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 |

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. 

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

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The risks of posting in closed online forums

The risks of posting in closed online forums | Social Media and Healthcare |

With GPs experiencing increasing levels of stress, social media forums can provide a useful outlet to discuss the pressures of the job - sharing ideas, voicing frustrations and raising questions with colleagues.

Many forums popular with GPs are ‘closed’ groups purporting to allow discussions in ‘members only’ areas.

But are these doctors-only forums entirely safe and is there potential for the information posted there to leak to the wider world?

The GMC guidance Doctors' use of social media outlines the general principles for doctors to consider when posting online.

The GMC emphasises the importance of patient confidentiality explaining: ‘Although individual pieces of information may not breach confidentiality on their own, the sum of published information online could be enough to identify a patient or someone close to them. You must not use publicly accessible social media to discuss individual patients or their care with those patients or anyone else.’

Closed forums

The use of a closed forum can create an illusion of security but it is important to be mindful that some of these forums will have hundreds or thousands of members. Although some closed groups will require doctors to provide their name and GMC number before they can join, it is not always possible to verify identities online and a doctor’s GMC number is readily available to all online.

Not only may this mean the forums are accessible to people outside the profession, but it is important to bear in mind that it is not unusual for one doctor to raise a complaint against another. The GMC's 2016 annual report shows that 9% of complaints about doctors received in 2015 came from another doctor.

We may share a common profession, but what one of us finds funny, another user may not. Worse, comments can be taken out of context or misunderstood and it is all too easy to inadvertently cause offence. 

Discussing patients

If you are tempted to discuss an individual case, it helps to remember that doctors have friends and relatives too, who from time to time will need to seek advice from their own doctor. Can you be sure that the case you are discussing will not be recognised? It is of course possible to remove identifying information from the post but it may still be possible for the patient to be identified by the sum of the information published.

Another important consideration is the potential for someone within the group to take a screenshot of your post,and publish it in another forum. Would you be happy for your post to be shared with a wider audience and possibly with no reference to the original context in which it was made?

There have been some high profile cases reported in the media where derogatory comments about colleagues or patients have led to doctors being reported to regulatory bodies by other social media users. Figures obtained by BMJ Careers found social media sites like Facebook and Twitter contributed to at least 13 complaints about doctors made to the GMC in 2015 and 11 in 2014.

The GMC acknowledges the importance of social media in engaging the public and the profession in discussions about health and helping to establish national and international professional networks. Doctors however need to be aware of the potential problems and risks when posting their thoughts online.

The MDU’s advice is that prior to posting, even in a closed group, consider what the purpose of the post is and who may read it. Could it potentially identify an individual and what could be the repercussions if the post was reproduced elsewhere? If you are unsure, it may be best to alter your post, or not to post the content at all.

A scenario highlights the risks

Take the following fictitious scenario, which is representative of the increasing numbers of queries the MDU sees about social media:

A GP saw an elderly patient in clinic with a significantly raised tumour marker. The GP had not previously seen a test for this tumour marker return such an elevated result.

After work the GP posted in a closed Facebook group for doctors with the suggestion that they play 'top trumps' and shared his patient's blood test result. Several other doctors then posted the highest level of the tumour marker they had come across.

A few days later the doctor got a private message from another GP in the group who had seen his post. She explained that her father had called her with the bad news that his tumour marker was raised and was audibly upset by this.

She also explained that when she had read the original GP's post she realised it was describing her father's case. She was able to confirm her suspicions by doing an online search for the GP's name which showed he worked at the practice where her father was registered.

She was extremely angry that her father's health and recent bad news had been used for humorous 'banter' online. She demanded a written apology and explanation to be sent to her father with the threat of a GMC referral if she remained dissatisfied.

The MDU member was given advice on how to approach this complaint, and after a written response and a meeting with the patient and his daughter no further action was taken. The daughter was able to explain to the GP in person how unprofessional and disrespectful she had found his post, particularly at a time when her family had received bad news. The GP appreciated this and sincerely regretted the distress his post had caused.

  • Dr Nicola Lennard and Dr Ellie Mein are medico-legal advisers at the MDU
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Ten Social Media Benefits for Healthcare Providers

Ten Social Media Benefits for Healthcare Providers | Social Media and Healthcare |

Within the United States, larger, urban, academic and pediatric hospitals are far more likely to gravitate to (and take advantage of) what social media has to offer. Smaller, suburban entities are losing out due to misperceptions and fears of big, bad social media.

Health organizations that don’t participate in social media cite concerns about HIPAA regulations or a lack of resources and expertise needed to take the plunge. The truth is that privacy can be managed, and social media isn’t a cost liability.

Hospitals can’t refuse to engage while their competition tweets circles around them and expect to come out on top.

Regular interaction with consumers has numerous tangible benefits that make the time and effort spent on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues worthwhile for both patients and providers.

But as a hospital, what are the incentives to spend valuable resources on social media when healthcare facilities are increasingly expected to do so much more, with so much less?

1. Hear what your patients think

Monitoring social media sites let medical providers tap into their patients’ lives and hear what they really think and what services are needed. If you want to improve the patient experience, you need to HEAR about the patient experience. This is the easiest way to up your customer service game.

2. Broaden your reputation

You can be your own best brand ambassador. Broaden your hospital’s reputation by promoting specific service line areas, specialties, and doctors at the click of a keyboard.

3. Engage your consumers

Consumers can readily keep up-to-date on new technology, capital improvements and areas of growth within your facility by reading your blogs or looking at your news feed. And engaged consumers are more likely to call your facility next time they need something.

4. Enhance patient relationships

Relationships, relationships, relationships. Social media can connect prospective patients and providers in addition to strengthening and enhancing existing patient relationships. The stronger the relationship, the better the loyalty is to you and your facility.  Patients respond to and trust providers who are willing to be seen and accountable.

5. Encourage active, informed patients

Reading or watching the content you provide can encourage patients to be active and informed participants in their own health, fostering a healthy lifestyle, greater compliance to diets and health regimens, in a low-key and familiar environment.

6. Keep current

Physicians and hospitals can provide the most current health information, recommendations, and research in a timely and consistent manner to a wide audience in whatever format fits best.

7. Celebrate success

How better to celebrate your employees and spotlight successes than publicly? Showcasing professional achievements, personal stories and triumphs allow the public to see your hospital caretakers and staff as real individuals. It demystifies the healthcare system and the people in it.

8. Keep your staff engaged

Is recruitment or retention a problem? Engaged staff stick around. And potential recruits are drawn to active, successful healthcare organizations. Social media makes it easy to brag about your activity, culture, and successes within the four walls of your hospital.

9. Reach more people

And guess what? Videos, blogs, articles, and posts can all be multi-purposed for media coverage, hospital newsletters, fundraising and Foundation purposes. Social media content is a great way to reach reporters, journalists, and bloggers. Re-share anyone? Yes, please.

10. Streamline workloads

On-line avenues can potentially streamline workload, reducing phone calls and emails.  For example, in an emergency, crisis information can be quickly and easily disseminated reaching a wide audience instantaneously.


And what about the patients? Social media can give consumers the tools they need, and the empowerment sometimes lacking, to find providers, healthcare information, and research, and then act upon it. Patients can connect with other patients and share experiences, common healthcare interests, and provider recommendations. Consumers can be big winners in the patient experience game when a healthcare organization has a strong social media presence. The only loser is the healthcare organization who has not yet taken the dive.

(Founded in 1998, Contrast Creative specializes in healthcare marketing and communications.  We can help your hospital get social this year.)

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Are Patients Losing Patience with your Hospital’s Website?

Are Patients Losing Patience with your Hospital’s Website? | Social Media and Healthcare |

I’m reading The New Rules of PR & Marketing by David Meerman Scott and in one particular section, Scott (referring to a real estate company as an example) explains the difficulties in transitioning from traditional advertising to modern-day digital.

After recently attending three of the nation’s biggest Healthcare Marketing conferences, I couldn’t help but to think about hospitals on this matter. Largely, hospitals (many by their own admission) seem to be behind the times when it comes to their website and digital presence.

Let’s be real – a hospital’s website is the first place where most patients or potential patients go to conduct research.

In fact, emagine found that:

  • 35% of U.S. adults Say at one time or another they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
  • 48% of patients’ research online more than two weeks before scheduling an appointment.
  • 51% of patients would feel more valued as a patient via digital communications. (website, blog, social media, email marketing)
  • 61% of patients visit two or more hospital websites before converting.

I’m a Business Development Representative at a Digital Marketing agency for healthcare – but my perspective is coming from patient prospective (which we all are).

Below are some major factors that should be noted on a hospital’s website. In the age of digital they might seem obvious – but I look at Healthcare websites all day every day and far too few have even accomplished these basic objectives:

  • Mobile friendly: I don’t think that I need to provide statistics on how many patients are researching hospitals on mobile devices. If you’re in a public place right now, look around and see how many people are looking on their mobile devices. But for formality reasons, here are some statistics from emagine’s White Paper: Roughly one in three patients have used mobile devices daily for healthcare research and/or to schedule appointments “. If your hospital does not have a mobile strategy by now, you might as well be Fred Flintstone and living in the Stone Age era.
  • Patients must find what they’re looking for. emagine found that people don’t just typically search the internet for a specific healthcare facility. The White Paper states the percentage of people that search for hospitals and doctors as follows: “38% Symptons or departments (e.g. runny nose, pediatrics) 37% Conditions (allergies, cancer) 19% Hospital brand 6% Treatment.” This all comes down to the word marketers love the most… content. And not just content, but high-quality content.
  • Patient Experience: Your Hospital’s website should adequately support each user persona coming to your website and serve as a helpful tool to quickly get them the information they came to your website for. This might mean a patient who is looking to make an appointment or caregivers who are researching doctors who can treat their loved one. Mapping the site architecture and content delivered throughout a website visit and aligning those with the phases of the patient journey will ensure your website is relevant and helpful to each user persona at each stage of the patient journey.

The online experience of your website should also reflect the offline experience people will have when visiting your Hospital. Imagery that exudes empathy and comfort and an intuitive user experience will translate into a Hospital visit that is seamless with clinical staff who are empathetic and comforting.

Remember – websites influence 80% of care choices and with patients being more empowered than ever before you want their experience with your website to be a positive one.

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Social Media and Healthcare: Is it essential or trivial? - Pushing the Envelope

Social Media and Healthcare: Is it essential or trivial? - Pushing the Envelope | Social Media and Healthcare |

When you first think of social media, do you think about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+?  Or do you think about relationship building, creative, idea sharing and networking? What if I said that social media is both! In this day and age where social media is dominating the way we are reaching our audience and influencing their behaviors, why are healthcare businesses and organizations not embracing this tool?

More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (infographic, Mediabistro) Also, 18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussion. (infographic, Mediabistro)  Why are we including these statistics?

  1. If you are involved with a healthcare business or organization, if your patients or future patients are turning to social media for health-related advice, wouldn’t you want to be the first one giving them accurate information? By giving those patients the proper educational content, it creates a win-win situation for your patient and your business/organization.
  2. 18 to 24 year olds are essentially the generation that adopted social media and began creating new forms of communication, therefore making the it important for health care professionals to join in on this generation’s conversations where and when they are occurring.

Here are some tips that we believe can be useful to the healthcare industry when it comes to social media:

Social Media “Do’s”:  

  1. Have a Strategy in place. Be strategic and intentional in your postings and interactions. Don’t assume that you can just do it. Complete research, get prepared and come with a plan for the adventure of social media,
  1. Build Relationships with patients via social media. Don’t be afraid to interact with your patients. Good online interaction can lead to great relationships.
  1. Create Sharable content. Create content that speaks directly to your target audience. It will cause conversation and increase engagement between you and the audience.
  1. Analyze what types of content are resonating with your audience. Research your audience. Find out what interest your audience before posting. If you are aware of the interests of your audience, then you can better serve them.
  1. Serve as a resource to your patients and followers by listening and responding to questions. No matter the social media platform, your main objective should be informing your audience about health-related information and that can only be done by listening and responding to questions patients might have.
  1. Be authentic by creating a voice and personality for your organization. Two things most people can appreciate is transparency and authenticity. Every business/organization has its one quality that sets it apart. Patients/clients expect standards and consistency from their choice of business/organization.

Social Media Don’ts:

  1. Disregard negative feedback from patients. Neglect will increase negative feelings. For instance, if a dissatisfied client leaves a bad review on your business page with no response from the business/organization it reflects poorly on that business/organization. Therefore, the dissatisfied client could begin spreading their experience to family member, friends, coworkers, etc. As a result, that business/organization’s reputation can be altered. Have a reputation management system in place to properly respond to any and all comments.
  1. Violate privacy. Healthcare professionals are required by the HIPAA law to protect their patient’s privacy and security of certain health information.  When managing social media, it is imperative that we do not risk the privacy of the patients.
  1. Take Shortcuts by buying followers to build your community. When starting up on social media, you shouldn’t buy your followers. That signals to prospective patients that as a business/organization, you lack real impact and cannot connect effectively with your patients.
  1. Ignore the patients that are engaging. Don’t ever forget about the people who were there first. It is important to stay consistent with your engaging audience, it exemplifies that personal relationship, prospective patients are observing.
  1. Be overly promotional – simply touting your business isn’t social. It is acceptable to promote. The right balance of promoting and social is imperative. Engage with your audience, I mean, it is called social media for a reason.

Here at Pushing the Envelope, we have seen the successful impact of social media and its effects on our clients.  Through replying to patient’s concerns/feedback and creating content that is not only interesting, but educational, we have been able to see revolution not only our audiences but in our clients’ businesses/organizations.

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A look how healthcare marketing has changed in recent years

A look how healthcare marketing has changed in recent years. Also a review at how traditional media can still be a viable lead generation source for healthcare…

United Home Healthcare's curator insight, February 22, 11:36 AM
Healthcare marketing has changed over the years. We need to keep up with the times!
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Can Social Influencer Marketing Help Bring in New Business for Your Medical Practice?

Can Social Influencer Marketing Help Bring in New Business for Your Medical Practice? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Influencer marketing is a great way to boost your practice’s visibility online — here’s what you need to know.

By now, chances are that your medical practice is already investing in social media marketing of some form or other. Posting helpful tips about conditions and treatments, republishing links to interesting and informative articles, and general patient engagement can all go a long way when it comes to growing your practice’s social media following and ultimately, your customer base.

However, there’s another highly impactful social media strategy that you may not have considered yet: influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is essentially convincing social media users (ideally with large follower counts) to engage with or promote your content in order to boost the visibility and credibility of your medical brand. In other words, rather than trying to sell people on your products and services yourself, you’re soliciting an endorsement from an “objective” third-party (i.e. someone who isn’t employed by your company).

As patients become increasingly empowered to make their own decisions about their health, such testimonials and organic endorsements are now a non-negotiable requirement for any medical practice’s marketing mix.

Why Should I Invest in Influencer Marketing?

The argument for influencer marketing is a relatively simple one: the up-front investment is typically reasonable, especially when you consider the potentially massive return. In a recent article on Search Engine Watch, Marcela De Vivo laid out a number of compelling stats on why it might be a worthwhile endeavor:

  • 51% of marketers across all industries say they acquire better customers via influencer marketing
  • 92% of people trust recommendations from other people over brands
  • 84% say they are planning at least one influencer campaign in 2017

What’s more, your influencers already have built-in credibility among a niche, captive audience — that means the impact of their actions will be swift and highly targeted.

How to Execute a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy

First, you’ll need to identify your target influencers. They should be both highly visible and relevant to your organization’s primary patient demographic (i.e., if you’re an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist, a professional athlete might be a good choice).

If your practice specializes in treating a specific, sensitive condition, it’s best to look for influencers with first-hand experience or who have been outspoken within that community of patients. For example, Chrissy Teigen has been incredibly vocal and transparent about her struggles with fertility and her decision to do IVF — as a trusted and highly visible figure, her endorsement would obviously go a long way.

How to go about securing an endorsement largely depends on the nature of your practice’s specialization — and the target influencer. Some influencers may be interested in compensation, free services, or cross-promotional content. Others may truly believe in your mission and the value of your services, and take it upon themselves to point their audience in your general direction.

Either way, it’s always best to avoid the hard sell — today’s healthcare consumers can smell an inauthentic endorsement from a mile away. Keep it organic, on target, and most importantly, truthful, then sit back and watch as your digital audience — and ROI — shoot through the roof.

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The use of internet and social media by Healthcare Consumers and Professionals

consumer health informatics
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Twitter study explores role of social media in disseminating medical research

Twitter study explores role of social media in disseminating medical research | Social Media and Healthcare |

Let’s take a look at what you might call one of the real frontiers of health information exchange: emergency physicians (EP) on Twitter.

Some might consider this a rather random, almost frivolous, corner of the HIE landscape to focus on, what with all the debates about how best to improve intra-institutional HIE that directly impacts current patients.

But in a recent study out of the University of Washington, researchers reviewed the rapidly expanding community of EP who have taken to Twitter to share observations and the latest research related to emergency medicine. 

In explaining their decision, the researchers observed, “In 2009 there were 672 emergency physicians (EP) on Twitter, and in January 2016 there were 2,234. According to one survey, more than a quarter of emergency medicine (EM) faculty use Twitter.”

Despite the social medium’s popularity, the researchers wrote, Twitter is still widely considered “untested” as a repository of serious information.  Nonetheless, they noted, “dissemination of information on Twitter can be rapid and viral, and is heavily influenced by important opinion leaders. Ideas flow from mass media to opinion leaders and then to the rest of a community. Opinion leaders have a wide and loyal audience, have the power to influence the decisions of others, and disproportionately impact the spread and credibility of information . . . As such, they have the potential to influence the conversation and the content significantly more than their less influential counterparts.”

In many ways, this study is a preliminary work, designed to identify and compile a list of the most influential EPs on Twitter, which “will help us better understand the intricate relationships of EPs on Twitter and lay the groundwork for future scientific inquiry.”

As for the results, of the 2,000+ plus EPs currently active on Twitter, the UW researchers dubbed 61 of them Twitter Influencers (TI). “Rigorous analyses of the 61 TIs will move forward our understanding of the way Twitter is used for content, conversation, and professional development,” they wrote. “For example, in-depth content analysis of the tweets of the 61 TIs would give insight into the EM subjects with the most weight on Twitter.  . . . Understanding the balance of content on Twitter may help EM practitioners and educators make informed decisions. Finally, and most importantly from a research perspective, analyzing the veracity of the content disseminated by the TIs would help further shine the light of evidence-based medicine on EM social media.”

There’s no shortage of pros and cons to the exploding role of social media across society. But as that debate isn’t likely to be settled any time soon, studies like this one can help stakeholders get a sense of how, if not to tame the social media frontier, at least to make the best use of it as it inevitably keeps expanding.

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Social Media Use by Doctors: Advice for Safety and for Effectiveness

Presented at the 10th Ramathibodi GI and Liver Annual Review 2017, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University on Febr…
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Social media for cosmetic surgeons: What’s hot?

Social media for cosmetic surgeons: What’s hot? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Video, content and analytics are among today’s buzz words for cosmetic practices that are using social media to build business, according to Monique Ramsey, a certified relationship marketing specialist, and founder of Del Mar, Calif.-based Cosmetic Social Media. Ramsey presented, “Social Media Update 2017: What's Hot and What's Hype,” yesterday at the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery’s (AACS’s) 2017 annual scientific meeting in San Diego, Calif.

“Social media has been an integral part of marketing strategy for the better part of a decade; however it has not been until the last three to four years that cosmetic surgery practices have started to play in the sandbox,” Ramsey tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “While a facelift technique might change every few years or so, social media spins on a much faster turntable, with changes literally happening on a daily basis.”

So, what’s hot?

Video was an important component of successful social media campaigns in 2016; yet most aesthetic practices still haven’t wrapped their hands around incorporating this medium into their marketing strategy. “At least not well,” Ramsey says. “I’m not talking about fancy, edited, expensive video shoots, either. Instead, focus on quick snippets of video, live video and even video slideshows of still images set to music… anything that will catch the eye of someone scrolling through the news feed and make them stop and focus on you!”

That leads to Ramsey’s next point. The importance of content.

“You need content that breaks through the noise. We are bombarded with thousands of pieces of content every day. On Facebook, alone, there are between 1,000 and 15,000 pieces of content that Facebook could be serving up to your newsfeed at any one time (hence, the newsfeed algorithm that filters it for you),” she says. “So, practices need to look at what works, and then do more of it.”

As for why analytics are hot: You can’t make decisions on feelings alone. “There are comprehensive analytics tools built in to each social media platform, and countless more paid tools to help make sense of it all,” Ramsey says. “You can’t shoot in the dark, so if you don't have a robust analytics plan in place, make that a priority in 2017.”

Social media success comes down to building relationships, according to Ramsey. The tricky part for cosmetic surgeons and others is that the connections need to be emotional. “… making emotional connections has to be at the center of everything we do. And, save for when the patient is in your exam room, there is no better place to make these connections than on social media,” she says.

Disclosure: Ramsey consults with cosmetic practices on social media use.

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Multiprofessional social media communities: improving health and care

Naomi McVey highlights how multiprofessional social media communities are supporting improvements in health and care with examples and further thoughts for eve…
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Hospital Impact: Lessons from the Oscars about marketing to patients

Hospital Impact: Lessons from the Oscars about marketing to patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

It’s that time of year, when everyone is abuzz about the year’s biggest awards show—the Academy Awards—and who’s going to win best actor and actress and what film is going to win best picture.

Like the Oscars, marketing is all about putting on a great show. In fact, even the marketing teams at hospitals can learn a thing or two from Hollywood’s biggest night. With that in mind, here’s five key marketing lessons from the Oscars:

  • Wear the white hat: No one likes a sore loser. That’s why nominated actors and actresses never say, “I deserve to win because I gave the best performance,” or “It’s about time I’ve been nominated”—even if it’s true. Instead, they say they’re honored to just be nominated and acknowledge the other talented actors/actresses who have been recognized.

    So too, it’s important to never “throw shade” or make negative comments about your competition. While it may be tempting for hospitals to tout their world-class care or compare their services to those of their competitors, it can come across as hollow and, ultimately, doesn’t move the needle. It’s much better to follow the journalism adage of “show, don’t tell,” and let others sing your praises—like patients, who have personal stories to share.
  • Keep it short: When Academy Award recipients are thrust into the spotlight to give their acceptance speech, they sometimes ramble as they try to remember all the people who have been instrumental to their career—from their high school drama coach and agent to the producers and cast mates. Without preparation, they might forget to thank their spouse or someone else important to them, and their speeches get cut off with wrap-up music.

    By the same token, hospitals have a limited time to capture people’s attention on social media. It’s important to have a clear goal about what you hope to accomplish when you’re writing a blog post, developing a social media campaign or creating a YouTube video. Never underestimate the value of creating an outline and having an organized approach to creating social media content. Otherwise, people may lose interest or not know what messages they should remember because you presented too many messages.
  • Put your best foot forward: If you’re going to a fancy awards show, you don’t show up in your favorite pair of jeans and a T-shirt. That’s why actresses go on diets and squeeze into Spanx, so they can fit into glamorous designer gowns and answer the infamous question, “Who are you wearing tonight?”

    By the same token, if you’re making a corporate video or taking photos for marketing materials or your annual Report to the Community, it’s important your employees and executives look their best. If that means making sure you have the right lighting and hiring a makeup artist to ensure employees look their best, it’s well worth the effort. After all, they are your brand ambassadors, so make sure they’re dressed appropriately for their position and accurately convey your organization's brand.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences likes to reward filmmakers who take risks. Look at the following films that have won Best Picture: “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969 (the only X-rated movie to achieve this honor), “The Artist” in 2011 (a silent, black and white film), “Birdman” in 2014 (a movie filmed as if in one shot) or this year’s top contender for Best Picture,  “La La Land," which is a musical.

    By the same token, hospitals shouldn’t be afraid to go out of their comfort zone and take some risks when creating social media content. For example, consider using humor in your marketing efforts to encourage people to get the age-appropriate cancer screenings, yearly physical, etc. Healthcare and the possibility of getting sick can be scary, so it’s important to consider taking different approach to reach people and encourage them to take steps to stay healthy.
  • Embrace diversity: When the 2016 Oscar nominees were announced, it was the second year in a row that only white actors and actresses were nominated for the top four categories—resulting in people embracing the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has since taken steps to correct this and announced an effort to double the number of women and minorities in its ranks.

    Hospitals also need to embrace diversity marketing and appeal to different subgroups—not just based on ethnicity, but also age, gender, profession, religion, family size, physical environment, etc. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying to reach Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and the LGBT community. It means including photos that represent these groups in your marketing materials, website and photos you use for your social media posts.

As you’re watching the Oscars this year, think of all the planning that goes on behind the scenes to make this awards show the media event that it is—and know that your hospital can benefit from taking a similar approach to marketing.


Jenn Riggle is the senior director of public relations for Compass Professional Health Services.

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Anonymous social networks expose the dark underbelly in medicine

Anonymous social networks expose the dark underbelly in medicine | Social Media and Healthcare |

I have been a member of a social network for physicians since 2008 or 2009. It’s a network that bills itself as a “virtual doctors’ lounge” and “voice of physicians.”  I joined because I thought it would be a great place to continue to interact with my peers, after I’d left the collegiality of medical school and residency behind for private practice.

I’m not sure what subset of physicians participates, but they aren’t my voice. Over the years, racism, bigotry, sexism, and resentment have erupted in many threads, manifested by straw man arguments, and ad hominem attacks.


It’s clear that doctors on the network are angry, but I wonder if their anger is misplaced. Physicians have failed to effectively organize to address grievances and, if my anonymous colleagues are typical, they identify as “victims.”  It’s always someone else’s fault: lawyers, insurance companies, medical boards, nurse practitioners, Obama, but never them. I understand that the “Golden Age” of the medical profession is in the past, when doctors earned proportionately more money and respect, with far less liability and limited requirements for privileges or licensure.  Even so, this simmering resentment and dissatisfaction is unwarranted.



By all measures, someone who has made it through medical school and residency, is fortunate in at least some measure. Most physicians were gifted with at least average intelligence, often more, and developed the drive or discipline to complete a rigorous course of study. Many were from an advantaged middle-class upbringing. Those who weren’t can expect to earn significantly more than most Americans and exponentially more than the rest of the world’s population. This suggests physicians should be grateful and happy people, but the largest social network for physicians seems to attract an angry and impotent group.

The other surprise is this: Many physicians are gullible and fail to do their research. They quote fake news, and when presented with the facts, they attack. I know it is a time when alternate facts run rampant on the Internet, but within a forum for professionals, particularly those schooled in evidence-based practice, I’ve been astounded at the lack of intellectual rigor. Their sources must support their confirmation bias. So, in sum, it’s been a disappointing forum.


We do the public a disservice by hiding this from the public. I would want to know whether or not my doctor looked at me and thought “welfare bitch, I’m sick of them.” That type of contempt is, in my opinion, a danger to patient well-being. I would want to know that my doctor thinks “Muslims are the scum of the earth.” Frankly, I’d want to know that about my colleague, if I were a Muslim physician. This type of hatred and prejudice is not uncommon, and it impairs judgement.  Since doctors’ lounges and restricted social networks are protected, I’m not sure the public will ever know the truth.  I think it is a potential safety issue and worth sounding the alarm.

The author is an anonymous physician.

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Why hospitals should sponsor online patient support communities

Why hospitals should sponsor online patient support communities | Social Media and Healthcare |

Ed Bennett is compiling a list of hospital-sponsored online patient support groups

It’s a natural step for Ed, who spent 17 years at University of Maryland – part of it as director of web and digital services – before starting Ed Bennett Consulting.

I met Ed four years ago when I was invited to speak at a Mayo-Ragan Healthcare Social Media Summit in Rochester, Minn. Ed had the foresight to create the Hospital Social Network List, a reference tool that generated industry-wide awareness and adoption of social media when most hospitals were still too afraid of HIPAA violations to start a Facebook page. I’ve been grateful for his leadership ever since. 

Recently Ed presented a webinar for the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network titled “Hospital Sponsored Online Patient Support Groups.” Colleen Young, community director for Mayo Clinic Connect, and Janet Gripshover, RN, who worked with Ed to start one of the first hospital-sponsored, facilitated online support groups back in 2011, also shared valuable lessons.

In the webinar, Ed answers some key questions, starting with, “Why a new list?” 

“The purpose of this list is very simple,” says Ed. “It’s to show examples so that decision-makers at hospitals can see what’s being done at other facilities. That list is there to encourage adoption and give ammunition.”

Ed wants you to be able to say, “This is something we should be doing. We’re not the first to do it. And there are a lot of very good organizations who are successful at it.”

Why should online communities matter for patients?

“When patients work with their hospital, what option do they have most of the time?” asks Ed. “They can join a traditional, face to face in-person group that meets maybe once a quarter that they have to drive to. But that’s not meeting their expectations. They want the ability to tap into support more often than once a quarter.”

That’s a nice example of the benefit of an online patient community to patients. But what about the benefit to the hospital? In the webinar Ed lists six:

  • Patients access trusted information.
  • Patients experience a sense of improved self-management.
  • Patients can access real-time education.
  • All of this leads to better patient outcomes.
  • Better population awareness on the part of the healthcare provider.
  • Increased brand loyalty.

If you visit Ed’s list you’ll see that some communities are built on Facebook groups and others on full-featured online community platforms. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. When all things are considered, the big question remains: How can these communities help my patients receive medical care and feel emtionally supported in real and lasting ways?

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5 Chiropractic Digital Marketing Mistakes

5 Chiropractic Digital Marketing Mistakes | Social Media and Healthcare |

About half of U.S. small businesses have a website. But simply having a website isn’t nearly enough if you want a web presence that nurtures existing patients and entices prospective patients to choose you. You need a comprehensive online marketing strategy – website, social media, online reviews, and much more.

But a comprehensive online marketing strategy involves a lot of moving parts. To help out, below are four of the most common online marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Ignoring Local SEO

More than 95 percent of Internet users search for local businesses online. This is why local search engine optimization (SEO) cannot be ignored. Local SEO helps you attract potential patients who are looking for a chiropractor near you.

For instance, if you’re located in Madison, Wisconsin, you’ll want to be found when someone searches “chiropractors” from a location in Madison. Here are some of the best ways to boost your local SEO:

  • Optimize your pages: Add your city, state, and chiropractic services to your page titles and descriptions. Also, add keywords naturally throughout your pages. Just be careful not to over-optimize.
  • Complete your Google My Business listing: Google My Business connects your website with potential patients on a local level. Be sure to complete your profile in full, as this is what shows up first in local search results.
  • Keep your contact information consistent: Wherever your practice information is located online, it should be accurate and consistent. This includes your practice name, address, phone number, and other important details.
  • Embed a Google map of your location: Google Maps gives users an easy way to locate your practice. Embedding a map on your site clearly shows prospective patients that you are near them, increasing the likelihood that they will stay on your site.

2. Not Updating Your Website

Today’s Internet users are as demanding as ever. They will scrutinize a website’s content, functionality, aesthetic appeal, and other details you wouldn’t even think of.

According to Google, 72 percent of mobile users say it’s important that a website is mobile-friendly. Moreover, two-thirds of consumers are more likely to purchase products or services from a business that has a mobile-friendly site. In other words, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you might be losing patients to your mobile-optimized competitors.

Other factors include:

  • Speed: Even a three- or four-second delay in a website’s load time can significantly impact patient conversion.
  • Design: The shelf life of a website is only three to five years. A website that has surpassed this mark will likely lose patients to a more “tech-savvy” competitor.
  • Browsability: Today’s online user doesn’t have the patience to sift through page after page of text-based content. Include photos throughout your pages and space out your content with bullets and headings.
  • Content: Content is the leading factor in converting website visitors into patients. Your content should be unique, professional, and it should tell visitors why they should choose you.

3. Disregarding Online Reviews

Online reviews provide multiple benefits (or disadvantages, if you’re flooded with negative feedback). One, it can help local SEO. Reputation is a big part of Google’s algorithms. A consistent flow of five-star reviews signals to Google that you are trustworthy.

Second, online reviews are a form of social proof. They carry a lot of weight in buying decisions, especially when it comes to health care. In fact, nearly 90 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The tricky part is knowing how to improve your online reputation. Here are some ideas:

  • Respond quickly and thoughtfully to negative reviews
  • Focus on the most popular sites, like Google, Facebook, and Yelp
  • Include a “Review Us” button on your website to make it easy for patients to give feedback
  • Create first-visit online surveys to capture positive feedback while your practice is fresh on a new patient’s mind.
  • Increase top-of-mind awareness with newsletters and social media

Food for thought: Email marketing is a great way to gain a consistent flow of five-star feedback. Download our free eBook to learn more:




4. Not Communicating

Patients will ignore you if you ignore them. The goal of your online presence is to communicate – with both prospective patients and current patients. A lot of chiropractors think their online presence runs itself.

But keeping your patients engaged, even if they are inactive – while also attracting new patients – requires action. The first step is to be responsive. When someone calls you on the phone, you are forced to be responsive. However, if someone reaches out via the Web, it’s easy to put your response on the backburner.

Keep in mind, patients can contact you through a variety of online channels. The most common channel is your website. If someone fills out a contact form on your website, try to respond within 24 hours.

Social media is another place people can contact you. And it’s often overlooked. If you’re not checking your Facebook messages regularly, you could be missing out on appointments. Remember, people like to reach out in the ways that are most convenient to them.

Here are some ideas to be proactive with your online presence:

  • Blog regularly to keep patients informed about their health
  • Post on social media to keep patients aware of your practice
  • Use email marketing strategies to improve patient retention and boost referrals
  • Implement PPC campaigns to get new patients immediately

5. Attempting to Do All of This Yourself

It’s nearly impossible to be a world-class chiropractor while also tending to all of these online marketing initiatives. While your website is the “hub” of your digital marketing strategy, who you choose to manage it is critical.

  • Should you have your staff take the reins?
  • Should you hire multiple vendors who are assigned to different online channels?
  • Or, should you hire a website provider that houses your entire digital marketing strategy under one roof?

Making this determination isn’t easy. To help out, learn about the three types of chiropractic website companies in a blog from our archives.

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7 Simple ways to improve Patient Enrolment 

7 Simple ways to improve Patient Enrolment  | Social Media and Healthcare |

In a quantitative study once conducted by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it was found that 11 percent of investigative sites – deemed ‘ready to recruit’ – failed to enrol a single patient. Now, it’s no secret patient enrolment continues to be a critical issue in clinical trials that often proves a decisive factor in its success or failure. In this age-old factor in clinical trials, what can sponsors do to improve recruitment rates and overcome one of the most common obstacles in clinical trial operations? Below are seven things to consider:

1. Create a website solely for your trial

Setting up a separate clinical trials website for their specific therapy, designed to attract patients to come to their site. Once online, they would be referred to an investigator conducting a clinical trial in their specific disease.

2. Identify target patient population

Follow patients who companies think they are at risk of developing exacerbations of diseases, making them eligible for their clinical trial. The trial sites can then develop a database of the patients to see if they meet the criteria for entry to the study.

3. Patient Centricity

The two-word phrase that remains as pertinent as ever. Patient involvement as early as possible within the protocol development phase ensures patients are incentivized by the trial. Patient centricity also has a role in patient retention as well – if the design of the trial is too complex, patients will likely out of trials. Simplicity and enthusiasm is key. Make your study as accessible as possible to your patient. It’s important the industry needs to now work together to ensure that patients are placed at the front of mind from the CEO to the CRA.

4. Partner with an established patient recruitment vendor

A recruitment vendor could be your most important ally in pinpointing and enrolling the patients you need for your study. Perform audits on prospective vendors in the pre-contract stage to ensure they have the recruitment experience and expertise, not only in your specific geographic, but the therapeutic area as well.

5. Successful use of social media

The ubiquity of social media means access to patients is just a click away. Social media allows sponsors to advertise in a highly targeted way. Online ads are also more likely to replicate an offline experience. As people spend more and more time checking social media they may pass these links on to other people.

6. Partnering with Influencers

Identifying and engaging key bloggers and Twitter personalities who support trial participation is also an important way to raise awareness of studies. Such influencers can inform people about specific trials going on in their communities. It is also possible to launch Twitter campaigns to bring the trial to the attention of the right patients by using popular hashtags within the targeted population.

7. Have in place support materials

Lastly, it’s critical to ensure support materials are in place at the sites where necessary. This is key in order to help existing sites promote study awareness by their staff and to facilitate potential subject engagement.

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How Marketing Can Improve Patient Health Care

How Marketing Can Improve Patient Health Care | Social Media and Healthcare |

Health care. If ever there was a hot button topic that’s on everyone’s mind, this is it. But what may go unnoticed is how savvy marketers involved in this sector can actually use their skills to help the entire system deliver better care to its target audience: patients!

One such savvy marketer plying his skills for the benefit of others is Arra G. Yerganian, Chief Marketing and Branding Officer at Sutter Health. I met Arra through The CMO Club (he won the Officers award) and not only was he kind enough to share his thoughts with me below, he even agreed to rerecord our podcast episode after the sound quality proved deficient (stay tuned for my “9 Ways to Screw Up a Podcast” post!). More importantly, Arra is leading a massive transformation in how Sutter Health not only markets itself but also how it delivers patient care.

Drew: Tell me about Sutter Health.

Arra: Sutter Health is a remarkable organization. We are an integrated team of clinical and non-clinical pioneers who are deeply rooted in our not for profit mission. And we really work together to change how you and I experience healthcare. In fact, through an independent study in the last few months, Truven Health Analytics (which is part of IBM) recently recognized Sutter as one of the highest performers (top five) amongst healthcare system in America. This study looked at things like saving more lives, having fewer complications, spending less per patient on episode of care, etc. This is truly an organization that’s unprecedented. We’re about $11 billion in revenue supported by 55,000 employees. I call them ‘members of our tribe’ and nearly 7,000 providers. These are people who develop the product and care every day that makes a difference in people’s lives.

Drew: Wow. So what does your role as CMO encompass?

Arra: Well, it’s a multitasking role for sure. I feel like I’m steering a big ship and I think for me it’s really about walking the brand promise. It’s about how we tell powerful stories and how we translate that into something that the consumer can really relate to. I often talk about this relationship that we have with the people we serve, not the “patient” and you need to understand the distinction. As healthcare’s going through the transformation in America, it’s not about putting the patient first. It’s about putting the person first. During every stage of being a patient you’re still a person. So it’s about leaning in. It’s about helping them understand you know them intellectually and emotionally and about the support and access we can provide. How we change the conversation around them and I think that’s our secret weapon for the healthcare system in Northern California.

Drew: Interesting. How does marketing fit into this vision?

Arra: For me, it’s about operationalizing the brand. It’s helping my fellow leaders understand that investing in marketing is an important endeavor, not just an expense. It’s changing the way the organization thinks about the brand. We’re helping the organization see that marketing can really add value. In fact, we can contribute to creative growth within this organization. I tell people we don’t necessarily need one more person to care for; we just need to take great care of the ones we have now. I call this the “love the ones you’re with” approach and it is a big differentiator for us since so many healthcare companies are just trying to acquire as many customers as they can.

Drew: How big is Sutter Health?

Arra: We are one of the largest healthcare systems in America and we’re really just in the Northern California footprint today. We service a geography of 12.5 million people and each of those three to three and a half million people that we care for every day are in the amazing care of our provider who truly go the extra mile and provide what I’m describing as intellectual and emotional support, going beyond the physical. It’s not just getting in to see the provider when you want to see them. That’s a given. To differentiate in a ‘sea of sameness’, it’s about that extra effort that we as an organization can deliver. We need to be the brand leaning in when others lean away. Remember, we care for people when they are at their most vulnerable. We have an awesome responsibility.


Drew: Let’s talk about a specific marketing initiative you’re particularly proud of.

Arra: I think this is somewhat unprecedented within the healthcare field; however, I had a vision when I arrived 16 months ago to create a brand management structure along lines of services like cardiology, oncology, women’s health, neuroscience, pediatrics, primary care, etc. This meant bringing professionals into the organization or nurturing those who were already here in marketing roles and focusing them all on these product lines and creating partnerships with clinical leaders who can help inform the content.

Drew: Sounds like P&G?

Arra: Exactly. These brand managers would build efficacy around their “products” and communicate the benefits to the mass market. I really wanted to understand what we do uniquely versus our competition. Where do we stand-alone as we service the consumers in our communities? With this new structure, we can get really specific and surgical. I call it ‘precision marketing’. You know there’s this movement called ‘precision medicine’ that’s become quite common. I think it really is about getting super targeted. I think about creating one to one relationships with three and a half million people and addressing topics that are of specific interest.

Drew: Makes sense. So how did precision marketing actually play out?

Arra: Well, for someone who’s suffering from coronary heart disease in a particular geography we can isolate by age and really dive in specifically to those individuals with a targeted message. Very, very different from the way most healthcare companies approach the challenge. I realized when I first arrived that lowest common denominator marketing is alive and well within the healthcare space. People talk about things like quality and expertise as if they’re differentiators. Seems to me that everyone expects when they go to a doctor to get quality care and that their doctor is an expert in their field, right?

Drew: Well, I certainly do.

Arra: Right, so let’s take it to a whole new level. When we talk about intellectual access it’s about being able to easily talk to the healthcare professional. Get clear information about things like pricing. Get the healthcare professional to lean in and not appear rushed. When I think about emotional access it’s treating the people that we work with like humans. Having our healthcare teams work together toward collaborative care so you are not being treated like a statistic–not being treated like a burden. These are the things that we as an organization are striving to do every day that really separate us.

Drew: Getting back to the brand management structure…

Arra: So when I implemented this brand management structure at this highest level we can, for example, sit with a cardiologist and ask him/her lots of questions: What really makes the work you do different and unique? What are the research breakthroughs? What’s helping you do better care for the people that we serve? By the way, we’re the second largest non-teaching research system in the country. This is a not for profit organization that truly understands the importance of giving back. Part of the way we give back is through this philanthropic effort of doing research in the community.

Drew: This must be a complicated branding challenge given the Sutter Health parent brand and now these service-specific sub-brands.

Arra: It’s actually even more complex because we were previously federated model with approximately 24 hospital CEOs, all managing in many respects, legacy brands that have somehow come together over the last 150 years under the Sutter Health umbrella. So in order to pay homage to those strong and uniquely positioned brands, particularly in our ‘out of home’ creative and even the via radio campaigns, we’ve put Sutter Health on center stage while paying homage to our affiliated brands, i.e., Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Alta Bates Summit, or Sutter Gould, for example; then we highlight the line of service, like cardiology, pediatrics, or urgent care before we do any discussion about the work that we do.

Drew: That is complicated. So how do you hold all of these communications together?

Arra: We created a very light-hearted campaign to start building familiarity in the marketplace and that’s called the “Smile Out” campaign. The whole idea is we choose somebody, for example, with a sinus condition and would say literally, “Sniffle in. Smile out.” Or for orthopedics, we say “Limp in. Smile Out.” When we talk about cardiology, we say, “Flutter in. Smile out.” Each of these is connected to a line of service, Sutter Health and our local, very community-based hospital systems. So yes, we have multiple challenges but it is very exciting that we can actually break through and create this connection across the multiple brands, the lines of service and the geography in which we are in.

Drew: How are you measuring and charting the success of your marketing initiatives?

Arra: We’re doing brand research in ways we’ve never done before. We’re also utilizing the amazing amounts of data that we already had more effectively. For example, we have the largest single installation of Epic, the hospital records management system, in the country. But all this wonderful data without insight, as you know, is useless. So effectively understanding, for example, that there’s a difference between awareness, familiarity and consideration is a big transformational idea in an organization that hasn’t really thought about marketing the way I describe. And incidentally, I’m the first Chief Marketing and Branding Officer this organization’s long and rich history.

Drew: Let’s dive into the research more. What kinds of things did you want to track?

Arra: Not surprisingly, our awareness is high and we are a trusted brand. We need to help consumers better understand what we really stand for; that which makes us uniquely different. 23.5 hours a day people don’t think about healthcare. So we want to make sure that the moment when you do have to think about your personal care or the care of a loved one, you think of Sutter Health…and it’s in the most positive light. That’s why making an emotional connectional is so important. I want them to feel confident, I want them to feel as if they’re in control and they own their own destiny. Because at the end of the day the brand strategy for me is to increase physical, intellectual and emotional access to healthcare so people can more confidently and independently engage with their health.

Drew: How did you persuade the folks internally to invest in this research?

Arra: So interestingly we’ve already made that investment. We have all the data, it’s really about peeling the onion back to understand how the data can inform the way we think about communicating with different segments of consumer. So, customer segmentation and segmentation research is absolutely at the forefront of our new strategy. Doing panel research, understanding really what makes people emotionally tick so that we can do the right thing when, for example, they’re giving birth. I love to tell people because I found this out really by accident. At Sutter Health; we give birth to three kindergarten classes a day! Funny enough, one of every three consumers that I meet throughout our Northern California footprint introduce themselves to me as either having given birth or having being born at a Sutter Hospital. That’s a meaningful statistic. In fact, we take care of one out of every 100 Americans, one out of every 4 Northern Californians. These are truly remarkable statistics. We have in our DNA the spirit of doing amazing things for people every day – we just need to bring those stories to light.

Drew: What’s your advice for your fellow marketers?

Arra: It’s funny — about a week ago I was at an even at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose, we’re a partner to the San Jose Earthquakes, a Major League Soccer team they serve the same 100 communities that we serve. And it happened to be Saturday so we brought our ambulances, helicopters, and providers and it was great opportunity to activate the brand with the 10,000 people in the stands and generate some good will.

So my six-year-old son, my youngest with three of his friends clamored into Sutter Health mobile clinic and within minutes, they tried out a stethoscope and other cool tools. They then switch their roles; first doctor then patient. I watch their intellectual curiosity, their flexibility, and their focus and realize that they could change the world if given the opportunity. If we look at the world through their lens, we could change the world. And in this period of rapid evolution requiring great curiosity, determination and adaptability, we have the opportunity to do so. So I encourage marketers to have the courage to think way outside the box. It’s okay to fail. I tell people all the time, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I want them to really think differently; I think that’s paramount to success. Take some calculated risks; I think that’s super important.

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Social media for health: toolkit launched 

Social media for health: toolkit launched  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Skills for Health has today launched a comprehensive social media toolkit for the UK healthcare sector, providing healthcare organisations and professionals with sector-specific insight, advice and best practice on using social media effectively.


The free toolkit, created with support from Public Health Wales, key industry experts and employers, has been written with healthcare organisations of all sizes and social media capabilities in mind: whether organisations are new to social media and unsure where to start, or want to make sure their existing social presence is fit for purpose.

The toolkit covers everything from strategy to content creation, including guides to the key platforms and leading influencers to follow, examples of best practice, downloadable templates and additional resources, as well as advice on how to encourage organisations to embrace a digital culture.

Dawn Bratcher, Senior Marketing Manager for Skills for Health said:

‘30% of adults said they would share information about their health on social media and more than 40% said information found via social media affects how they deal with their health. Social media plays an ever-growing role in our daily lives, including the way we access and share information. Starting conversations online enables healthcare organisations to raise awareness, share information, engage with existing audiences and reach out to new ones.’

Download and share the social media toolkit here:

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6 Tips for Cracking the Code to Responsible Social Media Marketing in Medical Practices 

6 Tips for Cracking the Code to Responsible Social Media Marketing in Medical Practices  | Social Media and Healthcare |

In your medical practice marketing plan for 2017, it is important that you include your plans for social media for doctors. A social media presence for businesses has become increasingly important over the years. Consumers now comb through social media for reviews and comments from customers and patients before they even call or visit the location.

Unfortunately, a lot of business are making simple mistakes that are alienating their viewership and customer base. While these social media mistakes are seemingly harmless, they can negatively affect your inflow of new patients and also negatively impact your churn overall.

Here are the 6 mistakes to avoid in your social media marketing and what to do instead:

1. Oversharing –Ultimately, you want to have an engaging and interactive presence on social media. Some businesses do this by sharing a status update, picture, video, link, blog, or by going live once or several times an hour. This burdens your followers and makes it impossible to keep up (and also clogs up their newsfeed). Instead: Share no more and no less than two times per day. Be engaging and interactive by commenting on followers’ statuses and reviews.

2. Sharing Political or Religious Messages – While this may seem harmless (because you feel so strongly about a topic) you must remember that if you saw the opposite opinion on your favorite café’s Facebook page, you might be less interested in spending your money there (especially if you feel strongly about the topic). You don’t want to lose half of your followers and patients simply because you shared something that was close to you personally. Instead: If you want to share something close to you personally – share a fun picture of your family or pet. Cute animal pictures were the lifeblood of the internet in 2016, and it doesn’t look like that trend is going away anytime soon.

3. Sharing Clickbait Articles – While the title seems relevant and has a great tie back to your services, even quality content does not pass the test when it comes to clickbait. If a user clicks the link and is brought to a page where they must wade through layers and layers of ads to find the content – do not share that article. I repeat: DO. NOT. SHARE. This is currently one of the most frustrating experiences for consumers today, and their frustrations are not taken out on the author of the article, but instead are taken out of the person (or business) who shared the article. Instead: Comb through the article before sharing. A couple of banner ads are okay, but it should take no more than a few seconds to fully load. The user should not need to click “next” more than three times to get all of the information from the article.

4. Constant Selling – Today’s consumers do not like to feel as though they are being sold to. If all your updates, shares, and pictures are informing your patient that they need to buy a product or book an appointment, then you will lose their interest. Instead: Share unrelated content, such as cute facts about pandas or your favorite family recipe, at least once per day to break up the corporate business feel.

5. Ignoring Messages and Comments – This is often truly a mistake of experience rather than actively ignoring your patients. It is important to respond to messages (quickly, if possible) and to engage with your patients by responding to comments. Instead: If you aren’t sure if you are missing messages, hire a social media expert or a college grad to manage your social media marketing.

6. Skipping Days – It is important that your various social media sites are up-to-date and posted on twice daily. When you skip days, it sends the message to your consumers that the business may have closed or may be temporarily closed. Instead: Add social media management to one of your front desk associates responsibilities (with a pay raise) or hire an expert company to handle it for you.

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Make Your Medical Practice Successful in A Professional Way

Make Your Medical Practice Successful in A Professional Way | Social Media and Healthcare |

A detailed game plan is always required to win a marketing campaign. The plan must consist of proven strategies and tactics. It must consist of specific goals and the ways to measure the progress and results. Apart from the technical team, a doctor’s office has, it rarely has a broad and deep marketing talent. Although the entire team participates in the growth process, but still a plateau is reached when some outside help is required to move the growth curve upwards. Doctors who are determined to achieve something often partner themselves with the healthcare marketing and advertising agencies for growth in medical business.

The medical profession has gone through significant alterations in the previous years, thus making medical office marketing a highly relevant necessity. Marketing is one of the highly effective ways by which a doctor can differ itself from others in the pack, give more exposure to the community and bring in loyal patients. The marketing solutions for medical doctors are highly cost efficient and comparatively simpler to implement.

Enhance Referrals, Boost up Your Practice!

Patients usually depend upon the same type of physicians since past decades for getting referrals. One of the best marketing ideas is to involve young people in the network. If you are new to the certain area, the social media experts on the web will be glad to help you. They will give you access to a greater experience and can help to add many new patients to the referral roaster of your medical office.

Direct Access to The Local Media

The local media platforms will be within your reach. Media marketing campaigns for the medical office can involve different types of tasks such as distributing the newsletters along with the information about your services, reminder appointment cards for the patients, and after appointment assessment forms.

Contact Between Different Community Groups:

Associations in between different communities can give a good marketing platform for the medical office. You can post the blogs related to different diseases on the website and send can arrange for different educational videos for the prospective patients on the web.

Upgrading The Recent Website:

The promotion for your medical office must be through a professional, user-friendly website. In this way, it will become easier to market your services to the community. The websites can consist of health care philosophy and your own biographies, directions for the patients and a detailed list of upcoming events. If it is possible, then the website must contain easy-to-use online forms for the patients or so that they can contact the medical office for different types of services or queries.

Expanding Your Medical Services:

You can offer some expanded services on your website to promote yourself. The patients can benefit from health screenings or there can be a chance of having extended hours. Patients can also avail the treadmill testing. They can also have the house calls and other sorts of services like sports physical.

Medical office marketing is all about promoting yourself in the market. So, opt for it before it becomes too late.


Medical Social Marketing: Making You Move up Towards Soaring Heights of Your Profession!


Many business owners are trying to justify their investments in social media in terms of management and the benefits gained from it. One of the highest benefits of medical social marketing is getting the big wins. Big Wins do not just happen dramatically; they need strategic marketing techniques employed at the right time.

Marketing on the social media is the process by which one can capture the website traffic and immense attention by using the social media sites. The programs are usually focused on the efforts which are made to make your website rank first among other websites. Development of high-class content is one of the efforts which can encourage the patients to direct the patients towards your site. The SEO spreads a corporate message about your site which resonates from one website to the other because it seems to come from a reliable source, the medical practitioner itself! This is one form of marketing which is similar to the word-of-mouth because it results in earned media.

Social media is a platform which is highly accessible to everyone. It enhances the communication among different people and creates awareness for your medical profession. Furthermore, social media is the comparatively inexpensive platform on which different organizations can apply various types of marketing campaigns. Nearly all the professionals on the web recognize the power of social media and realize that it is not a simple passing fad.

Have a Chance to Generate Better Quality Ratings for Your Medical Practice: Get an Expert!

Nowadays, most of the doctors have their own Facebook page. Social media platforms are used to search for the medical information, search for the signs and symptoms, and get different opinions about doctors. Most of the people trust the information which is shared by other patients on these platforms. There are many engaged users on the internet, which means that there are larger chances of getting more patients and generate more revenue. When you are on the social media platforms, you get more chances to communicate with people across the borders than only with those who pass through your clinic doors.

The patients all over the world today depend upon the social media to gain information about where they can good medical care. They want to learn about the treatment that will be given to them by the doctor so that they are able to commit themselves to full agreement. Patients also share various posts with the friends at no cost. This is one of the highly trusted ways to grab more patients.

Get Happier and Satisfied Patients from Larger Platforms on The Web!

Social media presence can demonstrate your expertise in the field of medicine and demonstrate your willingness to interact with different types of patients. Apart from wanting to learn about the treatment which will be provided by you, patients also learn about your practice. Social media gives the opportunity to show off your personality in a nice and different manner from the competitors.

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Social Media in Healthcare: Uses & Benefits

Social Media in Healthcare: Uses & Benefits | Social Media and Healthcare |

The use of social media in healthcare is continuously rising, especially with more people looking to the Internet for medical advice. Physicians and doctors using social media can provide a plethora of information to other professionals in the industry as well as patients looking to expand their knowledge. In addition to research, patients look to social media to learn about other patient experiences. Social media can serve as a means of communication without an appointment, but make sure you are utilizing your platform correctly.

Professional Use of Social Media in Healthcare

Educate Patients

According to Mediabistro, over 40% of consumers testified that information found through social media affects the way they deal with their health. Instead of waiting for your appointment with a patient, social media gives a greater opportunity to influence daily routines and choices. Using social media to interact can limit the number of times you get the “No, I’m stubborn, and I didn’t do what you suggested in the last appointment” type of patient at a follow-up.

Interact with other Physicians & Doctors

There are many social networking websites designed specifically for the community of healthcare professionals. Maybe you can’t justify the time spent on personal social networking pages, but professional use is different. These specific platforms allow the opportunity to ask questions, as well as share information and opinions on certain topics.


Along with not having time to lead a personal social networking life, it might be hard to find free time to search for new findings in the medical world on your own. Through social media, you can see what your peers are sharing to at least get a clue on the latest developments and discoveries. When you finally find the time, you can dive deeper into the ones that interest you on your own.

Develop Transparency

Transparency is a controversial topic in the medical industry and by using social media in healthcare, providers can improve credibility. By posting on social media, both professionals and patients can get a better understanding of your work. It can also give patients a greater feeling of comfort when choosing you as their doctor/physician.

How Can Patients Benefit From Social Media in Healthcare?

Quick Answers

Sometimes patients have questions to ask, but they don’t think of them until they get home from their appointment. By using the establishment’s social tool, they can just log on and ask away. Of course, they might not get an answer instantaneously, but it can be easier than calling and being put on hold until someone can get to them.

Patients can also look to other social media outlets for simple answers that they don’t need their specific doctor to answer. They realize that someone else out there probably has had the same issue, so they research and find an answer quickly.

Peer Support

Going along with the “you’re not alone” idea, people look to social media to connect with others experiencing the same thing. Many social networking sites provide forums for users to ask questions and have them answered by peers or professionals. Sometimes it can be frustrating to go through something alone that you’re not well educated on, so seeing someone else say “yeah, that happened to me too” can be reassuring.


Patients who are searching for healthcare can look to social media for information on doctors, hospitals, specialties, etc. This goes back to the transparency factor. Previous patients can provide reviews on social media and physicians can also build their own identity for users to see. Having this information can build confidence in choosing the right provider and care location.

Keep in mind that if social media is used with poor judgment or in an illegal manner, it will negatively affect your credibility as well as your employer’s. You could even lose your license to practice if you aren’t careful. If you are unsure of your establishment’s rules for social media or the current legal regulations, be sure to do some research before you start posting.

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5 Experts Share Their Tips For Doing Patient-Centric Marketing Right 

5 Experts Share Their Tips For Doing Patient-Centric Marketing Right  | Social Media and Healthcare |

According to a study by the American Medical Association, people in the U.S. have to wait an average of three weeks for an appointment and, when they show up, 30 minutes to see a doctor.

In today’s digital age, where seamless, personalized experiences are the norm, healthcare is often left looking outdated and clunky.

Consumers expect highly customized online experiences. Food delivery apps remember to surface your favorite restaurants and avoid dishes with ingredients you’re allergic to. E-commerce sites use social media channels to retarget you and remind you of the pair of pants you’ve left in your cart. In fact, 85% or brands report that their businesses are based on segmentation.

In recent years, many healthcare companies have started to recognize this shift in the marketing dynamic and are starting to implement patient-centric marketing. Putting the patient first can build trust, drive engagement, and make it easier for patients to help practitioners help them.

So what does patient-centric marketing look like in practice?

We tapped five thought leaders in the space to share their strategies:

1) Brian Sparker, Head of Content Marketing, ReviewTrackers

“The modern-day patient is being inundated with messages from healthcare brands and marketers who still think they can control the message. Social media has fundamentally changed the way patients interact with marketing.

Healthcare marketers with the desire to make their marketing focused on patients should always start with the patients. The audience is willing to share their feedback and tell you how to successfully market to them, without reservations. Many marketers spend too much time developing strategies without really understanding who they are strategizing for, or without a way to measure and recognize success.

Success will be personal and determined by strategy. For me, that means the patient had a positive healthcare experience, and becomes a loyal advocate to the healthcare brand.

The best KPI to measure patient experiences is loyalty, specifically Net Promoter Score. When a patient becomes a promoter, they are advocating for the healthcare brand and can have a compound effect.”

2) Alexis Sheehy, MBA, Brand Communications Manager at Klara

“Patient-centric marketing is built with the patient experience in mind. Patients are the nucleus of the healthcare industry, and their opinions are important.

In building a patient-centric marketing program, you are… establishing credibility for your brand or practice.

For physicians, a patient-centered approach should be directly tied to new patient acquisition and current patient retention. According to Fred Joyal, author of “Everything Is Marketing,” 81% of patients come to you through word-of-mouth referral.

It’s important to practice social media monitoring and have a strategy in place to respond to comments on your review pages. Investing advertising dollars into featuring your profile on such sites will also boost your visibility.

Patients have more resources now to “shop around” for healthcare. Providers and healthcare organizations have to step up marketing initiatives to differentiate themselves.”

“Don’t tell patients why you’re so great [as a healthcare provider]. Emphasize what you can do for them, how you can give them what they want. Every patient wants to know how much it’s going to cost them, so price transparency is the perfect “carrot” for generating leads.

3) Jonathan Kaplan MD, Founder/CEO, BuildMyBod

“Through my platform BuildMyBod Health, we allow patients to determine cost ahead of time, and in exchange, the healthcare provider receives a lead. Consumers need to know their out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services whether it’s a medically necessary service that’s paid out of pocket because they haven’t met their deductible or because it’s considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance.

We have generated over 16,000 leads (name, email address, phone number, ZIP code and procedures of interest) for the healthcare providers in our network.

We follow two things: the number of wish lists submitted from consumers each month as well as the number of unique individuals submitting those wishlists. Additionally, we track phone calls, impressions and number of clicks on video links included in the email wishlists that allow the consumer to learn more about the service they’re interested in from that particular doctor.”

4) Sarah O’Leary, Founder of Exhale Healthcare Advocates

“…It’s not about the patient at all, it’s about the person who makes the decision. The “shopper”  in the household.

A little over three years ago, I founded Exhale Healthcare Advocates after realizing that the healthcare industry was almost completely ignoring “shoppers”, or the people who actually make the purchase decisions about healthcare in the family unit.

So who is the shopper?  Well, in over 70% of the families, it’s Mom. If you’re not meeting her intimate wants (she considers healthcare intimate), needs and desires of allaying her fears, making her feel less alone and protecting her family’s fiscal and physical health, you’re losing.

Health insurance companies and healthcare providers… are far too vertical for their own good. They don’t have enough outside blood from other industries that can deliver new, fresh ideas on how to reach the shopper. As a result, they talk to themselves about their brand rather than figuring out how to meet the wants, needs and desires of their most important audience — the one making the purchase decision.

The competition is greater than ever, and healthcare companies need to change their approach if they want to survive and thrive.

I say give health care 10 to 20 years, and I’m sure they’ll get the hang of it!”

5) Caspar A. Szulc, President & Co-Founder of Innovative Medicine, LLC

“At Innovative Medicine, we improved patient satisfaction by transforming the patient experience and providing sustainable health goals.

We reverse-engineered the patient lifecycle by working backwards, starting with a happy and healthy patient post-treatment. Working backwards, we were able to formulate a patient-centric, results-based model. In this “patient-first” model, the most critical goal is to always produce the highest levels of patient success through the complete restoration of health.

Doctors/practitioners who work in this model focus solely on healing, rather than troubling themselves with other administrative and non-medical tasks.

Tracking satisfaction through surveys, we also saw that these changes boosted our referrals and word-of-mouth. We saw international patients coming into the center after hearing about our unique way of treatment and the success that other patients’ have found with our center.

It all comes down to producing a patient experience that markets itself through your happy patients.”


A successful patient-centric marketing program starts with relinquishing control. Healthcare companies need to create channels for patients to share feedback and build their own experiences – whether it’s through surveys, focus groups, or social media monitoring.

Patients that are being heard will be happier and healthier.

The thing is, patient-centric marketing is nothing new for healthcare. Healthcare marketers are arguably the original experts at personalization. The practice of treating and caring for patients is ingrained in the basic DNA of healthcare.

Healthcare marketers have an edge up on other industries that have just started experimenting with one-to-one marketing in recent years. It’s just a matter of finding the right tools to scale and amplify these efforts.

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Social media for patients: benefits and drawbacks

Social media for patients: benefits and drawbacks | Social Media and Healthcare |

Purpose of review

Social media is increasingly utilized by patients to educate themselves on a disease process and to find hospital, physicians, and physician networks most capable of treating their condition. However, little is known about quality of the content of the multiple online platforms patients have to communicate with other potential patients and their potential benefits and drawbacks.

Recent findings

Patients are not passive consumers of health information anymore but are playing an active role in the delivery of health services through an online environment. The control and the regulation of the sources of information are very difficult. The overall quality of the information was poor. Bad or misleading information can be detrimental for patients as well as influence their confidence on physicians and their mutual relationship.


Orthopedic surgeons and hospital networks must be aware of these online patient portals as they provide important feedback on the patient opinion and experience that can have a major impact on future patient volume, patient opinion, and perceived quality of care.

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How SEO for Doctors Can Improve Your Practice - 

How SEO for Doctors Can Improve Your Practice -  | Social Media and Healthcare |

You are always on the lookout for the best way to get new patients into your practice. But instead of using the flashiest method, you should stick to using the techniques that are proven to work, like SEO. SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s how close to the top of Google’s search results when someone searches for a topic related to your practice.

Over 80% of people do not look past the very first page of Google results when searching for something online. If your page does not rank well against your competitors, you could be losing out on potential patients who do not know that your practice could serve their needs. A proper SEO strategy feeds into all other aspects of digital marketing. A strong SEO strategy means your current patients can find you easier, and potential patients feel more compelled to give your practice a look. If you’re still unclear about how SEO for doctors can improve your practice, here are just a few of the compelling reasons.

The Importance of Organic Traffic to Your Practice’s Website

There are two ways be on the first page of Google’s results, paid and organic. When you pay to have your result near the top, you appear as one of the first three or four results at the very top of the page. This is the designated section for paid results and the results will say “ad” next to them; research shows only 33% of people click on these results.

The other kind of result, and the more desired of the two, are organic results. These results are the pages that Google deems the best in a given subject, and it’s been shown that almost 90% of people click on these first-page results.

You need to make sure that every part of your digital marketing strategy is geared toward boosting your organic Google results. Whether that’s optimizing your practice’s keywords, targeting your blogs or developing a social media profile, you should always be looking at Google.

The more you optimize your site for SEO, the more people click on your practice and the higher it gets on Google. This drives more people to click on it, which brings it even higher, and it’s a cyclical process that results in you being #1.

Finding the Right Keywords for Your Website

A strong SEO strategy starts with identifying the best keywords to incorporate into your site. This is much more complex than simply stringing together the types of services your practice offers. In addition to identifying your specialty, you also need to incorporate your office location and the type of patient that you are trying to attract.

A Crystal Clear Digital Marketing invests a considerable amount of time in identifying the top keywords to get your website popping up at the top of Google’s search results. This process involves researching your specific practice and taking a close look at what your nearest competitors are using regarding website content.

Incorporating the Keywords into your Marketing Strategy

Once your keywords are established, there is a science behind how those words are incorporated into your marketing strategy. For every blog post and landing page on your website, there is a method of tagging keywords and incorporating them into the code behind your site so that Google has an easier job of finding your great content.

There are subtle ways to incorporate keywords into content, such as naming images and paying attention to keyword saturation and tagging. They may seem technical to do, but they each have an important goal in SEO marketing.

Post Meaningful Content

Google has an algorithm that it uses to help rank websites in search results. This algorithm rewards websites that have extensive and updated content with higher search rankings than their competitors. To make the most of your SEO strategy, you must constantly be producing engaging content that will connect with your readers. The reason that having useful content matters is that the algorithm is designed to search for keyword stuffing. This means that you cannot overuse the same keyword too many times within a small text just to try to trick the algorithm into giving you a better search engine ranking.

There is a fine art to creating content for your website that connects with patients and also incorporates enough of the important keywords to rank at the top of search engine results. Without having a team of digital marketing experts dedicated to monitoring and updating your content, you could fall well behind your competitors regarding where you rank in search results.

Your Location Matters

Whenever you log into the internet, you’re doing it via an IP address. An IP address is a unique code your internet provider creates which includes your location. Websites have the ability to read you IP address and figure out where you are currently located. This is why you will see ads that quote where you’re currently living. Google also reads this IP address and provides local results.

By including your practice’s location in your keywords and on your website, you are telling Google to include you in those results.

SEO Boosts Your Overall Digital Marketing Efforts

SEO is a crucial component in your overall digital marketing plan. Your website design, social media management, and paid advertising campaigns must all be designed with an eye to enhancing your website’s digital footprint. When you choose a digital marketing firm to guide you through this process, it is vital that you find a firm that takes a comprehensive approach to marketing.

When you choose Crystal Clear Digital Marketing as your marketing firm, you’re getting years of SEO expertise behind your website. We’ll ensure that your website’s look, copy, keywords, emails, and blogs are all created with the goal of making you Google’s #1 website for where you are.

Finding a Top Digital Marketing Service for SEO

When you rely on the team at Crystal Clear for your SEO and digital marketing needs, you can rest assured that you are leaving your digital marketing in seasoned hands. If you want to make sure your marketing dollars are not going to waste, you need to do your homework to be sure that the firm you choose has a long track record of helping out other clients in your industry. At Crystal Clear, we know the medical field inside and out because we devote our time and resources to helping clients in the medical industry to grow their business.

To find out how the skilled and dedicated digital marketing team at Crystal Clear can help your practice bring in new patients and enhance its digital image, call us right away at 888-611-8279. We can answer any of your questions about how SEO can improve your medical practice and tell you more about how we use our decades of experience in marketing to give your medical practice the boost you have been waiting for.

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