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
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MARGARITA's curator insight, December 31, 2015 5:15 PM

Support our people

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Social media prioritised in healthcare marketing, study says

Social media prioritised in healthcare marketing, study says | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The research consisted of 730 senior marketers across the UK, US and Australia and included 70 brand marketers working in the healthcare sector.

The majority (80%) of marketers now prioritise social media in their launch marketing plans with TV advertising being considered by only 24%. This is in line with the wider marketing industry, where 74% of marketers now prioritise social media.

Email ranked second within healthcare among the most important channels. 63% of marketers cited it whilst 57% regarded sales promotion. Direct mail came fourth with 50%, while PR made up the top five with 41%.

The research indicated that traditional advertising such as press advertising, experiential and digital display are no longer attracting attention when it comes to building awareness for new products and services.

According to the study, the use of social media may correlate with the time it takes for a product to launch, which has shrunk over the past five years.  58% of participants said that they usually only have six months or less to prepare for a product launch.

In addition, 60% said they use social media to support their new product development whilst 51% said they believe the biggest benefit of social media channels lies in generating awareness prior to the product being launched.

Martin Flavin, creative director at Five by Five, comments: “Social media has become the most important way to generate buzz for new products and services before they appear. Shareable content and social engagement allow brands to create a groundswell of pre-launch interest in a way no other channel can match.”

The study also asked marketers how they feel launch marketing has changed over the past five years. The majority (73%) said they now think launches cost more and 86% said they believe that they are now able to make better-informed decisions about their product launches.

Meanwhile, 77% of marketers in the healthcare sector think the creative ideas around product launches have become braver over the past five years. While nine out of ten (91%) believe launch campaigns are now more measurable.

Michelle Mitchell, strategy director at Five by Five, said: “Deadlines have got tighter, and costs have risen – but marketers now are more informed about their product launches than ever. This increased knowledge means that campaigns are braver, smoother and more effective.”

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"MediXcel helps you to focus on your patient and provide high quality sevices that Attract the consumers."

"MediXcel helps you to focus on your patient and provide high quality sevices that Attract the consumers." | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
"In todays customer centerd world,patients mean business. And we provide the product that fulfills all the customer's need.Medixcel is the Healthcare software for the chains of clinic,Diagnostic chains and Managed Care groups."
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Brace for more drug ads: Facebook's bidding for pharma cash

Brace for more drug ads: Facebook's bidding for pharma cash | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Facebook wants a much bigger cut of the billions that pharma companies spend every year on advertising.

And that means you’re soon likely to see more drug ads — both overt and stealthy — on social media.

The in-your-face variety will likely look like the mobile Facebook ad just launched by Bayer. All the small print warning of a drug’s possible side effects flits by in an automated scroll, technology that Facebook is using for the first time for the pharma industry.

To make promotion on Facebook even more pharma-friendly, Facebook is also letting drug makers turn off comments on the pages used to promote specific products. That’s a huge issue for the pharmaceutical industry, which could get in hot water with regulators if it failed to report unverified aches and pains posted by patients in Facebook comments as “adverse events” that could result from taking the drug.

Finally, the social media giant is working to build up “community pages” that bring together users who all share a particular medical condition. Those pages can be sponsored by drug makers — who just so happen to market a medicine to treat that condition.

All these new features could send pharma spending on social media skyrocketing.

READ MORE
Lawmaker seeks moratorium on consumer drug ads

“Pharma is as anxious to use social media as social media is to sell it to them,” said Bob Ehrlich, CEO of the consulting firm DTC Perspectives.

The industry spent $5.2 billion on drug ads last year — and that doesn’t even include digital advertising, which is harder to measure but estimated in the low hundreds of millions annually.

Drug makers have long been able to run regular ads that show up in Facebook’s news feed or in the right column on a desktop screen. But they haven’t spent much on the site, in part because of deep uncertainty about what federal regulators would allow. (The Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance in 2014 but has not laid out firm, clear rules.)

Social media in general has been a quagmire for pharma companies. Questions abound: For instance, could a company get in trouble with regulators if patients used Facebook comments to advise one another to try a particular drug for a purpose not approved by the FDA?

Regulators have also cracked down on drug ads that don’t include side effects. When Kim Kardashian, a spokesperson for Duchesnay Inc., posted a selfie on Instagram touting a morning sickness drug, the FDA noted it didn’t include the required list of side effects — and required her to put up a follow-up Instagram post with all the fine print.

Despite such pitfalls, social media is a tempting target for ads. Drug makers, like all advertisers, can specifically target certain demographics and interest groups in Facebook’s pool of 1.7 billion monthly users.

READ MORE
Drug makers now spend $5 billion a year on advertising. Here’s what that buys.

To encourage pharma companies to venture into social media despite such fears, Facebook created a new team a year ago specifically to work with them.

“This was borne out of tons of interest we were getting from pharmaceutical advertisers to figure out Facebook,” said Danielle Salowski, industry manager for Facebook’s health team.

After months of keeping quiet, Facebook’s now ready to trumpet its new push. At an industry conference last week, it announced its first big achievement: Bayer’s Facebook ad, a spot launched several weeks ago that only appears on mobile phones.

Promoting an auto-injector for a multiple sclerosis medication, the ad plays like a video, automatically scrolling through a litany of possible side effects, such as liver failure, serious allergic reactions, and depression or suicidal thoughts. (John Mack, who publishes the digital newsletter Pharma Marketing News, noted that this is not a new idea; pharma marketers have “been able to do that using plain old banner ads on websites for many years,” he said.)

Another new feature allows Facebook users who see the ad to call a nurse hotline with one click.

“We recognized a targeted, innovative opportunity to reach the community with information that was potentially relevant to them,” Bayer spokeswoman Rose Talarico said. She called Facebook “an excellent partner.”

Facebook’s also trying to nudge drug makers to do more with “unbranded” community pages, intended as a place for patients to discuss living with a disease or health condition. “Save Your Breath,” for instance, brings together people with conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s sponsored by AstraZeneca, which sells many drugs targeting respiratory conditions. There’s also “Quitters Circle,” a page for smoker cosponsored by Pfizer, which sells the smoking cessation pill Chantix.

Drug marketers have created unbranded community pages like these in the past, but Facebook is now helping them do paid promotions around these groups, Salowski said.

So will Facebook’s big push to woo pharma work? Mack isn’t convinced.

“Facebook has for a long time been trying to get pharma to spend more money on advertising on Facebook,” he said.

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How to Protect and Fix a Physician’s Online Reputation

How to Protect and Fix a Physician’s Online Reputation | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. ~Mark Twain

Sage advice. But what is a doctor to do in this digital age when every disgruntled patient has their own digital barrel of ink through physician review sites and social media platforms? We have found that patient complaints often share one common denominator—a breakdown in the physician-patient relationship. The best options, therefore, for protecting your online reputation should be directed at preserving, and when necessary, repairing, relationships with your patients.

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade 

Ignoring a negative comment looks like you do not care or agree the comment is valid. Hiding or removing negative reviews is ineffective at best. The commenter may simply re-post the comment on multiple sites, pointing out your efforts to “hide the truth.” Attacking the commenter is equally dangerous and often results in more malicious or derisive comments.

What should a doctor do, then? Recognize that you have an unhappy patient. Respond to the complaint in a positive manner. And react based on a full and objective assessment of the situation.   

Recognize

Recognizing that you have an unhappy patient can be difficult when the physician and staff are feeling attacked or criticized. Such negative comments can invoke defensive reactions and fears that the physician’s reputation and practice may be seriously harmed. Despite these normal emotional reactions, the patient’s concerns must be addressed in a professional and appropriate manner. Whether the patient’s complaints are justified or not, the patient is unhappy enough to go to the effort to make his or her complaints known to the world at large. At the same time, the physician must recognize that this is only one of many patients in the practice. Most physicians have many patients who are very happy, and hopefully there are many positive reviews posted by them. While action is often prudent, it needs to be measured and appropriate to the context.

Respond Positively 

Acknowledge that the patient is not satisfied, that patient satisfaction is important, and ask to take the conversation offline to address the issue. The written response should be tailored to the specific complaint. If a patient is unhappy about waiting too long for an appointment, an appropriate response might be: “Thank you for taking the time to comment. While we try to respect each patient’s time, sometimes the number of people who need our help causes unexpected delays, especially when emergencies arise. If there is anything we can do, please give us a call at the office. Your satisfaction is important to us.” If the patient does not call, we strongly suggest the practice contact him or her. In an online environment, people will often say things they would never say face-to-face. A phone call provides a better chance of connecting with the patient and solving the problem, or at least explaining it.

Before responding, cool off. Do not post your response immediately. Let it sit overnight. And ask a trusted colleague to review it before posting. Also, be careful about HIPAA. Do not include treatment or payment information or provide patient names or identifying information in your response comment. Take that part of the discussion offline.

React Appropriately 

Sometimes patients are right. Maybe the physician was called in to deal with an emergency and was short on sleep or just having a bad day. Perhaps the physician’s bedside manner was not as good as it usually is. An explanation and an apology is usually all that it takes to resolve this situation. Maybe the payment policy for “no shows” should not be absolute and it can be waived for the mom who missed her appointment because she had to pick up her sick kid from school. Maybe the problem really is a rude front desk person and corrective action should be taken. Take this as an opportunity to evaluate the practice and improve it. If there is a real problem, the complaining patient might have prevented the loss of many other patients who did not complain, but just never returned. 
 

Sometimes patients are wrong. Nevertheless, they are still patients. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they “no-showed” and don’t have a good excuse, but didn’t understand they would be charged and cannot afford it. Maybe this patient is just not the right fit for your practice and you can provide them with a referral to a colleague that might be a better fit. In resolving these issues, communication with the patient is critical. Try to understand the situation from their perspective and consider whether there is some concession you can live with. Perhaps an explanation of how “no shows” affect the practice, a one-time waiver of the fee, and a clear communication that future “no shows” without a legitimate reason will be charged to the patient. A good, long-term patient might be saved for the price of an office visit. Patients who have been heard will sometimes remove their own negative comment or, better yet, post a positive one extolling how the doctor was willing to listen, address the problem, and cares about the patients.

Sometimes patients are not patients. Although rare, we have seen situations where an ex-spouse or a competitor is suspected of posting truly false and defamatory information about a physician or a practice. Whether by a patient or not, these blatantly false and misleading statements may require more affirmative action. Contact the site administrator, inform them that the post is false and defamatory, and request that it be taken down. Many reputable sites have content standards and may remove the comment if it is clearly false and defamatory, but be prepared to submit some proof to support this request.   

Rally the Troops 

As noted above, most patients are happy with their physicians. Build a following of good patients online. Post a short blog on the practice website on a health topic of interest on a regular basis and respond to questions posted by readers. Ask patients to post reviews and provide them instructions on how to post to review sites. By doing these activities, the physician can build a positive presence and reputation online. When a negative comment does appear, it will look like an outlier and will likely provoke multiple positive responses from your fans or followers.

Reputation Repair Companies

Some companies offer to protect a physician’s reputation by selling form contracts which prohibit negative comments by patients online. These contracts are probably not enforceable, and are not the best way to develop a good physician-patient relationship or present the appropriate professional persona and could backfire. Other companies tout their ability to “bury” the bad reviews by controlling what comes up first on online searches. Precisely how this is done is not revealed. Proceed with caution, and carefully weigh the risks and benefits against the cost of such services. Posting false reviews from dummy accounts is a risky move, that if found out (and it will be found out), could cause significant harm to the physician’s reputation. Still others offer advice on how to create your own web presence and reputation. Again, weigh the costs and benefits carefully before jumping in.   

- See more at: https://www.magmutual.com/learning/article/how-protect-and-fix-physician%E2%80%99s-online-reputation#sthash.P5bhUVEr.dpuf

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Improve Physician Brand with These 3 Reputation Strategies

Improve Physician Brand with These 3 Reputation Strategies | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

As part of their overall physician brand, online reputation is important for any physician and healthcare network, but don’t just believe us. One recent survey found that 84 percent of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors. Active reputation management is imperative to improve patient outcomes, increase referrals, and cull data from which providers can chart future strategies.

Reputation management solutions used by hospitals, physician practices, and doctors fall into three broad categories:

  1. Generic search engine optimization (SEO) and social media: Combined together or used separately, these are more basic branding strategies than reputation management.
  2. Generic reputation management tools: Most solutions focus on reviews and ratings but generally lack industry-specific data.
  3. Business analytics targeted to physicians: Offers healthcare leaders a complete picture of each doctor's performance using industry data culled from many different databases.

Here's a more complete discussion of each of these solutions:

1. Generic SEO and social media tools

Almost any individual or corporation in business for any length of time uses some type of online branding. It's an attempt to show professional competence, instill trust, and give potential customers a positive impression.

Strategies might include creating content on a website or blog and using those channels to connect with consumers interested in specific products or services. Other social media tools—LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and web 2.0 platforms like Tumblr—fulfill the same goals. And taken as a whole, business owners and professionals hope information from these platforms creates an overall positive impression when someone searches online.

Creating profiles on various sites, spending time connecting, and adding more and more content sounds like a lot of work. And it is, even for the most social-media savvy business owner.

Using this strategy for reputation management carries the lowest costs of the three solutions discussed here, and though relatively easy to start, the greatest investment of time and energy.

But does it bring results, especially for a specialized group such as physicians?

SEO and social media can get a doctor's name and specialty out on the Internet. But there's no real mechanism for explaining why a prospective patient might choose one orthopedic surgeon over another. There's no way to tap into industry data. And it's difficult for someone managing a group of physicians to do any comparative analysis.

These tools can provide many benefits, but unfortunately often leave physicians and managers in the dark about how doctors are doing.

2. Generic reputation management tools

Once billed as a way to get out from under negative consumer perceptions or banish slur campaigns, reputation management is now commonly used by businesses and individuals to build and maintain a positive online image.

These types of services are employed by large consumer companies and small businesses alike, and often include strategies to drive positive reviews and ratings on a variety of websites. Other goals include monitoring online mentions, helping create and maintain venues to build and nurture relationships with clients and customers, and strategies to respond to negative content or reviews.

As more consumers go online to evaluate healthcare practitioners, doctors and hospitals are feeling the pressure to showcase positive reviews across multiple ratings sites. And though it's fairly easy to see how the doctors in your network stack up, there's little other actionable data.

Generic reputation management tools lack information on quality outcomes, and financial and operational performance. Choosing a doctor is more than finding a likable and responsive professional. Potential patients also want their physicians to maintain a level of competency. And healthcare executives want each group physician to do his or her part in maintaining quality, managing resources, and ultimately working within the value-based system to maximize reimbursements.

Many healthcare managers also want to compare their doctors to other local groups of physicians, to see where they stand in competing for and attracting new patients. Generic tools often lack features measuring one organization against another and can bring in too much information, thus overwhelming users.

3. Physician analytics and executive intelligence systems

As you probably know, healthcare organizations can generate a ton of data about patients and processes every single day. It's easy to get buried by information without finding a way to create actionable plans based on what you learn. That's why healthcare-specific analytics and business intelligence solutions are becoming so popular.

These platforms sift through mounds of data to extract useful conclusions. The results are delivered in digestible bites and offer customizable dashboards and useful reporting capabilities.

And you can't ignore the importance of finding a solution focused specifically on the healthcare industry. As more and more quality, process, and patient experience data comes online you want to know immediately how those additions affect the competitiveness of your doctors. But you don't want to wait a month or more while your data analyst adds the new information to your dashboard or, worse, comes back and tells you it can't be done.

Compared with the generic solutions discussed above, analytics designed to manage physician reputation and developed specifically for healthcare executives carry higher costs. But as healthcare organizations face the possibility of lower reimbursements for failing to meet value based purchasing standards, tools used to develop quality physician groups are becoming must-haves for successful healthcare organizations.

Reputation management is the present, not the future

In today’s digital age, patients can find out anything about doctor quickly and conveniently. From just a physician’s name, a person could use a smartphone to discover everything about that physician—and what others are saying about the physician—in a few minutes. With this in mind, robust physician brand and specifically reputation management is critical to success. The best solutions deliver actionable data to doctors and their networks that ultimately can drive business and care decisions.

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Marketing a Medical Practice Using Facebook

Marketing a Medical Practice Using Facebook | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Four years ago, I left my fee-for-service, insurance-based practice and started a cash-only, direct primary care practice (charging my patients a $30 to $65 monthly membership fee). My financial survival depends on my ability to attract and keep patients, which means that marketing has suddenly gotten much more important for my practice. Like most businesses, my best advertisement is word-of-mouth recommendations from happy patients. Beyond that, I've found that my most effective marketing tool, by far, is Facebook.

Setting limits

Before moving on, I need to make it clear that I am talking about a Facebook page for your practice, not a personal Facebook account. It is unwise, in my opinion, to interact with patients using their personal Facebook accounts, as it gives an intimate level of access to information about you, your family, and your friends. This is difficult for our practice, as patients often are very fond of me and my office staff, and so, consider us friends. But that friendship has to have boundaries, and just as I would not invite my patients home for dinner, I keep the same boundaries in the world of social media.

The good news is that Facebook pages allow social interactions with boundaries intact. The pages are easy to set up (as long as you have a personal account), allowing you to give easy access to general information about your medical practice (office hours, location), post pictures of your office (and staff, if they give permission), and make general announcements, such as closings for holidays, etc. People can "like" your page, meaning that whatever you post on your page goes on their timelines as well. My page has nearly 2,000 "likes," which lets me reach out easily to a large number of people — most of whom are local.

Let me remind you that this is all completely free of charge. Free is good.

The next level

Having a static Facebook page with basic information about your practice (basically an online billboard) is only the first level of social media marketing. One of the keys to successful marketing on Facebook is to make your page interesting. Post material on it frequently, sharing information about your practice, but also sharing articles and pictures that you think people will find interesting. This takes time and a little bit of forethought about what information is worth sharing. This makes your page a place of discussion, interaction, and somewhere people can go to find interesting stuff.

If you really want to reach out to potential patients, Facebook allows you to "promote" posts that you put on your page, meaning you can make them visible to more than just those people who have "liked" your page. This does require a small amount of money, but for $20 I can make a post visible to thousands of people (usually to the friends of people who "like" my practice's page). I usually get a surge in "likes" after promoting content that is especially interesting.

For a little more money (in the $100 to $200 range), you can run an ad campaign, targeting specific patient demographics (like age, sex, or zip code) to have your ad appear on the side of these users' Facebook feeds. During a slower period in my practice, I ran a promotion where I waived my registration fee, announcing "Dr. Rob is on Sale!" The response was very good, and I easily made back my small investment.

Creating a positive image

My patients love my Facebook page. I post articles, make jokes, talk about squirrels in our attic at the office, advocate for flu shots, and generally act like a likable human being in a public setting. They will often share the posts with their friends, as if to brag "My doctor's cooler than yours." These are two of the most powerful parts of marketing: improving word-of-mouth communication, and raising the intangible "cost" of leaving my practice. I use my page to give my patients fodder to brag about our office by posting content worth sharing. This is a very powerful driver of word-of-mouth marketing. I also like to make people feel like they are part of something special, which they would lose if they ever left my practice. Having a "personal" connection with me via my practice's Facebook page does that very effectively.

I'm at the point in my business where I don't have to do much advertising to get more patients. I really feel that the time I've invested (and the small amount of money) in my Facebook page has been, by far, the most effective tool I've used to get me to this enviable point.

Final tips

So what tips would I give to successfully use Facebook for marketing?

1. Be real. If you are funny, use humor. Share candid photos of yourself and your staff. Do whatever you can to show that you are the kind of person people would want as their doctor.

2. Don't talk about specific medical information. Facebook should never be a place to answer people's medical questions. I've had a few people try, but they always understand when I tell them I can't help them in that setting.

3. Make your page something worth following. Many physicians' pages I read are as interesting as a phone book. Other physicians use Facebook as a soap box on which to lecture the general public. People don't want that. They want interesting information, and many out there are desperate for a doctor who they can be proud of.

 
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Physician Social Media 101

Physician Social Media 101 | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Many docs are on the fence about whether or not utilizing social media is useful to their apply. A variety of physicians are involved that sufferers might try and contact them via social media websites, which may encroach on ‘off duty’ time when preparations for on name colleagues to cowl affected person issues have already been put in place. Also, sufferers sending details about signs might violate HIPPA legal guidelines or depart essential signs unaddressed if you don’t see the message, probably inflicting main medical authorized complications or dangerous outcomes.
 
Nevertheless, there are a selection of helpful roles for social media in a physicians’ life. 
 
Medical Social Media Sites 
 
Several social media websites are closed communities that permit medical professionals to attach with one another, to entry medical information and follow updates, to take part in financially compensated surveys, and submit feedback or hyperlinks. Some of the favored websites embrace Sermo, QuantiaMD, and Doximity. These are personal websites that confirm that customers are, the truth is, licensed physicians or healthcare professionals.
 
In basic, the general public can’t simply entry your info, posts or feedback on these personal medical websites, so you could really feel a level of freedom when making feedback on such websites. However, lots of your colleagues can simply check in and seek for you when you use your personal identify or final identify in your profile. Therefore, it is sensible to submit solely the forms of feedback that you’d be prepared to share brazenly with another health care skilled in individual.  Since these personal medical websites are closed, it’s extremely unlikely that your sufferers, pals or kin might achieve entry your posts or remarks.
 
Yet, as we have now all discovered, even excessive-rating authorities officers have had their on-line exercise uncovered (true, hackers have extra to realize by breaking into the accounts of necessary public figures.) So, it’s, in fact, attainable that your password might be hacked and your account unlawfully damaged into. An even stranger, however extremely unlikely occasion might happen if somebody who has professional entry to the location have been to take a display shot of one thing you publish, making it accessible to eyes that would not have permission to make use of the closed website, even in the event you delete your exercise. 
 
Nevertheless, medical social media websites are thriving, and most docs discover that the advantages outweigh any disadvantages. So, they could present good advantages so long as you keep exercise that you’re snug is probably not utterly ‘anonymous.’
 
Facebook
 
Facebook is among the many most nicely-established and properly-managed social media websites. Facebook has numerous privateness settings, which let you management who you join with and who can see your profile.  Facebook customers can create a private profile web page in addition to knowledgeable web page.
 
A variety of physicians who use Facebook non-professionally make use of methods to guard privateness. Doctors who use Facebook socially, and need to be ‘unsearchable’ could make profiles with robust privateness restriction or can use solely the primary identify and final preliminary, or a nickname or center identify to attach with pals.
 
Professional Facebook pages could be a good method for physicians to submit health tips or fascinating information for sufferers. Knowledgeable Facebook web page can function a advertising software. When individuals ‘like’ or ‘share’ your web page or posts, they will effortlessly unfold the phrase about your apply. You can construct knowledgeable web page that’s moderated or that doesn’t permit anybody to submit in your wall to keep away from random posts and even on-line trolls, which diminish the web page’s professionalism. 
 
LinkedIn
 
LinkedIn is knowledgeable networking website.  LinkedIn lets you construct knowledgeable profile, join with colleagues, discover job listings, or discover candidates for a job opening. LinkedIn is an efficient networking software and is usually a good option to contact job recruiters. LinkedIn permits customers to ‘endorse’ one another for skilled expertise, which promotes constructive associations between customers. And, LinkedIn does reply appropriately if an unknown or bothersome consumer contacts a member.
 
Twitter 
 
Twitter permits customers to construct easy profiles and submit brief ‘tweets’ which are a most of 140 characters. Tweets may be linked to a picture, a GIF, or an internet webpage or article URL. Physicians can use twitter to publish useful health tips for followers, who might or will not be sufferers or colleagues.
 
Twitter can function a advertising device in your follow. In common, extra twitter followers means extra visibility on your tweets. And, in case your tweet is ‘retweeted’ by a consumer who has many followers, then your tweet could also be extensively seen. Twitter customers who’ve many twitter followers are usually well-known celebrities, though a non-superstar can have numerous twitter followers. Ways to construct a twitter following embrace tweeting very fascinating tweets, utilizing colourful photographs and GIFs, and interesting your followers by ‘retweeting’ or liking their fascinating tweets.
 
Instagram
 
Instagram is a well-liked social media website targeted on using photographs uploaded out of your telephone. Physicians who would need to construct a profile based mostly on pictures may discover Instagram helpful, because it is among the hottest modes of social media at the moment. 
 
Snap chat
 
Snapchat is a messaging app primarily used for sending photographs that characteristically ‘disappear’ inside a brief period of time. It is feasible that some artistic physicians might develop a helpful approach to adapt Snapchat for skilled use, however for now it’s primarily a very fashionable social software. Given that the principal function of this app is concerning the lack of longevity of the pictures, this might probably permit physicians to ‘see’ sufferers with out as a lot danger of breaking HIPPA legal guidelines as there can be with different social media.
 
Pinterest 
 
Pinterest is a website that folks use to save lots of ‘pin’ photographs and knowledge on ‘boards’ which are typically created round a standard theme. There is critical curiosity in wellness, train, illness prevention and recipes on Pinterest. So physicians who need to use this platform to advertise wellness could possibly optimize the location. 
 
Flipboard 
 
Flipboard is a well-liked information sharing area. You can use it to comply with subjects in a distinct segment curiosity and it’s also possible to share articles on subjects of curiosity, creating your personal ‘board,’ which is somebody like a curated information channel of your personal.
 
Scoop it
 
Scoop it’s a content material curator, which signifies that it’s a supply of stories ‘scoops’. You can comply with subjects and you may recommend information for different matter curators or you possibly can create your personal matter and publish information that you simply contemplate related and fascinating. If you construct a big following, you’ll be able to share your curated information articles with a large viewers.
 
Social media can play a variety of totally different roles for physicians. You can use it to socialize with pals, to community, to attach with different docs, to market your follow, to share health and wellness tips or to seek out and share fascinating medical information.

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FDA To Study Social Media Promotion

FDA To Study Social Media Promotion | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

FDA announced in the Federal Register its plan to research methods for including risk information about pharmaceutical and medical device products in promotional Internet communications that have character space limitations, such as sponsored links and microblogs. This appears to be the latest step in FDA’s plan to align drug promotion regulations with modern (or at least recently modern) communications technologies and platforms since releasing the draft guidance, Internet/Social Media Platforms with Character Space Limitations–Presenting Risk and Benefit Information for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices (the “Social Media Guidance”) in June 2014.

 

Confusion Surrounds the Social Media Guidance

FDA generated a significant amount of consternation in the life sciences industry when it released the Social Media Guidance because the Agency merely fitted the old rules for traditional communication platforms (e.g., print media, radio, and television) to newer technologies (e.g., the Internet and social media). The Social Media Guidance boiled FDA’s position down to three main elements:

  1. “Benefit information should be accurate and non-misleading and reveal material facts within each individual character-space-limited communication (e.g., each individual message or tweet).”
  2. “Benefit information should be accompanied by risk information within each individual character-space-limited communication.”
  3. “If a firm concludes that adequate benefit and risk information, as well as other required information, cannot all be communicated within the same character-space-limited communication, then the firm should reconsider using that platform for the intended promotional message.”

Essentially, the draft guidance requires companies to include all relevant benefit and risk information in all Internet promotions, even if that communication has character limitations. The alternative according to FDA is don’t use character space limited platforms to promote regulated products.

FDA’s reasoning behind the procrustean solution of including all risk information in the primary communication has drawn many questions from the industry since links to the complete product risk information can be more easily included in shorter communications. FDA did mention links to “a more complete discussion of risk information about the product” in the Social Media Guidance, but only as an additional element to a promotional communication that includes full benefit and risk information.

FDA’s Proposed Studies

FDA’s announcement proposes four studies to gather data on participants’ retention of risk information communicated through sponsored links and microblog posts. The four studies will present participant with different promotional communications about two fictional drugs:

  1. A sponsored link to a fictional weight loss drug embedded in Google search results related to weight loss
  2. A sponsored link to a fictional migraine drug embedded in Google search results related to migraine
  3. A promotional tweet for a fictional weight loss drug embedded in a Twitter search page related to weight loss
  4. A promotional tweet for a fictional migraine drug embedded in a Twitter search page related to migraine

In each study, FDA will tailor the promotional communication and participant instructions to gather data on circumstances that may affect the user’s retention of provided risk information. First, each participant will be presented risk information either in the character-space-limited communication itself (i.e., in the sponsored link or tweet) or through a link provided in the communication. Second, each participant will be instructed either to browse information about weight loss or migraine or to perform directed searches for specific information.

FDA hypothesizes that in each case, users will be more likely to retain risk information and have a greater sense of relevant risks when the risks are presented within the primary promotional communication and when users are searching for specific information about conditions or treatments.

Closing Thoughts

Given FDA’s current focus on generating supportive data for policy positions, it is no surprise that the Agency has proposed studies to bolster its general stance on promotional communications that manufacturers must include all benefit and risk information in promotional communications of any type. And FDA’s study proposal is a welcome change because the flow of information about FDA’s social media policies essentially stopped at the release of the draft guidance. Indeed, OPDP, FDA’s primary watchdog on promotional activities, has only released four untitled letters and one warning letter in 2016, and only one of those letters cited social media activity.

If the studies support FDA’s theory, we can expect that the Agency will not allow exceptions to the benefit/risk information requirement, even as communication and social media platform technology evolves. However, if the studies show that risk information retention and perception of risk are statistically similar across some or all of the variables described above, then FDA will be forced to reconsider whether alternative methods of product risk communication might be acceptable. Either way, FDA’s proposed studies will increase transparency on the rationale for FDA’s position on social media promotions.

If you would like to comment on FDA’s proposed studies, you can go to Docket# FDA-2016-N-3585 on Regulations.gov and submit a comment electronically.

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Social networking by doctors may save patients' lives, study suggests

Social networking by doctors may save patients' lives, study suggests | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

To get the best results for patients, it may pay for their doctors to heed the words of legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler: the team, the team, the team.

A new study finds that heart surgery patients' chances of survival depends in part on the overall level of teamwork among all the physicians who cared for them across their surgery preparation, operation, hospitalization and recuperation.

The finding was made by a team of researchers at the U-M Medical School, just a few miles away from the stadium where Schembechler once coached.

Using data from 251,000 older Americans who had heart bypass surgery, they mapped the interactions among the 466,000 doctors who cared for them, and show the importance of tight "social networks" of physicians to patient outcomes.

They've published their results in the new issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, and hope to test their model in other conditions and by considering other types of providers beyond physicians. They're already studying the effect further, using anthropology research techniques in the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Surgical care is complex, involving multiple providers dispersed across locations over time," says John Hollingsworth, M.D., M.S., lead author of the new paper and a urologist at U-M. "Our findings show that physician teamwork influences patient outcomes, even more than some measures of comorbid illness."

The more often their physicians worked with one another in the past on the care of other patients, the lower their current patients' chances were of ending up in the emergency department or hospital, and their chances of dying, within the first two months after their operation.

Measuring teamwork

The researchers created their model of physician teamwork based on Medicare data that showed which physicians from nearly all disciplines had treated the same patients 30 days before and 60 days after their hospitalization for surgery. They factored in measures of the social and healthcare environment in the communities where the bypass surgery hospitals were located, and data on each patient's 60-day outcomes.

The results were striking. A 25 percent increase in the measure of teamwork was associated with 17 fewer readmissions for every 1,000 patients treated.

That's only slightly less impact than a similar-size increase in a measure of education in that same regional community; higher levels of education are already known to be associated with better surgical results. A 25 percent increase in a measure of how complex and sick patients are - called a Charlson score—only accounted for one extra readmission per 1,000 patients.

Wide variation

Hollingsworth and his colleagues, including senior author and U-M cardiologist Brahmajee Nallamothu, M.D., MPH, note that regions varied widely in their teamwork 'score'. To illustrate, their paper shows a map of ties among physicians who treated patients who had their operations in 2011 in two Texas hospitals 90 miles apart—one in Waco and the other Fort Worth.

The measure of teamwork among all the physicians who treated these patients across the eight-month span surrounding their operation was nearly five times higher among Waco physicians than among Fort Worth physicians. The Fort Worth doctors rarely shared more than one patient in common, while a core set of Waco physicians shared many patients in common, with other physicians interacting less often.

The teamwork effect persisted no matter how large or small the number of bypass operations performed at a given hospital, or the type of hospital. Large academic medical centers tended to have lower teamwork scores because they receive far more patients who are referred to them from physicians far outside their local area who they don't work with often. This may help explain why those hospitals don't always score high on Medicare's measures of patient outcomes.

"A lot of the focus in improving care is focused on the acute hospitalization for an episode of care. We believe that this focus is too myopic because it ignores the care delivered prior to the hospital stay and after discharge," says Hollingsworth. "Efforts to improve teamwork, and outcomes, need to consider the entire care continuum."

Hollingsworth and Nallamothu are both members of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. They worked with U-M cardiac surgeon Frank Pagani, M.D., Ph.D., and U-M sociologist Jason Owen-Smith, Ph.D., as well as Russell Funk, Ph.D., who earned his economic sociology degree at U-M and now is at the University of Minnesota. Their work was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS020927).

The researchers are now hoping to look at other data from Medicare and beyond to see if the teamwork effect has a similar impact on outcomes in other types of care, and in care covered by other forms of insurance. Because only physician names are captured in the bills sent to Medicare, they will need to look for other ways of assessing the impact of teamwork among nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physicians still in their residency training and front-end staff.

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How to Excel on Social Media: Tips for Hospital Employers

How to Excel on Social Media: Tips for Hospital Employers | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Potential and current patients are increasingly using websites and social media as a starting point for gathering information about providers and hospitals. In fact, according to Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group, 41 percent of consumers reported a hospital’s reputation on social media influenced which physician or hospital they chose for care.

As you review your social media strategy for the upcoming year, consider the following tips from today’s leading industry experts on how you can build an online presence that shines a positive light onto your hospital or healthcare organization.
 

Facebook

Our most successful channels in terms of reach, engagement, virality and conversions are Facebook and our brand blog. We use Facebook Insights and Google Insights to track data for both. –Alexandra Tursi, Social Media Strategist at The University of Vermont Medical Center

Facebook is the largest social media referral source for our blog and we continue to see strong organic reach for many of our posts. We also find Facebook to be where we see the most patient reviews and patient comments about our care and caregivers. –Cynthia Manley, Director of Content and Social Media Strategy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
 

LinkedIn

Mayo Clinic has used LinkedIn primarily to communicate to those working in healthcare—with over two million active doctors and nurses. We write posts designed to attract top candidates for jobs and promote the hospital’s culture and environment. They want a deeper level of engagement, not just broadcasting your job postings. –Brent Bultema, Director of Recruitment Strategies at Mayo Clinic

LinkedIn provides a platform to share with the world inspirational stories from employees about who we are and how each member of our team makes a difference in the lives of our patients. –Bobby Matthews II, Innovation and Transformation Architect at Mount Sinai
 

Twitter

Twitter is great for PR and media relations, but not for engagement. –Alexandra Tursi,Social Media Strategist at The University of Vermont Medical Center

LinkedIn is for recruiting; Facebook is for patient education and engagement; Twitter is for news headlines. –Wendy Wilson, Vice President of Media and Digital Content Strategy at Geisinger Health System
 

Instagram

Hospitals and clinics have realized that you don’t need to have visually appealing products to make Instagram work for you. They are using Instagram to tell their brand story and promote community engagement. –Ariana Munoz-Tayraco, Social Media Specialist at Klick Health

We love the engagement we’re receiving on our Instagram account. We get feedback from our physicians who tell us that their patients mention having seen them on our various platforms. –Ashley Dinielli, Social Media Manager at UCLA Health
 

Pinterest

Pinterest, a channel that we historically had not put much effort into, targets one of the primary targets in healthcare: women. We found that in rebranding our Pinterest page, updating daily, including the channel in our content discussions, we are receiving engagement and interest from followers we previously did not have. –Emily Stieber, MBA, Social Media Strategist at Henry Ford Health System

Pinterest and Instagram both have a strong female demographic. If you’re trying to promote a premium service/product to the healthcare decision maker in the household, you may want to target Pinterest’s high-income female audience with a strong infographic. In contrast, if the goal is to humanize your brand by creating personal experiences then a behind-the-scenes shot targeting Instagram’s younger, more diverse demographic may be your best bet. –Ariana Munoz-Tayraco, Social Media Specialist at Klick Health
 

SnapChat

In healthcare, programs that focus on the younger audience – an adolescent and young adult cancer program, for example – should be paying close attention to the upward trend of SnapChat. We all should be watching this trend as it will have implications for communication, engagement and customer service with our consumers in the future. –Cynthia Manley, Director of Content and Social Media Strategy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

SnapChat is probably where we’ll end up next. I know we’re late to the party and the users today are still a little young for our strategy, but the usage data is impressive and it seems like it’s here to stay for awhile. –Amanda Todorovich, Content Marketing Director at Cleveland Clinic
 

Live Video & Streaming

Video has proven to be a powerful way to connect with consumers about healthcare topics. It allows us to break down a topic into understandable terms and put a human face on our brand. Social media video and live streaming can be used as a valuable tool in increasing patients’ ability to access useful and important information. –Alexandra Tursi, Social Media Strategist at The University of Vermont Medical Center

The growth of video continues. Mark Zuckerberg recently said that in just a few years, the majority of content people consume online will be video, which will be a challenge for healthcare organizations. We have to prepare now by using tools like Blab, Facebook Live, and Periscope. –Ed Bennett, Director of Web and Digital Services at The University of Maryland Medical System

Whether you are looking to enhance your recruitment efforts or improve your healthcare organization’s patient experience, social media can be a highly effective tool. Has your organization had success with social media? We’d love to hear from you. 
 

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American Heart Association Empowers Patients and Advances Precision Medicine Research with New Online NetworK

American Heart Association Empowers Patients and Advances Precision Medicine Research with New Online NetworK | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Clues that may unlock cures for heart disease and stroke are hiding in smart phones, fitness trackers, in genomic data, and within medical records. To help individuals unlock and share their personal health data to drive scientific discovery, the American Heart Association (AHA) Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine today announced My Research Legacy™, a secure online network that allows people to donate their lifestyle and genetic data and participate in scientific research.

AHA plans to engage 250,000 people through My Research Legacy, a patient-powered research network, during the next several years with the aim of putting patients at the center of new scientific research approaches and possibilities. 

“The intersection of digital technology and individuals’ desire to control their own health data has created a new revolution in healthcare--science is no longer a closed world,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.  “Through My Research Legacy, people have the opportunity to donate their data for the good of all and to play a direct role in accelerating discovery with the scientific community.”

When it comes to sharing personal health data, studies show as many as 60 percent of individuals are willing to donate their data for research to benefit others and that the receiving organization’s trustworthiness and familiarity plays a key role in individuals’ willingness to donate data.

As a long-standing trusted partner to the science and research community and unwavering advocate for consumer health through its grassroots community of 30 million volunteers and supporters globally, the AHA is uniquely positioned to engage patients and the broader public in partnering with research communities, clinical care providers and health systems.  

Through My Research Legacy, multiple specific scientific studies will be initiated—using the power of patient and consumer data while leveraging digital, social and mobile technologies — to solve critical problems related to understanding and treating heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease, along with attaining and maintaining cardiovascular health. 

Patients Champion New Network

On November 13, a select group of AHA-recruited patient champions, representing the voice of the consumer, joined American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on stage at the opening session of the 2016 AHA Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, Louisiana, where thousands of members from the cardiovascular science community were in attendance.

“The American Heart Association was there for me when I needed it the most,” said patient champion, Gabby McManus, at the event. “The AHA is a partner that I trust to bring together patients, families and practitioners for improved medical research and if I can share my story and data to help other people, that’s all that matters.”

People who commit to being part of the solution will help create a comprehensive data source for qualified researchers seeking to eliminate the leading cause of death.

The Broad Institute Launches Pilot Study through My Research Legacy

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has joined the AHA to create the design and engagement structure for My Research Legacy.  The AHA and Broad have launched a pilot study to engage 2,000 people between the ages of 21 and 50 who have suffered a heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation, aortic dissection or systolic heart failure/cardiomyopathy. The Broad Institute, an academic research center dedicated to improving human health by using genomics to advance our understanding of the biology and treatment of human disease, is home to one of the largest genome sequencing facilities in the world.

In the first phase of this partnership, Broad Institute researchers and software engineers have built a secure network for individuals to opt in to the study and share their data or donate their DNA for analysis for the research effort. Later, researchers will use the information to drive insights into the causes of and potential treatments for heart disease and stroke, and share the anonymous data openly with researchers around the world to further accelerate the pace of discovery.

“There is a long-anticipated need to build a global community in which individuals can share lifestyle, genetic, medical, and behavioral information with world-class researchers to drive next-generation heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment,” said Brown.  “We are committed to partnering with patients and providing researchers access to patient-generated data from across the country.   With the unparalleled expertise from the Broad Institute, we can fast-track how we prevent, diagnose, translate and understand heart disease and stroke.”

“This pilot project will establish a participant registry that allows people to choose to contribute critical data spanning biometrics, genomic, wearable and behavioral information, and medical history as examples,” said Dr. Eric Lander, President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute. “Patients should be a critical driving force in medical progress.”

The Marfan Foundation has agreed to participate in the My Research Legacy pilot and will help identify individuals less than 50 years of age who have suffered an aortic dissection. Marfan syndrome is a life-threatening genetic disorder, and an early, accurate diagnosis is essential, not only for people with Marfan syndrome, but also for those with related disorders. Knowing the signs can save lives.

"We are honored to collaborate with the AHA in order for the lifestyle and genetic data from the Marfan and related disorders community to be well represented in My Research Legacy," said Michael Weamer, President and CEO, The Marfan Foundation. "People with these conditions are at high risk for aortic dissection and will embrace the opportunity to share their experiences to advance research and save lives."

Interested patients can learn more and enroll in the study at www.myresearchlegacy.org.

“We applaud the American Heart Association and the Broad Institute for this innovative collaboration that empowers patients,” said Margaret Anderson, Executive Director of FasterCures. “By bringing together the vast resources of both organizations, My Research Legacy has the potential to break new ground in our ability to identify and address the needs and preferences of patients.”

The AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine

The initial pilot study, led by Dr. Jane Leopold, who serves both as Clinical Director for the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of the Women’s Interventional Cardiology Health Initiative at the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, is being designed in response to market demand for viable research study recruitment pathways to better understand the patient experience and patients’ preferred approaches to treatments and care.  Individuals may join My Research Legacy at MyResearchLegacy.org.

The AHA Institute is focused exclusively on advancing precision medicine in cardiovascular and stroke care and wellbeing, and will play an essential role as a trusted source of information to the public, patient and caregiver communities. 

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Pediatric oncologists, parents must keep open dialogue about social media support

Pediatric oncologists, parents must keep open dialogue about social media support | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute examined the public Facebook pages of parents of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia between May 2012 and May 2013.

 

Investigators reviewed more than 15,000 Facebook posts and identified six key themes: documenting the cancer journey, fundraising, expressing gratitude for support, mobilizing support, promoting awareness and advocacy about pediatric cancer, and sharing emotional strain associated with caregiving.

“Providers must recognize the importance of social media as a vehicle for support and communication for families of children with cancer,” Lynda Kwon Beaupin, MD, assistant professor of oncology in the department of pediatrics at Roswell Park, and colleagues wrote. “Nurses should educate parents on how to appraise information obtained through Facebook using evidence-based guidelines. Providers can encourage caregivers to use Facebook as a tool for communication, information and support.”

Beaupin spoke with HemOnc Today about the benefits and potential drawbacks of social media for pediatric cancer support, as well as the responsibilities health care providers have to direct parents and patients to valid resources to make sure they are not misinformed.

Question: How did the idea for this study come about?

Answer: I collaborate with Elizabeth Gage-Bouchard, PhD, associate member of cancer prevention and control at Roswell Park, who is the primary author on this paper. She has been looking at the relationship between families of pediatric patients with cancer for a while. I brought up how I noticed a lot of our patients were utilizing Facebook to chronicle their experience of pediatric cancer, and it was mostly moms of patients who were creating and running these pages. Some of our parents were asking about things they learned from other parents via Facebook. I was really interested to find out how we could study this.

Q: How beneficial is social media for pediatric cancer support?

A: Our study shows that social media is widely used by families. We are learning that they provide a lot of support for each other and a lot of awareness about their disease. They also share words of encouragement for each other. The benefit of social media for pediatric cancer is huge. Families have told me the social connections they have made provided them great strength during difficult times in their child’s cancer journey. Patients tell me how cool it is that they connected with another patient from far away, or how an organization or a sports team started following them and sending them messages and mail. They get very excited about this. It has a significantly positive impact on an otherwise negative situation. Parents relay that these connections made via Facebook — which may not have been made otherwise — is uplifting for their children. The benefit of social media allows patients and families to easily connect with others who understand firsthand what the other is going through.

Q: Are there any potential drawbacks?

A: Our study showed that, although a lot of positive information is being shared and they are being supportive of each other, there is some exchanges of medical information among parents and families that are not entirely reliable, and some are even anecdotal. For example, although I believe there are many integrative or complementary therapies that may help with symptom management, most are not scientifically proven. However, some may share their personal experience and advise its use without fully understanding that someone with the same disease may be going through a completely different experience. So, one drawback is that a lot of information is being shared that may not be accurate, which is concerning.

Q: What responsibilities do clinicians have to direct parents to valid resources so they do not get misinformed?

A: It is important for clinicians to know that patients are not only looking to the internet for information, but they are now seeking out other families and patients who may be going through something similar and finding health information this way. This helps us to realize we should not just be guiding patients to reliable websites to learn about their disease, but also let them know and forewarn them that a lot of information being exchanged on social media may not be accurate. It is a great resource for many families, but they need to be cautious. As clinicians, we should encourage patients and families to share with us what they have learned from other families so we can discuss it. We can also start asking them what they have learned from websites and social media.

What might future research entail?

A: This specific study was focused on families of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This is the most common type of cancer we see in children, but we certainly are interested in other cancer types, as well as other patient populations. For example, adolescents and young adults are an interesting population and they may have Facebook pages of their own. It will be interesting to study the information being exchanged in these different populations.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to mention ?

A : Oncologists these days need to be very mindful that the world is much more connected via social media and a lot of health information is being obtained beyond the websites that have been recommended to them by us. This exchange of information may impact the questions they are going to bring back to their oncologist. – by Jennifer Southall

 

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The game improving a community’s health without them noticing

The game improving a community’s health without them noticing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

It is drizzling and cold in Salford, but a class of eight- and nine-year-olds from Lewis Street school in Patricroft are buzzing as their teachers lead them down the streets of terraced houses between classes. They stride through a park, dodging an abandoned car seat, to swipe lanyards against three street sensors before returning to lessons.

It’s called “going fobbing” in Salford – walking or cycling to sensors on lampposts all round the city and swiping them to get points. It’s part of a health and community building scheme called Beat The Street (BTS) and it’s taken Lewis Street by storm. Pupils and parents have travelled 3,288 miles (scoring a mighty 66,490 points) on fobbing expeditions over two months to outwalk all Salford’s other 23 participating schools and 13 community groups.

Patricroft is a struggling area, where unemployment is high and the number of people describing their health as bad or very bad is well above the national average. But there’s a clear sense of purpose here as the warmly wrapped youngsters line up to swipe their fobs near the school. “I did all the 50 fobs in three days over half term,” says one little girl excitedly. Her teacher reveals that this previously inactive child now goes to an after-school sports club almost every night of the week.

The school has undergone a mini revolution. A detailed and constantly changing online content plan, social media and incentives such as tickets to local amenities, keep the players engaged – not to mention the sense of competition.

Rachael Hall, the school’s sports coach, says: “I’ve never known anything like it – children are going out walking every evening and weekend. Teaching assistants take the children out at lunchtime three times a week and take whole classes out twice a week. I’ve had parents telling me how happy they are to be spending time with their children going fobbing rather than sitting in front of the TV.”

She says a little boy with cerebral palsy with walking problems has made big progress because of the peer pressure to participate in BTS. Another pupil has become so fascinated by the project that he has taken to writing down where he has been, which has improved his school work.

‘I’ve never known anything like it – children are going out walking every evening and weekend.’ Photograph: Beat the Streets

This is exactly what Beat the Street founder and Reading GP, Dr William Bird is after – galvanising whole communities, with the health message almost a side issue. He says: “I want to get the whole of the UK walking, starting with the cities where it is easiest. Walking creates vibrancy – take it away and you create a flat and dying city full of underpasses where no one wants to go.”

Intelligent Health, which Dr Bird set up to operate BTS, works by turning a town or community into a game where people of all ages earn points by walking, cycling or running between sensors placed on lampposts. In the process, no-go areas are opened up to pedestrians, people have fun together and develop healthier habits.

Jennifer Dodd-Power, engagement manager for BTS in Salford, has convinced 5,500 people to take part so far – (though not a patch on Belfast which boasted 36,000 players). She says: “People are not seeing BTS as exercise but as a fun way of going out with the family. We are not saying to people ‘go and join a gym or get yourself to an exercise class’ we are saying ‘go out and meet your friends’.”

Part of her work has been to link fobbing with community events – such as the Eccles Makers Market – where BTS participants could gain extra points on the day of the event at a temporary sensor set up nearby.

The two-month games are preceded by three months’ community engagement, where people such as Dodd work with GPs, local NHS organisations, community groups, sports clubs and schools to build up the enthusiasm. Then the activities requested by a community are set up, whether that be women-only bike riding classes in Asian-dominated Handsworth in Birmingham, or just the incentive to walk into town for previously immobile elderly members of Banham Drive, Sudbury. There elderly residents walked more than 1,500 miles together and have now set up organised walks.

BTS is proving successful in health terms according to results from 53,000 participants. During the game phase the proportion of adults meeting the physical activity guidelines increased from 46% to 57% and the percentage of adults reported walking on five to seven days per week increased from 47% to 61%.

Government research shows that those who fulfil the recommendation of 150 minutes per week of exercise will improve 23 different long-term conditions including diabetes and dementia, reduce the risk of developing several cancers and even stimulate the brain chemicals that reverse ageing, says Bird.

Intelligent Health’s research shows that people are put off by the NHS’s health messages, because they feel they are being lectured. So the year-long health programmes targeting areas of deprivation put the emphasis on enjoying activity with others – and last year 175,198 people travelled more than 1.5m miles with BTS in 21 areas.

The scheme is not working for everyone, though. Head of Lewis Street School, Gemma Lavelle, says: “Even though BTS has raised our activity levels we know that some parents have not signed up. What do we have to do to get some of the really hard-to-reach families involved?”

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Tanzania: The Power of Social Media in Healthcare

Tanzania: The Power of Social Media in Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media has indeed digitalised the world. It has greatly impacted our lives in many different ways. In this so-called 'digital world', where the power of social media is so immense, we have changed the way we do business and how we make our choices.

The healthcare industry has not been left out in this digital world. We read lots of health-related information on Facebook, twitter and other social networks.

But, have you ever imagined the impact - both positive and negative, that social media has on healthcare delivery?

Recent studies have it that there are over 1500 million active users of Facebook all over the world. A study done by mediabistro - US based, revealed that over 40 per cent of patients agree that information found through social media affect the way they make decisions regarding their health.

In Tanzania, there are no researched statistics, but it is estimated that over ten million people use social media. And this brings us to an important question for the Tanzanian audience: How frequent do you get to acquire health related knowledge via Facebook?

Obviously, there are those who will say, "many times". There are several health related Facebook pages established by doctors and many health experts who are actively taking advantage of social media to offer health education and advice.

Some studies have shown that over sixty per cent of social medial users have strong faith in social media posts made by doctors and health experts compared to other groups.

Ways in which social media can be used for health education

Take good examples of social media hashtag campaigns like #cigarrettesmokingkills, #letsfightcervicalcancer and etc. All these campaigns have increased community awareness significantly on various health aspects.

Social media is also useful in organising major health events. Recall one of the recent health screening events that took place at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam; where thousands thronged the area for the service.

I am aware of how social media played a key role in making this event successful including others.Health facilities are also enjoying the fruits of social media in strengthening their operations, thus, increasing commitment towards quality healthcare delivery.

 
 

Social media as a marketing tool

Hospitals use social media platforms like Facebook and twitter towards acquisition of competitive market position- commonly done by private healthcare entities.

Social media is being used by hospitals as a platform to increase awareness to their clients regarding the availability of particular medical services, cost of services or any issue the facility might wish to share. This keeps clients closer to their facilities.

Hospital managers use social media to get feedbacks from clients of the service being offered. Patients get an opportunity to rate the services and present their complaints directly to the concerned facility. In fact managers use these feedbacks to adjust plans so as to increase quality of the healthcare service delivery.

Professional networking continues to keep health experts closer. They get to share information, research findings and so much regarding healthcare issues.

Two-thirds of doctors are estimated to use social media for professional purposes. The togetherness brought by social media is key to quality healthcare system.

The drawback

Despite all the good things that social media can do in healthcare, there are risks linked directly to it. There is a greater possibility of breach of patient's privacy.

There are already documented cases where healthcare providers deliberately or unknowingly shared clients' information on social media.

Healthcare givers are argued to use social media wisely; otherwise this might damage their professional reputation.

Lots of people are using social media to make self diagnosis of the illnesses they don't know thus ultimately leading to self-medication of drugs in many cases. This is indeed not very good as most of them end up stressed.

There are a couple of misleading health information circulating in social media from untrusted sources. These messages mislead people and some of them discourage practices, which are in real sense healthy. It is recommended not to rely on every information you receive via social media and seek a professional advice from a medical practitioner for your own good.

 
 
 
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Facebook As a Driver of Better Health Outcomes?

Facebook As a Driver of Better Health Outcomes? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
We all know the story of how Facebook began, but what is less clear is where it is going. It continues to be the dominant social platform, and through new features and acquisitions, increasingly meets many, if not all, of our social and even information seeking and entertainment needs. Have a question about where to vacation? Get advice from friends and stalk their photos on Facebook. Looking into a new job candidate? Check out their Facebook page. Didn’t catch last night’s game and looking for reactions? Search it up, on Facebook. And so it goes. Increasingly it is becoming a forum for health information. Have a headache? Find a doctor, or ask a friend, or join a group, or research a product. On Facebook.
 

 

Facebook’s reentry into health shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us. With 1.5 billion consumers on the platform, Facebook is a massive data source for learning about attitudes toward health and wellness. One in four on the platform are willing to share information about their health, and I’d be in reality that the number that actually do share is much higher. And, with four million health support groups, Facebook is an on-demand health support service of sorts.

 
Beyond all this, the reality is that health care professionals are people too. Their worlds are colliding, and just like you may check work email from the couch at night, they are on Facebook connecting with friend and colleagues, and often sharing their opinions and perspectives on health and health matters. We created a private group for a physician support role several years ago and hoped to sign 5,000 members over a year. The program signed 8,000 and now has close to 12,000 participants because it was convenient given they were on Facebook anyway, and contextually relevant in that the support the group provides is helping them in their roles in the physician office.
 
So, what’s going on at Facebook as it relates to health? Finally they have amassed a staff of talented and experienced digital health pros to bring their offerings to health industry clients. One example is Sachin Nanavati, a leader in digital health  that has joined Facebook Health’s team.  This is a critical moment for brands, and a great opportunity. Over the years brand managers have been frustrated with Facebook’s lack of support for the health industry – low responsiveness from sales, lack of understanding of regulated environment, seeming unwillingness to create health specific products. With this energetic new team, they are actively out there engaging brands and bringing products to life that can have a real impact on health experiences of their audience and ultimately improve health outcomes. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share details on some of the specific services. They range from paid to earned opportunities and Facebook seems open to talking about what else is needed.
 
In the meantime, think about Facebook’s broader ambition and network of complementary sites and services –What’s App, Instagram, Messenger – and then newer acquisitions like Oculus VR and services like Live. It is clear that there is a plan, and it is big. Think about how this ambition could apply to health and the opportunities are endless. Data and the impact on public health could be huge. Partnering with a service like IBM Watson Health and creating personal health coaches or an early warning system is a tremendous opportunity. Formalizing an approach to patient communities and creating unique ways for them to connect. Same for healthcare professionals – as they look to network more and more, how will Facebook support that? It’s all mobile anyway, but are there new tools tied to the mobile device and wearables that interact with Facebook in a smart way? And more simply, finally bringing health brands into the family so they can engage the people they most want to help is an urgent and immediate opportunity to impact outcomes – for Facebook, for health marketers, for healthcare providers, and most importantly for patients and caregivers.
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Influencing Public Perception of Obesity Treatment Through Social Media

Influencing Public Perception of Obesity Treatment Through Social Media Neil Floch MD, FACS Director of Bariatric Surgery Norwalk Hospital Western Connecticut …
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How social media posts are providing doctors with a new diagnostic and epidemiological tool

How social media posts are providing doctors with a new diagnostic and epidemiological tool | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

With the digital revolution firmly underway, pathologists hear a lot about new microscopes, automation devices and long-distance reporting software designed to make their jobs easier. But now, a different kind of diagnostic tool is catching physicians’ attention: social media. It’s a tool I recently had cause to experience for myself, as my colleagues and I dealt with a cluster of cutaneous leishmaniasis cases that had arisen in a youth group on a trip to Israel – noteworthy because we were able to detect this cluster thanks to the teens’ social media posts (1).

The original pictures of the leishmaniasis lesions were taken by the kids themselves. One of them shared the very first photograph with friends after diagnosis by traditional means – and once the first picture was distributed, other kids replied over social media, sharing their own lesions along with the likely diagnosis. By the time the fourth or fifth child had made a doctor’s appointment, they were actually suggesting the diagnosis themselves (often along with showing the photographs they’d taken, or sending them to offices at the doctors’ request). My co-authors and I alerted one another to the presence of an outbreak fairly early on, after gathering histories from our patients and using the Emerging Infections Network (EIN; ein.idsociety.org), an online resource for infectious disease monitoring. After that, we were able to track leishmaniasis cases and provide information as needed – something that might never have happened without the teens’ initial ability to share their diagnoses and the doctors’ subsequent ability to connect with one another.

Public posting about public health

The utility of social media for disease diagnosis and monitoring is actually an emerging area of study, and we’ve heard of a number of other experiences similar to our own. For instance, in 2012, Facebook was used to help diagnose a group A streptococcal outbreak (2), and reports on other platforms like the review site Yelp have allowed us to not only spot outbreaks, but identify the foods responsible (3). The information doesn’t just flow one way, though – doctors have also used social media to alert patients and communities of outbreaks in places ranging from college campuses to war zones (4–6). Even some public health systems have set up successful systems for citizens to report outbreaks; Chicago, for instance, has an online food poisoning alert form (foodbornechicago.org).

Social media is here to stay, and people are going to use it to share stories about their health. If we as providers and epidemiologists can find a way to harness this ubiquitous form of communication, we not only become better informed ourselves, but we can effectively partner with the community at large to track, diagnose and hopefully stop outbreaks. Learning more about how to best leverage social media will require traditional epidemiologists to partner with scientists conversant with large-data analytics, so that they can sift through the massive amount of traffic that social media sites experience. Picking out relevant data will be a challenge, but it’s one I believe is worthwhile for the knowledge we can gain.

“Social media is here to stay, and people are going to use it to share stories about their health.”

Social media safety

There isn’t much guidance available to healthcare professionals who want to use social media for epidemiology – or any other innovative purpose. Current guidelines (set by individual institutions, medical boards, or organizations) focus on protecting patients’ privacy and ensuring that providers maintain a professional relationship with them online. They tend to be focused on physician-patient relationships, assuming that doctors will use social media as a tool to communicate with individuals and occasionally post more broadly regarding public health (for instance, offering advice on using sunscreen, keeping up with vaccinations, water safety, and more). Outbreak reporting and monitoring is so new that most of these guidelines don’t even acknowledge, much less address, the possibility.

My advice to healthcare providers on social media? As far as communicating directly with your patients, or with other providers about particular patients, make sure to look up your institution’s guidelines on social media communication and sharing; those are usually in line with both good ethical practice and legal protections for patient privacy. Obtain a patient’s direct consent before sharing, posting, messaging or tweeting any details about the case. From a laboratory standpoint, I advise against any sharing of patient samples (for instance, as photographs or videos). These are a minefield of protected health information. Labs that want to participate in online campaigns regarding public health should use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social media toolkit (2) to maintain best practices and get their message out. As far as patients communicating with one another, it’s up to them – but I suggest that physicians advise patients to look after their personal information; it can be disseminated quickly if they’re not careful.

The main source of outbreak reporting by healthcare workers in the United States is the CDC. Although their toolkit for communicating outbreaks over social media is useful, the key thing to remember is that it’s still just as important to be aware of your patients’ privacy and their individual rights, especially when sharing photographs where patients can be identified. That can be an issue for pathologists who may need to share images of their patients for disease identification, consultation, or monitoring. Luckily, it wasn’t a problem for us, because our patients mainly spoke to one another over social media and then brought the outbreak to our attention in person. We were able to avoid the potential pitfalls of social media use by not disseminating any patient information – they did that themselves.

The strength of sharing

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to partner with the non-medical to help diagnose and treat disease. If people take the initiative to participate in their own care, everyone benefits. This is true for outbreak reporting (in our case), treatment and monitoring (as when parents and loved ones can take care of sick family members and report to their doctors), emergency response (when people can almost instantly communicate environmental and health conditions), and more – and information can flow from the provider to the public, or from the public back to the provider.

The greatest advantages of social media are rapid communication and an “amplification” effect, as certain topics start to trend on social media and are more frequently shared. In the case of our leishmaniasis outbreak, one teenager was diagnosed, and in a matter of days more than 10 others knew what infection they had and whom to talk to about it. Likewise, the treating physicians were able to quickly communicate their findings with one another using the EIN. Before social media became commonplace, this level of recognition might have taken weeks.

The biggest disadvantage, though, is that we’re dealing with a massive amount of data. Everyone on social media has an equal voice – whether they’re laymen or trained professionals. That means that there is a potential for false reporting, of course – but more importantly, it poses the problem of separating fact from fiction. If a public health agency is monitoring social media in order to detect outbreaks or other health emergencies, they’ll need a method by which to sift through the torrent of information and identify which reports need follow-up.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to partner with the non-medical to help diagnose disease.”

My dream for the future is that social media will allow anyone to connect to their medical teams and healthcare agencies, so that they can discuss their health and the health of their community without compromising privacy. My colleagues and I would also love to see the EIN used more broadly to inform fellow healthcare workers of outbreaks and emergencies, and crowdsourced consulting (medscape.com/consult) used to request assistance and second opinions from colleagues anywhere on the planet. These tools must be used with caution, though, because there are restrictions on the information that can be shared – and that can lead to faulty consultation. It’s our job to ensure that we’re using these systems as well as possible, but also to keep in mind their limitations.

The application of social media to healthcare is definitely a field of rapid growth – from simple posting all the way to using advanced analytics to track pandemics. Just as we had to create laws and ethics to communicate with patients in our offices and via telephone, we will have to address questions of privacy and public information on the Internet as well. The benefits are worth the teething troubles, though, as our world becomes increasingly connected and healthcare information is freely available with the click of a “Share” button.

Santhosh Nadipuram is a postdoctoral research fellow in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

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Drafting Your Hospital’s Social Media Presence To Tell Volunteer Stories

Drafting Your Hospital’s Social Media Presence To Tell Volunteer Stories Presented by: Kristin Lanning Social Media Strategist, American Hospital Association C…
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4 Topics A Physician Shouldn’t Discuss On Social Media

4 Topics A Physician Shouldn’t Discuss On Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

As a physician on social media, you may want to maintain a degree of transparency, but guidelines are very important when using any sort of media in a professional capacity. Here are four things to avoid when posting Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site:

1. Alcohol consumption – You may just be meeting up for a beer with some colleagues after work; however, leave the booze out of your social media.  Drinking pictures, statuses or Tweets don’t add to your professional image.

2. Patients – The specifics of a patients case are their property and to use that without their expressed permission is a violation of the doctor-patient relationship, even if HIPAA compliant.

3. Complaints about work – We all may have some work related grievances; however, talking about these on social media can come back to you from a coworker and doesn’t increase your credibility among peers.

4. Travel plans – As a locum tenens physician, you may be tempted to post something like, “Headed to New York for the week on a new locums assignment  #locums #travelingphysician.”  However, anyone can access your public social media profile, including criminals.  Knowing that you have an empty house can set your home up for disaster.  Instead, keep your destination to yourself and share with only close friends.  If you still feel the need to broadcast on social media, create some privacy settings to keep that information within your close circle.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital: Social media in brand renewal

In her SocialMedia.org Health case study presentation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Senior Associate of Social Media, Kate Setter, talks about how they lev…
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Doctor advocates use of social media to improve healthcare services

Doctor advocates use of social media to improve healthcare services | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

A medical practitioner, Dr Ademola Adeyeye, has identified social media as a tool through which effective healthcare services could be delivered to the populace. Adeyeye of Lifecount International Hospital, spoke at the opening of an online healthcare platform entitled: “Ajipe Health and Wellbeing (AHW)’’ on Tuesday in Ilorin, Kwara. Adeyeye, in a lecture entitled: “The Electronic Media as a Tool for Healthcare’’, urged medical practitioners to take advantage of the social media to enhance healthcare services. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AHW is an online platform, through which medical experts could interact with one another and their patients for robust healthcare services. He said that it was time for healthcare professionals to develop positive attitude toward consistent use of social media. Adeyeye described social media as effective platform through which medical practitioners could attend to their patients to save time and prevent unnecessary delay. The practitioner also encouraged his colleagues to embrace the idea of keeping records of their clients in form of database on their personal accounts in various social media platforms. “You can create a database for records of clients on your online accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp among other online platforms. “This will afford the practitioners the opportunity to respond quickly to the clients in need of medical attention,’’ Adeyeye said. He said that such database would afford medical experts the ability to provide healthcare services from a single source to large number of patients. In his remarks, the chairman of the online platform, Mr Shehu Odurinde, explained that the AHW scheme was established to create connectivity between the medical practitioners and their patients. He said that through the platform, health experts could take full advantage of the electronic media to carry out their jobs and enhance service delivery. Odurinde, who is a Social Psychologist, said that the project would serve as a bridge between pharmacists, doctors and other health personnel. He said that the social media platform would close the existing gaps between the healthcare providers and the patients, as well as medical establishment and the public. Also, the Chief Executive Officer of AHW, Dr Faisol Oladosu, said that the initiative was borne out of the need to create a new paradigm shift in providing effective healthcare services. According to him, the use of social media is growing among the populace, which encourages some practitioners to think of tapping the potential. Oladosu said that the scheme would leave up to its mandate of achieving the cardinal objectives establishing the platform to improve healthcare services to Nigerians. (NAN)

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/doctor-advocates-use-social-media-improve-healthcare-services/

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The future of Social Media in Global Health 3.0

A combined workshop session between South African e-Patient and founder of #hcsmSA, Vanessa Carter and Dr. Jamie Saris from Maynooth University, Ireland (Anthr…
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Art Jones's curator insight, December 3, 10:28 AM

#ePatients quickly evolve when they gain confidence and understanding of how to employ the online strategies, tools and tactics that connect them to the information the need. 

 

 #Patients #Empowered

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5 Easy Ways to Take Your Pharmacy’s Social Media Up a Notch

5 Easy Ways to Take Your Pharmacy’s Social Media Up a Notch | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Are you doing enough to make your pharmacy’s social media efforts worthwhile?

Eighty-seven percent of independent community pharmacies use Facebook and 28 percent use Twitter, according to the 2016 edition of the NCPA Digest, an annual publication from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), which profiles the independent community pharmacy market.

Even though you may have social media accounts, how often are you promoting your business on them? And, are you doing it effectively?

For a busy independent community pharmacy owner or manager, it can be easy to let social media take a back seat.

But using social media effectively can spread awareness about your independent community pharmacy, help you attract new patients and potentially bring in more business.

Here are five easy ways to take your pharmacy’s social media to the next level.

1. Post more frequently

It’s simple. The more you post, the more people you’ll reach and the better chance you’ll have of attracting new patients.

People aren’t constantly looking at your pharmacy’s social media pages. You have to consistently post new content in order to grab their attention as they scroll through their Facebook or Twitter feed.

Focus on posting more frequently on your social media platforms. It may help to create a calendar to make sure you’re keeping up with it, and you can even schedule posts in advance to avoid forgetting.

You should also share relevant posts you see on other social media pages, but change the descriptions to tailor the posts to your target audience.

For example, if the American Heart Association posts an article about the importance of blood pressure monitoring, share the post with your audience, and include a description about why it’s important to them and how your pharmacy can help.

2. Track your performance

Instead of wasting time creating content that your audience passes over, use analytics to monitor your posts’ performance and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

You want to invest your time into creating posts that your audience actually cares about with content that will garner positive attention for your pharmacy.

For example, on Facebook, every business page has an “Insights” tab, where you can view data about how your Facebook page is doing, including post reach, post engagements, page views and page likes.

Use these indicators to decide what type of content resonates with your audience in order to make your future posts more successful.

3. Engage in conversations

No one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot, so show your human side by engaging in real conversations with your social media followers.

This way you can show your brand’s personality and form a connection with potential patients, making it more likely they’ll want to visit your pharmacy.

Additionally, engaging with people can help you reach a larger audience and grow your following.

Don’t let comments, questions or complaints go unanswered. Monitor your pages on at least a weekly basis, and respond to everything you can.

4. Include visuals

It’s no secret that visuals make written content more interesting and help it stand out to the reader. People are more inclined to click on a post with a picture rather than a post without one.

But, the visuals that accompany your posts need to make sense and add value.

For example, if your post’s purpose is to encourage a healthy lifestyle in adults, use an image of a family doing an activity together. Not only is the image relatable, it gives people one reason why staying healthy should be important to them.

If you don’t have your own images to use, stock photography is a great alternative. Stock photography sites are resources to find photos that fit your posts at a reasonable price.

5. Encourage shares

Ask your friends, family members and members of your professional network to advocate for your pharmacy by sharing posts. Doing so is a great way to build up your social media presence.

When your posts are shared, it’s free marketing from people who know and trust your pharmacy, which boosts yourcredibility.

Encourage people you know to share your posts on social media by letting them know how important it is to you and your pharmacy. To show your appreciation, you can offer to do them a favor in return or create some type of reward.

Do you have a hard time writing social media posts? Check out these simple tips for writing more effective social media content.

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Best Practices to Improve Your Local Search Results for Physicians and Medical Practices

Local search requires your medical practice to be visible whenever potential patients are searching for medical practices within their community. Here are some…
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Communicating with Patients via Social Networking Sites.

Communicating with Patients via Social Networking Sites. | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Should nurse practitioners communicate with their patients via social networking sites? This is a questions I am frequently asked. It’s been a topic of conversation on email list, social networking sites and at NP conferences. While I have written about it before (link to Advance article), I think it’s time to revisit this question.

My answer is simply no.

Here’s the deal. Communicating with your patients on a social networking site opens you up to potential for HIPAA violations. Additionally there is the possibility that patients may ask emergent questions which you may not see, or answer in a timely manner. And any communication online is subject to discovery should there be any legal incidents.

So how do I recommend that you communicate with your patients online? I think one of the simplest ways is for a nurse practitioner or the practice to have a Facebook page that is simple for businesses. The page is used to make practice wide announcements, do some patient education and remind patients to come in for things like flu vaccines or sports physicals.

It’s highly advisable to have a disclaimer on the site letting patients know that if they have questions they must contact the office directly as the FB page is not monitored regularly. You may even want to consider disabling comments on your page .

Make it an office policy that you and your staff will follow. Communicate this to patients. Let them know they can “Like” your page in order to get up to the date information and education from your practice, but it’s in their best interest to keep communication to the traditional lines…at least for now.

I love social media as a marketing tool, but I don’t feel it’s a smart communication tool. As far as I know, there has not yet been case law regarding communication via social networks. But as we all know it’s only a matter of time.

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