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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Doctors get new guidelines on using social media

Doctors get new guidelines on using social media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Doctors, you may not add your patients as friends on Facebook.

And if your patients try to do so, you can accept the requests, but do not share anything that might compromise their privacy or jeopardise your own professionalism.

These were among the new guidelines on social media use for medical professionals under the updated Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines released by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) yesterday.

"Social media is now part of everyday life and doctors use it as well," said Dr Tan Chi Chiu, chairman of the working committee for the review of the guidelines.

He added that the guidelines needed to reflect this, among other developments, but that "the principles of protecting patient confidentiality and doctors maintaining professional conduct remain the same".


The guidelines, which were last revised in 2002, were updated to keep up with a "more complex" medical practice due to advanced technology, innovative communication, new modes of treatment, a wide range of organisational and business models in medicine, as well as changing patient expectations, said the SMC.


Social media is now part of everyday life and doctors use it as well.

DR TAN CHI CHIU, chairman of the working committee for the review of the Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines.


I have responded to repeat patients' WhatsApp messages about their (medical) condition, but it's only a last resort.

DR SAM WONG, a general practitioner with Parkway Shenton Group, on using social media.


I mostly get general inquiries about the clinic through e-mail and follow-up questions from repeat patients that don't need a medical diagnosis.

DR LEE KWOK KEONG, a general practitioner at Avenue K Clinic in Punggol, who does not give out his mobile number to patients.

Under the new guidelines, medical practitioners should not initiate social media relationships with patients.

But if patients initiate such contact with them, they can respond - with the earlier mentioned caveats in mind.

This is to prevent other people from having access to confidential medical matters discussed on social media platforms, according to the new guidelines.

Patients may also be put in a position where they feel pressurised or obliged to engage with practitioners, said the guidelines.

In fact, even if no medical information is shared online, medical confidentiality may be breached if the information is shared in a way that allows others to find out about the doctor-patient relationship.

Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, online forums, Web chat sites and blogs, and refer to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content and network socially, said Dr Tan.

Doctors who The Straits Times spoke to said they rarely use social media for professional matters, and are careful about the information shared with patients in the event that they use it.

"I have responded to repeat patients' WhatsApp messages about their (medical) condition, but it's only a last resort," said Dr Sam Wong, a general practitioner with Parkway Shenton Group.

Dr Lee Kwok Keong, a general practitioner at Avenue K Clinic in Punggol, does not give out his mobile number to patients, preferring to use e-mail instead.

"I mostly get general inquiries about the clinic through e-mail and follow-up questions from repeat patients that don't need a medical diagnosis," he said.

His clinic has a Facebook page but does not use the messaging function to communicate with patients.

Besides the social media provisions, the guidelines have also been updated for aesthetic practice and telemedicine, the practice of using telecommunication and information technology to provide healthcare services or information beyond geographical or legal borders.

The revised ethical code and guidelines will take effect on Jan 1 next year.

An accompanying SMC handbook on medical ethics has additional material on the code and guidelines.

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The Dynamic Role of Social Media in Medical Education

Grand Rounds lecture presented at Palmetto Health Richland Emergency Medicine Residency Program / University of South Carolina School of Medicine, August 2016.
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Doctors: Bring your practice website to the 21st-century

Doctors: Bring your practice website to the 21st-century | Social Media and Healthcare |

Patients seem to be increasingly comfortable managing their health care through digital media. Last summer, our private practice of eight retinal specialists decided to find out exactly how comfortable.

From July to August, 2015, we conducted a survey of 200 of our patients during their office visit and asked them what health-care related tasks they were already doing online. Using this data, we’re starting to look at how our medical practice might evolve to better serve our patients.

Specifically, we wanted to know how many of them used their smartphone, tablet, or personal computer to perform these routine health related tasks:

Schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Pay a medical bill.
Read an online doctor review.
Research a medical condition.
In general, utilization of online service to do any of these was inversely proportional to age.

Scheduling a doctor’s appointment

Even though our practice is largely referral-based (meaning other doctors send patients to us to help diagnose and manage their condition), we are seeing that many of our younger patients prefer the convenience of scheduling an appointment online much like they would use to make a dinner reservation. Online outfits like ZocDoc seem to thrive on this type of service.

Paying a medical bill online

Who has stamps anymore? Online commerce is everywhere, and people are more comfortable than ever with online payment platforms. 21st-century medical practices should consider creating an online portal on their websites able to take payments.

Not only is this more convenient, anytime you can make it easier for patients to settle their medical bill can only help your bottom line. The next question is whether or not your practice is going to accept Apple or Samsung pay.

Read online doctor reviews

Yup. Our patients read them, and doctors can’t ignore them, no matter how good you think you are.

It’s well known that consumers are more likely to post a scathing review reporting terrible service than to post one of great care that they have come to expect as standard.

It doesn’t matter if most of your patients are Medicare-aged where only 27 percent of them actually read your reviews. Why? Because younger people consider them important and younger people often help their parents choose a doctor.

Likewise, younger patients will eventually become your older ones.

Do yourself a favor, look up your reviews. If there are any one Star duds, bury them with a ton of five Star complements. Consider reputation management services to help you follow and ultimately boost your ratings. In a digital world where we are constantly measured in “likes,” you’ve got to play the game.

Research a medical condition

Our findings show that a large majority of patients, young and old, are scouring Internet media to see if a “sudden onset of cobwebs” in their vision is normal. Because of this, it makes sense to update your practice’s website with the most up-to-date medical information within your specialty. Stay current. Put it in layman’s language.

Consider providing links to reputable online sources such as your professional academy’s website or well-respected medical institutions like the Mayo Clinic or

Also, during visits, be prepared for a much more “informed” patient and be open to guiding them towards useful online resources. An “informed” patient is much better than a misinformed one, and you can’t always believe what you read on the Internet. Blogs included!

Stay ahead of the competition

Health care will always be a service profession. Part of providing great service is being able to adapt to how our patients continue to change how they manage their health.

Perhaps our research may help practices decide whether or not to offer specific online services. Each medical practice should decide for themselves if it’s worth the investment based on their patient population’s preferences.

I wouldn’t be surprised that in the near future, practice website’s might include patient portals, virtual avatars, and telemedicine at a click of button.

Just remember, all the bells and whistles on your website won’t ever replace sound medical decision making and great bedside manner in the overall care of your patient.

But, it might help them find you.

Robert Wong is a retina specialist who blogs at 36th and Hamilton.

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Healthcare professionals in social media

Slides from Daniel Ghinn's presentation at King's Fund Digital Health & Care Congress in London, 2015
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How Not to Respond to Bad Patient Reviews Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the advice Adler offers:

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Choose the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Practice

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

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

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

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

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

The Role of Digital Marketing in Today's Healthcare Environment

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

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

Key Elements Healthcare Companies Should Consider for Their Digital Marketing Strategy

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

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

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

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

Examples of Best Practices in Healthcare

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

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

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

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

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

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Even More Proof That Google Deserves Your Medical Marketing Dollars

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Local Search

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

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

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

Mobile Optimization

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

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

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

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

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Healthcare guide to Social Media Marketing

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

Social networking for patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

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

Invaluable for patients

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

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

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

Raising awareness

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

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

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

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

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

Information exchanges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Moorfields Eye Hospital. Patient information—external disease and corneal Acanthamoeba keratitis.
  2.  Emanuel Syndrome.
  3. Facebook. Company info.
  4. Facebook. Cluster headache support group.
  5. Bender JL, Jimenez-Marroquin MC, Jadad AR. Seeking support on facebook: a content analysis of breast cancer groups. J Med Internet Res2011;13:e16. doi:10.2196/jmir.1560 pmid:21371990.
  6. Al Mamun M, Ibrahim HM, Turin TC. Social media in communicating health information: an analysis of Facebook groups related to hypertension. Prev Chronic Dis2015;12:E11. doi:10.5888/pcd12.140265 pmid:25633486.
  7. Facebook. Facebook groups.
  8. National Aspergillosis Center. Support for people with aspergillosis.
  9. Fathom. Six considerations when using Facebook groups in healthcare. 23 Sept 2015.
  10. Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Code of practice for the pharmaceutical industry. 2015.
  11. TaylorWessing. Social media in the pharmaceutical sector. June 2013.
  12. General Medical Council. Doctors’ use of social media. 2013.
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How I use social media for medical education (and why you should, too!)

How I use social media for medical education (and why you should, too!) | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a great tool for medical educators, but, like anything else worth doing, it takes some effort to get started. Social media allows you to teach, learn, collaborate, research, socialize, produce scholarship, and advance your career.  Here’s how I’ve used social media over the past two years, and why you may want to dive in as well.


Create a project to improve medical education: I organized #RheumIOW (Rheumatology Image Of the Week), a project where fellows from across the country generated questions based on an online Rheumatology Image Bank.  Questions were distributed on social media, including on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Users were able to take advantage of the “testing effect” by seeing the question, thinking of the answer, and then clicking the link for the solution.

View image on Twitter
  Follow AmerCollRheumatology @ACRheum

#RheumIOW: What abnormality is seen in 3rd digit of this 85yo F w/ osteoarthritis? Answer→ ;

10:42 PM - 13 Sep 2016     11 Retweet   11 like


Teach: Social media opens the doors of your classroom and provides you with access to millions of learners worldwide.  It’s a great opportunity to get your messages across.

View image on Twitter
  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

Active learning is superior to lectures, especially for minorities. Time to change #MedEd! ;

6:24 PM - 14 Sep 2015     11 Retweet   22 likes


To write and develop ideas through writing.  I was taught in high school that you should think about what you want to write, create an outline, and then write down your thoughts.  However, for me, the process is completely backwards.  I begin to write, and through my writing I discover what I think. Having a blog is a great motivator to write!

Participate in online journal clubs: #RheumJC: Leading and participating in an online journal club has been a great experience.  You get to discuss an article with your peers, as well as with the journal authors,  providers in other specialties…and even patients!

Keep up to date with the medical education literature. You can follow journals (such as Academic Medicine,Medical Teacher, Journal of Graduate Medical Education), medical education groups (Academy of Medical Educators, Association of American Medical Colleges) and other medical educators who curate the web and select the best material to share (@FutureDocs, @HollyGoodMD).

To crowdsource ideas: Twitter is a fantastic way to get wonderful ideas about any project you’re working on (such as this one!)

  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

I'm working on a workshop on how social media can help medical educators. What are your thoughts? Any useful references?#meded #rheum

7:14 PM - 9 Sep 2016     88 Retweets   1414 likes


Conduct research. I have polled users about everything from money, to controversial diseases, the benefits of using social media professionally, etc. I have then taken some of these ideas as preparatory work for more controlled research.

  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

Docs--would you rather have more time or more money? Answer below then read: ; via @isa75012

7:41 PM - 11 Sep 2016 71%More time! 29%More $$$! 31 votes•Final results     33 Retweets   11 like


Receive feedback: There’s nothing quite like the almost-instant feedback you get from Twitter users about any idea you share. This is what I received a few seconds after posting that I was doing a 30 minute workshop on social media:

10 Sep Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

@kidney_boy is that a trick question? ;-) A 30 min interactive session for physicians interested in #meded at my hospital

  Follow Matt Sparks @Nephro_Sparks

@hausmannMD @kidney_boy suggest more that 30min

12:34 AM - 10 Sep 2016     Retweets   11 like


To learn.  Studies have shown that passive learning, such as reading or listening to a lecture, is not as effective as active learning is in promoting retention and understanding of the material.  Participating in social media by creating new content (as in a blog post, a Tweet, or an online comment) is at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy and will help you in your own education.

To disseminate my work: I have shared tweets about projects that I’m involved in, publications I’ve authored, guest blog posts I’ve written.

View image on Twitter
  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

What temp is a fever? Great article from @WSJ that discusses our @feverprints app! ; #rheum

11:51 PM - 11 Apr 2016     33 Retweets   99 likes


To meet others with similar interests: By RTing, replying, liking, and asking questions to others, you can develop relationships online (and they may eventually become real!). Here’s a group of rheumatology patients, nurses, doctors, advocates who tweet…together at our Annual Meeting.

View image on Twitter
  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

Best part of #ACR14 ? Meeting these people!

8:53 AM - 17 Nov 2014     33 Retweets   1111 likes


Participate in online chats.  There are a lot of brilliant people on social media, although it may be challenging to find them. One common ground for like-minded individuals are recurring Twitter chats about various subjects. For medical educators, you may be interested in the #MedEd Twitter chat which is held on Thursday nights at 9pm Eastern.

  Follow MedEd Chat @MedEdChat

TOPIC 1: How important is grantwriting in the education of#medstudents & faculty? How should it be incorporated into#meded & fac dvlpment?

6:38 AM - 9 Sep 2016     11 Retweet   11 like


To participate in conferences: Most conferences offer an overwhelming amount of information. After a lecture, identifying the most important point, and writing it down in your own words (in less than 140 characters) is surprisingly efficient form of learning. Similarly, I can comment on a lecture and read about what other attendees found important.

  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

Using Google is just as good and fast as using an evidence-based database to answer medical questions. #ACR14#meded

2:19 AM - 17 Nov 2014     99 Retweets   88 likes


To learn about what others are doing: You can learn a lot about a person by the 140 characters they use. Often they tell you their interests, their research, their projects…it’s a fantastic opportunity for collaboration!

  Follow Michael Green @mjg15

Our article on comics in medical education was just published in JAMA and picked up by NPR: …;

1:10 AM - 9 Dec 2015 Medical Students See Their Mentors As Marauding Monsters

Comics drawn by medical students show the intimidation and abuse they say they get from their supervisors. Depression is more common in young physicians, too. That's not good for doctor or patient.     22 Retweets   33 likes



To share: When I read an interesting article, I often share it on Twitter. It’s an easy way of spreading knowledge that I think would interest and benefit others.

View image on Twitter
  Follow Jonathan Hausmann MD @hausmannMD

Daniel Khaneman thinks doctors are "noisy." Read his brilliant article & find out why ; #meded

9:30 AM - 8 Sep 2016     66 Retweets   1515 likes


How have you leveraged social media for medical education?  Leave your comments below!

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Physicians Can Help Influence Vaccine Opinions By Engaging Patients on Social Media

Physicians Can Help Influence Vaccine Opinions By Engaging Patients on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Dr. John Merrill-Steskal has spent 22 years as a Family Medicine Physician.  He believes that doctors can help promote healthy behaviors by becoming more engaged on social media. Throughout the past year, in an effort to help shape public perception on a variety of medical topics such as vaccines, Dr. Merrill-Steskal has begun hosting a monthly radio show,  blogging at Triple Espresso MD, and contributing guest posts on other blogs such as KevinMD.  We welcome his latest contribution:

Vaccine hesitancy: It’s time to go on offenseby John Merrill-Steskal, MD

The term “vaccine hesitancy” is a relatively recent term in medicine, a term used to describe patients who are worried about the safety, efficacy, or necessity of receiving immunizations. Vaccines are safe and have a proven track record of saving lives. As a result, doctors have been caught somewhat off guard by the notion that anyone would have second thoughts about the benefits of immunization.

Recommendations commonly publicized on how to respond to the vaccine hesitant patient are admirable, and have a calm, respectful tone.  For example, doctors are encouraged to engage patients and respond to their concerns, while giving a clear message to recommend vaccination. Since treating patients disrespectfully or with disdain will only serve to alienate them further, being respectful, calm, and clear in our communication is our best chance at tipping the scales in favor of vaccination

The problem with this approach, however, is that physicians are on the defensive before a discussion even begins. And as in sports, a good defense without an offense will not win the game. Because of where we talk to patients, doctors are at a critical disadvantage: the physical place in which physicians engage patients about vaccines is typically the exam room, and by the time patients have arrived to the clinic they may well have already formed their opinions about vaccines.

As a result, physicians are forced to respond and react to concerns, and must attempt to reclaim ground that has already been lost. In other words, because of the nature of where physicians physically interact with and engage patients, we are by default always on the defensive as we work to dispel myths and misinformation regarding vaccine safety or efficacy.

To make a true difference on vaccine hesitancy, I think doctors must engage patients where the dialog is happening in real time: in the world of social media.

Every day patients acquire information, discuss concerns, and formulate opinions within the realm of social media.  By the time a patient enters the exam room, their mind may already be made up about vaccines. While our discussions with individual patients in exam rooms will always be important, it is becoming equally important for physicians to enter the dialog where it is being created, before the patient arrives at the clinic. Physicians need to pay attention to what patients are talking about on social media, and need to be a part of that dialog.  If we don’t, we will always be on the defensive.

If we are to advance vaccination, physicians must leave the safety of the exam room and meet patients where their opinions are being created.  Start a blog, tweet an opinion grounded in science, or engage patients online; by having a stronger voice in social media, doctors have the opportunity to be more influential in shaping opinions before our patients have become “hesitant“.
 It is time to go on the offensive, and is the only way we will win the game.

Dr. Merrill-Steskal is joined by a guest on his monthly radio show.



Dr. John Merrill-Steskal has recently been accepted to the 2016 American Academy of Family Physicians Vaccine Science Fellowship, an elite fellowship program which only accepts two providers per year.  We look forward to learning more about his work in the area of immunization education and we suggest readers also check out his other immunization related blog posts such as Past and Present: Rubella and Zika and Can the anti-vaccine movement be convinced with more positive messages?  

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Doctors and social media : New Guidelines - Medical Dialogues

Doctors and social media : New Guidelines - Medical Dialogues | Social Media and Healthcare |

Is it OK to become friends with a patient on Facebook? With the expanding use of social media, this is a question that often pops in a practitioner’s mind. Often, doctors receive friend requests from their patients on facebook ( as well as other social media) or a name of a patient crops up in the suggestion box prompting a practitioner to send a request. “Should i do this?“, is a question that comes to mind then, with the answer and the actions thereof depending on the doctor’s viewpoint and h...

Read more at Medical Dialogues: Doctors and social media : New Guidelines

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What's Up With WhatsApp? Implications for Healthcare Organizations

What's Up With WhatsApp? Implications for Healthcare Organizations | Social Media and Healthcare |

As WhatsApp's reach surges and its penetration deepens—even among hard-to-reach older and poorer populations—it is critical for healthcare organizations to gain insight into the pros and cons of its use, as well as its appropriate position within a larger social media strategy. The combining of WhatsApp and Facebook opens up new opportunities for strengthening and evaluating communications with key audiences—but also poses risks that are important to consider when defining WhatsApp's place in a social media program.

It's hard to overstate the popularity of WhatsApp, the Internet-based text and voice call mobile app acquired in 2014 by Facebook for $19 billion. Seven years after its founding, WhatsApp currently boasts 500 million monthly active users, roughly equivalent to a third of Facebook's 1.49 billion monthly active users. WhatsApp currently supports about 100 million voice calls daily. While this volume is only 3% of the roughly 3 billion or so calls made daily in the United States, the company didn't even offer voice services until February 2015.

The WhatsApp platform has many appealing advantages over other communications channels. WhatsApp eschews third-party banner ads, doesn't mine user-generated content, applies layers of security to keep communications within a person's social network private and provides end-to-end encryption to keep messages, voice calls and uploaded files private. Pairing this relatively noncommercial and private channel with Facebook's reach and social marketing analytics opens up new possibilities for the way healthcare organizations devise their social media and consumer engagement strategies.

WhatsApp does not yet support widespread consumer-to-business direct communications. However, recent changes to the WhatsApp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy suggest that it is moving in that direction. In the not too distant future, it may be possible for healthcare organizations to integrate Facebook social marketing with a private connection so consumers can privately schedule an appointment, submit biometric data, receive health coaching or participate in a private group.

Of concern to privacy watchdogs is that WhatsApp will begin integrating its service with Facebook to "improve its services" and unify efforts across all Facebook platforms to fight spam, make product suggestions and show relevant offers and ads on Facebook. None of the changes, which took effect on August 25, 2016 for new WhatsApp users, will result in data mining or sharing of user-generated content from WhatsApp messages, photos or account information. Even so, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has apparently signaled its intention to carefully review the revised Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, to determine whether any changes are deceptive or violate a 2011 settlement agreement that Facebook made with the FTC in connection with earlier misuses of personal data.

10 Key Considerations for Healthcare Organizations

While the FTC undertakes this review, healthcare organizations could benefit from developing a better understanding of how WhatsApp operates, and its anticipated role in Facebook's revenue growth.

To determine the role WhatsApp could play in their own social media strategies, here are the top 10 things that forward-thinking healthcare organizations should know about WhatsApp:

1. Scale and Code Stability. A service as big and complex as WhatsApp does not become successful without immense IT, talent and financial resources. Like Amazon, which built the profitable Amazon Web Services as a white-label version of its underlying service platform, Facebook is positioning WhatsApp as an infrastructure-as-a-service business solution for Internet-based direct-to-consumer communications.

2. Security. WhatsApp rankled government officials last spring when it introduced end-to-end encryption to its app, but even before that, WhatsApp platform was built for privacy. Messages are stored on the device associated with an individual's cell phone number, not on multiple devices. WhatsApp servers delete messages after they are delivered, or if a message has not been delivered within 30 days. Undelivered messages are encrypted with an irreversible one-way hash that makes it nearly impossible to decrypt a message without the recipient's phone. On its face, WhatsApp's focus on privacy may seem counterintuitive to Facebook's core business, except that businesses want to keep their conversations with customers private and, at the same time, use Facebook to prompt consumers to initiate private conversations. For an infrastructure-as-a-service business solution to be successful, Facebook has to keep these communications secure from the prying eyes of its natural language processing algorithms.

3. Identity Authentication. Facebook's growth depends on its continuous vigilance to root out and proactively guard against identity theft. Healthcare organizations are subject to Meaningful Use and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule to implement identity authentication controls on their patient- or member-facing portals. A disinterested observer might reasonably conclude that Facebook's systems for authenticating a user's identity are sufficiently strong for at least some types of personal health information.

4. Reach. Anyone with a smartphone, cell phone number and Internet connection can use WhatsApp. Some WhatsApp users might even forego cellular data service entirely if they can make phone calls wherever they have Wi-Fi-based access to broadband. Widely available, free broadband access and Wi-Fi may be expected over time. For example, New York City has awarded a 12-year contract for CityBridge to build a free, city-wide Wi-Fi network. For its part, Facebook intends to launch satellites to support free, next-generation (5G) broadband, worldwide. To the extent widespread free broadband becomes a reality, more consumers could switch to WhatsApp as their only voice call and data service carrier. Healthcare organizations should consider a scenario in their social media and digital outreach strategies that has WhatsApp becoming a major telecommunications platform in the future.

5. Insurgent Pricing. WhatsApp is free to end users, adding another significant inducement for consumers to use its platform. WhatsApp's insurgent pricing strategy is the cost of building a two-sided market, paid for by businesses seeking direct-to-consumer access.

6. Access to Traditionally Underserved Demographics. According to Pew Research Center, smartphone adoption by older adults and low-income people continues to rise. Indeed, Pew's surveys suggest that smartphones are often the only (or primary) means for them to gain access to the Internet. Since the cost of broadband and data plans are contributing factors to low adoption by these populations, WhatsApp's free-to-end-user model makes it more enticing for these harder-to-reach populations to adopt the mobile app. Facebook's social marketing tools may be off-limits inside the WhatsApp platform, but they can still be used by healthcare organizations to reach these underserved populations.

7. One Platform, Many Channels. Given its ability to secure text message, voice call, voicemail recordings and file uploads, WhatsApp may be able to offer businesses a single unifying platform for engaging consumers across modalities. This would allow healthcare organizations to streamline the number of digital health tools they need to engage consumers.

8. Banner and Spam-Free. While Facebook's revenue model depends on targeted placement of advertising content in its users' newsfeeds, WhatsApp has always been, and under its new Terms and Privacy Policy remains, free of third-party banners and spam. This policy, not shared by Facebook, may alleviate some concerns of healthcare organizations that they have limited control over the commercial content posted alongside their private digital interactions with consumers.

9. WhatsApp and Facebook Are Not HIPAA Business Associates, Yet. There are downside risks that healthcare organizations need to address with WhatsApp, as they do with evaluating all digital technologies. Facebook has not signaled whether it would sign business associate agreements in its new business venture. It would be difficult for Facebook to avoid becoming a business associate, because it would have to restrict and monitor information transmitted in WhatsApp between healthcare organizations and consumers. Since WhatsApp's central proposition is built on privacy and security, Facebook would have to seek other avenues for it not to be treated as a business associate.

10. Who Should Be in Charge? Another downside risk is that Facebook can change its Terms of Service or Privacy Policy at any time with few legal constraints (the terms of its 2011 settlement agreement being one such constraint). Healthcare organizations need to carefully consider whether they feel comfortable building a consumer engagement program on top of WhatsApp and other Facebook properties, with the possibility that Facebook could unilaterally change its Terms or Privacy Policy. As with the EU Safe Harbor Privacy Policy Framework (since replaced by Privacy Shield), there is precedent for Facebook to enter into agreements that bind it to specified standards and practices. Depending on the degree of support WhatsApp gains among healthcare organizations, developing such a global business associate agreement with healthcare organizations might not be such a bad idea.

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How To Use Facebook To Grow Your Dental Practice -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Using Social Media to Grow Your Hospital's Oncology Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Personalize your oncology practice with patient stories

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

That’s where patient stories come in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t use overtly self-congratulatory language.

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

3. Share knowledge that your prospects are looking for

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

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

It’s time you start providing those answers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As you turn to social media, tread carefully

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Common Sense Tips for Rheumatologists on Social Media

Common Sense Tips for Rheumatologists on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How social media connects older adult patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educate your patients by sharing informative articles and preventive healthcare tips

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

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

Communicate frequently

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

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

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

Engagement matters

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

Interact, interact and interact

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

Create and tailor content you post on social media

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

Post more educational content

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

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

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

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Top 5 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals

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

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

Social Media and Healthcare

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

Avoiding HIPAA Violations

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

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

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

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

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

#1: Share Information

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

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

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

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

#3: Train Medical Personnel

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

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

#4: Live Updates during Procedures

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

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

#5: Communicate in Times of Crisis

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

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The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals

The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals | Social Media and Healthcare |
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The Pros and Cons of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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