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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8 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Gain Mileage for Your Practice

8 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Gain Mileage for Your Practice | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

LinkedIn is the social network for professionals, including healthcare professionals such as dermatologists. If you are keen to foster valuable professional relationships and connections through social media, LinkedIn is one of the best options available to you. The network has emerged as a formidable social media force, with more than 250 million members across the world. LinkedIn is forging ahead with a vision to create economic opportunity for the largest number of professionals in the world, and there is no reason for a dermatologist not to be a part of this vision. Here are a few important ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn to the advantage of your dermatology practice.

1. Create a Detailed LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile is akin to the bio page that you may already have on your website. The difference here is that on LinkedIn your profile receives very high visibility, shows up more prominently in search results, and gets shared with a relevant and targeted audience. Spend dedicated time to build your LinkedIn profile in a detailed manner.

This is a professional network, unlike other social networks, where the profile will reflect on your professionalism. Include your academic qualifications, certifications, experience, areas of specialization, honors and recognitions, professional affiliations, and community work. As far as possible, each section of the profile must be completed in detail. Include all medical and cosmetic services and procedures that you offer.

2. Optimize your Profile for LinkedIn Search

LinkedIn has an internal search mechanism that lets your profile be known to others who may be searching for a dermatologist. An enriched and comprehensive profile is likely to rank higher in the search results. Include relevant keywords that people from the medical community, associates and influencers, and potential patients are likely to search for in the LinkedIn search bar.

On LinkedIn it may not be necessary to include many long-tail keywords such as ‘medical and cosmetic dermatology practice in New York City, NY.’ Such keywords are more suited for a website search, but on LinkedIn search, an individual is more likely to search for ‘NYC dermatologist.’ Therefore, optimize your LinkedIn profile keywords carefully.

3. Size Matters: Multiply Your Network

Engage actively on LinkedIn to multiply the size and reach of your network. Search for relevant peers, associates, influencers, and potential clients on LinkedIn and send them invites to join your network. Do not hesitate from promoting your network and sending out invitations to others who share common interests to join in.

The larger the size of your network, the greater its visibility in LinkedIn search results. This will effectively help expand the network further. Apart from first tier direct relationships, even second and third tier connections matter on LinkedIn in the long run.

4. Enhance Reputation with LinkedIn Endorsements

LinkedIn has a unique system of allowing network members to ‘endorse’ other members within the network for special skills, experience or achievements. It is a great way for a dermatologist to build referrals and consolidate his or her online reputation and credibility.

A high number of endorsements for a professional immediately improves the perception about his or her status and credibility in the eyes of others. A strong online reputation can go a long way to help a dermatologist establish thought leadership in their area of expertise. Endorsements of other deserving members should also be made out liberally.

5. Participate Actively in Specialized LinkedIn Groups

Joining and actively engaging in relevant LinkedIn groups can be an excellent way to boost overall network activity. It can help expand the size of the dermatologist’s network, and also improve chances of higher rankings in LinkedIn search results. It is easy to find the right kind of groups to join using relevant keywords to search through the network.

Apart from groups related to dermatology, it is a good idea to involve with groups that are likely to include potential patients from the local area. However, group engagements should not be used for blatant self-promotion, but to build relationships and reputation. Meaningful contribution to the group and dissemination of unique and useful information in the dermatologist’s area of expertise can go a long way to promote credibility and reputation.

6. Analyze the LinkedIn Insights

LinkedIn provides valuable insights about your profile by keeping a track of the network members who may have shown interest in it. LinkedIn knows the moment someone views your profile, and unlike Facebook, it shares that useful information with you.

Paid LinkedIn services allow for more detailed analytics to let you have the power of information about your potential clients, peers, and competitors. Even as a non-paid member, you will be able to use LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature. You can continually fine-tune your profile on the basis of your target viewership vis-à-vis actual viewership.

7. Be Resourceful to Others on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a place for relationship building, and not a place for hard selling your services. Therefore, do not let yourself be perceived as someone whose only goal is to seek customers or receive favors from others. On the contrary, your image on LinkedIn should come across as that of a helpful, useful, and resourceful professional who is willing to reach out to others, help them with sound advice, and empathize and connect with them at a personalized level.

If you have valuable information or specialized knowledge in an area of concern, share it with others within the network. If people perceive you as a resourceful person, the subtle long-term gains for your practice can be significant. Using LinkedIn for blatant self-promoting or advertising can be seriously counter-productive. Avoid that temptation and focus on leveraging the network to create an excellent PR for your practice.

8. Encourage your Staff to Us e LinkedIn

You can multiply your networking efforts on LinkedIn with the help of your staff who can also engage actively on the network. This can be a very simple but highly effective way to proliferate the networking base of your dermatology practice. Each staff member can create his or her own LinkedIn profile and develop direct and indirect connections and join relevant groups.

When you and the employees connect with each other, it creates an opportunity to leverage a much larger number of first-, second-, and third-tier connections who would include potential clients from your local area. Staff networking on LinkedIn also becomes an interesting way to stay in touch, stay motivated, and appreciate and recognize each other’s skills and achievements on the network.

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Pharma At The Social Media Tipping Point

Pharma At The Social Media Tipping Point | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The Pharma industry has been engaging with social media for several years now, but we’ve become far too accustomed to seeing Facebook pages that have been closed down, You Tube channels with comments disabled, and twitter feeds with only 20 followers and a ‘last post’ made over a month ago.


Social media is all about open, transparent, fast-moving debate and information sharing. The reason Pharma has struggled to engage in a meaningful way is because, next to financial services, it is one of the most regulated industries and this, to some extent, has stifled innovation to date within its use of the social space.


However, change is in the air.  To quote Steve Jobs the biggest innovation of the 21stCentury will be the intersection of healthcare and technology. Health has become the number 1 reason people go online to conduct a Google Search and 23% of patients seek out similar people living with similar conditions to support and share information with each other. Even consumer brands are converging into the health space, just look at Nike who now sell wearable technology that plots your running fitness levels through Nike+ and allows you to share that data with your friends. Nike is no longer just a sports brand, it’s selling health.


So healthcare finds itself at an exciting tipping point and the very regulations that have made the Pharma industry slow to adopt social media in the first place have forced us to innovate and find new ways of using Social Media. For example, crowdsourcing initiatives are revolutionising drug development and drug discovery by involving communities to solve problems, such as Merck’s Molecular Activity Challenge and Sanofi’s Diabetes Innovation Challenge. In fact, Sanofi reported that, “offering a $100,000 prize has yielded ideas in six months that would have taken four to five years to develop at ten times the cost.” Pharma is also becoming increasingly adept to Big Data initiatives, and for good reason.


The possibility of capturing and making use of information about each customer, communication and business function is both overwhelming and exciting. This has already been put to use in social spaces through mapping twitter conversations around specific health topics to understand more about the most influential tweeters, not just those with the most number of followers but those who take an active and passionate interest in a topic. Identifying genuine digital thought leaders, not just Stephen Fry.


In summary, our call to action from our healthcare Social Media Week event is that we have been talking about Pharma ‘doing social badly’ for too long and in fact this is a hugely exciting time for the healthcare industry. We are at a tipping point of seeing some really ground-breaking work in social spaces and we need to continue to drive this innovation so that it becomes much more commonplace. The social revolution has well and truly begun.

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Healthcare Marketing 2014: 10 Reasons to Demand Digital

Healthcare Marketing 2014: 10 Reasons to Demand Digital | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

If you are responsible for leading the development and execution of a healthcare marketing strategy for 2014, you should know how to allocate resources to the channels that will provide the most ROI.


Sure, you could just focus your resources on the same channels as last year, but looking backwards can be a trap. Your boss isn’t looking for you to make an exact copy of last year’s strategy, even if it worked. As the leader of your company’s marketing initiatives, you’re expected to do more than keep the status quo; you’re expected to implement strategies so the company can do better. You need to understand current market dynamics and see around the corner so that the strategies you implement will be effective for the entirety of the next year.


In the past year we have seen an increasing dependence on digital platforms for health information, decision-making, and collaboration. Digital is the way we connect and learn today.  If you want to have an influence on the consumer’s decision-making process, you have to be where decisions are being made. If digital is big now, it’s only going to become a more important channel throughout the next year. This means you need to plan to have even more of a focus on digital for your healthcare marketing strategy if you want to keep up. You need to be forward thinking. You simply can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity digital provides when time and money are scarce.


With big changes to the healthcare ecosystem coming up, companies will be pressed to find the most economical ways to connect with patients. The industry is changing fast, so don’t get stuck being complacent. If you don’t have a strong digital strategy, where do you think you will be in six months when your boss asks why marketing isn’t driving more sales?


1. Americans are using the internet when they have health concerns.

  • 1 in 3 American adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition
  • 72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year

(Source: Pew Internet)


2. Healthcare marketing today needs both offline and online strategies.

  • 84% of patients use both online and offline sources for research
  • 77% of patients use search engines
  • 76% of patients use hospital sites
  • 52% of patients health information sites

(Source: Google Think)


3. Offline shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s far less important than digital mediums. This should be factored in when budgeting and planning healthcare marketing strategies. Resist the temptation to rely on old, traditional tactics that are less effective just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

  • 32% of patients use TV for research
  • 20% of patients use magazines for research
  • 18% of patients use newspapers for research

(Source: Google Think)


4. Search will continue to play an important role in the decision-making process. Healthcare marketing execs need to develop a strategy so the company and its products and services can be found using search. This means you need a strong website, a social and content strategy, and SEO.

  • 77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo
  • Another 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD
  • The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions; treatments or procedures; and doctors or other health professionals

(Source: Pew Internet)

5. Consumers are becoming more involved in managing their own health, especially using health tracking. Healthcare marketing needs to address proactive patients who are engaged in actively monitoring and promoting their health.

  • 7 in 10 U.S. adults have tracked a health indicator for themselves or for someone else
  • Of those, 34% share their health tracking records or notes with another person or group

(Source: Pew Internet)


6. Consumers are increasingly using mobile to access information. Websites absolutely must be mobile friendly and able to be viewed well in multiple kinds of devices.

  • Of patients who found hospitals on their mobile devices, 44% scheduled an appointment
  • Roughly 1/3 of patients used tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for research and/or to book appointments

(Source: Google Think)


7. Mobile is used everywhere. Healthcare marketers need to take this into consideration when creating websites and digital content. Pay careful attention to where the patient is in the decision-making process, and serve the appropriate content that serves that need.

  • 61% while at home
  • 27% at work
  • 23% while visiting friends or family at home
  • 20% while out of town
  • 16% while in a doctor’s office

(Source: Google Think)


8. Brand is important to prospective patients.

  • Reputation of facility 94%
  • Accepts healthcare plan 90%
  • Recommended by physician 86%
  • Uses latest technology 85%
  • Recommended by friends and family 51%

(Source: Google Think)


9. For patients who booked appointments, digital content is key to decision-making.

  • 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment
  • 83% used hospital sites
  • 54% used health insurance company sites
  • 50% used health information sites
  • 26% used consumer generated reviews

(Source: Google Think)


10. Online video is important.

1 in 8 patients watched an online video on:

  • Hospital sites 42%
  • Health insurance information sites 31%
  • Health information sites 30%
  • YouTube 29%
  • Health insurance company sites 20%

53% of patients who didn’t watch hospital videos were unaware they existed.

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11 health care social media stats to turn heads

11 health care social media stats to turn heads | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Nowadays, social media is usually included in our hospital, clinic and/or physician marketing and public relations campaigns. I compiled a list of recent statistics that still validates why we all need to embrace social media technology and seek out opportunities to use it effectively.


  1. Twenty-eight percent of people who use social media for personal reasons support a health-related cause using social media.
  2. Mayo Clinic’s podcast listeners jumped to 76,000 in one month after the clinic started using social media.
  3. Sixty percent of people who use social media trust posts by their doctors. 55% trust hospital posts.
  4. Eighty-seven percent of doctors use social media for personal reasons. 67% of those doctors use social media for professional use.
  5. Only 15% of hospitals hire a full time social media manager. 6% assign an intern.
  6. Patients are most likely to share information about their health using social media with doctors and hospitals more than other groups or people.
  7. Of more than 1,500 hospitals nationwide who have an online presence, Facebook is most popular.
  8. Eighty-eight percent of physicians use the Internet to research pharmaceutical, biotech and medical devices.
  9. California, Texas and New York hospitals use social media the most of any other state.
  10. Massachusetts General Hospital’s emergency department researchers worked to create iPhone app EMNet finder, directing users to the closest ER anywhere in the U.S.
  11. During the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Scott & White Healthcareemployees offered constant updates on ER access, hospital status, Red Cross news and more. S&W’s rank of Twitter followers increased by 78%.

New statistics fly across our desks and smartphones every day, what statistics catch your attention? Please share in the comments section below.

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eMedToday's curator insight, October 3, 2013 1:00 AM

interesting facts

Allison Emma Schizkoske's curator insight, October 10, 2013 1:00 AM

this is interesting to see the stats and see what precent of people do trust thier doctors post online. This is some really interesting numbers. 

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Social Media and Patient Self-Care

Social Media and Patient Self-Care | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
As more and more people use social media, ways to connect with others increase as well. One such use in recent years has been an increase in patients looking to social media for help in self-care. To see what role social media plays in this, we first have to look at what self-care means. A quick search for the term brings over 500,000 results.

Self care definition

While traditionally, this means taking time to relax and regroup (with my personal favorite way being to get a massage), joining an in-person support group, or even just going to regular doctor visits. Patients have now discovered social media as a very useful tool for them and their families.

What are some ways social media is being used for self-care?

Online Forums – Online forums have been around since the early 1970s in the form of online bulletin boards and electronic mailing lists. These have evolved over the years to very theme/topic specific forums. This gives groups of various sizes a chance to connect and exchange tips and tricks on how to deal with symptoms, find the best doctors for specific illnesses, and to simply connect with people who have the same diagnosis.

Facebook groups and pages – Facebook has also proven itself as a great way to connect. WEGO Health is one such place that connects people with various diagnoses with peer and professional support, as well as providing them with a large source of information gathered from across the Internet.Tweet Chats – Thanks to the use of hashtags, Twitter has become popular for various groups to connect for weekly Tweet Chats. Based on a pre-arranged hashtag, patients and health activists can chat about various issues. One such longstanding chat is the weekly #PPDChat, which connects moms and dads dealing with PPD (Post Partum Depression) and PPMD (Post Partum Mood Disorder).

Personal Blogs – The list of people sharing their own personal stories continues to grow as people reach out to help others dealing with similar situations. These bloggers often build a strong support system for each other to lean on and to help people new to whatever they are going through. The topics covered range from parents with children diagnosed with various illnesses, to patients blogging about their own struggle with diabetes, cancer or eating disorders.

How does this translate to self-care? Thanks to the often-strong connections, forged due to shared experiences, these patients and caretakers have turned into health activists by reaching out to a larger community. This allows them and others to continue to improve their own health by having access to a larger pool of information than they normally would without the use of social media. It helps patients find new ways to take care of themselves and discover additional methods of tracking and maintaining their health.

All of these are valuable tools in a large self-care arsenal needed to combat often-difficult situations and illnesses. For patients and caregivers located in remote locations and removed from more traditional methods, it is at times one of the few ways, sometimes the only way, to improve personal health maintenance.
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Helene Wild's curator insight, October 2, 2013 9:06 AM

who owns your health?

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Cancer Support Communities Infographic

Cancer Support Communities Infographic | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
I've been on a rant about the importance of online communities for at least the last year. My friends at Inspire.com get it. They build and maintain online patient communities that are incredibly r...
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How Are Hospitals Using Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC] - AllTwitter

How Are Hospitals Using Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC] - AllTwitter | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
How Are Hospitals Using Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Who Uses Social Media to Search for Health Care Information?

Who Uses Social Media to Search for Health Care Information? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

It seems that the average consumer uses social media for everything today. One can track an entire family history through online records, speak to clients all over the world through video conferencing services, and even access one’s bank account and bills with the click of a button. Given that people are turning to the Internet and social media sites more than ever, it only makes sense that health care companies have a presence on these services so that they, too, can better connect with their clients.


Before crafting your digital marketing plans for your health care site, it is first important to examine who exactly is using them to search for health care information. An in-depth survey by Kantar Media did just that.1 This survey, including data on over 165 million adults, looked at the reasons why people might search for health-related information on the Internet. Here are some of the more interesting findings:


  • Of those surveyed, 53% in the Kantar Media study said that social networking was their main reason for accessing the Internet in the last 30 days; 4% used Facebook or Twitter to obtain/research the health care information they accessed.
  • In the United States in 2012, 55% of Internet users employed social media with a focus on health and wellness. Among them, 26% visited sites with usergenerated content like Wikipedia, 23% watched informational videos, and 23% viewed blogs about a given health topic.
  • Nearly 25% of survey respondents reported that they use social networking sites frequently or occasionally as online health resources (a percentage that has grown every year since 2010).

As for who the people using social media sites to research medical and health information are, Kantar’s Media study found the following:


  • The age group that is most likely to use the Internet for health research is 35- to 44-year-olds, followed by those aged 25 to 34, and then 18- to 24-year-olds. The use of social media sites for health care purposes dropped off dramatically at age 45 and continued to decrease with age.
  • Consumers with chronic conditions are much more likely to use social networking sites as online sources of health information. Some of the most common conditions include depression, diabetes, migraines, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
 

Knowing these important social demographics when creating the digital marketing plan for your health care business can greatly improve the success of your overall social media strategy as well as ensure that you are targeting the right audience in your posts. The sites where users sought health care information were spread pretty evenly across the board, so it is important not to focus all of your content on just one social media channel.


Were you surprised by any of these numbers or statistics? Be sure to let us know your thoughts about the survey and social media for health care!

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Pinterest and its Role in Medical Device Marketing

Pinterest and its Role in Medical Device Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Pinterest is a relatively new social media platform that enables users to upload and pin images or video to customizable online theme-based bulletin boards.  Pinterest launched in 2010 and now has over 70 million users and is continuing to grow rapidly, especially overseas.   Pinterest owes its quick growth and success to grassroots marketing. 


Pinterest started out by targeting bloggers and inviting them to share and promote their content related to the different categories Pinterest featured.  In the beginning Pinterest was primarily used by women for sharing ideas for DIY projects, arts and crafts, and cooking or baking.  It now has over 35 different theme-based categories and is used by millions of men, women, bloggers, and businesses.


So what is Pinterest’s role in medical device marketing? Pinterest can be used to build your brand and connect you to your target audience.  Many companies use Pinterest to upload targeted, theme-based images and video that create brand awareness, drive traffic to their websites, increases sales, and expands their customer engagement. 


Here are some tips and best practices for how to use Pinterest as part of your regular social media medical device marketing campaign:


Connect with your community - Craft your company page into a space your customers will want to spend time in.  The key is to connect your brand’s message to topics that your audience is already talking about.  Give them a place to learn about your brands and products and encourage them to share your featured pins with others.  Create engagement and interaction by offering your customers sneak-peaks or exclusive deals. 


Use boards to segment your audience – Create targeted bulletin boards specific to the various brands and products you offer or for the different markets you cover.  This will enable you to segment your content and serve the wants and needs of multiple customer-types. 


Quality over Quantity – Pin strategically and think about what your objectives are with each pin.  Choose your pins wisely to optimize your performance and to build repertoire with your target audience.   


Be Creative & Visual – Do your best to select images and videos that are creative and visually appealing.  This will increase your chances of catching your customer’s eye and getting re-pinned or liked. 


Pin and Promote your Followers – Do this by re-pinning or liking other pins, following your customer’s boards, and by tagging “@” another pinner you may be following in one of your pin descriptions.


Source Your Pins – If you are re-pinning something from another user within your community, be sure to give them the credit they deserve.  Always cite the original source of your pins.  You don’t want to be seen as an idea-stealer. 


Monitor Referral Traffic & SEO – Track the performance of your pins and bulletin boards by measuring referral traffic back to your company’s website.  Sites like Reachli can help you track your campaign’s CTRs.  You’ll also want to leverage SEO opportunities by using long tail keywords, hashtags, backlinks, and the ‘pin-it button’ on your pins and boards.  This will help you boost your Google ranking. 


Pinterest isn’t for every company but if used correctly, it can be a very effective means of marketing.  The best way to see if it will work for you is to setup an account, use the tips above, and get pinning. Good luck!   

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Suzy Willmott's curator insight, September 30, 2013 3:19 PM

An interesting article that shows that pinterest can be used even to inspire and educate - even in the unglamorous world of medical device marketing. 

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How social media impacts health information technology and EHR software

How social media impacts health information technology and EHR software | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

What role does Facebook play – if any – in health information technology? Currently, the healthcare community is working toward greater platform interoperability, which in turn can lead to health information exchange on a larger scale. This kind of data sharing has precedents already in the world, partly in the form of social networks.


As EHRIntelligence reported, physicians, lawmakers, vendors and EHR software developers are all looking for ways to improve software while keeping patients engaged. And a lot of the discussion happens to be taking place in social media environments. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and especially blogs all facilitate the most important conversations going on today about health IT. In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research indicated that 24 percent of physicians use some form of social media to share or research medical information each day. Just over 14 percent of responding doctors contribute actively, while 61 percent keep up-to-date via news feeds and discussion groups on a weekly basis.


That being said, it is unlikely that doctors will start tweeting the results of blood tests or Facebook messaging prescription information any time soon. And social media sites specially designed for healthcare industry workers do exist – tibbr being one example, according to the news source – but even with their familiar interfaces, these sites have yet to really take off.


HIPAA and social media
As EHRIntelligence observed, the primary issue is patient privacy. What does the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have to say about social media?


OpenSesame, an elearning center, spelled out that HIPAA violations on social media breach both Privacy and Security rules. However, because of the nature of social media, some employees might not realize their actions have violated HIPAA. To provide clarity, an OpenSesame blog highlighted three common mistakes regarding HIPAA and social media.


The first reminded healthcare providers that discussing patients in any context on social media is a violation, even if personal or identifying information is not a part of the discussion. The second warned against workers taking photos at work. Even if the picture is not of a patient, unintended information could potentially be revealed in the photograph. Third, the blog reminded providers that public figures are protected under HIPAA as well – an easy mistake for some workers to make. The blog provided stories for each example in which ignoring each basic HIPAA rule led to violation.


In health IT, social media remains untapped for the most part. But utilizing this tool for healthcare platforms will take time and careful experimentation, as well as a likely addendum to HIPAA in the coming years.

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Social media marketing: Effective strategies to accelerate dental practice growth

Social media marketing: Effective strategies to accelerate dental practice growth | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
Your essential social media platforms

Think of social media platforms as your online marketing toolbox. The questions are which tools in that toolbox are necessary, and what is the best way to use them?

In order to determine which social media outlets and content will reach and resonate with patients, you must first understand the delivery mediums.

  • Possible marketing objectives include:
  • Search engine optimization so new patients can find my practice
  • Provide educational materials to help facilitate treatment plan adherence
  • Provide helpful advice to improve patient retention
  • Drive more cosmetic treatment opportunities from existing patients
  • Improve potential referral business from existing clients

Setting a clear marketing objective will act as a guide to ensure you derive value from your social media marketing efforts. Patients have different expectations for each social platform and it's imperative that your objectives align with those expectations.

Vital networking tools

The blog -- Adding a blog to your website gives your practice a simple way to share information, whether it's office news, photos, videos, or other information. A regularly updated blog educates patients, promotes your dental brand, differentiates your practice from the one down the street, and keeps your patients up-to-date on exciting developments in dentistry and your dental practice. A blog can be used as an extremely effective channel to promote new dental technology and cutting-edge products and services sold in your office, share in-depth information about specific treatments performed, or promote community events.


Fifty-seven percent of companies have acquired a customer from their company blog. A blog has the ability to provide expansive information in each posting, giving readers a more thorough understanding of the featured topic as well as an inside look at who you are as a person, who your team is, and what your practice philosophy is. Who will manage the blog? A blog needs to be updated regularly if it is to be successful. Designate a staff member to update the blog at least once a week or make time on your schedule to do so, even if it's just to remind patients about a contest. Alternatively, hire a company with dental-specific social media expertise to manage the postings on your behalf.


Facebook -- Facebook has become an integral platform for all individuals to connect, and an effective platform for businesses to reach new and existing clients. Sharing photos, events, and information through specially designed Facebook Business Pages is easy and enormously productive. The additional benefit is that this channel introduces your practice to prospective new patients through information delivered to them from a member of their own trusted network.


Twitter -- Twitter is widely regarded as a powerful marketing tool, used to share quick and focused updates, connect with patients, learn from customers' past experiences, and connect with professional peers. Maintaining a Twitter presence is fairly easy. It is much more convenient to tweet a message in seconds than to use a time-consuming media platform. Your dental office can reach out to millions of potential patients in a matter of a few clicks. How it works: Twitter is an interactive stream of messages that are limited to a maximum of 140 characters each.

In order to optimize the benefits of Twitter, it is important to:

  • Post often with relevant information to patients.
  • Monitor your newsfeeds for interesting stories that relate to the field of dentistry.
  • Even if it is not related to your dental practice, if it's interesting and relevant to patients, tweet it!
  • Don't forget to link back to your own website and/or Facebook page often.
  • Remember, keywords, site links, and intriguing content are the key ingredients of a great tweet.
  • Follow as many dentistry-related accounts as you can find. That includes other dentist offices, dental associations, dental bloggers, dental specialty fields, and dental product manufacturers.
 

Google+ -- Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook. Their services are a powerful social media resource that dentists cannot ignore. Its primary benefit is the way it positively influences Google search results. Google's social sharing feature is proven to drive traffic to your website, increasing your visibility in the networks' integrated search results. One of the key features of Google+ is "Circles," which are simply groups that contain your contacts. Set up a profile for your dental practice and then start adding your patients (if they agree to it), local businesses, and other dental-related professionals to your public circles.


YouTube -- Despite being known as a video network first, YouTube is also the second largest search engine in the world, with 100 hours of video uploaded every minute and 4 billion videos viewed on a daily basis. There are many different ways you can utilize the power of video. Whether filming patient testimonials, a demonstration of a treatment, or just a simple office tour, dental practices are harnessing the marketing power of YouTube. When patients enjoy your content, they share it with their friends and families on their own personal social networks.


Pinterest -- Pinterest is a pin-board, or bookmark style, photo-sharing site. Users create theme-based image collections that include favorite events, hobbies, interests, and more. It is interactive; users can browse other boards, repin images to their board, or "like" images. For example, your dental practice may pin items such as "Top 5 Ways To Keep Teeth Healthy," "Teeth Whitening Techniques," or "Foods You Can Eat While in Braces." If they agree, using your patients' before-and-after dental photos can create valuable content on Pinterest. Pinterest drives more referral traffic on the web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn -- combined.


Sweepstakes and contests -- No matter which form of social media you use, contests and sweepstakes are an excellent and quick way to expand your social media footprint, while serving as a proven way to market your dental office, increase your contacts, and energize your patient base. Contest platforms that integrate with social networks, particularly Facebook, allow your practice to run anything from a simple enter-to-win sweepstakes to a more involved "Share Your Smile" photo contest, while offering appealing prizes to patients like electronics, gift cards, and more.


While sweepstakes and contests can be a powerful addition to your social marketing efforts, it is important to pay attention to the finer details and rules surrounding online contests. Work with a provider who monitors and keeps your promotions within Facebook guidelines and government regulations, while assisting in driving activity through promotional email blasts and newsletters to patients. Furthermore, ensure the contest platform you choose allows you to capture entrant contact details for later marketing efforts.

The benefits of online contests and sweepstakes for a dental practice are documented in a 2012 study by Sesame Communications looking at 48 dental and orthodontic practices and 64 distinct contests and sweepstake campaigns. The results showed that, on average, these patient engagement campaigns drove 194 new "Likes" per practice, per campaign, as well as four appointment requests that originated with filling out an entry form. Just as significant, for each sweepstakes and contest, participating practices received an average of 17 recommendations on Facebook -- testimonials that will exist on their page and benefit them indefinitely.

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5 Ways to Engage Women in Social Media & Public Health

5 Ways to Engage Women in Social Media & Public Health | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

#1. Women want credible online health information


When women look for health information online, they do so as caregivers to their children, spouses and other family members. This is a very personal thing. It’s important to them that the information they find is credible and accurate.

Blogs written by non-medical professionals won’t do. In fact even writers who are paid by health organizations are not necessarily believable either. What women want is trustworthy information that is backed up by credible sources and professional medical perspectives.


#2.  Health campaigns using social media must approach women and men differently


Women and men use social media differently. Women like to talk and share things that are more personal in nature. Men don’t. Women also don’t mind being vulnerable and leaning on each other for support, as long as privacy and trust are emphasized.


What this means for healthcare communicators is that while women are open to having discussions that promote healthy lifestyles, they will only do so in a group of friends and trusted peers. Your challenge is to figure out how to enter those conversations or facilitate new conversations that include women and their trusted networks.


#3. Healthcare communicators stand out by helping not selling


With so much content competing for our attention online, healthcare communicators who want to stand out above the noise must offer simple, relevant, interesting and useful information that helps to solve the problems that women face.

The idea of pushing marketing messages must be resisted at all costs – those types of messages will only be ignored.  Websites such as WebMD and MayoClinic understand that to attract huge female audiences, their content must help not sell.


#4. Vanity metrics are less important than engagement metrics for health campaigns


This was an interesting point of discussion. Generally we agreed that it’s more important to have 100 Facebook fans or Twitter followers who are genuinely interested and engaged with your content, than 10,000 fans who never interact with your social media posts.


The goal of most healthcare campaigns is to influence healthy decision-making and positive life-style choices, so it’s important that audiences respond and give feedback about their own experiences. When looking at Facebook or Twitter metrics for your healthcare campaign, it’s extremely important to look at Likes, comments, re-tweets, mentions and shares, as a measure of a successful campaign.


#5. Women use mobile differently from men…even for health information!


Did you know that 33% of female cell-phone owners use their phones to search for health information compared to 29% of male cell-phone owners? Did you also know that even though men text more than women, women are more likely to sign up for health text alerts? (Pew Research).

 

Women are primary care givers in the family. They’re also more likely to seek online support when they become pregnant, try to quit smoking, struggle with their weight or go through a significant life change. In the U.S. healthcare communicators should leverage mobile apps to reach these women, while keeping in mind that women will check to verify the credibility of the company behind those apps. However, text messages being more globally ubiquitous than smart-phone apps are likely to have wider reach especially in countries where smart-phone penetration is not far-reaching due to economic or financial reasons.

For the full-length panel discussion, check out the YouTube video here.

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kleenbottom's comment, September 28, 2013 11:45 AM
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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, October 19, 2013 8:14 PM

What's being spread within your organization with regard to wellness & wellbeing?

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State of Healthcare Searches Online - Infographic

State of Healthcare Searches Online - Infographic | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

48% of the searches are happening on Social Websites.

Low social engagement by Pharma companies, more still being spent on conventional mechanisms.

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Do pictures of people increase Facebook engagement?

Do pictures of people increase Facebook engagement? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
A research project examined images featuring people, no people, and portions of people. The results will probably surprise you.


Marketers often spend hours selecting and producing visual content to post on Facebook brand pages.


Creatives, strategists, and managers can go around and around debating which images work for a brand and which don't. Sometimes they debate over whether the brand should show people in brand images, and everyone has an opinion.


Key takeaways for visual content marketing on Facebook


Here are some of the key findings that will help marketers in creating a solid visual content marketing strategy for Facebook:


1. Across all brands we saw that images without people outperformed images with people by about 17 percent.


In retail, we see some even larger differences in engagement between images with and without people, ranging from +41 percent for Old Navy to +113 percent at Kohl's. These findings suggest that users prefer to see pictures of retail products without people, making it easier for them to visualize wearing or having an advertised product.


2. Causal images that show partial body like hands and feet are associated with higher Facebook likes. 


However, images without people or body parts entirely earned more shares. If you're social strategy prioritizes earning shares, keeping people out of the images may improve your likelihood of earning shares on Facebook.


3. This takeaway may seem contradictory to one and two. 


However, if your retail brand has a unique brand asset comprised of people, such as the notable models at Victoria's Secret and A&F, then the images of people may indeed help boost engagement.

The overarching takeaway is that brands need visual content strategies that take into account unique brand identity, objectives, and audience.

nrip's insight:

As per my observation, Pictures in general tend to increase engagement in postings on social networks. 

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Linda Evans's curator insight, October 4, 2013 8:17 AM

Do pictures of people increase Facebook engagement? 

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Infographic: Social Media explained with healthcare

Infographic: Social Media explained with healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it
It’s Friday, we’re all winding down for the weekend, so I thought I’d share this fun infographic with you - ‘Social media explained with healthcare’
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How healthcare marketers can get more from social media

How healthcare marketers can get more from social media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Research indicates that social media plays an important role in the healthcare industry, with nearly 58% of patients/consumers engaging in “health-related discussions” on social networks at least once per year.


And yet, for many healthcare brands, social media is often a last-minute addition to a marketing plan – not an integral part of the marketing mix. For these brands, success in social media often means merely getting more Facebook likes or Twitter followers. And some only consider setting up a social-media page because the competition has one. What these brands fail to realize is that this approach won’t help you build a loyal following. In fact, when your social media is without a strategy, your audience becomes a group of people who don’t actually care about your brand.


How to make social media efforts pay off


Here are four simple approaches that can help you achieve stronger results from your social media efforts:

  1. Set measurable objectives: (Hint: “I need a Facebook page” is not an objective.) Start by taking a step back and asking why you need social media. Why do you want a Facebook page in the first place? If your objective is simply to out-do the competition then something is wrong. Strong, measurable objectives – such as building awareness, loyalty and advocacy – are what you need to support an effective social media strategy.
  2. Be relevant: The easiest way to lose followers and interest is by posting messages that do not connect with your audience. Many brands also run the risk of overselling and not bringing any value or information to their audience. Among ePharma consumers, the use of social media along the patient journey is highest when they are considering switching or stopping treatment. Consumers tend to triangulate their data – finding information on social media that spurs further conversations with more trusted people, such as doctors and family members.
  3. Stay connected: Show customers you care by responding frequently and considerately, and by the rewards you offer for loyalty and advocacy.  Many times social media acknowledgement and positive feedback goes a long way toward increasing advocacy and brand loyalty.
  4. Be professional: We have heard stories of healthcare professionals being disciplined for ill-advised social media posts containing private patient information. One instance involved a hospital employee in the U.S. who shared her opinion that a State governor had received preferential treatment during a checkup. The employee was suspended for violating patient confidentiality. Perhaps the biggest quandary for many healthcare providers is whether to accept Facebook friend requests from patients. It becomes a challenge here to use social media to strengthen the provider-patient relationship while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.

Social media is a powerful tool. Having a well-thought out strategy in place will help your brand make the most of it.

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Social media and health information - trends to data

Social media and health information - trends to data | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat your breakfast, update Facebook and Twitter and start your day. Sound familiar?


With more and more people using social media to interact with friends, families and on a professional basis, it’s creating a mass platform for health communication. But is this a positive thing or should we be wary of its limitations?

What are the benefits?

One of the major benefits of social media, compared to traditional communication methods, is the ability to deliver information to people, regardless of age, education and locality. All you need is a smartphone or access to a computer. This can really help you to become more aware of your health and access the information that’s right for you.


Have you ever created a status update or tweet to let your followers and friends know that you have a headache or sore throat? Social media allows you to generate instant peer-to-peer discussions. You can receive tips and advice from individuals and health professionals who may have experience of what you’re going through. Personal stories can be a valuable source of peer, social and emotional support.


While you’re having these conversations, it also gives healthcare organisations an opportunity to personalise and present their health messages at a time when you really need it. And the versatility of different social media platforms means that health information can be presented in a way that suits the person that needs it. For example, a video on YouTube may help someone if their reading ability is low.


And if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, the power of social media platforms can be very liberating. You may be able to receive ongoing support and reminders about taking medication, as well as share information about your treatments and medicines. This can inform, educate and empower you to be more confident if and when you need to make decisions about your health.


As well as helping you to share information, social media can potentially be used to collect data to help doctors understand how infectious diseases start and spread. For example, lots of people in your neighbourhood may post about feeling ill. That information can be quickly gathered to tell health professionals an outbreak is occurring and how quickly it’s spreading. This means that effective interventions can be put in place as soon as possible.

What do we need to watch out for?

So far, this all sounds great but before you reach for your smartphone, let’s balance things up and consider some of the issues that are currently limiting the use of social media for delivering health information.


Have you ever looked up symptoms for yourself, a friend or family member? How do you know that the information you’re looking at is accurate and up to date? When talking about health information, it’s vital that the messages you’re receiving are of the highest quality. Social media is informal, unregulated and allows anyone to upload information, regardless of its quality. This means that you could find yourself being overloaded with information, some of which may be conflicting and confusing, or quite simply wrong.


Some people will feel perfectly comfortable sharing information about their health online. However, not everyone will realise the potential for how many people will see their information. They may not realise that what they are posting is a permanent record that lots of people can see. If you don’t like sharing personal information, social media may not be the right place to seek out and share information about yourself.


Disclosing personal information online comes with a whole host of issues. Privacy, confidentiality and the potential for security breaches are concerns for many people. It can be difficult for your doctor to communicate with you through social media. This is because conversations between you and your doctor that happen on social media channels will have is no official medical record.


So, where do you stand? The world we live in today is technology driven and it looks like social media is here to stay. Should we embrace it when it comes to accessing health information or is it better to be sceptical and proceed with caution? Whatever you do, be sure not to replace seeing your doctor with social media or self diagnosis using online platforms if you suspect something isn’t quite right. Online health information has its place, but direct doctor to patient interaction should never be underestimated.

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Physicians and Social Media - Pointers for a better start!

Physicians and Social Media - Pointers for a better start! | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Is social media a time suck or a useful way to attract new patients?  Physicians regularly debate this and in lieu of the HIPAA guidelines that went into full effect this week people are unsure about what’s safe to post and how to use social media effectively for business.


But a study conducted by the American Medical Association said that nearly 25% of patients report using social media to manage their health care.  That number seems to be growing as more patients use technology to discuss and manage their health care.


Here are some guidelines that require minimal time with maximal benefit.

Pick no more than two platforms.  Pick one or two social networks that appeal to you the most.  Generally, the ones that offer the best return are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Spend a few minutes sprucing up your presence.  Upload an avatar picture, add a background image, make sure they reflect the image you project to your patients.  A headshot is always more appealing to the consumer than a logo.

Use social media for listening.  By following certain accounts you can keep a tab on things such as …

  • Community goings-on: stay in touch with what’s happening in your geographic area.
  • Research entities: tracking JAMA or NIH will keep you up to date with the latest news and research.
  • Local medical and business news: follow prominent doctors in your area and/or hospitals and medical practice to see what your peers are doing.
  • Track your reputation online:  More patients have access to rate-your-doctor sites and you should know what they’re saying about your practice.

Become a thought leader.  Share information with your audience that is useful to them.  One physician said, “I’ve had many new patients tell me they selected my practice because they saw our Facebook page and thought we seemed very “progressive.”’


Give your patients practice updates.  Letting them know the flu vaccines are in, who is on call for the weekend, or that office hours have changed.  It’s a way for you to share information with your patients that’s easy for them to check.

Develop a network of physicians. Discover colleagues inside and outside of your regional circles.  You could develop a referral network, share research and even connect socially “in real life” both in your community and at conferences.


Staying on the right side of HIPAA

If you do decide to bring your practice onto social media you’ll have to follow HIPAA guidelines.  Have an office policy about what is and isn’t ok to discuss online with all your employees.  This should include private messaging of patient care for any social networks. This will keep your employees educated and give you some legal cover in case an incident ever crops up.

As one doctor put it, “All of my employees are on Facebook.  As am I.  Not once ever do they or we discuss patients on Facebook.  Trust me, when they’re out of the office, the last thing they want to do is discuss patients … They all know that office stuff and patient information on social media is completely off limits.  It is definitely a HIPAA violation, and inappropriate sharing of that information is grounds for dismissal.”

Energize Physician Advocacy

We can change policies if we advocate as a group.  From controversial issues such as the ACA to supporting non-profit organizations like Floating Doctors, physicians as a group accomplish amazing feats when we band together in the social web to amplify our voices.  Participating privately on Sermo and in public social media isn’t just about connecting; together, we affect healthcare for millions of people and get back to the basics of global healthcare delivery.


The Industry Agrees

A research article published last August in the Journal of the American Medical Association acknowledges that many physicians are discouraged from being on social media because of potential HIPAA issues and also to avoid having patients contact them through a public venue.


The researchers suggested incorporating social media training into medical education and professionalism curricula, otherwise “the potential benefits of social media will remain unrealized.”


Perhaps we’ll see CES curricula developed over the next few years that will assist physicians to appropriately and effectively be online.


How Much Time Does It Take

As with everything, the more you put in, the more you get back.  At a minimum, try to get online weekly for 10 to 20 minutes.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Minimum:  Ten minutes once per week to check your streams and post something useful to your patients.
  • Even Better:  Ten minutes once a day to read through your streams, interact with colleagues, read the latest research and interact appropriately with patients.
  • Optimal:  As above but ten minutes twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening.

Give it a solid 30 days before you start to see good results, it will be within two weeks if you try the optimal level.  Have you tried using social media for your practice?  What were some of the pitfalls?  Did you have any successes?

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TheSocialPhysio's curator insight, October 2, 2013 1:50 AM

25% of patients use #social media to manage their #healthcare?!!!

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Rules of social media: Master the metrics!

Rules of social media: Master the metrics! | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Why do you use social media? According to most hospitals, the motivation is simple: Brand awareness and patient engagement, according to a survey conducted by the Advisory Board's Marketing and Planning Leadership Council.


However, as health systems face greater pressure regarding utilization appropriateness, readmissions penalties, and value-based payment incentives, their goals regarding social media are likely to expand to helping patients manage their health and control their costs through online connections.

As a result, hospitals must develop a methodology for measuring the effectiveness of their social media strategy. That's an ongoing task, according to Mayo Clinic's Lee Aase; his hospital measures patient engagement with qualitative "soft" metrics—YouTube video views, Facebook likes and followers, and Twitter posts and retweets—and hard metrics, including online traffic, page views, and unique visitors.

Case study: Mayo Clinic patient Jayson Werth



In some cases, Mayo has been able to track the progression from these process metrics to bottom-line outcomes, such as unique patient visits and even registration or new appointments. "I like to call them biopsies," Aase says. Mayo will measure "track-throughs" of patients who viewed a video or page, clicked through to the hospital website, and requested an appointment. And with campaigns targeting certain conditions, Mayo will track the number of patients who come in for related treatments.


Jayson Werth, a professional baseball player, first came to Mayo Clinic to treat a wrist injury after he was struck by a pitch during a spring training game in 2005. Physicians determined that Werth suffered a split tear of his ulnotriquetal ligament (UT), an injury that often goes undiagnosed. Werth was treated by Richard Berger, an orthopedic surgeon, and after a successful recovery, was later signed by the Philadelphia Phillies.


Werth campaign by the numbers

2008: Mayo performs 22 UT split repairs
2009: Werth campaign launches, Mayo performs 20 UT split repairs 
2010: Mayo performs 39 UT split repairs 


Mayo Clinic saw an opportunity in November 2009, after the Phillies won the World Series, to tell Werth's story. They rolled out a social media campaign focused on wrist injuries, which included blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, and even hosted a @MayoClinic Twitter chat with Dr. Berger himself.

The procedure to do UT repairs was "relatively unknown" before that point, Aase says.


In 2009, Dr. Berger conducted 20 UT split repairs, followed by 39 procedures in 2010—almost a doubling of patient volume in the year following the Werth campaign, Aase told the Daily Briefing. It was "incredible to see this jump in procedures as a result, which translated into bottom-line financial benefits," he added.


Aase stressed that the campaign was an integrated communications strategy that involved both social media and traditional media relations. However, the "social media part was essential…from YouTube to our blogs to Twitter," he said.

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Leveraging Social media to transform healthcare

Leveraging Social media to transform healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Healthcare by its very nature is social in many aspects. One of the recent developments of medical professionals is to enter the social media platform. We are all aware of the shift from volume based models to a more socially acceptable value based system in healthcare. The relationship between doctors and patients is getting more similar to other industries, i.e. the relation between a service provider and a consumer. The medical industry is seeking out new ways to implicate customer satisfaction and playing with the tools that proved to increase engagement and reach.


To reach out to customers, one of the savviest ways in this modern market is the use of social media. In fact, according to the Journal of Internet Medical Research, more than 60% of adults use the internet to come across health related information and treatment procedures. This isn’t surprising as the culture of this world is seeking more of an instant solution. When an individual is sick, he wants to know what has really happened and wants it at that very instance. There is really no waiting. Social media in this case is perfectly positioned for healthcare professionals to reach out to patients and provide solutions in an effective and valuable way.


An example for the extensive use of social media in healthcare practiced could be well understood by the stand of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. It is one of the most popular healthcare channels on YouTube with more than 450,000 followers on Facebook and 600,000 on Twitter. Further, they have come up with different Facebook pages especially concerning different departments including gynecology, breast cancer, cochlear implants and many more.


Also the Mayo Clinic has three different blogs targeting different audiences. The main idea is to share expertise with the masses that would very well be your main customer base. Services provided in social media networks for medical professionals would also include webinars, training programs and access to resources. It is quite relevant to assume here that social media plays an increasingly important part in the healthcare industry as more and more professionals and institutions seek the path taken by the Mayo Clinic.


Digital communications and especially social media are laying deep roots in day-to-day healthcare operations. This network includes doctors, patients, nurses, therapists, clinics, hospitals and other professionals who use social platform as a tool for a more effective and far reaching means of communications. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc are used to share symptoms, research medical information, offering opinions, seeking similar communities, and provide health plans and even prescribe drugs. People use the social medium to keep in touch with other in similar communities having the same symptoms and seeking out references for a proper treatment. If something has worked out for one, it surely will work out for others.


Another report by the Pew Internet Research titled “State of Social Media in 2013” suggests that 60% of U.S. patients use social tools like Titter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest to stay connected and interact with others having the same interests. 35 % of American adults have tried to figure out medical conditions from others who might have gone through a similar condition. The e-patient idea is a powerful growing force challenging to break the traditional barrier that had existed between healthcare providers and patients. The new system is more enables, empowered, equipped and engaged and could be further used to educate and enhance health by offering DIY techniques in some instances.


Drawing inspiration from their social habits, the majority of internet users today are demanding access to online information and seeking out alternative ways of treatment that improve care and contain costs. Social media is acting as a catalyst to drastically impact patient motivation and the interaction with service provider. The collaborative technologies of today and the resulting innovations also allows for quicker dispersal of information and help patients who seek out immediate and cost effective medical services.


Since now, the traditional methods of interaction between patients and healthcare professionals allowed little opportunity for the patients to have a say on the logistics, alternative and the methods of care delivery. Now, with the connected setup, the idea has thoroughly changed and patients are empowered to have a greater say and play a role in their wellness and treatment.


The medical service provider is nothing less than any other consumer market. There is competition between service providers (both institutions and individuals) and patients have a wide opportunity to choose someone they would be comfortable with. This could be intimidating for physicians who still want to stick to old school methods, but it certainly benefits everyone.

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Expansion of Medical Practices using Social Media Services

Expansion of Medical Practices using Social Media Services | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Without proper marketing it is very difficult to establish any sort of business and healthcare practices are no exception. The competition has increased in every profession, even in medical field, forcing doctors to take their own hard earned stand. Though compared to other area of practice, e-marketing is new in medical field but keeping in mind the increased demand and competition, it is definitely a great idea. The way crowd approaches a doctor nowadays shows potential in online marketing procedures. Thus, many practitioners and doctors are actively using internet to give a boost to their business.


In the ancient times there was a single doctor who would take care of the whole community and thus the need for medical marketing did not exist. With the passage of time and development the scenario has changed drastically. Nowadays even a small village has more than one doctor treating the people. Just by verbal advertisement the competition can be defeated easily. Once an advertisement is done properly then getting patients won’t be a problem.


In the technical era there are several ways of advertising. Just verbal advertisement is not enough and rather seems a story now. Technological advancement has taken people much ahead. Internet is today’s first choice. In case of finding a suitable doctor too, people have started surfing the internet. A doctor obviously doesn’t want to lose any patient and thus, they have to follow the latest trend of internet marketing.


Social networking is the only word which crosses our mind when we pronounce internet in today’s date.  Thee are various tools of social media marketing and with the ever increasing popularity of facebook, twitter, mySpace etc; these media sites has become one of the most prosperous tools for doctors to showcase their talents via advertisements. These are used extensively by both doctors and patients to keep up communication. Let us now consider various benefits that the doctors or medical field has gained due to social media marketing.


It is a relevant fact that facebook is immensely popular amongst today’s generation and is used very widely to keep up with near and dear ones. In other words, facebook has simply created a massive impact upon World Wide Web. The business return value is quite huge and even the healthcare industry accepted the fact. The whole medical world has made facebook a strong tool to deal with their patients and clients using different techniques. It is the new way. Having a facebook profile gives you enormous advantages. It not only helps you to stay connected with your patients but also plays an important role in contact building and networking. It becomes easier to find similar communities, fellowship and various research based partners. Moreover, this profile acts as a part of your professional resume maintaining your image and voicing your expertise.


In order to manage your brand and give it a special fan following, twitter is the most appropriate place. Twitter is a place which gives you access to a world of similar minded people, thus giving you a chance to expand your horizon of knowledge. A single tweet means another step to increasing creditability. Moreover, tweets work much faster then facebook posts and thus, allows a user to see your content in various ways, in a short span on time.


However, the offerings of Google+ are much more when it comes to promotion of medical practice. You can link your profile to your promotional site and request your followers, friends and relatives to “+1” with your profile. This helps in increasing the recognition of a brand and also aware people about your practices. The number of “+1” you gain, the ranks improves allowing your webpage to be showcased on the top of list. This automatically attracts more clients.

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Peter Wilkinson www.peter.uk.com's curator insight, September 30, 2013 12:10 PM

Social media business - social media marketing, HR, recruitment, sales, customer service | culture and Internet / social media addiction and trolls - Call Peter on 07930330125 or email peter@peter.uk.com

Allison Emma Schizkoske's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:44 AM

This article is very true, the fact that social media today is everything when it comes to getting the word out about something. If a doctor is loooking for new patients they can be posting on facebook, twitter or google+ like mentioned in the atrical. They can even post/tweet a link to thier linked inacocunt so that the public can view thier profile and get to know the doctor before joining the practice. This is a great way to get your public to know you, so they feel comfortable before signing up. 

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How To Create a Pinteresting Healthcare Social Media Strategy

How To Create a Pinteresting Healthcare Social Media Strategy | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

A recent study revealed that Pinterest, the latest social networking site to take the social media world by storm, is now driving more traffic to websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined.


What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing “virtual pinboard” interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting. The site is currently invite-only, and it has experienced rapid growth in recent months (CrunchBase)


Launched in March 2010, Pinterest’s dramatic rise to become one of the top 10 social networking sites has been driven by an exponential growth in users, (a recent Techcrunch report cites 10 million U.S. monthly uniques – faster than any standalone site ever), seamless integration into existing social networking sites  (Facebook and Twitter) and an elegant and attractive user interface.

When images are uploaded to Pinterest, links are embedded that users can click to drive traffic directly to a website’s page. Furthermore, by sharing these images via Twitter or Facebook or embedding them on their own website or blog, images can be shared with a wider audience. What started out as an online scrapbooking site for a demographic – most users are female between the ages of 25 and 44 - to collect and share recipe, fashion and home decor ideas, has now evolved into a prime marketing tool for businesses.


So far, so pinteresting, but the question is how can you leverage the potential of this rapidly growing site for health care social media – particularly given that success on the site is predicated on pinning visually interesting content and blatant marketing is discouraged?  The answer lies in creating a strategy to promote your healthcare brand creatively so that it fits with the network’s user base and vision. Here are 9 ways to leverage the potential of Pinterest for healthcare social media.  


1. Think Visually

Pinterest fits most naturally when a brand has a visually interesting story to tell. Users may stumble upon your images and share them with friends, giving your image (or video) the opportunity to go viral. So, your first strategy is to collect the best images which represent your healthcare brand. If your budget allows, you may like to consider hiring a professional photographer or graphic designer to help you.


#Pinterest Tip: For healthcare, images related to exercise, nutrition and other health care promotion resources work well, as you can see in this example from the Facing Cancer Together pinboard, which highlights healthy living tips for wellness and cancer prevention.


2. Create Infographics
With so many online messages competing for our attention, interesting graphics can help cut through the social media clutter. Infographics – graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge – present complex information quickly and have grown in popularity on the web. (Check out this recent article on Social Media Today to learn how infographic design can get more readers to click on your content). See how ecaring uses this infographic on the anatomy of walking to good effect.


 3. Optimise your website 

Populate your website with visual content that people will want to share. Make it easy for visitors to share your images on Pinterest by adding a Pin-It button to your site. You can also incorporate aPinterest follow button on your website to encourage users to connect with you on Pinterest.


4. Optimize your Pinterest profile 
You can optimise your Pinterest Profile in the “settings” option of your account.  Insert your company name as username, fill out your profile information, add your logo and include links to your website. Check that the option to ‘Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines’ is checked to ‘Off’ so your profile can get indexed in search. Lastly, check the boxes that link to your Twitter and Facebook accounts are highlighted so that your pins will be automatically linked to these accounts.


5. Optimise your boards for SEO 
Default Pinterest boards are already categorised for you, but you can easily edit those names to best describe your pinboard. Categorising will help others find you and increase your chances of having your images repinned. Unfortunately there is no healthcare or health and wellness category (but this will hopefully change as more health related accounts are formed). What you can do is give your boards titles with SEO in mind. This is just the same as choosing key words for optimising your website or blog, so think about what words people will use to search for your brand. Pinterest is an effective SEO strategy because pins work as a link back to your site, and Google recognising the link, rewards your website with more SEO juice.


#Pinterest Tip: Add #hashtags to tag your pins and make your content more search-friendly (also useful for an integrated campaign across multiple social networking sites).


6. Showcase your brand’s personality
Study after study reveals that people prefer to buy from and engage with people rather than businesses. Pinterest gives you the opportunity to humanize your brand – so why not introduce your team and give your followers a behind the scenes look at the lives of those who work or volunteer for you. Pinboard ideas can range from images of daily life around the office, volunteering, award ceremonies, awareness raising activities to boards featuring “food we love” or “books we are reading”.


7. Build up followers
Start by following influencers and early adopters in your industry – there’s a good chance they will follow you back. Repin relevant content from other users and interact with them by commenting on their boards. Above all, you need to provide your followers with regularly updated content of interest and value to keep them engaged. The key to building a strong following on Pinterest, as with other social media sites, is to become a leading expert on a subject related to your industry. Become the go-to authority on Pinterest and you followers will flock to you.


8. Involve your supporters

The best marketing on any social media platform happens when your followers share their passion and enthusiasm for what you do. On Pinterest, you can invite other users to contribute their own images to your account by creating a user-generated pinboard. Don’t worry – this isn’t a free-for-all for everyone. You create a specific board for this purpose, then go to edit and choose “Me + Contributors” under who can pin, thereby allowing you to choose who can contribute.  This is a great opportunity to foster community, engage with your followers, and inspire, encourage and acknowledge volunteers.


9. Have Fun!

The images most likely to be repined are aesthetically pleasing, with humorous images coming a close second. So remember not to take the site too seriously and pin with positivity.


 Pinterest is growing and changes are being incorporated as it evolves. Marketers are still finding their way around the site and while it has already proven its marketing worth to businesses, the potential to leverage the site for health care marketing is clearly evident.  If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into Pinterest waters, take some time to explore the creative ways it is currently used by NGOs,  hospitals, healthcare professionals and pharma. Determine if it fits with your marketing plan, then incorporating the tips outlined in this article, devise a Pinterest marketing strategy that will best leverage its potential for your purposes.


Happy Pinning!

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How Social Media Is Guiding Pharma's Market Intelligence

How Social Media Is Guiding Pharma's Market Intelligence | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

With the rise of social media and mobile technology worldwide, it was only a matter of time until industries turned to social intelligence for market insight.  Big Pharma is typically a latecomer to the social arena, lagging behind other industries that face less-restrictive requirements.  However, the promise of Big Data and the prospect of reality mining and social analytics have more and more companies looking to the web.


It’s no secret that social analytics and patient engagement strategies are great for sales.  But without regulations in place, companies are wary about outbound social media programs.  Since Pharma is still waiting for the FDA’s social media guidances, which are set to release in July 2014, only a few leading pharmaceutical companies have jumped into the social arena with both feet.  Johnson & Johnson, one of the pharmas to pioneer the social spaces, has used social networks for crisis management, apologizing to consumers after the FDA discovered irregularities in one manufacturing plant.  Also, Novartis has begun using YouTube and Facebook to bolster sales for several of its OTC drugs.  While some companies are wary of outbound efforts, pharmas are leveraging inbound social media software and analytics to improve market intelligence efforts.


While they might not be actively engaging patients (yet), pharmas are able to employ listening techniques to gain a clearer picture of their target markets.  Forward listening allows analysts to gather information from social conversations in real-time, keeping the company up-to-date on the latest issues or accolades.  Backward listening allows analysts to create a historical baseline of social sentiment toward a brand.  These conversations further a company’s understanding of its targeted physicians’ and patients’ feelings about a particular brand and help to identify unmet needs.  Going a step further, as companies better understand patient questions, the information gathered from social listening can also help to create brand packaging and patient education materials and to guide physician-sales rep interactions.


Of course, social intelligence doesn’t stop at understanding a single company’s products.  Pharmas can also leverage social listening techniques to gain competitive intelligence.  With the large amounts of conversations available via social networks and patient and physician communities, pharmas can also understand their consumers’ experiences with – and sentiments toward – competing products.  In fact, with enough data, comparative analysis can reveal the decisions that lead patients to switch from one brand to another.

With the rise of Big Data, social listening is just one of many intelligence-gathering methods opening up to the pharma industry.  As pharmaceutical companies are able to implement more outbound social initiatives, the amount of available analytics and social intelligence will only grow.


- See more at: http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/2013/social-media-guiding-pharmas-market-intelligence/#sthash.7c7zQspq.dpuf

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Incorporating HIPAA into Your Practice’s Social Media Marketing

Incorporating HIPAA into Your Practice’s Social Media Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

It’s clear that social media is here to stay and that ALL businesses, including healthcare organizations, are currently using and will continue to increase their use of social media to connect with their targeted audience—patients, peers, influencers—all with the goal of creating a wonderful community where you impart your knowledge, support your peers, and increase your status within that community as an expert—thereby driving business to your door.


However, the issue of patient privacy, HIPAA, and offering advice is still of concern. Many have said; “My business did fine before social media…I don’t need it!” However, our client base and the Baby Boomers (incidentally the fastest growing segment of social media users) are turning to the web and social media to get answers, research providers, and give their opinions. Their fingers are still “doing the walking,” but on their keyboards instead of in a phonebook.


Physicians are being asked to deal with more and more lately. With the increase in the cost of doing business, insurance, managed care, reimbursement issues, litigation, the advent and transition to EMR’s, HIPAA concerns, and now social media integration, it’s understandable that physicians are slower to adopt this means of communication. However, physicians are such a wealth of information, those that do get involved in social media and blogging reap huge benefits and quickly develop a reputation as an expert in their field, often leading to an increase in new patients, requests to speak at events, invitations to write for industry journals, and more!


Often, clients expect that if you are on the cutting edge of your medical specialty, that the other aspects of your practice—your office, your staff, advertising pieces, personal appearance, and even your business cards, website, and social media presence—should reflect that level of professionalism and technological savvy. How can you be a part of this 24/7 online networking event while keeping current and ahead of the curve with the ever powerful and beneficial results of a successful social media campaign?

In a previous Doctor’s Life Magazine column (bit.ly/SocialMediaRx) I discussed how social media is an extension of your practice specialty, personality, current marketing plan, office atmosphere, and website – all rolled into one.


Here are 10 suggestions on ways to have a successful social media campaign, and continue to communicate online with patients (current and future) and market your services, while adhering to HIPAA guidelines. Note that these tips can apply to texting, emailing, voicemails, and other forms of communication as well!


1. How you act on social media is transparent, and you should act no differently online than you do in person, or how your sales and marketing staff would at a networking event, or how any of us would in an elevator. SO as social media is truly a “conversation,” just like face-to-face interactions, you need to maintain your own personality and tone, you also need to refrain from posting anything that might identify a patient, even if you don’t mention their name. You wouldn’t want to post any combination of things such as locations, times or events that may allow someone to draw a conclusion or disclose personal information. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, be sure to get authorization before posting pictures of employees, vendors, or patients.


2. Maintain professional boundaries and don’t combine your personal and professional online accounts. Have a separate account for your friends and family and a business page for your practice. Refrain from “friending” your patients on your personal account. Occasionally a patient may find your personal account and send you a friend request. If that happens, be sure to private message them to let them know that your practice’s social media policy prohibits you from connecting with them on your personal page, but offer the links so they can follow your business page.


3. Social media is a transparent platform for sharing information, not hiding it. With that in mind, be sure that whatever you post, whether it’s an original post or one that you share, re-tweet, or mention is one that you’d be proud of, and wouldn’t mind if it were printed in a newspaper. Many times, once things are out there in cyberspace, they’re out there, which brings us to our next tip…


4. Before you push send, count to three and ask yourself if the post is true, helpful, respectful, does it apply to a mixed audience, and could it be misconstrued as offensive by anyone. Remember, once you push send it becomes immediate, and although you can sometimes delete a post, people can print it or save it before you do. This applies to responses to comments, especially when you might not agree. Again, be sure to act the same way you would in person.


5. Review your privacy settings at least monthly, as they can change. Be sure that you have control over the comments posted and that you can approve or deny what you want. Don’t be afraid to block anyone that posts anything that is inappropriate.


6. Google yourself frequently. Or better yet, set up Google Alerts, (google.com/alerts) so that you will get an email whenever a search term (your name, the name of your practice, or any subject you want an alert on) comes up in Google. Another great idea is to have a separate gmail.com account for your social media accounts only. You can set your contact emails to your business account, but all of your notifications should be sent to this private Gmail account, so that you will see EVERYTHING that’s going on on your social media channels. This email address would be different from your contact email, and is kept private on the sites, just be sure to adjust your notification settings in each channel appropriately.


7. Know the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and its amendments, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH ACT), along with state laws, all of which provide privacy and security protections of personal healthcare information (PHI), along with the repercussions if the law is violated. Be sure to take reasonable and appropriate measures to protect your patients privacy. The Mayo Clinic has a wonderful 12-word social media policy: “Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry, Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete, Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal.” Obviously, each of these rules can be expanded upon. Read more at bit.ly/SMMPolicy.


8. Set up a social media policy within your office and provide education on it as well as regular HIPAA education and how social media is included in this. Review it frequently with those that have access to and/or manage your social media channels, and update it as rules and regulations change. Some guidelines you might want to consider including in your social media policy should touch on; respect of time and property, use of confidential and PHI information, respectful communications, right to monitor, and enforcement measures, and that each employee utilizing your social media is responsible for knowing, understanding, and upholding HIPAA regulations, as well as your social media policy. Remember even if you don’t have social media channels for your practice, your employees most likely have personal accounts. Be sure that they understand the implications of revealing PHI on those accounts.


9. What if a patient comments on your social media channel, if their name shows up, is the physician breaching patient privacy and opening themselves up for trouble? The answer is: Probably not. However, you should take any precautions you can such as, setting up a disclaimer on your ‘about page’ stating that opinions and views are your own, and reminding them that by commenting on your site, they are revealing their identity. However, since they are doing it by their own volition, it would be no different from them having a conversation with someone in your waiting room. However, with monitoring you can stay on top of the conversation.


10. “What if I get on social media, and someone complains or says something negative?” We hear this one quite a bit, and the truth is; if you didn’t have your own outlet for them to write these things, they would simply do it on their own channels. Having your own social media presence allows you to monitor what’s going on, react to comments and ideas, and if and when something negative does come your way, don’t immediately delete it—show the rest of your followers that you are truly concerned and document an apology, correction, or whatever it takes to recognize that client’s issue, and your willingness to make it right. Bear in mind, use caution in what you say, perhaps requesting the client call you directly. Oftentimes, it’s the fact that you respond, and the speed of doing so that shows you are a cut above!


In conclusion, there is no doubt that social media is here to stay. The benefits of this online version of communication far outweigh the potential risks, with just a few common sense tips. Remember too, when outsourcing your social media to a online marketing firm such as The Go! Agency, they are bound by the same rules and regulations as you are. Be sure to ask them very pointed questions about how they will maintain your patient’s privacy, and ensure that your social media campaign is one that truly creates a wonderful community for your practice, educates your current and future clients, and pushes you to the top as an expert in your field!

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3 Audiences on Social Media You Are Marketing To as a Health Research Co.

3 Audiences on Social Media You Are Marketing To as a Health Research Co. | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

What audiences on social media are you targeting with your marketing? We are all familiar with demographics when it comes to social media. We might be looking to target middle-aged women, or college-aged men, but these criteria are pretty superficial. We need to ask ourselves what audiences on social media we are really looking to target when it comes to social marketing.

There are three very specific types of audiences that we aim to engage with on social networks. Each of these groups engage with brands in very different ways, and our marketing efforts need to reflect that. In order to simplify the explanation of these audiences, we’ll stick to one, easy example: a health research institute.


Direct Affect


When it comes to health, wellness and research, there is a small group that consistently has one aspect of the field or another on their mind.
These are people who have been directly affected by the illness or condition that the research is looking to cure. For the health research institute, the goal in using social media is to keep this highly and inherently engaged audience up-to-date with the work that is being done and breakthroughs in the field. While sharing content every second of every day is not necessarily going to be the best course of action for most brands, there should be an attempt to keep this audience active on social channels by sharing content relatively consistently.


First-Degree Separation


Now a much larger population when it comes to this health research institute is going to be the one made up primarily of people who have not experienced the condition that the research is hoping to cure, but who can relate personally to it due to the fact that someone they know or are related to someone who has.

This is a group that does not consistently think of this ailment, but when it is brought to their attention, it certainly resonates. For the health research institute, there needs to be an effort every so often to remind this second audience on social media as to why they exist. This audience does not follow the activity of the health research brand as closely as the first group, but calls to action will certainly resonate, often profoundly.


Societal Connection


The third and final audience on social networks is the one least aware or affected by the brand. This group is not thinking about the activity of a brand consistently, if ever, and will likely not pay attention to the content unless it is relevant within society. One example of this is the month of October for breast cancer awareness. During this month, the cause is seen almost everywhere, from community fundraisers to the NFL.

It is during this period that research institutes can generate new awareness within this third audience. From there, during the rest of the year, the content shared to the first degree audience may seem a little more relevant to this somewhat removed group, and calls to action may generate more success. Of course, there are other audiences we may find on social networks. But these three categories need to be front of mind when creating content. Understand what types of audiences will be looking at your content, and diversify your content strategy in order to appeal to every one of those audiences.

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