informs patients about the expertise of the practice, shares insight into the practice's mission and "vibe" and can help your practice be more attractive to new patients searching for physicians. Practices can also tailor their content to the patients they are seeking by choosing appropriate social media approaches. For example, baby boomers are apparently more likely to use Facebook, while younger patients might use Snapchat or Twitter.

The downside to social media is that it invites patient feedback. According to a 2013 Vanguard Communications study of online reviews, 43.1 percent of patient reviews complained about poor bedside manner and 35.3 percent complained of poor customer service. Another 21.5 percent complained of poor medical treatment, such as poorly skilled provider and/or office staff, false diagnoses, and surgical mistakes. Although this may sound like patient reviews are entirely gloomy for physicians, other studies show that, in fact, 88 percent of reviews of physicians are positive. Providers should not be afraid to remind loyal patients who know and trust the practice and its providers that reviews are valuable. Ask your patients for their feedback in whatever forum makes them comfortable and link it to your social media presence.

Unfortunately, a bad review can be difficult for a provider to resolve. I spoke with David Adler of the Adler Law Group, a boutique law firm specializing in IP with an emphasis on working with physicians, about how he helps physicians affected by negative reviews. His advice is that physicians need to be aware that patients have a First Amendment right to share their opinion and cannot be prevented from doing so. Physicians are also limited by HIPAA restrictions in their response — they cannot respond to comments in a way that reveal whether or not a poster is a patient or otherwise reveal details about the posting individual. This can make it extremely difficult to respond at all, and replies must be carefully crafted. Instead, Adler recommends physicians track their reputation online and evaluate all comments and any real risk the comments pose. Certainly providers can respond legally when a patient's comments constitute defamation or presents another legal issue. Physicians should seek legal advice when false information is posted and can also engage in self-help by contacting sites like Yelp and Facebook directly, or seeking guidance through the social media platform's guidelines. This process can be frustrating, but often works.

Here is the advice Adler offers:

1. Don't ignore bad reviews. Create a response strategy in advance.

2. Don't overreact. Zealous and veiled threats of litigation often backfire.

3. Don't lash back. Showing sincerity, sympathy and contrition can often turn a critic into a loyal ally.

4. Don't hire an SEO firm to "astro-turf". Fake reviews are unlawful and the fallout is potentially worse.

As practices strive to remain independent and compete against larger organizations, effective marketing is key. Help patients find your practice but be prepared for both the good and the bad that can come from promoting your organization in the digital marketplace.

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How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Practice

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Practice | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

While hashtags and emojis may seem far removed from the daily business of helping patients, the truth is many of your current and potential patients are on social media, and it’s too direct of a marketing strategy to ignore. Adding social media to your repertoire of healthcare marketing strategies can help drive traffic to your site and through your doors – and also provide a real source of information for you about your patients.

Social media marketing can be overwhelming. With all of the platforms out there, how are you supposed to know which ones are worth your time and money? Use our simple steps to focus your social media efforts, engage current and new patients and increase your revenue.

  • Get clear on where your target audience hangs out online. To do that, first get clear on who your target audience is. Who is your ideal patient? What kind of patient can you help the most? Look at the social media accounts of practices who serve the same type of patient. Also, consider emailing your patients with a quick, three-question survey: Where do you spend most time when you’re on social media? What is your favorite platform and why? Where would you prefer to engage with our practice?
  • Get clear on your end goal. While the goal of every business is to generate revenue, we encourage you to get a little more specific when thinking about your goal for using social media. Maybe your goal is to encourage followers to become part of your practice culture. Maybe you want more foot traffic in your optical shop. Maybe you want to promote your new online options for buying glasses. Maybe you’re a long-established practice and want to remind followers of your relevance and authority. Determining one or two specific goals will help you choose the right social media platforms.
  • Track your results. According to Hubspot, when measuring the effectiveness of your practice’s social media, use these top three metrics:
    • Reach: The number of followers you have on each of your social media platforms. This is the number of people you reach with a post at any given time.
    • Engagement: The number of people who have interacted with the content you post by commenting, liking, clicking a link, etc.
    • Leads: The number of people who have interacted with your content by doing something like clicking a link to your website and then converted into a new patient or returning patient. Remember, you define what conversion means on your social media platforms.
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Creating a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy in Healthcare

Creating a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy in Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The Role of Digital Marketing in Today's Healthcare Environment

Digital marketing channels have started to play a significant role in the healthcare industry across the spectrum of stakeholders, from healthcare professionals to individual patients. Increasingly, digital channels are supporting and even replacing conventional marketing channels, such as face-to-face interaction with healthcare professionals. In today's world, patients are well informed and often refer to Google as their first point of reference and are increasingly coming to physicians with huge amounts of information. These power patients are interacting with the healthcare system as well as physicians in person and digitally, thereby managing their own therapy path and wellness far more proactively.

Healthcare companies cannot be reactive to change and must embrace digital marketing so that it is an integral part of their future strategy.

Key Elements Healthcare Companies Should Consider for Their Digital Marketing Strategy

Successful digital marketing involves a combination of elements that need to be considered as part of a healthcare company's digital strategy. The core elements include the people, platforms, and processes within an organisation. With regards to people, the digital strategy design process should not stop at the organisational structure, but should continue to encompass people's practices and individual skills. There should be effective mechanisms for making decisions and reducing bureaucracy. In addition, talent management and leadership development strategies must support the business vision and strategy. The performance measurement should drive behaviours that are aligned to the business vision and strategy. Culture and behaviours must be aligned to organisational core values and be consistent throughout the organisation.

Exhibit 1: Key Digital Marketing Elements Healthcare Companies Should Consider for their Global Strategy, 2016

Digital strategy design processes should include effective decision making and lateral capability structures. There should be well defined high-level operational processes and strong linkages and communications between functions. The platforms/infrastructure (systems and property) should support the requirements of the future design.

The use of social media and data should be effectively employed. Using social media as a marketing platform for healthcare products and services can support organisations with additional data analytics, where companies can track the progress, success, and engagement of their campaigns. A social impression for example is a measure of the number of times a message is seen, whether someone has clicked on it or not. Therefore, each time a message is displayed it is counted as one impression. Another method of monitoring what is said about a company, a product, or brand on the Internet is social media listening/monitoring, which is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product, or brand on the Internet. In terms of a targeted approach, geotargeting involves conveying different content to a Website user based on his or her geographic location. Combination of all these elements means that there is increasing use of large-scale and location-aware social media and mobile applications which are enabling real-time platforms that can handle streaming analysis and processing of massive amounts of data.

Examples of Best Practices in Healthcare

In order to be successful various best practices should be employed for a digital strategy. There must be sufficient investment in digital marketing depending on the companies' requirements, for example for social media promotion, marketing campaigns, and analytical tools. These also help track budgets and return of investment. Collaboration is also essential as marketing teams are often spread across different departments and geographies. Ensuring integration enables creativity and innovation across the company and across different channels.

To be relevant, the content must align with the needs of customers. Therefore, the relevant message must be conveyed to the targeted customers, at the right time within the decision making process, by using the right channels. As mentioned earlier, social media should be leveraged effectively as it has transformed marketing dramatically. Social media marketing is a powerful tool that can be used strategically within a company's digital marketing strategy.

The company culture within an organisation should be proactive and embrace change. Establishing trust with end users is also critical because as digital becomes a core part of a company's business model, customers are increasingly using online platforms. Whilst they do support a brand and can build reputation, the use of all channels and data must be monitored to avoid any cybersecurity breaches for example. Leveraging competitor intelligence is a great way to generate new ideas for campaigns and messages. It is also a learning process to see what is working for the competitors.

Exhibit 2: Digital Marketing Strategy: Examples of Best Practices in Healthcare, 2016

Healthcare companies must look toward the future to succeed. We have seen increasing number of healthcare professionals and patients turning to digital channels or resources for answers or examples, therefore pharma & biotech, medical device, and healthcare IT companies need to adapt and develop a strategy sooner rather than later in order to stay ahead of the competition.

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Even More Proof That Google Deserves Your Medical Marketing Dollars

Even More Proof That Google Deserves Your Medical Marketing Dollars | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

It’s safe to say that digital advertising has completely revolutionized the patient path to treatment, and nobody has played a bigger role in that transformation than Google. This past year, the search engine received 28 billion search queries about healthcare topics in the United States alone; of those queries, close to 25% were resolved by medical ads. All in all, search ads accrued a grand total of one billion clicks.

This abundance of consumer interest in medical solutions has created a veritable gold rush for medical marketers vying for patient conversions — and like with any gold rush, competition for these digital consumers has ramped up quickly. Recent data shows that the average cost-per-click (CPC) for medical ads is $3.17 — $0.85 more than the average across all verticals.

As such, running a successful campaign has become more and more of a challenge — medical advertisements maintain a 1.79% average click-through-rate (CTR), 0.12% lower than the average CTR across other industries.

However, these figures shouldn’t dissuade medical marketers from relying on digital advertising in order to capture the attention of new patients — rather, they represent a huge opportunity to bring in new revenue at relatively low cost, so long as the right approach is taken. Here are a few of the key areas to focus on in order to stay one step ahead of the competition and achieve optimal results.

The Importance of Local Search

While the medical marketing vertical in general may be overcrowded, most medical practices and hospitals are seriously underinvested in local search. According to BIA/Kelsey, medical organizations allocate only 16% of their ad spend to these channels. This finding is particularly surprising, since 63% of those who search Google for healthcare ultimately base their healthcare decisions on how far they’ll have to travel to receive treatment.

If you don’t believe that such a powerful channel could be ignored by so much of the industry, consider this: according to Google, 60% of search queries for the phrase “hospitals near me” turn up no ads in the results page. Medical marketers should jump at the opportunity to fill local advertising niches, and luckily for us, Google makes local optimization easy.

To get the most out of low-cost, local search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, medical marketers should utilize a keyword-planning tool with location targeting tools like the ones available from Google AdWords. AdWords helps medical marketers limit ad spend to within a geographical radius while centering campaigns around local keywords — a surefire method to target more active, transactional patients.

Mobile Optimization

Along with local search, mobile optimization stands out as a relatively untapped medical marketing strategy — one that can significantly increase CTR and decrease CPC.

More than half of Google searches are now conducted on a mobile device. Furthermore, out of the 72% of American adults who now own a smartphone, 62% use their device to search for health-related information. Google has responded to these trends by prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in their ranking algorithm. With this in mind, medical marketers who fail to adequately plan for mobile search will undoubtedly miss out on some potential patients.

While mobile optimization isn’t too difficult, it does require that marketers check to make sure that the site’s presentation is clear across all mobile platforms. Once again, Google has the best tools for the job — the company provides a simple, helpful test for mobile-friendliness that notifies a user if there are issues with loading or presentation.

By focusing on local search and mobile optimization, medical marketers can create new opportunities for increased ROI and patient conversion rates. As Google’s role in the patient path to treatment continues to increase, medical marketers are discovering that connecting with them is easier than ever before — they just need to make sure they’re taking the right approach.

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Healthcare guide to Social Media Marketing

The Healthcare Industry Can No Longer Ignore Social Media As the healthcare industry continues to constantly change, it is extremely important that healthcare …
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Social networking for patients

Social networking for patients | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Is social media saving lives? Or is it spreading poor information and damaging private confidentiality? The rapid rise of patient support groups on social media is putting some fundamental ethical questions into the spotlight. Stephen Armstrong reports

Patient groups began as small gatherings for people with the same condition in the same area to meet each other. They then evolved into highly professional operations, with often national or international organisations doing everything from connecting patients to raising public awareness of conditions and lobbying governments on behalf of their members. In the past decade online patient groups—where global communities of patients are active 24 hours a day—have flourished.

Invaluable for patients

Cathy Stillman-Lowe, a volunteer health writer, came across her first online patient group—a Yahoo chat forum run by the Depression Alliance—back in 2005. “It was a very rudimentary group,” she explains. “It was moderated by a part time volunteer, which was tricky when people had those 3 am panics. I’m now part of Bipolar UK’s e-community. The chat rooms are moderated at all times, and there’s a red panic button you can press if someone says they’re going to commit suicide, and they’ll contact them and help.”

Today social media have become invaluable for many patients, especially those with unusual or rare conditions. Irenie Ekkeshis was diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare amoebic infection of the cornea,1 in January 2011. “For rare diseases like mine no offline community existed,” she told The BMJ. “Most of the information I could find was either inaccurate or terrifying. But I found a Facebook group, with only 38 members at the time, and the relief was enormous. I was so happy to connect with someone, to share the same emotions and experiences, the same anxiety and frustration and shock in a normal, accessible way.”

Joanna Holmes’s daughter was diagnosed with the very rare chromosome condition Emanuel Syndrome last autumn. Only 500 cases are known worldwide.2 As a speech and language therapist, Holmes uses Twitter for her work, so she reads tweets about Emanuel Syndrome by experts and patients but prefers not to post about it. She is more forthcoming in a Facebook private group, telling The BMJ, “It’s good to have a place you can describe everything. But I can also talk to some of the young people and realise how happy they are and what good lives they’re living.”

Raising awareness

Facebook, the world’s leading social media network, with some 1.09 billion daily active users3 radically changed the structure and content of online support groups by enabling anyone to set up a group, usually without expert moderators.

The Facebook page for the Cluster Headache Support Group was launched in 2011 by Chris Hannah, a former drug company employee who has cluster headaches. The group offers two separate Facebook pages—one is open to all and contains information about the condition, which aims to raise awareness of cluster headaches, especially among patients who may have received incorrect diagnoses.4 This page attracts close to 98 000 visits a month, says Hannah. The other page is a private group hidden from public view for patients and carers only, which currently has 7000 members.

Like physical patient groups, online groups don’t just enable patients to share experiences and support each other. Research from the University of Toronto conducted in 2011 found that the 620 groups on Facebook for breast cancer had purposes including fundraising (44.7%), raising awareness (38.1%), promoting products or services (9%), and exclusively offering support to patients or caregivers (7%).5

A Saudi Arabian study published last year found similar ratios among 187 public, searchable patient groups for hypertension on Facebook—59.9% raising awareness and 11.2% offering support.6 Mohammad Al Mamun, lead author of the study, told The BMJ that he suspected at least the same number of support groups existed as private groups, hidden from Facebook’s search engine.

The BMJ contacted Facebook to ask how many patient groups the company hosted, what sort of oversight there was for patient groups, and whether Facebook worked with drug companies on advertising or data gathering. A company spokesperson refused to comment, offering only a link to the general Facebook groups information page, which contains no data.7

Information exchanges

When setting up a Facebook group, founders have three privacy options—public, closed, and secret. Anyone can see or join a public group, whereas they have to ask to join or be invited to join a closed group. People can only join a secret group if they are invited by an existing member. Following the success of his Facebook group, in 2012 Hannah created the Cluster Headache Support Group charity in the United States, which conducts most of its activity online. He says that the Facebook pages serve the non-profit’s key objectives—“raising awareness and offering compassionate support, but also suggesting, funding, and taking part in research objectives.”

As a result of information exchanges between members of the group and physicians at the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia, the centre has begun trials of ketamine infusion therapy for cluster headaches with members of the support group, including Hannah. To ensure this kind of response from the healthcare and drug industry, Hannah explains, he set out a series of rules for participation in the private group, “including a ban on pseudoscience, reliance on trustworthy advice backed by medical science, and intolerance for bullying.” He says, “That isn’t the general rule—indeed, we faced a tremendous backlash from the existing online community, especially over our rejection of so called citizen science including the use of LSD and magic mushrooms.”

Some US patients disagree with a ban on treatment suggestions that aren’t recommended by healthcare professionals. “If you are seriously ill, you cannot assume that your doctor is an expert who keeps up with current research,” argues Liz Logan, from New York, whose husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago. “You have to do your own research. You probably will have to change doctors more than once, and social media is where you get information from people most invested in getting better: other patients. I know far more about Parkinson’s at this point than the first idiot neurologist who dismissed the possibility of my husband having Parkinson’s, resulting in two miserable years before diagnosis by a movement disorders specialist, which I wouldn’t have known was the right kind of neurologist without social media.”

The risk of social media being used for promotion of dangerous or unsuitable remedies is a big concern for healthcare professionals. Graham Atherton, patient involvement lead at the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester, UK, which researches and treats infectious diseases caused by the fungus Aspergillus,8 warns that patients on social media can get “a bit conspiracy based. Recently we had a number of patients talking about yeast overgrowth thanks to posts advertising treatments in a Facebook support group from the US. I had to check in PubMed, then engage with the group.”

“Peer support between patients can be hugely beneficial for their wellbeing during an illness, or when in recovery, and social media can provide a convenient, accessible platform for this,” explains Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs. “However, while we encourage patients to take an active interest in their health, using online support groups, and other tools to share medical ‘tips’ could result in them receiving misleading, superfluous, or incorrect information, so these forums should not be seen as a replacement for proper medical care.”

US digital marketing agency Fathom warns its healthcare clients that “there is no guarantee that a closed Facebook group is actually 100% private. There have been instances where posts in closed groups have appeared on group members’ friends’ feeds. Additionally, posts in closed groups and even secret groups have also been found on non-members’ feeds. There is always a risk that a group member may share information that goes against the group rules and guidelines.”9

This lack of control coupled with Europe-wide regulations codified in the United Kingdom under the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s code of practice10 mean that drug companies outside the US and New Zealand are steering clear of all Facebook support groups. Under the code, explains Tim Worden, head of the UK Life Sciences Regulatory Group at legal firm Taylor Wessing, drugs companies are forbidden to market directly to patients and are responsible for any and all content—including patient comments—on any website or Facebook page that a drug company sets up, funds in any way, or even links to through its own site or Facebook page.11

“If a drug company is financially involved, in any way, with a patient group that has a Facebook page with comments from patients about using prescription drugs in off-label ways, then the company can be held responsible for promoting off-label use,” Worden told The BMJ. Only comments on pages that the company has no links to at all—not financial or through recommendations or online links—are deemed outside the company’s control. “Pharma and healthcare professionals in the UK are aware that social media is a powerful tool but are unsure how to harness it,” Worden says.

Few physicians are currently using social media to talk to patients—a practice that the General Medical Council suggests be treated cautiously.12 For some patients, the idea of any healthcare professionals taking part in patient groups is an anathema; many see them as private patient spaces where people can vent frustrations about treatment. For others, like Annie Astle, whose 13 year old daughter has type 1 diabetes, it could have benefits. “Diabetes is well understood in the lab, but out in the real world every patient’s experience is radically different. It would do clinicians good to read and understand personal stories.”

If clinicians are to engage, Astle adds, they need to keep up to date. Astle’s daughter, she explains, uses Instagram and Snapchat—mobile phone based social media platforms based around pictures—rather than Facebook or Twitter. “Instagram is like blogging, so I understand that,” says Astle. “Snapchat though, where pictures are sent as text messages that vanish after 15 seconds, I’m not sure I understand that. I have no idea how clinicians could use it even if they did understand it.”

References
  1. Moorfields Eye Hospital. Patient information—external disease and corneal Acanthamoeba keratitis.http://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/acanthamoeba-keratitis-patient-leaflet.pdf.
     
  2.  Emanuel Syndrome. www.emanuelsyndrome.org.
     
  3. Facebook. Company info. http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/.
     
  4. Facebook. Cluster headache support group. https://www.facebook.com/ClusterHeadacheSupport.
     
  5. Bender JL, Jimenez-Marroquin MC, Jadad AR. Seeking support on facebook: a content analysis of breast cancer groups. J Med Internet Res2011;13:e16. doi:10.2196/jmir.1560 pmid:21371990.
  6. Al Mamun M, Ibrahim HM, Turin TC. Social media in communicating health information: an analysis of Facebook groups related to hypertension. Prev Chronic Dis2015;12:E11. doi:10.5888/pcd12.140265 pmid:25633486.
     
  7. Facebook. Facebook groups. https://groups.fb.com.
     
  8. National Aspergillosis Center. Support for people with aspergillosis. http://www.nacpatients.org.uk.
     
  9. Fathom. Six considerations when using Facebook groups in healthcare. 23 Sept 2015.http://www.fathomdelivers.com/blog/healthcare/6-considerations-when-using-facebook-groups-in-healthcare/.
     
  10. Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Code of practice for the pharmaceutical industry. 2015.http://www.abpi.org.uk/our-work/library/guidelines/Documents/code_of_practice_2015.pdf#search=code%2520of%2520conduct.
     
  11. TaylorWessing. Social media in the pharmaceutical sector. June 2013. http://united-kingdom.taylorwessing.com/synapse/june13.html.
     
  12. General Medical Council. Doctors’ use of social media. 2013. www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/21186.asp.
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7 Ways to Manage Your Healthcare Organization's Online Reputation

7 Ways to Manage Your Healthcare Organization's Online Reputation | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Do you think online reputation management is only for big hospitals and healthcare plans? With the popularity of Web based review and rating sites like Yelp, HealthGrades, WebMD, ZocDoc and Vitals, proactively monitoring and managing your online reputation is critically important regardless of the size of your healthcare organization or group.

Here are seven ways to help you manage your healthcare organization’s online reputation.

  1. Use social media proactively to engage with your patients/potential patients. Companies and organizations large and small have seen the benefits (and sometimes felt the sting) of having a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Much of the negative banter on social media is a result of frustration rather than outright malice; a patient is angry about delays in the waiting room, a clinician’s ‘bedside’ manner, or why a particular procedure or drug is so costly. By inviting your patients and potential patients to visit your Facebook page or follow your organization on Twitter, you can often identify and respond to issues before they escalate to influential healthcare rating sites. Besides, a little social media every day can help protect against bad search engine results.
  2. Create interesting content. Content creation is an excellent way to build your ‘brand’ online. Think about blogging or writing short articles and sharing them on social media. Answer questions on Twitter, LinkedIn or Quora and share your expertise publicly. A positive established online reputation is a valuable asset when you are faced with negative comments or ratings. And don’t worry about search engine optimization (SEO). In the past, focusing on SEO and keywords resulted in better search results but today’s search engines are more sophisticated. New algorithms base rankings differently. Focus on writing compelling content and don’t worry about keywords.
  3. Monitor and manage Google and review/ratings sites.
 Your reputation is widely available and easily accessible online. When people are looking for an individual physician or a healthcare organization, often the first thing they do is Google your name or organization name. They also check you out on Yelp (it’s not just for restaurant and travel reviews!), HealthGrades, even WebMD. Leading Reach, a trade show organizing company, has published a list of seven top healthcare rating sites. Check it out here.
  4. Respond quickly—but carefully. Negative reviews or comments, if ignored, can spread like wildfire on social media. A bad review can be seen and shared by hundreds—even thousands—within the first few hours after being posted. Responding quickly is the best way to minimize the damage caused by these comments as it helps to ensure that your point of view is also seen by anyone reading the original review. CAVEAT: Pause and take a deep breath before responding to negative comments; avoid a knee-jerk reaction that can further escalate the situation. Plus, you must protect the patient’s rights to privacy. If you’re not sure how to respond, or if you think further investigation is needed, quickly acknowledge the comment and ask the reviewer to contact you offline.
  5. Be transparent. Encourage your patients to share their experiences—positive or negative, but ask them to give you an opportunity to remedy any concerns they have before they simply post a negative review. Help them understand that your online reputation reflects on your ability to provide the highest quality healthcare. Encourage a conversation or dialogue with you; most people simply want to be heard. Transparency and empathy are just two great benefits to online review responses.
  6. Don’t delete comments unless absolutely necessaryUnless a comment is racist, offensive, or otherwise in very poor taste, deleting a negative comment or review is usually a bad idea. Deleting negative comments can be perceived as covering up an issue or admitting guilt. Plus, if the patient sees their comment removed even if you did respond directly (when possible), there are other social media platforms for them to vent their frustration such as personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. There are also proven benefits to responding to comments, rather than deleting them.
  7. Recognize that reputation management is a long-term endeavor. As with traditional branding, there is no quick way to build a highly credible online reputation. You must create and share content (blogs, articles, insights) for at consistently for 6-12 months before you start being noticed as an ‘influencer’ and your organization has ‘street cred.’
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Improper use of social media can lead to invasions of privacy

Improper use of social media can lead to invasions of privacy | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

New technologies are accomplishing amazing things in healthcare. Social media tools, for example, are being used by providers and families to coordinate care; Facebook, Yammer, and Twitter are also keeping the public informed about new medical techniques, hours of service, wait times and more.

But there are always some who misuse new technologies. One such example occurred last year in Prince Edward Island, when a nursing-home worker was fired after posting a photo of a dead resident on Snapchat and forwarding it to a friend.

Apparently the worker, who was employed at the Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in O’Leary, PEI, had shared multiple “inappropriate and degrading photos and videos of vulnerable residents while they were eating, sleeping, using the commode and when … co-workers were providing personal care to certain residents after a bowel movement.”

Health PEI conducted its own investigation and spoke to more than a dozen employees at the facility, as well as to members of the community. When contacted by CBC News, the former employee claimed there was another side to the story but did not wish to speak to the media.

Documents obtained by the CBC show that the fired employee was not explicitly linked to the degrading social media posts that are at issue.

The Health PEI investigation, it seems, set out to determine how such actions took place and to come up with rules to prevent them in the future. The agency already had policies in place stipulating that employees are not to have personal communication devices, like cell phones, with them during work hours.

It discovered that employees were using electronic devices on the job, for talking and texting. And why not? The leading-edge thinkers are all touting the benefits of instant communication and tying circles of care together using electronic devices.

The cameras on phones are being suggested as the next great improvement – by including photos of patients or residents, caregivers will be able to see exactly who needs help during an alert; photos and videos can also be used to show the current health status of these patients – a still image or video can quickly demonstrate how far a patient has declined.

Of course, images can also be used poorly, to embarrass or disgrace patients and residents, as the incident in PEI shows.

Nursing home workers aren’t the only ones taking photos of patients and sharing them inappropriately – doctors are doing it, too.

For example, as his patient lay unconscious on a surgical gurney, a Victoria, B.C. urologist took out his smartphone and photographed the location where he’d just attached a urinary catheter. Then, as a “joke,” the doctor texted the image of his patient’s genitals to various friends and acquaintances. The ethical lapse ended up costing the specialist $20,000 in fines and a six-month suspension from medical practice in 2015, the National Post reported earlier this year.

In Prince Edward Island, the nursing home incident only came to public attention through the efforts of the CBC. Now, the privacy commissioner in PEI is calling on Health PEI to disclose more details.

According to Karen Rose, the commissioner, disclosure of this type of information will promote public safety. “The resulting transparency ensures that there is sufficient public knowledge of publicly operated community care facilities. In my view, such knowledge brings issues to the forefront, encourages discussions and spearheads changes, where necessary.”

In July, the commissioner gave Health PEI 40 days to prepare the information for release.

Meanwhile, the incident has exploded into a political issue, with the opposition Progressive Conservatives in PEI calling for the immediate release of details.

“Honestly, I don’t know why this file was not turned over to the RCMP for an investigation,” said opposition health critic James Aylward.

Aylward said it took a Freedom of Information request by the media for the breaches – which allegedly involved multiple photos and videos of elderly residents – to be brought to light.

“If pictures are being taken of either a deceased individual or a senior in a vulnerable circumstance and then shared publicly, fundamentally it is just wrong,” Aylward said.

He said there are still unanswered questions based on the media report, which did not connect an employee who was fired over the incident with taking the photo of the deceased resident.

“So if it doesn’t connect the person who was fired, then who was taking the pictures?” asks Aylward. “I want some kind of assurance here that the policies are being adhered to and that any other infractions that may have occurred have been dealt with accordingly.”

Aylward said a full audit needs to be done of long term care homes in the province, to probe further into privacy issues.

Healthcare workers misusing social media to post degrading photos of patients is a bigger problem than one might think.

The Pro Publica website, an independent source of information in the public interest, has been charting such invasions of privacy in the United States since the beginning of 2012. In that time, it has noted 47 cases of inappropriate social media posts by nursing home workers.

These include photos and videos of residents who were naked, covered in feces or even deceased. They also include images of abuse.

(See https://www.propublica.org/article/inappropriate-social-media-posts-by-nursing-home-workers-detailed)

And in early August, federal health regulators in the United States announced plans to crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees nursing homes, said in a memo to state health departments that they should begin checking to make sure that all nursing homes have policies prohibiting staff from taking demeaning photographs of residents.

The memo also calls on state officials to quickly investigate such complaints and report offending workers to state licensing agencies for investigation and possible discipline.

“Nursing homes must establish an environment that is as homelike as possible and includes a culture and environment that treats each resident with respect and dignity,” said the memo signed by David Wright, director of the CMS survey and certification group. “Treating a nursing home resident in any manner that does not uphold a resident’s sense of self-worth and individuality dehumanizes the resident and creates an environment that perpetuates a disrespectful and/or potentially abusive attitude towards the resident(s).”

CMS said that nursing homes have a responsibility to provide training on how to prevent abuse, and to investigate all allegations of abuse. If homes fail to do so, they can face citations, fines and theoretically even termination from the Medicare program.

Also in August, Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on other federal agencies to take action on the problem.

He sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice and to the Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking whether “rules and protections are in place to prevent and punish these types of abuses.” He also has sent letters to social media companies, calling on them to pay more attention to this.

In Canada, the incident in Prince Edward Island may have national importance, as it’s one of the first instances of social media abuse in a nursing home to be publicized in this country. It may spark nursing homes and governments across Canada to be more vigilant about staff use of social media, and to educate employees more vigorously about privacy issues.

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Social Media’s Impact on the Healthcare Space -

Social Media’s Impact on the Healthcare Space - | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Facebook, Twitter, and the other forms of social media have impacted how we obtain news, share information, and learn about the world around us. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it has also changed the way patients and practitioners interact, learn about health care, and even behave.

Becker’s Spine Review posted 12 key findings about social media and technology’s impact on the healthcare industry. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Over 40% of patients say social media influences how they handle their health.
  • 18-24 year olds are twice as likely to discuss health on social media, versus 45-54 year olds.
  • 90% of 18-24 year olds say they trust health information spread via social media.
  • 19% of smartphone users have at least one health-related app.
  • 41% of consumers report that social media plays a part when they select a doctor or hospital.
  • 31% of healthcare institutions have social media guidelines.
  • 31% of providers also said they use social media to network.
  • 26% of U.S. hospitals use some form of social media.
  • 60% of surveyed physicians said that social media has enhanced healthcare.
  • You Tube-to-hospital-Website traffic has increased 119%.
  • 23% or surveyed drug companies say they have not had to deal with privacy and security issues.
  • Most hospitals use Facebook more than any other social media platform.
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How to Use Social Media and Be HIPAA Compliant

How to Use Social Media and Be HIPAA Compliant | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Healthcare Strategist and Senior Account Executive Kim Laramy has been with Ethos and VONT since 2005. Her expertise in healthcare marketing began while “in house” at Bath Memorial Hospital and Mid Coast Health Services (as she says, “a loooong time ago). She has served as account executive to MaineHealth, Maine Medical Center, and Maine General Health, and currently to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Inland Hospital, and EMHS. Today she shares her insights into how to join the social world while respecting HIPAA.

Hospitals and healthcare providers, like other businesses and organizations, understand the benefit of social engagement with customers, patients and employees. But there is a hurdle to overcome if you’re a healthcare organization – can you take advantage of the power of social media without running afoul of HIPAA?

HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs.

The good news is that you CAN be social and still protect patient privacy – but it takes some effort, thought and commitment. Here are some steps that will help you on your journey into the social realm:

Identify objectives that social media can address for your organization. For example, social media is a great way to share healthcare tips, honors, upcoming events, research and profiles of your medical staff – none of which go near HIPAA.

Determine the best social media for your objectives. Facebook is more about two-way conversations; a blog may be more about sharing your expertise. (Be sure to read our article on 6 Reasons Why You Need a Business Blog.)

Identify the one or two people who will act as administrators for the social medium.Add more administrators later if needed, but start small. Be sure that the administrators understand they are making a long-term commitment. They will need to carve out time in their schedules so that they can frequently and regularly monitor and participate in the social conversation.

Train your social media administrators. They will need to know how to:

  • Use the social media tools
  • Handle communication in the social media tool based on user expectation and best practices;
  • Respond to any issues that may arise;
  • Thoroughly understand patient privacy (HIPAA) regulations;
  • Train back-up support to cover their vacation/sick days.

Develop a plan to actively promote the site to acquire followers. Merely setting up a page or account does not ensure you will have followers or an active community.

Set a general calendar schedule for posting new information. Assemble subject matter experts and people interested in social media who will be regular content contributors. Designate 1-2 people to oversee.

Be prepared to respond to negative posts. Generally, posts that are negative toward your organization should not be taken down. Instead, treat them as an opportunity to show the public just how well you handle adversity. Be respectful, contrite, and helpful. Offer an apology and an offline conversation to seek a solution.

Immediately take down posts that violate any patient’s privacy. Fortunately, most people who work in healthcare know and understand what not to say publicly about any patient, and so the risk of intentional HIPAA violations is low. There is a greater risk of unintentional violations – two examples are noted below.

Example 1: Patient Sam goes onto Caring Hospital’s Facebook page and shares what a great stay he had while an inpatient. He calls out his doctor, a nurse, and his roommate Patient Joe. Without intending to do so, Patient Sam has let the world know that Patient Joe was at Caring Hospital. In this case it is up to Caring Hospital to remove the post. If this happens to you, be sure to contact Patient Sam and explain why you needed to remove his post. Who knows? He may be so happy with you that he reposts excluding Patient Joe’s name so that the rest of the world can enjoy his kind words.

Example 2: Gramma Sue is so pleased with her new grandbaby that she goes onto Caring Hospital’s Facebook page and posts a photo of the baby in the nursery, several other babies are also in their bassinets with nametags visible. Gramma Sue has every right to show her own baby, but not the others. Again, if you find yourself in this situation, be sure to contact Gramma Sue and explain why you need to remove her post. You don’t want to unintentionally hurt one of your happiest supporters.

The takeaway

Social media is an excellent medium for getting your message out to a larger audience. The rigors of HIPAA do not have to exclude any hospital or healthcare organization from joining the social world. With some due diligence, time, and effort, platforms such as Facebook can act as a useful tool in helping you

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How To Use Facebook To Grow Your Dental Practice -

How To Use Facebook To Grow Your Dental Practice - | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Tell me, are you currently leveraging one of the most powerful and targeted marketing strategies available in Facebook marketing? Do you know how to use the platform to drive sales, get a positive return on your investment (ROI), and secure your spot as an industry leader? As a dentist in a competitive world, you should.

Dentists that understand the power of Facebook and that have taken the time to test what converts, and to understand the platform are absolutely killing it with their Facebook marketing. They use it as an advertising vehicle for lead generation and increased revenues. They also use it to stay relevant in their industry and build their brand. And it works!

Canvas People, for example, a canvas print maker based in Nassau County, NY, launched a social enhancement campaign recently that delivered nearly 4,000 new transactions and a 1.5x return on investment.

Another small business, State Bicycle Company, managed to boost website traffic by 12% with Facebook marketing, bagging $500,000 in annual incremental sales as a result of that traffic. (You can see the case studies here.)

A strong Facebook strategy can yield excellent returns, no doubt about it. This shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as the social networking giant now boasts around 1.4 billion active monthly users and more than half of them log in to their accounts every day.

However, not everybody is turning dollars into dreams; there are businesses that struggle to penetrate their markets with Facebook. Others don’t use it because they think social media is overvalued, or because your ROI can be tricky to measure.

What it really comes down to, though, is companies not knowing or understanding the different types of FB ROI and how they are valuable. They don’t know how to get or track return on investment using this social media platform.

If you are one of those businesses, read on as we shed light on the above, share three workable paid Facebook marketing strategies, and provide a few tips.

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Using Social Media to Grow Your Hospital's Oncology Practice

Using Social Media to Grow Your Hospital's Oncology Practice | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Ruben Mesa, M.D., is the director of the Acute and Chronic Leukemia Program in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. His YouTube videos on hematology and oncology topics1 – ranging from myelofibrosis to polycythemia – have been viewed tens of thousands of times.

These views have resulted in referrals and patient visits from across the country, suggesting that social media does, in fact, have a place in the world of oncology.

In fact, the Journal of Oncology Practice published a piece – back in 2012 – titled Practical Guidance: The Use of Social Media in Oncology Practice 2, exploring how oncologists could responsibly use social media in their professional lives. Their findings concluded that oncologists could benefit from using social media to:

  • Educate patients
  • Deliver authoritative health messages
  • Benefit from professional development
  • Provide knowledge sharing
  • Use as direct patient interaction

As you look to grow the digital presence of your hospital’s oncology practice, social media can play a rather significant role. The first step, of course, is to ensure your oncology practice has its own standing on social media. Create separate Twitter and Facebook accounts that focuses solely on the endeavors and news related to oncology (Instagram and LinkedIn are other potentially worthwhile platforms to create as well).

Once you have your profiles established, you can turn to these four strategies – which you can begin to implement immediately across all your social networks to generate buzz and attention around your oncology practice.

1. Highlight your hospital’s cutting edge technologies and offerings

Clinical trials and emerging research are a constant in cancer care, leading to new and exciting innovations all the time.

Patients like to know that the cancer care they’re receiving is not only cutting edge, but also backed by evidence and data. You can educate your patients on the latest technologies and approaches your oncology team implements through social media.

Whenever one of your oncologists publishes an article, promote that piece heavily on social media. If your hospital has just been awarded funding for cancer research, or has access to a new form of treatment not typically found in the area, promote it on social media.

In other words, consider social media to be your modern-day press release. When something new and exciting is happening with your oncologists, you want to make sure the world takes notice.

This means more than just sending out a quick tweet and being done with it, however. Social media marketing involves skillfully reaching out to influencers, using trending hashtags when appropriate, and sculpting a post with featured image that inspires your audience to click to read more.

2. Personalize your oncology practice with patient stories

Promoting the latest technologies your team uses is a great marketing strategy. However, keep in mind that your audience responds to stories. They want to be moved and inspired. Particularly if they are cancer patients (or family members of a patient), they want to read stories that evoke empathy.

That’s where patient stories come in.

This isn’t an elaborate testimonial, necessarily, where the patient speaks highly of the care received at your hospital. Rather, these stories follow the journey of your patients as they struggle and thrive through their cancer battle.

These stories talk about the patients’ history, the months and years that led them to your hospital. It takes the viewer through the realities of cancer care – including the treatments, the support of doctors and staff, the devotion of family members and friends.

In other words, these stories peel back the curtain on what it’s like to be a patient in your hospital, without excessive marketing slogans and catchphrases.

This type of raw, yet creatively designed story (told best through a video, although articles are a good supplement) is exactly what your social audience wants to read and share. They want to know that others are going through – or have gone through – what they’re about to embark on.

By creating this type of empathetic content, your hospital is building a connection with prospective patients, who’ll use that content to assess whether they can entrust you with their health and life.

You can also take a much simpler approach to sharing patient success stories. A good tip is to keep tabs with your patients once they leave your care. If, for example, a 5-year-old girl who you treated for bone cancer just danced in her first recital, promote that on your social platforms.

Don’t use overtly self-congratulatory language.

Put the spotlight on the true hero – the former patient. Celebrate her accomplishments with something as simple as: “The Oncology Team here at {name of hospital} always knew you’d go far! Keep making us and your family proud!”

3. Share knowledge that your prospects are looking for

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 90% of all internet users (or 93 million Americans) have searched for health-related topics online (up from 62% in 2001).

In other words, your prospects are looking for answers online that only you and your team can provide.

It’s time you start providing those answers!

Your oncology team – in conjunction with your marketing team – should be posting content on your site regularly. Each of these pieces of content should be heavily promoted on social media. However, a savvy social media strategy includes posting just as much content (if not more) from other sources.

A good rule of thumb is to create a list of influencers whose social circle you’d love your oncology team (and hospital) to be a part of. The Mayo Clinic is one. Kevin Pho, MD, is an extremely popular doctor on social media. The list is virtually endless. You can use a tool like Hootsuite, or even create lists directly within Twitter, to keep track of the latest social shares of your influencers.

You can then share quality content from these influencers with your own audiences. Not only will this strategy help build your social following, but it will also:

  • Help you share content regularly without having to produce more than your team can handle
  • Help your hospital and oncology practice get noticed by these key influencers
4. Use social media to promote upcoming events, seminars and webinars

As we mentioned above, folks go online to devour health-related information. That’s why it makes sense for your hospital to host events, seminars and webinars to answer questions or concerns about cancer care in the 21st century.

Social media serves as one of the most efficient ways to get the word out about these upcoming events.

Not only will this strategy likely grow attendance, but it’ll show your readers how invested you are in your community.

As you turn to social media, tread carefully

You know the old Spiderman saying: “With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s exactly the case with social media. Social media empowers your hospital to reach millions of prospects in your immediate region, as well as across the globe.

But as medical professionals, you can’t forget about the basics, including, for example, how HIPAA translates to the web.

Social media users tend to be fairly informal, but this informality can devolve into recklessness. It’s important that your team clearly know what can and can’t be posted, shared, or expressed on the hospital’s related social networks.

Create a clear social media guideline that not only outlines what’s allowed (and not allowed), but that highlights potential consequences faced by violators.

Social media can, in fact, grow your oncology practice. But it can also damage the reputation of your hospital if not approached with a clear strategy in place. Give your team the tools and resources it needs to succeed, and you’ll discover that the Facebooks and Twitters of the world can, in fact, cast a glorious spotlight on the tremendous strides being made by your oncology team.

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NO, YOUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS DON’T NEED TO SEE YOUR PATIENT’S ATHLETE’S FOOT: HEALTHCARE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

NO, YOUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS DON’T NEED TO SEE YOUR PATIENT’S ATHLETE’S FOOT: HEALTHCARE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

How

have television shows such as Dr. Oz impacted the physician-patient relationship?” This question was posted outside the door of my first MMI station at my first medical school interview. I wracked my brain for a thoughtful response, trying to keep my hands from shaking as I hastily wiped my sweaty palms on my new interview suit. Truthfully, I have never seen an episode of Dr. Oz, which became apparent to my interviewer. Nonetheless, we discussed the problems of availability of information and pseudoscientific advice that seems to appear all over the internet.

Patients currently have a wide berth of information at their disposal. More and more frequently, patients will frantically enter their physician’s office, convinced they have diagnosed themselves with a rare and incurable disease discovered on WebMD. Perhaps more interesting is the rise of social media sites catered towards health professionals as well as the explosion of healthcare-related posts on more traditional sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Recently, at the 2016 United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology conference, attendees posted 19,000 Tweets related to the conference [1]. Facebook and Instagram are used to discuss the deaths of celebrities, and autopsy reports are commonly released to the public due to laws that exempt coroners and other public officials from HIPAA [2].

New platforms for discussing patient care and disease process have made communication across disciplines and geographical location much easier, but with access comes unprecedented complications for the healthcare provider. Is it ethical for a nurse practitioner in a rural or underserved area to share photos of a patient to aid in a diagnosis? Figure 1, an application that allows providers to share pictures of skin conditions, EKGs, X-rays, CT scans, and other pertinent information has allowed workers in communities without a physician to receive advice from specialists [3]. The app also allows medical students to practice analysis and diagnosis based on subjective and objective evidence. Users will often post pictures with clues that allow students and other providers to share opinions regarding the cause of symptoms. The app can be used to develop critical thinking skills, but it also places the patient in a vulnerable position.

It begs the question: how far is too far? Can social media be used as a place for input and learning while also respecting the patient’s privacy and autonomy? The Department of Health and Human Services released a report in July 2016 that discussed the need for clarification regarding HIPAA regulations for online posts [4]. Before legislative action occurs, how does a healthcare professional ensure that he or she is protecting the integrity of the patient, the hospital, and his or her own practice? Workers must respect the patient’s privacy and ensure informed consent while also balancing the amount of information on the post in order to be beneficial to others. In light of this, it seems most prudent to remove oneself from the fray, but for providers in rural areas, this is not what is best for patients. As a student, we are taught to take advantage of all available resources. Is an app that gives us exposure to rare conditions appropriate, or should it be regarded as an invasion of patient privacy?

These questions and many others are proof of the ethical quandary of medicine and online posts. The future of social media and healthcare is uncertain, but it is unquestionable that these outlets have led to tremulous ground for the newly fledged healthcare professional or student.

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Common Sense Tips for Rheumatologists on Social Media

Common Sense Tips for Rheumatologists on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In an age of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, rheumatologists may think that a social media presence is required. So to get the lay of the land,The Rheumatologist spoke with David Deutsch, founder and chief strategist for SynergiSocial, a New Jersey-based consultancy that focuses on social media.

Question: What advantage can social media promotion bring to inpatient medical practices, such as rheumatology?
Answer:
Let’s back up a minute here. At its core, social mediais nothing more than people talking to people with technology. It’s not unlike having a telephone conversation or sending an email. The big difference is that you are speaking to multiple people at once (i.e., a network) instead of one-on-one. If you call someone on the phone and they immediately start promoting themselves, how would that make you feel? Odds are you would prefer to speak with someone who listens to you and offers concrete advice to help you in some way. The same thing goes on social media. Social media done right has little or nothing to do with self-promotion. It’s actually the exact opposite: The best results come from not self-promoting at all, but rather finding ways to give generously to your audience.

Q: What are some tips for a medical practice that might want to set up a social media presence?
A:
Rule No. 1: Nobody cares about you. Sorry, but it’s the truth. I tell this to my clients all the time. In the case of rheumatologists, people only want to see you to solve their health problems. That is all. If you can’t do it, they will find someone who can. Realizing this brutal reality is actually an opportunity and key to your social media success. Why? Because if you can give prospective patients something that changes their lives, they will care about you. A lot. To illustrate: Would you rather connect with someone who says, ‘I am one of the best rheumatologists in the area!’ Or would you want to speak with someone who offers concrete advice to patients and non-patients alike on how to avoid problems and answers their questions? Moreover, you can use social media to proactively get referrals from trusted sources … thus, dramatically increasing the quality and quantity of patients who come through your door.

Q: How do you caution people on using social media when it comes to privacy, a focus that is heightened when talking about medical issues?

A: Privacy on social media is always a huge challenge. In some ways, it is very easy to avoid this: Don’t share any information that you want to keep private and don’t share patient stories without their permission. It sounds silly, but much of this is common sense. Most social media sites have a ‘two-step verification’ process, which prevents unauthorized access to your accounts. I would strongly suggest setting this up for every platform you use.

To reiterate, you need to use common sense. What would you share at a dinner party? Would you stand up and blurt out personal information?

Q: You are a social media expert, NOT an expert on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). But given its privacy rules, what’s your advice for how to avoid the risk of over-sharing?
A:
Social media is people talking to people, just in a different medium. Observe laws and common sense, just like if you were in a doctor’s lobby—a full doctor’s lobby.

[Editor’s note: As with any other forum, don’t share patients’ personal, protected health information via social media without their written consent. Make sure to contact your designated privacy officer or your attorney if you have any questions about what you can share.]

Q: What do you to say if a patient asks for medical advice through social media?
A: Advise them that you cannot answer confidential questions online, then direct them to a phone number or website to schedule an appointment. I would also suggest that physicians refrain from sharing any details of their patients’ medical problems openly, because anyone can see them and it could be embarrassing or cause them problems some other time.

Q: What are a few specific suggestions of valuable content rheumatology practices could post?
A:
Videos featuring some practical at-home remedies for common problems are always very helpful [for patients]. If possible, video testimonials are amazing. I say ‘if possible’ because you don’t want to run afoul of regulations. For example, Johns Hopkins Medicine has done an excellent job of engaging with their patients on social media while remaining in compliance with HIPAA regulations. Critically, they have social media guidelines clearly available for their employees to see.

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How social media connects older adult patients

How social media connects older adult patients | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Use of social media by young adults is wide spread: 90% in 2015 according to the Pew Research Center. What may be surprising, however, is that older adults are increasingly joining the ranks of daily social media users. “Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005,” the 2015 Pew study reported. As older adults adopt social media physicians and caregivers can utilize this as a way to improve communication and connectedness with older adults reduce some of the loneliness and social isolation experienced by this population. Only the lonely Forty­three percent (adults 60 years old and older with a mean age of 70) said they felt lonely sometimes, according to a 2012 University of California at San Francisco study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Next: Maintaining social connectedness is vital Delving specifically into the issues facing these older adults, researchers found: · 32% reported lacking companionship; and · 25% reported feeling left out. Participating in social networking may be one way to reach out to friends and family, and lessen those feelings and, perhaps, diminish the physical effects of loneliness. Blog: Primary care physicians double down on vaccine rates As adults enter into older adulthood, maintaining social connectedness may become more difficult. Friends may have died, family dispersed across the country. There could also be physical challenges due to mobility limitations or chronic diseases that decrease connectedness with friends, family, and community. Social media could begin to play a more active role in keeping this population socially connected, according to research presented at the 2013 Proceedings of the 24th Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Hypertext and Social Media. Socially acceptable The journal Computers in Human Behavior in 2016 explored the ways seniors over 60 years use Facebook. Approximately 22% of respondents used the site to “stay connected with family.” Social bonding, chosen by older adults as the central reason to use Facebook, is important in helping to reduce the isolation many feel. Older adults in the study had an average of 88 friends and 17 family members on Facebook. Next: Physicians can promote social media to older adult patients Keeping social networks active also has beneficial physical and cognitive effects for older adults. A 2016 University of Arizona study of a very small group of adults 68­91 years old found 25% of the participants scored better on memory­related tasks after using Facebook than a similar group that used an online journaling program. Blog: Gun ownership is a civil right Feelings of social connectedness, as well as social support are positively associated with the mental and physical health of individuals, according research presented at the 2010 International Conference on Information Systems Proceedings. The increasing availability of social networking through the expansion of high­speed home Internet connections and the growing numbers of older adults going online creates the possibility to build social connectedness among family, friends and those 60 and older. Physicians can promote social media to older adult patients, their families and caregivers to close the loneliness gap.

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Social Media Report - Hospitals (India) July 1st - August 31st 2016

Take a deep dive into the social media habits of Indian Hospitals on social media. See how well known hospitals like Apollo, MIOT and Fortis Healthcare are usi…
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A Better Patient Experience Starts With a Better Online Experience

A Better Patient Experience Starts With a Better Online Experience | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Mobile apps, Internet consulting, social media, emails and custom websites have brought a paradigm shift in the healthcare services. Patients seek nothing less than the best – in terms of healthcare services or digital experiences.

Demand creation transforms the economics of all businesses and has revamped the healthcare industry, as well. Digital channels have broadened the healthcare horizon and opened up new opportunities for physicians and patients. Physicians, dentists, and hospitals are increasingly adapting to this seismic shift and are now moving away from relying on the traditional mode of marketing, i.e. word-of-mouth referrals, to carefully strategized digital marketing strategies. Patient experiences form the epicenter of healthcare and now a better patient experience definitely starts with a better online experience.

Patients now extensively refer to social media and other digital platforms to manage health and make their health decisions after thorough analysis. Healthy online relationships with patients can drive up appointments and referrals, increasing profits for your practice. Hospitals and physicians need to think like marketers to better understand and participate in digital conversations as these can directly impact their online brand perception and reputation.

Here’s how you can create better digital patient experiences:

Educate your patients by sharing informative articles and preventive healthcare tips

A key component of digital healthcare marketing is to create impactful physician-patient communications that inform, influence and motivate patients to make better health decisions to improve their quality of life.

Patients are digitally empowered and information-hungry, constantly looking out to learn new things and gathering essential information to make informed health decisions. Regularly post articles, messages, tips and blogs to educate your patients and schedule them to be posted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in emails. This helps in establishing a sense of trust and credibility about your practice among all patients and other readers who can be potential patients in future. You can be in touch with your patients even if they aren’t visiting you. This helps build loyalty along with a positive reputation, and these can be the determining factors for growth of your practice.

Communicate frequently

The best way for healthcare providers to embrace this approach is through focusing their efforts on fulfilling patient needs, wants and desires by listening, responding, providing and adapting.

But how often do you reach out to your patients? Successful enterprises and businesses don’t just communicate with prospects and their existing customers on special days. It’s very important to communicate frequently with your patients and know what they think and feel about your practice. By encouraging open communication, you can build positive relationships with your patients, which in turn will help you understand what they feel about the services offered at your practice. It’s possible to combine email, face to face, social media, physician-review websites and phones for connecting and communicating with your patients. Carefully analyzing and proactively tracking what services patients look for regarding their health needs can provide an insight into their minds.

To innovate and evolve with the changing mindset of patients and an effective communication strategy is indispensable in today’s competitive world and is a vital key to maintaining a strong brand image.

Engagement matters

Spruce up your social networks by creating accounts on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. These have become a must for establishing an online visibility and are valuable tools for creating and strengthening patient relationships. To enhance your brand exposure and visibility, you need to actively engage with your audience by replying to their questions, sharing informative posts, posting videos about various important health issues and so on. The more you engage with patients/potential patients, the more they will like your practice brand as it gives them a sense of trust and credibility. An engaged and satisfied set of patients are more likely to become loyal and ultimately brand advocates for your practice.

Interact, interact and interact

The expectations patients have from physicians today have never been higher. For physicians/hospitals, it’s next to impossible to deliver 100% patient satisfaction. No matter how competent you are and how well-equipped your staff is, there will always be some unhappy patients. These days, the most common way of outburst is writing reviews on physician-review websites or taking up these issues on social media. With digitalization of healthcare, these situations are inevitable. What matters the most is how healthcare providers, physicians, and hospitals deal with patients on the Internet. The correct approach is to carefully analyze patient grievances, complaints and feedback and use them as tools to further enhance the services at your hospital/practice. Furthermore, there should be proactive communication with patients who post their reviews/comments on the Internet. This gives them an assurance that their issues are being heard. Try to make all efforts to reassure that their complaints will be resolved and the best healthcare services will be given to patients at your hospital/practice.

Create and tailor content you post on social media

Content is king in social media, but only if the audience finds it relevant. You can make content more suitable for your patients by adding a “value addition” to it. Content should be interesting, relevant and engaging – just as desired by the audience you wish to target through social media marketing. The knack is to understand what they want and how they want it delivered. Content can be tailored in the form of infographics, images, and videos to make it more engrossing.

Post more educational content

Online marketing experts suggest posting educational and informative material on social media as it holds the promise for improving patient engagement and empowers them to make better health decisions. Physicians should leverage social media to educate patients. Patients can benefit from the use of social media through education, obtaining information, networking, performing research, receiving support, goal-setting and tracking personal progress.

You can frequently post information to promote health behaviors, motivate people to achieve their health goals and increase awareness about general health conditions and disease prevention. Providing scientifically accurate and quality health information on various social media channels will help increase your online visibility and can help create a sense of trust and reliability about your practice among all patients and other readers who could be potential patients in future. You can extend the reach and coverage of your brand and be in touch with your patients even if they aren’t visiting you. This helps build loyalty along with a positive reputation, and these can be the determining factors for growth of your practice.

While the world is connected through the Internet today, it’s quite hard to understate the importance of online patient experiences. If you have been channeling your efforts into online marketing, don’t just get stuck with the usual strategies to build positive patient relationships. Experiment with new techniques and you never know – they may prove to be potentially more effective than the traditional ones.

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Top 5 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals

Top 5 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media has become widely used by individuals and businesses to stay connected, communicate and even market products or services. As these sites evolve and become a prevalent way of reaching out to consumers, healthcare professionals are finding new, effective ways to utilize social media.

Social Media and Healthcare

Many healthcare managers are working to effectively utilize social media to engage patients and consumers. Through effective marketing and communication tactics, organizations are able to move away from traditional advertising techniques, and use the internet to connect with consumers in the healthcare field. Consumers heavily rely on information found online and use the internet to gather healthcare information and connect with other patients to garner support and learn about similar conditions. Others utilize these resources for research or to share experiences with healthcare providers and other related organizations. Patients also have a tendency to seek information via social media that assists in the selection of doctors, specialists and hospitals to make informed decisions on the best practices to seek care. Individuals will use social media to post reviews or other comments that support or possibly deter others from choosing that type of healthcare in the future. It is essential for providers to be active on social media and provide accurate information, connect with readers and implement marketing techniques where applicable.

Avoiding HIPAA Violations

The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress in 1996 with the intent of providing patients more control over their healthcare records. HIPPA encompasses a variety of key points including:

  • Reducing healthcare fraud
  • Implementing industry-wide standards for information provided on electronic billing
  • Providing health insurance to individuals that are changing or have lost their jobs

In terms of protecting healthcare information, HIPPA sets guidelines that pertain to the protection and confidential handling of an individual’s health records. These guidelines have become somewhat of an issue in terms of social media. Healthcare professionals cannot directly address patients through these outlets as it violates the privacy and confidentiality regulations outlined by HIPPA. Other healthcare facilities are encouraged to implement strict policies and guidelines for what employees are allowed to post on social networking websites. Some ways to avoid HIPPA violations include:

  • Distribute clear social networking policies to employees
  • Avoid any discussion of patients, even in general terms
  • Speak generally about conditions and treatments
  • Prominently post your policies and procedures on all social media platforms
  • Do not practice medicine online by responding to patients offline
Utilizing Social Media

There is a variety of ways that healthcare managers are utilizing social media to enhance their services and provide patients with accurate medical information. Here are the top ways professionals in the field are using social media:

#1: Share Information

Social media is intended to provide individuals the ability to access information quickly and communicate with others. Healthcare organizations utilize these tools and websites to share information with consumers in a variety of ways such as sharing general information about flu shots and tips to avoid a cold. Sharing news regarding outbreaks or health hazards is an effective way for healthcare facilities to provide accurate information to patients. It is important to note that all patient specific information requires permission along with a signed release. Other forms of sharing information through social media include:

  • Provide updates on new technologies
  • Introduce new doctors in a practice on social networks
  • Answer questions on various topics (e.g. how to reach doctors or hours of operation)
  • Deliver generic pre- and post- operative care information
  • Offer patients any updates that relate to the practice itself
#2: Compare and Improve Quality

Another effective way that healthcare managers utilize social media is by spending time evaluating their competitors to get an insight into the services they offer and overall patient satisfaction. By taking a look into different practices and their social media involvement, professionals have the ability to mimic these methods to enhance their own. Some organizations will do better through social media; providers can determine whether or not they need to take more appropriate action to quickly respond to patient requests and improve customer service.

To gather feedback and improve quality, social media interaction can provide doctors and physicians with immediate responses from individuals to help understand common reactions to medications, as well as overall consensus from patients on new techniques in the industry. Using this information that is readily available on social media allows for healthcare organizations to learn from patient reactions and adjust accordingly. By following feedback on these sites, healthcare professionals also have the opportunity to evaluate the possibility of additional services in the industry.

#3: Train Medical Personnel

Some healthcare organizations have begun to utilize social media channels as part of their training process. During presentations, trainees are encouraged to use certain hash tags on Twitter or join other groups to engage one another to make training processes more enjoyable and interactive. These training techniques provide trainees a central location to ask questions and quickly receive answers. Social media gives participants the power to provide presenters with immediate feedback on training sessions.

Trainees are not the only people who benefit from this social media technique. Organizations can use training videos and pictures from training sessions to engage audiences and enhance their social media channels by marketing their facilities and exemplifying their innovating training processes.

#4: Live Updates during Procedures

Although somewhat controversial, there has been an increase of doctors and surgeons providing updates from the operating room. Through Twitter and other social media outlets, healthcare professionals have the ability to deliver up–to-date information during procedures to fellow doctors, medical students or simply curious individuals. Some say these updates are a distraction in the operating room, while others argue that it is an innovation and provides educational value that should be embraced.

The use of social media during operations also provides healthcare facilities the ability to gain attention from industry specific outlets as well as mainstream media. As a marketing approach, organizations create a buzz on social media with these updates, creating excitement and enhancing public awareness of an individual organization to attract patients and medical personnel.

#5: Communicate in Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, the use of social media has increased to provide minute-by-minute information to consumers. Through social media, hospitals and other organizations are able to deliver real-time updates on hospital capacity, operation status and emergency room access. Having an active social media presence allows healthcare professionals to pass along information shared by organizations such as the Red Cross, and the Centers for Disease Control or communicate with news outlets.

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The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals

The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
» The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals
Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals
The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals

Posted by justmedicaljobs | August 24, 2016 | Case Study, Healthcare IT, Jobsearch

 

In this technology-driven time, it would be impossible to think that your employers would want you to stay away from social media use.With that being said, there are certain pros and cons of social media usage that you need to be aware of. You should strive to make good judgment calls when commenting, posting, and sharing via social media sites.

Social media offers many benefits when it comes to professional development and maintaining relationships that, 30 years ago, would have been much more difficult. However, as with anything, with the good, comes to bad.

 

Here are the most relevant pros and cons of social media for professionals, or those of you about to enter the professional world.

The Pros and Cons of Social Media:
The Pros of Social MediaThe Cons of Social Media1. Social media has the ability to spread information faster than ever before.1. Social media has the ability to spread misinformation faster than ever before.2. Government agencies can use social media to track and catch criminals.2. Users are exposed to privacy intrusions by government agencies and corporate entities.3. Social media stimulates debate and the spread of educational information.3. Social media is a huge distraction for students who manage time poorly.4. Social media improves relationships that otherwise would be difficult to maintain.4. Social media can lead to stressed offline relationships.5. Social media helps to empower women in the workplace.5. Social media pushes people to waste their time.6. Social media sites help employers fill positions and job-seekers find work.6. Social media can harm job security and employment prospects.7. Being active in social media can improve quality of life and reduce health problems.7. Social media usage is correlated with personality and brain disorders, such as the inability to hold in-person conversations.8. Social media facilitates face-to-face conversations.8. Social media causes more people to spend less time holding face-to-face conversations.9. Social media helps with economic growth.9. Social networking sites harm employee productivity.10. Social media helps seniors feel more connected to society.10. Social networking sites promote sexting.11. Social media allows for quick and easy dissemination of public health and safety information from reputable source.11. Social media encourages amateur advice and self-diagnosis of health problems.12. Social media spreads academic research to a wider audience.12. Social media enables cheating on school assignments and exams.13. Universities and colleges use social media to recruit and retain students.13. Social media use can harm a students’ chances of college admission. 14. Social media posts cannot be deleted and information can have unintended consequences. 15. Social networking users are more vulnerable to security attacks.

Source: http://socialnetworking.procon.org/

Whether you know it or not, you represent your hospital/clinic and the nursing professionas a whole with every single post, photo, or share you submit on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The key is to learn the tricks and tips that will help you keep your posts respectful, clean, and appropriate for everyone.

The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media:
The Dos of Social MediaThe Don’ts of Social Media1. Be proud of your profession. Whether you’re at work or not, you’re a representative of your field and your employer.1. Don’t violate HIPPA! Take patient privacy very seriously and do not post anything that would violate it. Stay familiar with the privacy rights of your patients.2. Share good news and information about your employer and profession.2. Avoid using hashtags and other identifiers that would tag you, your coworkers, or your employer to compromising photos or posts.3. Speak highly of your employers new developments and accomplishments.3. Never bash your employer or patients on social media. This is a good way to get overlooked for that promotion or outright lose your job.4. Keep in mind that social media is a very public forum and is representative of your and your life.4. Don’t click the “post” or “tweet” button if you have any reservations. If it feels even a little wrong, it probably is.

As a healthcare professional you have to remember that you are a steward of the people and have a ton of vulnerable patient’s most personal information at your disposal.

It is easy to get caught up in using social media as a therapeutic outlet, but don’t forget that people trust you and nobody wants their embarrassing stories blasted on the internet even–if it is anonymous.

Trust your gut and never post anything online that you don’t want haunting you forever because once it’s published it will never totally be gone.

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Social Media and HIPAA Compliance: What Medical Professionals Should Know

Social Media and HIPAA Compliance: What Medical Professionals Should Know | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

More than ever before, medical professionals are using social media every day in both their personal and professional lives. And of course this isn’t a bad thing: physicians, nurses, and other practitioners are in a unique position to engage and educate current patients and others in search of treatment. However, when used incorrectly, social media can be a veritable minefield in regards to HIPAA regulations for patient confidentiality. So in the interest of keeping those tweets flowing, let’s run through four easy ways to maintain compliance with these regulations.

1) Don’t Talk About Patients (Even When it’s Subtle)

HIPAA regulations for patient confidentiality may seem complicated, but they all essentially boil down to one key point: don’t share your patients’ personal information. Few medical professionals would post something as obviously problematic as “John Smith from Cherry Street came in last night with such-and-such medical condition,” but that’s far from the only way to incur a violation. Rather than taking the risk of accidentally broadcasting protected information like specific appointment times and diagnoses, avoid the issue altogether by never referring to an actual case or visit.

That said, medical professionals should absolutely post interesting and relevant information on their professional social media accounts. Just be sure to always keep things in broad terms — talk about specific conditions or treatment options, not specific patients.

2) Don’t Like, Share, Retweet, or Regram Your Patients’ Posts

Even if you don’t share the information yourself, it’s still possible for a physician to breach his or her patient’s confidentiality. One way to do so is by engaging with a specific patient on any social platform. Even if your patient chooses to post his or her medical information in a public forum, sharing this post with your own network could land you in hot water.

The easiest way to avoid this issue is by doing something that’s fairly intuitive: create separate accounts for your professional and personal activities.

3) Don’t Post Pictures of Patients or Their Documentation

When to comes to HIPAA compliance, one key mistake that should always be avoided is posting pictures of real-life patients. Even if you’re celebrating something as meaningful as a patient’s recovery from a serious illness or injury, sharing a photo of their likeness still counts in HIPAA’s eyes as a forbidden personal identifier. Another thing to keep in mind when posting photos from around the office or clinic: a patient’s files can accidentally get caught in the background. Always triple-check that your image is free of any potentially confidential paperwork or other materials.

It may sound easier to rule out photos of your workplace altogether, but warm, engaging imagery bolsters patient trust in your medical brand — in some cases increasing conversion rates by as much as 95%. Just be smart about the photos you share with your network.

4) Don’t Send Confidential Information Through Direct Messages

Switching over to direct messages might seem like an easy loophole in all of the regulations outlined above, as the interface of any social media platform would have you think that such messages are private and confidential. However, doing so would risk violating another one of HIPAA’s major tenets: the Security Rule, which mandates that all electronic protected health information (ePHI) is stored in such a way that it is secure from potential data breaches, leaks, or any other form of unwanted disclosure. Most social media messaging services do not meet HIPAA’s standard for compliance with this rule, and thus they should never be used to share patient data or health records with colleagues or even the patients themselves.

Luckily, a number of medical industry apps — such as DrFirst’s Backline — offer secure messaging platforms that are in compliance with HIPAA’s Security Rule. So keep the sharing away from Twitter DMs and Facebook Messenger and stick to the software and services that guarantee both compliance and conversions.

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Prescribing Social Media Strategies for Healthcare Companies

Prescribing Social Media Strategies for Healthcare Companies | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In a generation where people feel more confident going online to check any questions about their medical symptoms rather than calling to their doctor, social media is something healthcare companies can’t ignore. In fact, large healthcare companies have already started to use this to their advantage. Whether to educate their patients, to promote their services or products, or to serve as a way to help patients maintain a healthy lifestyle with daily tips, healthcare companies are turning to the social channels to engage with their patients like never before. Some healthcare companies have even gone a step further, launching their own mobile apps to make their patient’s life easier when it comes to tedious tasks, such as ordering new prescriptions, setting up reminders to take the medication, or even changing insurance carriers.

With more than 53 years in business, CVS Health has learned how to adapt to the behavior of their patients and to provide a solution to a problem they may be having. CVS Health has been able to win their consumer’s micro-moments by excelling in three key areas: being there at the perfect time when their consumers need answers/advice, providing the right consumers with the right answers, and driving both brand awareness and bottom-line results with their efforts. And how have they’ve done that? By paying attention to their users. According to Brian Tilzer, Chief Digital Officer at CVS Health, the moment of truth for them came when they found that one in 20 Google searches is are related to healthcare information. With this in mind, they decided to create an app and to implement a new digital marketing strategy. Their goal was to  improve their users’ experience by simplifying the healthcare process, and by giving them the information that they needed when they needed it.

CVS Health began to use social media as a way to educate and entertain their consumers with light and engaging posts that would connect them with their target demographic.

They also created a new app for consumers to make a positive impact when it comes to healthcare. According to CVS Health, people using their mobile app are more likely to fill their prescriptions through CVS and are more likely to adhere to their medications.

As a result, CVS Health has increased their investment in digital by five times in the last two years.

With 30% of adults willing to share their health information on social media with other patients and 47% willing to do so with doctors, social media is slowly helping to improve the way people feel about transparency when it comes to their medical condition. While this is a positive change, the reality is that social media still presents a challenge for some healthcare organizations that don’t know how to approach this new scenario. Here are some social media trends in the healthcare industry and some tips to pay attention to that will enhance your services.

  • Keep Your Users Informed: Although search engines remain the main source that people use when it comes to searching for information online, some users have started to go directly to social media platforms instead. Because of this reason, providing your users with healthcare updates, creating a spotlight series for each of the doctors in a practice, or simply answering common questions they may have on a daily basis, can provide them with the accurate information they need. Doing so can determine their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
  • Improve Overall Patient Satisfaction: Today’s patients are more informed and savvy and are going online to share their health struggles and to connect with others going through the same health condition This presents a huge opportunity for healthcare marketers to engage with these users. Patients are using social media to assist in the selection of doctors, specialists, and hospitals to seek care, and healthcare companies should pay attention to this.  A great insight to know about this demographic is that the ones who are willing to share and openly talk about their health condition on social media are typically young women.
  • Empower Patients Through Positive Thinking: The main objective of people sharing their stories on social media is to empower other people with their happy and positive stories. People are using social media to share the happiness they’ve found in living with their diseases. With this in mind, marketers should include these types of posts in their strategy and share these positive stories from other patients that their target audience can relate to.
  • Live-Stream Some Procedures: This is where the controversial part begins, and where your organization should be careful about. While one of the main characteristics of social media is immediacy, you’ll have to always respect HIPPA guidelines to protect the privacy of individual’s health records. Some ways to do so are: distributing social media policies to your employees, avoiding patients discussions, posting your procedures and policies on all social media platforms, and not practicing medicine online by responding to offline patients.
  • Don’t Forget About Donations: Probably one of the most notorious trends is the power of social media to help fundraise money for those expensive medical treatments or unique conditions that one person could be suffering from. In fact, thanks to social media and platforms like GoFundMe, medical donations have grown by nearly 6,000% since 2011. However, the power of one social media post well distributed has been able to help not only individuals but also organizations. The ALS Bucket Challenge was a social media campaign went viral and was able to raise $16 million in donations in comparison with $1.8 million for the same period  the year before.

Remember that patients want a prescription for their soul, not for their body! Social media can completely change the perception that your patients have of your healthcare organization. Putting into practice some of these tips will help you to connect in a meaningful way with consumers in the healthcare field. With that being said, it’s essential for medical providers to be active on social media, not only to connect with their readers but also to provide accurate information and to implement marketing techniques where applicable. If your organization has considered any of these and is willing to jump online to enhance their relationship with their patients, we are here to help! Only those healthcare companies that pay attention to these social media trends and tips will be able to win over patients.

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5 approaches for using technology to communicate with physicians

5 approaches for using technology to communicate with physicians | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

As technology continues to weave its way into healthcare, more and more patients are using their smartphones and wearable devices to communicate with their doctors, according to a new study.

More than 58 percent of Americans have shared information with a medical professional through their smartphone, a mobile app or wearable device. One in four have emailed or texted a photo of a medical issue to a physician.

The study, released yesterday by communications firm Ketchum, surveyed 2,000 Americans that own a smartphone.

The survey revealed that many patients are managing their own health from smartphones and fitness trackers. Nearly 50 percent of survey respondents have an app that tracks fitness, exercise, health or medications, and 83 percent use these apps at least once a week.

"This study points to a shift in people's attitudes and readiness to use technology to manage their health," said Lisa Sullivan, executive vice president and North American technology practice leader for Ketchum, in a statement. "With U.S. smartphone adoption at 68 percent, now is the time for businesses that have a stake in the healthcare industry to push to develop approachable, intuitive mobile tech offerings that help the ever-increasing mobile user population improve something as personal and important as their health."

The researchers broke down the survey results and categorized respondents into five user profiles based on how much they used technology to keep track of their health.

Discerning Digitals: The most active users who are constantly connected, but still like face-to-face contact with medical professionals.

Swayable Seekers: A group of users that only uses their smartphone to make phone calls. They like to access and manage their health online, but still feel like they have a lot to learn about using technology to its full potential.

Health Tech Hesitators: This group generally is not happy with their health and physical well-being, and is not comfortable sharing medical information online.

App-athetic Agnostics: People that love using technology but don’t use it to manage their health, and don’t have plans to within the next year.

Low-tech Lifers: Traditionalists who don’t believe using technology to manage their health with benefit them.

 
 
 
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How to Optimize Your Health System’s Video Content Online

How to Optimize Your Health System’s Video Content Online | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more is video worth? We are visual, and moving images capture our attention. More than 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube. Video is becoming the preferred method of information consumption for many. Last year, while attending HCIC in Orlando, I had the opportunity to speak about video marketing with digital marketers from healthcare systems large and small, from all across the country. Many marketers admitted to not knowing how best to optimize their video content, although they were producing plenty of videos.

A recent survey from Ascend2 revealed that 85 percent of companies find success with video marketing. They use video for building brand awareness, online engagement, customer/patient education, and lead generation. The biggest challenges for many organizations include:

  • Lack of compelling or engaging content
  • Small budgets for video
  • Limited organizational buy-in
  • Lack of an effective video strategy

If you are producing video content, you need to make video part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

As connection speed and video quality on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices increases, the ease of producing quality video content for consumers, physicians, job candidates, or prospective patients becomes easier and costs a fraction of what it would have cost only a few years ago. Short on resources or money to buy expensive equipment? With a few extra tools such as a microphone and basic lighting, you can shoot a professional-looking video on a mobile device.

At Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, we have produced and shared more than 300+ videos, including physician profiles, patient testimonials, ask the physician, quick tips, news clips that are shared across a variety of channels: YouTube, Facebook, and our own website.

How Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Uses Video

We use video to continually build brand awareness and position ourselves as local medical experts. In addition to the videos produced for consumption online, we use our professionally produced television spots for paid video advertising through a variety of targeted video networks, including YouTube and Facebook.

Here’s a list of some of our best practices and tips for optimizing your video production projects for YouTube, Facebook, and local search.

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