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3 Ways Dentists Can Use Facebook Advertising for New Patient Acquisition

3 Ways Dentists Can Use Facebook Advertising for New Patient Acquisition | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media for the dental practice has come a long way in just a few short years.


We hear reports every now and again that more traditional new patient acquisition efforts, like Yellow Pages & Direct Mail, are still useful in certain areas (targeting certain demographics), but without a complementary social media identity, dentists are not maximizing their new patient recruitment efforts.


The emphasis has shifted from over-bloated underperforming dental marketing, to content creation and digital word-of-mouth amplification, which social networks such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter facilitate.

For the sake of this article we will concentrate on Facebook advertising for dentists.
 

Dentists Advertising for New Patients on Facebook?

 
Dentists advertising on Facebook can use these three forms of media in their new patient acquisition efforts — “owned,” “paid,” and “earned” — to increase potential and existing patient engagement, extend the reach of their offers, contests, or promotions, and turnLikes (just like in grade school, you can’t buy friends) into new patients happy to spread the social dental currency around to their friends.

Let’s define what we mean by each term as it relates to dental practices advertising on Facebook, but first we’ll give credit where credit is most due – the inspiration of this post belongs to this Facebook Advertising article via Practical eCommerce.

Owned media. Content created by dentists for use on Facebook Pages.
Paid media. Ads such as Facebook Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories.
Earned media. Conversations about dental health brands and products shared among Facebook users.

Dentists maximizing Facebook’s advertising options effectively enable each of these advertising formats to integrate with the others to increase their overall new patient acquisition impact.
 

Owned Media: Create Engaging Content

 
The first step is to create content that your dental Facebook connections want and will likely engage with. What types of content qualify as engaging to a potential or existing dental patient?


Promotional: This includes practice product announcements, in addition to promotions only targeting your Facebook fans.


Syncapse reported back in June of 2013 that the top three reasons why people decide to like a Facebook page are:

  • 49 percent: To support a brand I like
  • 42 percent: To get a coupon or discount
  • 41 percent: To receive regular updates from brands I like

Informational: It makes sense that prospective & existing patients will respond to content focused on their needs and interests. Give your followers the beneficial information to empower their health care decisions and enlist them in their own dental health!


A generally accepted rule of thumb for dental Facebook posts is to keep the promotional content at a ratio of 1:4 as compared to educational, local, or entertainment driven information.


Here are some tips dentists can use to increase engagement with the content you create:

  • Use images. According to KissMetrics, an analytics and tracking firm, images and photos receive 39 percent higher interactions than average posts, and receive 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more clicks. Include an image in most, if not all, of your posts.
  • Keep posts short. Posts with less than 80 characters get 23 percent higher engagement.
  • Post often…but not TOO often. Among retail brands, posting 1 to 2 times per day gets 40 percent more engagement than posting 3 or more times per day. Don’t be that dentist that posts 6 useless pieces of content before 10am!
  • Schedule posts for optimal days and times. Facebook activity peaks around 3 p.m. Eastern Time each day. There are also spikes around 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday seems to be most active day during the week. Schedule posts to take advantage of these peaks.
  • Pin and highlight posts. Pin important posts to the top of your page to increase exposure, as well as highlight such posts so they span the width of both columns in the Timeline.
  • Use Facebook Insights. Use Facebook Insights to analyze the types of content fans most respond to, as well as the effect post format, frequency and time of day has on engagement.

 

Paid Media: Dentists Can Amplify Social Media Content with Facebook Ads

 
Use Facebook Promoted Posts to extend reach and increase longevity of posts that receive higher engagement. In our experience, the most sharable posts for our member dentists happen to be contest results – even more so than the contest itself. Dentists using Facebook advertising in the form of Promoted Posts have the targeting capability to reach fans, friends of fans, and even a group of users based on age, gender, location and language.


Your dental practice Promoted Posts will show up in the newsfeed of your fans – people connected to your page – if you post often enough, have an engaged following, a fully optimized Edgerank @$$ kicking presence, and maybe experiment with some hashtags…etc.


When your most dental-centric fans engage with your posts, their friends may see the story in their news feed too, enabling you to extend your reach.
 

That is Facebook Advertising for Dentists Force Multiplication!

 
Another way for dentists to advertise beneficial content on Facebook is through aSponsored Story to further amplify the post. Sponsored Stories do not require any additional budget, but will share the cost with your current ad campaign.

Earned Media: Dental Practices NEED to Interact with their Fans

We know it sounds silly, but it’s really a make or break point. It’s unquestionably important to interact with fans…and friends of fans…who engage with your posts.


  • Respond to comments. This lets people know you’re interested in what they have to say and may increase the likelihood they will continue to pay attention to your posts over time.
  • Get fans involved. Ask people to create their own content and share it on your dental practice Facebook Page. Be sure to ask fans to take action on your posts. This could include asking them to like a post, vote in a contest, or share the post with their friends.
  • Asking questions helps, too. Posts that include questions garner 100 percent more comments than “non-question” posts.
    Feature fans. Feature a “fan of the week” and include testimonials from patients that are also fans of your dental practice Facebook Page.

 

Dentists Can Actually Force Multiply New Patient Acquisition Efforts with Facebook Advertising

 
Facebook makes it easy for any dental practice to integrate owned, paid and earned media to increase the effectiveness of your digital dental marketing. But dentists need to take advantage of this capability by creating engaging content, promoting content that receives the most engagement using ads, and interacting with fans and others to stimulate the digital dental health conversation centered around your practice.

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

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

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

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

Support our people

http://technomaxs.com/the-best-smart-phone-ever/


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United Home Healthcare's curator insight, June 12, 12:29 PM
Being active on Social media can really help your company.
rob halkes's curator insight, September 15, 6:04 AM

You might think that after 10+ years, social media for healthcare is a self evident activity,! Nothing is less true, however ;-) But here's a checklist you need if you still need to sign up ;-) 


 

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Is social media a viable method to share health policy info?

Is social media a viable method to share health policy info? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The power of social media has been accredited to reducing knowledge gaps, building communities, contributing to social movements and connecting individuals personally and professionally. But the online networking tools may be lacking in disseminating additional information that is vital to public knowledge.   

In a recent study published by JACR, Damian Roland, PhD, an associate professor in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Leicester, examined the clinicians' use of social media—and its impact on influencing policymakers and advocacy groups. He also looked at how policymakers and government groups can use social media to benefit their agenda.   

According to Roland, the rapid growth of social media has complicated efforts to examine its impact on traditional academic and research methods, which is why there's minimal amount of research regarding social media's role in health policy.  

"It may well be that the research methodology to assess social media’s role in health policy has yet to be defined," Roland said. "Social media is almost certainly being used in health policy, but to demonstrate its impact, validated mechanisms to assess its benefit need to be more widely shared and accepted." 

Social media's ability to close the knowledge translation gap between clinicians and the policy makers is a major benefit, though seemingly underutilized. Media, social or not, have the power to influence people's thought processes and behaviors. At the same time social media is a minimal cost-effective multimedia marketing strategy, according to Roland.  

Although the right research tools exist, the problem extends far beyond that, Roland explained. A translation gap exists between clinical evidence and its implementation practice. This then delays when evidence reaches policymakers. Young people who are social media savvy and faculty members in research facilities also contribute to this because many researchers feel ill equipped to disseminate health policy information online, according to a study reviewed by Roland.  

Derived from a 2013 review of social media in health communication in 98 original studies, Roland touches on 12 potential limitations: 

  • Lack of reliability 
  • Quality concerns 
  • Lack of confidentiality 
  • Unknown risk of disclosing personal information online  
  • Risks associated with communication of harmful or incorrect advice using social media  
  • Information overload  
  • Uncertainty how to apply information found online   
  • Difference in effectiveness of social media in behavior changes  
  • Adverse health consequences 
  • Negative health behaviors 
  • Social media deter patients from visiting health professionals 
  • Unfamiliarity with social media to communicate with patients  

In response to these limitations, Roland advocates for further education and training.  "Social media represents a rapidly maturing channel of communication that can be used to disseminate health policy decisions and evidence that supports those decisions," Roland concluded. "Effective dissemination strategies, particularly for health coverage, should include a social media strategy informed by the patient perspective."  

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When Should Medical Practices Advertise on Social Media? 

When Should Medical Practices Advertise on Social Media?  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media advertising has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years and that growth is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Social media advertising budgets in the United States are expected to reach $17.34 billion and attract over 110 billion in 2019. With that being said, if your medical practice hasn’t jumped on board this fast moving train, it’s time to punch your ticket before you get left behind.

As we meet with medical practices to review and evaluate their marketing strategies, we often incorporate social media advertising campaigns in the game plans we recommend. We do this for a number of reasons:

1. Social media advertising increases your website traffic more quickly than through inbound marketing alone.

When compared to online advertising—whether it’s display, search engine, or social media—inbound marketing is hands-down the best way to increase your website traffic at a steady rate while receiving consistent and reliable patient leads in the process. However, it is a process, and sometimes that process can take between six months to a year before you start to notice a significant increase in web visits and new patient appointments. By incorporating social media advertising campaigns into your inbound marketing game plan, we make the waiting period more tolerable because you would see an increase in activity immediately.

A Word of Caution

While social media advertising may work well for your practice when you’re just getting started, it’s important not to become solely dependent on what may feel like instantaneous results.

2. Social media advertising sends visitors who meet specific demographic qualifications to your website.

Facebook advertising has a built-in tool that allows you to reach your ideal patient by targeting any Facebook user who meets whatever criteria you set. You can build a general target audience by using simple demographic qualifications, like age, gender, and location. Or you can build a more detailed target audience by including personal details or interests, like whether or not they are likely to work in a certain industry, have an income above a designated threshold, be parents or grandparents, or read a popular magazine. If targeting new patients based on what they had for breakfast isn’t enough, you can also build an audience resembling those who already like your Facebook page.

It doesn’t stop there…

By using a list of your current patients, you can build audience who “looks like” them, conveniently called a “Lookalike Audience”. This method works well for practices who don’t have a clearly defined market or are unsure of who their ideal patient may be. After uploading the email addresses of current or past patients into the advertising tool, Facebook will match them with existing profiles. Facebook will then take a look at your patients’ demographics and their activity (pages they follow, groups they interact with, content they share, ads they click, etc.) and create an audience full of other people who are similar… your Lookalike Audience. From there, you can start running a Facebook advertising campaign that will direct ads toward this new group. People from the original email list you uploaded (your actual patients) will not receive any advertising.  

3. Social media advertising will boost your medical practice’s page Likes and Followers.

If one of your marketing goals is to increase your Likes and Followers, advertising is the only way to do that relatively quickly. We say “relatively”, because even with advertising, most medical practices will only see a 100-200 person increase each month even with significant spending. With the complexities of the Facebook algorithm, there really is no magic pill when starting from ground zero, although attracting new followers does get easier the more you have.

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The Strategic Imperative for the Use of Social Media in Health Care

The Strategic Imperative for the Use of Social Media in Health Care | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Brand research conducted in the 1990s to understand the factors driving consumer and patient choice of our institution for diagnosis and treatment of serious medical conditions identified two key sources of information determining these preferences: news stories reported by traditional media outlets and word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied patients and referring physicians.

Traditional methods of facilitating word-of-mouth recommendations have evolved over time. In the late 2000s, peer-based social media health networks seemed poised to play a powerful role in shaping many health care–related decisions. A Pew Research Center survey found that 60% of US adults used the Internet to find health care information, and 10% used social media to follow their friends’ health care experiences [1]. Another study found that social media, including online forums and message boards, were being used as sources of information about health and wellness by 34% [2]. Since then, social media use in health care has continued to grow exponentially [3].

Around this same time, the Mayo Clinic made a strategic investment in social media. The Mayo Clinic would use social media not just in news media relations and marketing but throughout the organization to improve care for patients and their families, enhance health consumer education, advance medical research, and expand brand awareness for the Mayo Clinic.

Role of Social Media in Marketing

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 resulted in a significant shift in the direction of health care in the United States [4]. Patients increasingly bear the burden of rising health care costs, narrow insurer networks limit choice, and numerous health care institutions are reporting quality outcomes and patient satisfaction metrics. In this new milieu, organizations must differentiate themselves in the market to drive demand for their services and support their business models. A digital presence through social media can define the organization’s or individual practitioner’s brand, expand the reach of an organization, and ultimately support patient appointment demand generation.

Given that word-of-mouth references continue to be a primary driver of patient referrals in health care, social media tactics have the ability to exponentially enhance this referral network. Facebook, with 1.7 billion active monthly users, and Twitter, with 6,000 tweets per second [5], have the potential to reach a massive audience. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, professional social media sites such as Doximity and LinkedIn offer a diverse portfolio of media to convey messages to both health consumers and referring providers. Each of these social media tactics targets a different segment of the health care constituency, but overall, they all contribute to building brand awareness, a key component of the strategic marketing plan.

Like other tactics within a strategic plan, social media tactics must have clearly defined objectives that can be measured and shared with organizational leadership so that appropriate investments in personnel and other resources can be made to sustain or grow these activities. Key performance indicators such as reach, click-through rates, impressions, posts, and followers must be tracked, interpreted, and documented relative to targets for each initiative (Table 1).

Table 1Social media key performance indicatorsMetricQuarterly TargetActual2016, Fourth Quarter2017, First QuarterNew Mayo Clinic Connect members1,2002,0302,470Shares of Mayo Clinic posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+146,000NA270,000Social media referrals to MayoClinic.org900,000703,000928,000Clicks on MayoCl.in links and on other bit.ly links shortened by Mayo Clinic1200,000972,0001443,000Facebook reach45 million50 million95 millionTwitter reach1,800 million1,940 million2,064 millionView Table in HTML

Over the years, we have expanded our reach on social media. Our enterprise Facebook page has amassed 970,000 likes and our Twitter account 1.5 million followers. Videos on our YouTube channel were viewed more than 4.9 million times in 2016 alone (Fig. 1).

Fig 1

Reach of social media platforms. (A) Graph of the increase in reach on Facebook over 4 years. (B) Graph of the increase in reach using Twitter over 4 years.

 

The Mayo Clinic’s all-time top social media post introduced a face transplant recipient to health consumers. This 2017 Facebook post received 102,800 likes and reactions, 7,800 comments, and 78,800 shares and reached more than 25 million people [6].

Generating Appointment Demand

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

In addition to building brand, social media can also have an impact on patient requests for appointments. Using Google Analytics, the number of people who navigated to www.mayoclinic.org from social media sites is followed, and subsequent appointment requests are tracked. This allows the marketing and social media teams to analyze which social media applications are generating the most appointment request activity and then adjust tactics accordingly. The total number of social media referrals that led to appointment requests at our institution increased by 139% between 2015 and 2016. Although 20 different social media referral sites yielded appointment requests, Facebook was the top referrer, drawing in 81% of referrals from social media in 2015 and accounting for 88% in 2016.

Health care providers’ participation in social media can have a direct impact on building their individual reputations as well as bringing patients to their specialty areas of practice. Participation in social media can not only establish a positive provider reputation; it can also counter rare negative perceptions regarding a practice or health care provider [7].

In early 2009, Ruben Mesa, MD, created a YouTube video on myelofibrosis that has since received almost 16,000 views [8]. After the video was online for about 7 months, Dr Mesa observed that almost all new out-of-state patients mentioned his video work as a reason for seeking care at Mayo Clinic (personal communication). After Dr Mesa transferred from the Florida to Arizona campus in late 2009, the number of unique myelofibrosis patients seen on the Arizona campus increased by more than 150%, whereas numbers for similar patients on our Florida campus have stayed relatively steady (Fig. 2).

Fig 2

Unique myelofibrosis cases at the Mayo Clinic in Florida and Arizona, 2008 to 2015. A YouTube video on this topic was introduced in 2009 by a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona practice.

 

Improving the Patient Care Experience

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

The patient experience often begins long before a patient arrives at a doctor’s office. Social media can be an important tool to reach out to patients before their appointments to improve their experience and potentially decrease anxiety associated with their care. It also provides a useful forum in which to connect patients with similar diseases to share their treatment experiences and provide peer-to-peer support.

Patients traveling to destination centers are often concerned about the size of an organization and challenges navigating their care in an unfamiliar setting. The Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota, is no different, made up of a number of outpatient facilities, two hospitals, and a complicated underground walkway known as the “subway.” To enhance patient experience and decrease anxiety, a patient-guide video series was produced to illustrate how to navigate to and around all three main campuses: Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. These 25 videos have received nearly 390,000 views since their creation in 2010 and 2011. The average video length is 1 min and 6 seconds, and the average percentage viewed is 84%, compared with 47% across all videos on Mayo’s YouTube channel.

In the clinical world, patient anxiety before joint replacement surgery has been linked to greater postsurgical pain [9]. Given this finding, the Mayo Clinic’s Orthopedic Surgery Department conducted a study to test whether online patient education videos would reduce anxiety. Sixteen YouTube videos were developed for those needing total hip and knee replacements. The videos virtually introduced patients to their care team members and allowed them to see the operating rooms where the procedures would be completed. The treatment group received both the YouTube videos and standard face-to-face and print material education, whereas the control group received only the standard education. Both groups completed a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) score assessment on a scale of 0 to 21 at their preoperative appointments and again on the morning of surgery. The results showed an overall 1-point median GAD score reduction in those who had watched the videos. In the subset of patients with moderate or severe preoperative anxiety (GAD scores of 10-21), the impact was even greater, with those who had watched the videos demonstrating a 6-point median GAD score reduction. As a result of this study, the department now routinely provides video links to patients undergoing joint replacement [10].

Mayo Clinic Connect (connect.mayoclinic.org) is a social media platform on which patients can share their experiences with peers and find support from those with similar health interests. With more than 50,000 members, Connect hosts 40 topical groups of past, current, and potential patients, who offer support and exchange information and care recommendations.

This platform extends the reach of the Mayo Clinic by allowing patients to share their Mayo Clinic experiences relative to a certain disease or condition. This type of patient engagement strategy builds brand awareness not just for an institution but also for strategically important service lines and care priorities. By linking Mayo Clinic Connect to digital requests for appointments, an institution can begin to track which tactics, conversations, and discussion threads encourage conversion from a health consumer to a patient. Given that word of mouth is still a key driver for elevating brand awareness, platforms such as Mayo Clinic Connect become strategically more important by amplifying that word of mouth across a worldwide digital platform [111213].

Although driving demand is a pillar priority of the platform, additional goals of Connect we have seen realized include strengthening patients’ ability to help themselves and to find answers, preparing for appointments, learning from the lived experiences of others, and promoting behavioral change [14151617] (Fig. 3).

Fig 3

Example comments extracted from a longer thread on Mayo Clinic Connect demonstrating patients’ ability to help themselves and to find answers, learn from the lived experiences of others, and promote positive behavioral change [15].

 

Enhancing Health Consumer Education

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

Social media tools enable health information dissemination via channels that patients already frequent. This gives health care providers the powerful ability to communicate in a one-to-many fashion, as opposed to the standard health care approach of one to one, exponentially increasing the reach of high-quality educational content. Also, rather than waiting until people perform online searches for health concerns, institutions can proactively send information regarding conditions, treatments, and preventive care to consumers’ social media newsfeeds. This content is often packaged in “bite-size” pieces that allow easy understanding by health consumers and can also direct them to additional educational content, on a website for example, if they seek more thorough information. Video content is incredibly valuable as more and more individuals ingest content through video [18].

Numerous studies have shown that health care content found online is often created by nonmedical professionals, is of poor quality, and may contain inaccurate and misleading information [1920]. Moreover, this inaccurate information often attracts a great number of viewers and generates more likes than content created by reputable organizations [2122].

A study of YouTube as a source of information on the risks and benefits of CT radiation found that the majority of videos related to this topic were uploaded by nonradiologists. Although there was no difference in the number of views, those uploaded by radiologists were more likely to be accurate and have a favorable or neutral position toward CT radiation [23]. With so much misinformation available, we believe that health care institutions have a responsibility to provide reliable health information online.

Content shared in 2016 from our Twitter (twitter.com/mayoclinic), Facebook (facebook.com/MayoClinic), and Google Plus (plus.google.com/+MayoClinic) accounts received an estimated 3.4 million click-throughs. The links in our social media posts usually direct viewers to our website or blogs for more information or to online news articles that quote Mayo subject-matter experts. These links often attract a high volume of click-throughs. For example, a Facebook post on simple lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms of restless leg syndrome received 15,900 estimated link clicks [24]. Google Analytics shows that our website, mayoclinic.org, received 2.8 million visits in 2016 via social media referrals from content posted by the organization as well as by social media users shared among themselves. The vast majority of those social media referrals, 77%, came from Facebook (Fig. 4). Monitoring the click-through rate on various posts helps optimize the content to meet institutional directed priorities and direct appropriate investments and resources in use of the most beneficial applications.

Fig 4

Engagement with social media content. (A) Click-throughs from content posted on all social media accounts over the course of 1 year. (B) Shares of content posted on all social media accounts over the course of 1 year.

 

Patients also value educational, online interaction with health care professionals. Medical subject-matter experts regularly participate in Facebook Live sessions to discuss particular health topics and answer viewer questions. Patients find it helpful to see a physician’s live presentation and ask general, nondiagnostic health questions in real time. In the bimonthly #AskTheMayoMom series, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician hosts an interactive video discussion via Facebook Live and is joined by a guest speaker with subspecialty expertise in that topic. As an example, the Facebook Live broadcast in April 2016 on pediatric brain tumors had up to 986 concurrent live viewers during the broadcast and was then archived on the Facebook page for enduring visibility. In total, the video received 46,590 views [25].

Social Media in the Radiology Department

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

Many of the aforementioned social media benefits are reflected in radiology examples on both the enterprise and radiology-specific social media accounts. In 2016, the Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page published 16 radiology posts, which received a total of 12,300 engagements (likes or reactions, comments, and shares). A Facebook post on molecular breast imaging was meant to educate patients and accelerate the translation from research use of this technique for women with dense breast tissue to increased application in clinical practice. This post received 2,600 likes and reactions and more than 1,300 shares. More than 900 users clicked through on the link for more information [26].

Also in 2016, Mayo Clinic’s Twitter account published 37 radiology-focused tweets, which received 1,100 engagements (replies, retweets, and likes). A tweet addressing the safety of CT scans received 1,700 estimated link click-throughs [27].

The Mayo Clinic Department of Radiology also has a Twitter account (twitter.com/MayoRadiology). With about 700 followers, this account allows the Department of Radiology to tweet more frequently (361 times in 2016) and to offer specialized radiology content. For example, we can post content about specialized services we provide, such as 3-D anatomic models helping patient and surgeon understanding before surgery [28]. A radiology account also allows greater interaction with radiology societies, such as retweeting content from the ACR or promoting papers published by our radiologists and trainees in journals such as JACR. Mayo’s radiology account also publishes promotional material for continuing medical education courses on social media and tracks referrals from these sources.

Conclusions

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

In a rapidly changing health care landscape, strategic implementation of social media by health care organizations aligns with organizational business goals. Social media efforts are valuable through defining the organization’s brand, expanding the reach of the brand, and generating patient appointment demand. We have demonstrated the successful use of social media to reach these goals.

Take-Home Points

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

 

  • In addition to typical media relations and marketing goals, social media can be successfully used as part of an organization’s overall strategy to improve patient care, expand medical education, and advance medical research.

  • Social media efforts have been valuable to Mayo Clinic through expanding brand reach, generating demand, accelerating the translation from scientific discovery to practice adoption, and increasing event attendance and revenue.

  • The social media benefits for patients and the institution can be applied to, and evidenced in, radiology.

 

Acknowledgments

Jump to SectionIntroductionRole of Social Media in MarketingGenerating Appointment DemandImproving the Patient Care ExperienceEnhancing Health Consumer EducationSocial Media in the Radiology DepartmentConclusionsTake-Home PointsAcknowledgmentsReferences

We thank Sonia Watson, PhD, for her assistance in editing this article.

 
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How Healthcare Pros Can Effectively Use Social Media - Healthcare Daily Online

How Healthcare Pros Can Effectively Use Social Media - Healthcare Daily Online | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

More people use social media than ever. Interest in social media has increased across all age demographics, although it is particularly strong with Millennials.

That means that hospitals and other healthcare organizations have a great opportunity to use social media to reach a wide variety of people. This can prove useful in marketing, conveying important information to the public, getting feedback from patients and even sharing medical knowledge among professionals.

Healthcare professionals must be prudent about the use of social media in personal as well as professional settings. Healthcare involves regulatory and privacy issues.

It’s advisable for healthcare organizations to do the following before engaging in social media:

  • Get executive leadership buy-in on social media
  • Have a clear set of goals and metrics to measure if they have been reached
  • Have a clear set of rules on how and when social media is used (this might require creating an inter-department committee to design the rules)
  • Get approval from both legal and regulatory compliance staff for whatever is posted
  • Make and implement a crisis management plan and guidelines for engagement with the public
  • Determine how social platforms will be monitored and who will be responsible for it

With controls in place, social media can be used in a number of ways to benefit healthcare organizations and patients. Read on to learn how.

Sharing Medical Information

Physicians, nurses and other medical professionals can network using social media, sharing the latest information on medical treatments, procedures and preventive care. With social media, healthcare workers can speak with anyone instantly around the world.

There are social networks established just for this purpose. For example, Sermo is a physician-only social media site, the “Facebook for doctors,” that allows physicians to discuss the latest developments in medical care. Entry requires proof and verification that the participant is a doctor. There are 800,000 physician members representing 96 specialties on the site.

Patient Feedback

Healthcare organizations can also use social media to get immediate feedback from patients on general issues such as their hospital experience. This information on the quality of service can help hospitals and other medical organizations make immediate changes to improve patient’s experience.

It’s important to monitor such exchanges to ensure no protected, private information is shared.

Crisis Communications

Social media can especially prove important during an emergency or crisis situation. Medical facilities can use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to immediately communicate important information to the general public. That can include issues such as capacity at a hospital, the ability to access the emergency room and passing on important information from service organizations such as the Red Cross.

Training

Some medical organizations, much like businesses in other industries, have turned to social media for use in training programs for employees. Teams might communicate with others in a different location during training in a large hospital chain via a Twitter hashtag, for example. A social media site can also provide trainees a place to go for quick answers to any questions they might have.

Marketing

As with any industry, social media provides a great opportunity for healthcare organizations to directly market their services to consumers. Posting videos of new facilities and publishing informative articles about the services they provide can help draw positive attention to a healthcare organization.

Regulatory and Privacy Issues

Working in a regulated industry in which they maintain private information on millions of people, healthcare workers must be sure to comply with the myriad regulations.

One of the primary issues is privacy – doctors, nurses and other medical professionals cannot divulge information on specific patients without explicit permission. If any patient information is made public through social media, healthcare organizations can face both government fines and private legal action.

Working within these strict perimeters, healthcare professionals can still use social media in the ways listed above. While great care needs to be taken with the nature of shared information, healthcare organizations have many opportunities to leverage social media for better service and patient experience.

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How Event Marketing Can Help Hospitals Attract New Patients -

How Event Marketing Can Help Hospitals Attract New Patients - | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Promoting a healthcare network or hospital like yours isn’t easy. People gladly line up for 50% off sales and the latest mobile devices. But no one lines up outside the door because you installed a new, state-of-the-art MRI machine.

Add in the increasing number of tech-savvy patients who research their symptoms online before contacting their physician, and you must be wondering: how do you reach a customer who’s doing everything they can to avoid you?

In this post, you’ll discover how event marketing can help your healthcare network or hospital raise awareness and engage patient communities in today’s market. We’ll start with how to choose which type of events you’ll organize.

Find the right mix of event types

So what types of events should you consider organizing? This will depend on your audience and goals.

Classes that teach local community members how to live healthier lives, manage their illnesses, or understand their healthcare options deepen their connections to your hospital.

Conferences and summits can give you a platform for sharing recent research and breakthroughs and elevate your status in the global healthcare community.

And of course, for nonprofit organizations, fundraisers and galas are vital to connecting your institution to donors and benefactors.

Which event types should you use? There’s no perfect mix for everyone. Analyze your goals to determine which event types are right for your healthcare network or hospitals.

Spread the word about your events

Although there are many marketing channels to choose from, you can never go wrong with email and social media.

Email

How you use email to promote your events will depend on the type of event or events you’re promoting. For instance, let’s say you want to let community members know about classes and events the following week. In that case, you might want to send one email with a list of events, their date, and other important information.

Social media

The key to success is focusing on social networks your patients use frequently, and those that make sense for the events you’re promoting. Let’s say you’re promoting a medical research conference. LinkedIncould help you reach medical scientists and researchers with tailor-made ads or personal invitations from prominent speakers. Facebook, on the other hand, would be the ideal social network for almost all event types. With two billion monthly active users, the chances your patients will see your promotions and engage with your brand are pretty good.

There’s a lot more to be said about these two social networks. Make sure to check out page 8 of Event Marketing for Healthcare Networks and Hospitals for best practices and tips.

Next, let’s talk about results.

Analyze your event marketing strategy

It’s important to understand the health of your events, and whether they’ve made an impact on your goals. And while there are numerous ways to measure the results, determining how much you’ve spent acquiring attendees and patients is the most important method for evaluating your events.

Most events only consider operational expenses when determining their bottom line, but how much you spend on event promotion paints a clearer picture of your events’ financial health.
To find out how effective your event promotions are at driving attendance, you’ll need a web analytics tool (typically Google Analytics) that tracks each visit to your event listing or site. According to your web analytics, how many people visited your purchase or registration page? Now compare that number to the amount of tickets or registrations sold. The result of this equation is your conversion rate.


If your event listing or site has a poor conversion rate, your purchase process might be causing interested buyers to reconsider — and hurting your bottom line. Check out this post to find out more about simplifying yours.

Launch or improve your event strategy

Events can differentiate your brand and build your patient community. All you have to do is find the right mix of event types, attract new attendees and retain old ones, and evaluate your success.

There’s still more to learn. Download Event Marketing for Healthcare Networks and Hospitals and you’ll discover how event marketing can help you promote your brand and engage patient communities in today’s market.

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The double-edged sword of social media -

The double-edged sword of social media - | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

“If it’s going on the internet, assume the person sitting next to you on the bus is going to be able to read it,” said Meghan Payne, Senior Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP during a recent HIROC webinar. This is a good litmus test for your message, says Payne, who emphasized that nothing on the internet is ever truly private.

The October webinar, Social Media in Healthcare – co-presented by Payne and Anita M. Varjacic, Partner at Rogers Partners LLP – delved into the legal perspectives of social media in healthcare and strategies on how to respond to posts that could potentially impact reputation.

In Ontario there is no specific legislative guideline with respect to the use of social media but the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Personal Health Information Protection Act both offer principles and laws that can be applied.

The two lawyers shared practical tips to consider before posting from one’s personal or corporate account:

  • Identify the intention behind the post
  • Determine if there are other (better) ways to communicate the message
  • Identify who may be impacted by the post
  • Assess whether the post may blur boundaries between personal relationships and professional-client relationships
  • Consider whether the post could affect the public’s trust in the health profession, the healthcare organization or the industry

CASE BY CASE

During the session, Varjacic shared a case about a nurse working in a long-term care facility. The nurse took it upon herself to blog about the experience of a family member who was a patient at the facility. In the blog the nurse criticized the treatment the patient had been receiving while also sharing that she worked as a nurse. When the blog came to the attention of the facility, the nurse decided to take her case to her professional body.

The nurse’s provincial regulatory authority (college) determined that she had been using her professional status to influence and that she should have expressed her grievances to the facility rather than publically online. She received a $1,000 fine and was also ordered to pay $25,000 of her college’s legal fees.

“Having a policy or protocol with respect to social media is an important takeaway and is something that all organizations should look at no matter how big or how small,” said Payne.

DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT

Another key theme that surfaced is the importance of documentation, even in the social space. Providers may be connecting with clients via text message or a social media page and believe that the information is saved in that platform if it needs to be referenced later. “One of the challenges here is the platforms always change,” said Payne, explaining that social media accounts frequently change their algorithms and those conversations may be gone when you need them.

She emphasized that the best way to avoid this is by documenting in the official patient record. “If it’s related to someone’s healthcare and their treatment, it needs to be a part of their medical record,” added Varjacic.

Payne also said that no matter how you’re communicating, it’s important to ensure a professional boundary between provider and patient. “The obligation is on the healthcare provider to maintain that relationship and maintain those boundaries,” said Payne, referencing College of Nurses of Ontario’s standards.


While the session focused on a theme of caution when it comes to the use of social media in healthcare, the reality is such that even those organizations that are not online are still being talked about online. Having that presence, Payne stressed, can at least give you some degree of control over how you’re represented. “Creating an online presence can be to an organization’s advantage,” she said.

Participants in the webinar came away with the resounding message that with so many Canadians engaged in the social sphere, it’s a great way to communicate and share information…as long as everyone thinks carefully before posting and is aware of the risks.  

KEY RESOURCES FOR HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS AND PROVIDERS

Throughout the session, Payne and Varjacic highlighted the following guidance documents and educational materials that can be applied to social media (Ontario-based):

  • Regulated Health Professions Act
  • Personal Health Information Protection Act
  • College of Midwives of Ontario: “Midwives Using Social Media”
  • Association of Ontario Midwives: “Like, Follow, Share: Midwives Online”
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario: “Social Media – Appropriate Use by Physician”
  • College of Nurses of Ontario, professional standards:
    • “Professional Standards”
    • “Therapeutic Nurse-Client Relationship”
    • "Confidentiality and Privacy: Personal Health Information”
    • “Ethics”

If you were unable to watch the live event, a video recording of the webinar is available. For more information, review HIROC’s Risk Note on social media.

Michelle Holden is Communications and Marketing Specialist, HIROC

Meghan Payne is a senior associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais, practicing with the Health Law Group.  She specializes in medical malpractice defence and occupier’s liability claims, and has a robust mental health law practice.  Meghan can be reached at mpayne@blg.com or (416)-367-6631.

Anita Varjacic is a partner with Rogers Partners LLP, a boutique defence firm in Toronto. She practices in many areas of insurance law, with a particular emphasis on medical negligence claims. She has been working closely with HIROC and the Association of Ontario Midwives for over 15 years. Anita can be reached at anita.varjacic@rogerspartners.com or 416-594-4522.

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The FDA Has Approved Smart Pills That Track When Patients Take Their Meds

The FDA Has Approved Smart Pills That Track When Patients Take Their Meds | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Hope you’re comfortable swallowing your tech, because America’s first digital pill is here. The drug, called Abilify MyCite, is an antipsychotic that can be used to treat schizophrenia and some cases of bipolar disorder. But unlike regular tablets, the pills contain a small ingestible sensor to record when they’re taken.

When ingested, the sensor registers against a smart patch worn by the patient, and it transmits data to a phone. In turn—if the patient chooses—that information can be shared with medics, caregivers, or family members.

That could be particularly useful for elderly people with faltering memories, for example, to track whether they are taking their drugs. Indeed, it’s hoped that the technology will reduce the bill caused by non-adherence to prescriptions, which for the U.S. has been estimated at up to $100 billion per year.

It’s a seminal moment for digital medicine: we’ve written about such pills for at least a decade, so their approval has been a long time coming. Still, not everyone’s happy about the news. Speaking to the New York Times, psychiatrist Peter Kramer warned of privacy concerns, calling digital drugs “a potentially coercive tool.”

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A Doctor Warns of Preserving Boundaries in Social Media

A Doctor Warns of Preserving Boundaries in Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

At least one medical school dean has welcomed new students with a slideshow of the students’ publicly-available social media posts and photos. The message to future classes: better clean up, and fast. Even in medicine, the line between public and private has blurred.

The medical profession is likely the last bastion of professional boundaries and decorum, but thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest, the walls have fallen. White coats are now stained with a few too many selfies. Once upon a time, the small town GP had to carefully tend his (and more rarely, her) interactions and image with the public. Gossip traveled fast, and could quickly ruin a reputation, a livelihood, and potentially a patient’s health. The doctor’s ability to treat his patients depended on their respect for him. The doctor’s standing in the eyes of parish and community was everything.

Now, the town square includes everyone with internet access and a search engine. Those drunken photos from college or last night, or one’s political opinions, can be quickly dredged up from the deepest abyss of the internet with a simple click of the mouse. Twenty-five percent of young doctors in one survey made their Facebook profiles totally public. Thirty-seven percent of these revealed their sexual orientation, 16% revealed religious views, 43% indicated their relationship status, 46% showed themselves drinking alcohol, and 10% actually showed themselves intoxicated. Eighty percent or more of one sample of medical students and first-year physicians felt their colleagues displayed themselves unprofessionally on Facebook. Relatively few were aware of their institutions’ guidelines about online behavior.

Veterinary student disclosure of personal information was positively correlated with their need for popularity and negatively correlated with their awareness of consequences. (We can all probably relate.) Another large sample of veterinary students showed that a third of them had “high exposure” of personal information, with significant disclosures of unprofessional content such as “substance use, obscene comments, and breaches of client confidentiality.” The earlier the students were in their training, the more likely they were to have high exposure in their online profiles.

We become distorted, like we were the information being passed around in a game of telephone.

Vaguely knowing that some doctors drink to excess is one thing; knowing that yours did so last night is another. Perhaps the notion that every professional has a duty to the image of their chosen profession is quaint — but it is, in fact, true. Our collective trust in the healing professions depends on our respect for their practitioners. Trainees may chafe at this kind of all-encompassing responsibility, but it is still a strong and necessary consideration.

But institutional guidelines can make students feel that their social lives are being hamstrung. Professionals-in-training can feel resentment at being observed and being accountable to third parties, or even feeling “controlled” by their institution. “Students perceived society to be struggling with the distinction between doctors as individuals and professionals,” wrote one group of researchers. Students sometimes feel that being watched is a burden and sacrifice, and intrusive to boot. But someone is always watching, especially online, a point that some choose to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg’s stated vision for social media is total transparency. He has said, “the days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly. Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” But his vision falls flat for medical professionals, and should indeed fall flat for us all.

Medical professionals (especially psychiatrists like myself) typically do not disclose all their personal information to their patients, and most people don’t disclose everything to everyone at all times, which is precisely what can happen on social media. We all share different aspects of our identities with different people. What is understood in the context of one relationship may be misunderstood or misused by others. We become distorted, like we were the information being passed around in a game of telephone.

Privacy and confidentiality allow medical professionals to feel safe, and also allows them to provide care untainted by the misunderstandings and mistrust liable to occur when patients and institutions depend on online information to assess their physicians. A clear professional boundary allows the space between professional and patient to remain as pure, uncluttered and focused on the patient’s needs as possible. Social media posts can be akin to contaminants in an otherwise sterile OR.

But boundaries do more than ensure privacy, respect, and trust. I would argue that without a boundary, we can’t even form a self. When we are under the lamp of others’ scrutiny, we lose our autonomy. We are overly subject to the judgments — and thus control — of strangers. Our selfhood depends on our inner life, from which we observe ourselves, engage in inner dialogue, and cultivate our intentions. When we lose our personal boundaries, our inner life can be derailed or even erased. Where’s the room for contemplation when you’re posting and performing for an audience? Zuckerberg has even voiced a desire for a future technology to broadcast and receive thoughts.

Perhaps he needs to learn that there are some thoughts he should keep to himself.

Ravi Chandra, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., is a psychiatrist and writer in San Francisco. This essay is adapted from his newly published book Facebuddha: Transcendence in the Age of Social Networks.

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Kantar - Consumers turn to Facebook, Twitter for healthcare information

Kantar - Consumers turn to Facebook, Twitter for healthcare information | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Those with health conditions turn to social media for emotional support.

Social media’s influence on patient groups is growing as more individuals turn to online sources for health information and advice.

According to the 2017 MARS Consumer Health study, 73% of all U.S. adults use the internet for health and wellness. Of those, more than one in three are looking up information about health conditions or symptoms.

Consumers are Getting Social

84% of adults indicate they have visited a social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in the last 6 months, and nearly 70% say they have caught up or posted on a social network in the last 30 days (an increase of 5% since 2015). This trend is also apparent among older adults: 51% of adults aged 50+ say they have participated in social media in the past month (an increase of 4% since 2015).

Social Media's Value

Nearly half of all adults indicate they value social media related sources for healthcare information. Social and online sources of information help consumer groups connect with others and share information: 

Do Patient Groups "Like" Healthcare Info on Social Media Sites?

Patient groups that are more likely to value social media content as a source of healthcare information are:

Many condition sufferers are turning to social media for additional emotional support in managing their condition. This is especially the case for those suffering from debilitating or chronic conditions. For example, multiple sclerosis sufferers are 138% more likely than all doctor diagnosed condition sufferers to agree their ailment makes it difficult to do day-to-day tasks. They are 67% more likely to indicate their health is worse compared to a year ago.

While social sources of health information are a valuable resource for many, only 12% of all condition sufferers indicate they trust the medical information people share on social media. Advertisers and marketers should consider strategies to build trust and establish credibility when utilizing social media channels to reach patients.

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Anatomy Of A Viral Headline in Helathcare: How To

Anatomy Of A Viral Headline in Helathcare: How To | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

As digital marketers, we need to be continually monitoring performance and adjusting our strategies to match. So when BuzzSumo studied more than 100 million headlines to find those that performed best on Facebook, you can be sure we were paying attention.

The results will likely be surprising to some. So let’s unpack the findings and the implications for your healthcare content marketing together.

The study analyzed the headlines of 100 million articles that gained the most social shares from March 1, 2017 to May 10, 2017. It’s important to note that this study was related to organic posts, not Facebook ads. Facebook has very strict policies for how to address their users in paid posts. Check out Facebook policies for ads in the personal health space.

Organic posts do not have to meet the same guidelines, but do have best practices to minimize the risk of negative commentary. It is beneficial, where possible, to partner with an experienced content provider to help you navigate Facebook ad restrictions – especially since their policies and restrictions change often. 

The BPD Social Team pulled out seven key takeaways from the study that you can adjust for healthcare marketing and put into practice as part of your overall content strategy. 

1. Make The Headline A Priority

Ask most writers about their process for content creation and they will talk about the time and energy they put into crafting a compelling, concise and creative article. They will speak to their process or the amount of research they put into it. All too often, the emphasis is on the body copy and the headline is considered last. 

This study proves what many content strategist already know – the headline truly makes a difference and should be a critical part of your overall content strategy. So, make sure you take as much time and effort to hone your headline as you do your content piece.

2. Focus On The Proper Headline Length

Over the years, there have been various schools of thought about the ideal length for article headlines. Many favor brevity – much like the seven-word limit for billboards. Others feel, especially in the digital space, the more words the better for search engine optimization (SEO).

After analyzing 100 million headlines and comparing the number of words to the average number of Facebook engagements, there is now a clear winner (at least for organic posts). The results show that headlines with 12 to 18 words receive the highest average engagement on Facebook. If headlines are longer or shorter, the engagement begins to decline. 

Source: BuzzSumo 2017 Review of 100M Articles

3. Pay Attention To The Characters Within Your Headline 

The study also looked at the number of characters in the ideal headline based on average Facebook engagements. As shown below, the optimal character length for headlines ranges from 80 to 95 characters.   

Source: BuzzSumo 2017 Review of 100M Articles

4. Start And End Your Headline Strong

Capturing your audience’s attention is critical to the success of your branded content. We know that most important words in a headline are the first three words and the last three words.  This headline study wanted to dissect and determine which three word phrases (trigrams) were the most effective to begin and end a headline. 

The following charts represent the top most popular phrases that start and end headlines based on the number of Facebook interactions. 

 

Source: BuzzSumo 2017 Review of 100M Articles

5. Be Strategic With The Number You Use In Your Headline

It’s no surprise that the top 2 phrases begin with numbers. Having a number as part of your headline was a proven tactic long before the BuzzSumo study. This study dove deeper – identifying which numbers were most effective in generating social shares. The top 5 numbers to use to generate Facebook engagement are: 10, 5, 15, 7 and 20

Source: BuzzSumo 2017 Review of 100M Articles

6. Sparking Emotions Attracts Engagement, But Don’t Over Do It

The research proves that emotionally-driven headlines remain at the top of the list for driving engagement—especially when complimented by an equally emotional image or video. Emotionally-driven phrases include “Make you cry” or “Shocked to see.” 

Headlines that inspire curiosity and voyeurism are also impactful. These phrases speak to what others are “talking about” or “reacting to” or that begin with “This is why.” They work because they draw the reader in. 

Quizzes encourage intrigue and the desire to take action. In healthcare though, make sure you stay clear of tying a quiz into anything that could be perceived as diagnosing the participant. This is completely achievable with the right content. But if there is any doubt, consider running the content through your legal department. 

7. Don’t Overdo It -- Make Sure The Headline Fits The Content

When you’re trying to write a headline between 12 and 18 words with high emotional impact, strong trigrams and the “right” number – it can be easy to start straying away from what your article is actually about. Be mindful not to sensationalize the emotions you are aspiring to generate with your reader. And, above all, your headline needs to be true to the content you are delivering. Overdo it and your headline can be seen as clickbait.

This is where having an experienced content creation partner can assure that your headlines are staying within the guidelines.

MARKETING IMPLICATION 

So what do you do with all these insights? Start by sharing the findings your content creators and design teams. Challenge them to implement some of the approaches that generated the most shares in the study:

  • Longer, more engaging headlines
  • Restructuring content as a list with a number in the headline
  • Positioning a product or service line to that the headline can begin with “best” or end in a definitive declaration such as …“right now” or “X minutes?”

Most importantly, make it a part of your content strategy to test out your own variations – develop mini A/B tests to clarify what works best for your market and, in particular, for your different audiences. 

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How to Use Digital and Social Media to Recruit Participants into Research Studies

This slide deck was presented at the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. It provided a general overview of the topic and addresses the following learning objectives …
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Social media’s influence is growing—but some radiologists remain unimpressed

Social media’s influence is growing—but some radiologists remain unimpressed | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media has displayed “an increased reach into the medical community,” but it is still underutilized by certain groups in radiology, according to a new study published in Academic Radiology.

The authors sent out an anonymous survey about social media to both trainees and faculty at a large academic radiology practice. Out of more than 100 respondents, 83 percent answered that they use social media in at least some capacity. Breaking it down to specific sites, 67 percent of respondents answered that they use Facebook, 57 percent said they use YouTube, 26 percent said they use Instagram and 21 percent said they use Twitter.

Social media’s potential as a learning tool was also explored.

“[Social media] offers radiology educators the ability to engage with other teachers and learners within and across institutions, as well as within and across medical specialties,” wrote Nicholas A. Koontz, MD, department of radiology and imaging sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues. “In this regard, the potential for multidisciplinary educational collaboration is tremendous.”

While 35 percent of respondents said they had previously used social media for their own education, 66 percent said they would be willing to join social media for “educational activities.”

The study also showed a few ways the perspective of trainees differ from faculty members. For instance, while 30 percent of faculty members said they avoid using social media, that number was just 9 percent when looking at responses from trainees.

In addition, established specialists see less value in using social media-based “case of the day” activities. “Trainees reported being more likely to find an electronic case-based curriculum valuable for training or education than attending radiologists,” the authors wrote. “Faculty were willing to spend less time daily engaging in a case-based curriculum.”

Similar differences also exist between different generations within radiology. Seventy-four percent of gen X/millennial respondents said they utilized Facebook, for example, compared to 29 percent of baby boomers.

Koontz et al. added that there are “potential pitfalls” to social media that must be avoided. Users need to make sure they never put protected health information at risk, for instance, and unmoderated discussion threads can lead to an atmosphere of bullying or harassment.

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6 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips for Private Physical Therapy Practices

6 Easy Facebook Marketing Tips for Private Physical Therapy Practices | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Facebook is the Google of social media—it is the most commonly used social media platform in the world with an average of over 1 billion monthly users per this recent study. Major companies have dedicated teams devoted to managing their company’s Facebook accounts. As a PT practice owner, you can search “Facebook marketing tips” and get millions of articles each claiming to have unlocked the secrets of social media success. But how can you sift through the volumes and find marketing tips that work specifically for physical therapy clinics? We have created a short 6 tips list that combines best practices from major brands, physical therapy leaders, and individual clinics so that you can become a Facebook rockstar!

Post 2-3 times a week

One of the biggest social media mistakes is posting too much (or too little) to really see engagement with your followers. Most practices see success by posting 2-3 times per week.Try a combination of post types to see what works for your audience:

  • Write a short teaser (Our spring newsletter is here! See how PT can help you get back into the swing of warm weather activities) and include a link to your e-newsletter
  • Promote clinic news or announcements. Such as new staff members (and link to their bio on your website), new service offerings, or incentive programs.
  • Share! Share a post that you think your followers will like. We love Move Forward PT for physical therapy Facebook posts or try using seasonal or holiday messages to stay relevant.

Get more followers

Your Facebook posts will not generate results if no one sees them. Set a monthly target to grow your number of followers (Page Likes) to increase your presence and visibility. Encourage patients to Like your Facebook page to stay up to date on clinic happenings. Be direct and include call-to-action statements in your newsletter and website. For example, put a flyer up in your waiting room. Patients usually are on their phones while they wait, and many are checking Facebook.

Use Facebook Insights

Many practice owners wonder if social media is really worth the time and resource investment. You can determine the impact by using analytics to track your social media marketing. All Facebook Business Pages have the Insights feature that collects and analyzes data from posts, likes and other engagement metrics. Leverage these stats to monitor the growth and effectiveness of your marketing. Read more on how to get started…

Create a clear CTA (Call to Action)

Facebook Business Pages are more than a collection of posts. They can become a secondary “website” complete with your practice’s contact information and valuable resources for patients. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to connect with your practice. A clear call to action or CTA can direct people to take the next step. Similarly, a CTA helps you get new patients right from your Facebook page. We recommend using the Call Now CTA which places a call to your practice’s phone number when clicked. Use the front desk phone number to help patients get more information or make an appointment. Learn how…

Download your free eBook with marketing tips to attract more patients

Have a conversation

Social media is about engagement and interaction, not just posting content. Your marketing plan should prompt followers to like, share and comment on posts. These engagements indicate that your content is appealing and relevant to patients. Additionally, you want people to click links on blog posts and other articles. These clicks bring people to your website where they can learn more about PT. It helps to post a variety of content such as statuses, images, links to articles, and blog posts. Then, you provide different ways for people to engage with your content. You also can use the Insights (see tip #3) to gauge what type of content performs best and is most appealing to your patients.

Follow local businesses and events

On your personal Facebook account, you probably Like different companies, people and news sources to see their posts and content. Similarly, your practice’s Business Page should follow local businesses, community organizations, events and other relevant partners. You can stay up to date with what other businesses are doing on Facebook (and what your patients are seeing in their Newsfeeds). For example, a doctors office will post articles to their Facebook page to share health news and tips with their patients. Your Page can share these relevant articles to your followers, fostering a sense of community and increasing visibility for your practice.

From a business perspective, you will also get key updates about physicians’ offices that could impact to your practice. For example, a local doctor’s group posts 3x this week: 1) a new referral coordinator is hired, 2) they are no longer offering dry needling, and 3) a new insurance is now accepted. Now, you can call and set up a meet and greet with the new coordinator to build a referral relationship. And, you should increase marketing for your dry needling services to attract patients seeking this treatment. Lastly, the new insurance changes may impact the type of referrals your practice can anticipate. In one week’s worth of Facebook posts, you have three new opportunities to engage patients and referring physicians to help grow your practice.

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Cosmetic surgery on social media – patients rate preferred social media sites and content 

Cosmetic surgery on social media – patients rate preferred social media sites and content  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Plastic surgeons using social media to attract patients should know their audience’s preferred social media platforms and the types of posts of greatest interest, according to a survey study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons(ASPS).

“Plastic surgeons can utilize social media best by considering their target audience’s perspective,” said Heather Furnas, MD, of Plastic Surgery Associates of Santa Rosa, Calif. Dr. Furnas is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The survey also suggests that patients rely on the plastic surgery practice’s website over social media when seeking important information.

Plastic Surgeons on Social Media – The Patient’s Perspective

Dr. Furnas and coauthors surveyed 100 patients making visits to their aesthetic plastic surgery practice regarding social media habits and preferences. The patients, average age 44 years, were nearly all women. Most were interested in facial plastic surgery; some were interested in breast, body, or other cosmetic procedures.

Among six social media platforms listed in the survey, Facebook was the clear winner in terms of use and engagement—about half of patients said they checked Facebook at least once daily. Instagram was second in engagement, with 30 percent of patients reporting at least daily use.

Most patients used YouTube and Pinterest, but engagement was low. While only about one-fourth of patients were on Snapchat, most of them used it daily. Twitter was the least popular social media platform.

The plastic surgery practice’s website beat out all social media platforms as the go-to source of online information. More than half of patients said they were influenced by the website when selecting a cosmetic surgery practice, compared to just eight percent for Facebook. More than 60 percent of patients checked the practice website on the day of their visit.

Out of 11 social media post categories, most patients chose before-and-after photos of cosmetic surgery procedures. More than one-fourth wanted to see information about the procedures; few selected didactic types of information.

Plastic surgeons can better reach and engage with their target population if they use the social media networks popular with their patients’ demographic. For example, women prefer Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but Facebook in particular is most popular among the age group of women most likely to be interested in plastic surgery. While Twitter is widely used by plastic surgeons to share and discuss research, the new survey suggests it’s the least popular platform among cosmetic surgery patients.

The fleeting content on social media may be less important than the information provided by the plastic surgeon’s practice website.

“These results suggest that the website should be considered the centerpiece of a practice’s online content,” Dr. Furnas and coauthors write. “Social media should be viewed as an adjunct to attract and engage users, enticing them to explore the practice website.”

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Using social media to support small group learning

Using social media to support small group learning | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Background

Medical curricula are increasingly using small group learning and less didactic lecture-based teaching. This creates new challenges and opportunities in how students are best supported with information technology. We explored how university-supported and external social media could support collaborative small group working on our new undergraduate medical curriculum.

Methods

We made available a curation platform (Scoop.it) and a wiki within our virtual learning environment as part of year 1 Case-Based Learning, and did not discourage the use of other tools such as Facebook. We undertook student surveys to capture perceptions of the tools and information on how they were used, and employed software user metrics to explore the extent to which they were used during the year.

Results

Student groups developed a preferred way of working early in the course. Most groups used Facebook to facilitate communication within the group, and to host documents and notes. There were more barriers to using the wiki and curation platform, although some groups did make extensive use of them. Staff engagement was variable, with some tutors reviewing the content posted on the wiki and curation platform in face-to-face sessions, but not outside these times. A small number of staff posted resources and reviewed student posts on the curation platform.

Conclusions

Optimum use of these tools depends on sufficient training of both staff and students, and an opportunity to practice using them, with ongoing support. The platforms can all support collaborative learning, and may help develop digital literacy, critical appraisal skills, and awareness of wider health issues in society.

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Hospital Impact—Social media can help providers build stronger referral networks |

Hospital Impact—Social media can help providers build stronger referral networks | | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

As the healthcare world has become more complex and the requirements on a physician’s time more onerous, the seemingly routine task of medical referrals has gotten to be increasingly challenging.

Medical communities, even in large U.S. cities, used to be fairly cohesive. But population growth matched with the rise of large-scale healthcare systems has fostered an environment where it’s harder than ever for doctors to refer based on personal relationships.

Moreover, physicians don’t have the time to fully research the different areas of clinical expertise that reside in their own extended communities, which can lead to patients traveling elsewhere unnecessarily. Similarly, hospital executives are always seeking solutions to more efficiently communicate the care options patients have close to home.

RELATED: Concentrate on being the best in the market, not the biggest, healthcare CEO says

So, what can different providers do to ensure that physicians in their own areas of practice are aware of their service?

 

1. Talk doctor-to-doctor: Physicians are busy but open to hearing from their peers, especially when it comes to the care of their patients. New services available through online physician networks are strengthening physician referral networks by enlisting physicians as brand ambassadors. For example, Louisiana-based Ochsner Health System selected physicians from a broad range of specialties to serve as liaisons for a referral campaign, which allowed the system to reach a highly targeted group of potential referral sources without having to make a phone call or enter a physician’s office.

2. Tailor to your audience: Choose content that is highly relevant to your audience. Ochsner developed personalized quarterly messages with each physician in the program, highlighting clinical expertise, new procedures, recent publications, upcoming presentations, and other items of interest. Ochsner then matched its messages to the most appropriate local physicians, based on clinical background, social connections, geography, board certification and hospital affiliation.

3. Keep it real: While it’s nice to share the latest awards your institution has won, most physicians would prefer to hear about clinical services that are available to patients. Share information on why you’re providing the best possible care—and the reasons why you won awards. Also, remember that your message will most likely be read on a mobile device and always include your mobile number. This will also give you a direct peer-to-peer connection to other physicians.

In the first year of this approach, Ochsner saw referrals from more than 50 new physicians, among those a liver transplant and a complex heart valve procedure, and they came from regions that historically had not referred many patients. The success wasn’t specific to any specialty; Ochsner experienced a similar boost in referral rates across all service lines.

For example, the medical director of the Multi-Organ Transplant Institute at Ochsner sent outreach messages to local physicians and connected with one doctor who was not previously aware of his expertise. Within a few months, this doctor had a tough transplant evaluation, which she sent to Ochsner immediately.

An added benefit was that Ochsner’s physician community became more socially engaged with its brand. Ochsner saw open rates of 47% with direct messaging and connection rates of 29%, consistent with best practices from across the country. Growing its physician social network allowed Ochsner physicians to engage more organically with its community by sharing news, publications, and content from their institutions.

Medicine is a team sport. Ultimately, partnerships like this allow physicians to share their expertise and help patients connect to the best treatments available, which is a win for both physician collaboration and patient outcomes.

Peter Alperin, M.D., is vice president of connectivity solutions at Doximity, the largest secure medical network, with more than 70% of all U.S. physicians as members.

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Embracing Social Media for Research and Practice: The WoMMeN experience

Embracing social media presentation from #EngageWell: Patient and public engagement on social media
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Attracting, Retaining, and Engaging Patients Through Thoughtful Customer Management 

Attracting, Retaining, and Engaging Patients Through Thoughtful Customer Management  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Can you apply the concepts that are used in customer relationship management systems to your health systems approach to patient engagement? Is there an opportunity to learn from these very successful business technologies?

We think you can. We think that looking at patients through a customer management lens will help healthcare organizations to manage their patient relationships throughout the cycle of interaction and will result in improved patient satisfaction and better health outcomes.

Patient Attraction

Leveraging your digital footprint to attract new patients.

How are you engaging your patients and prospective patients on your website and social media? Are you producing relevant and enlightening blogs that people will find when they are searching the web in your region for information about their health issues? Is your content visually engaging in order to draw the eye in?

The average person spends over TWO HOURS a day on social media and 72% of Americans Google their health symptoms.

We are exposed to a wide range of information online that is frequently unreliable. The information provided regarding healthcare can be questionable and often will lead patients away from reliable and trustworthy sources.

Your website and social media offer an amazing platform to capture both prospective patients’ and current patients’ attention. Your strategy for managing your patient experience needs to involve imagining what people are looking for and would find helpful, and delivering that content in easy-to-consume formats, including blog content and graphics.

You have an opportunity at this stage of the cycle to become your patient’s trusted source for healthcare information. Searching online for credible health care information is increasingly overwhelming and consumers are seeking reliable and trusted sources for their information.

Be the trusted source by providing tangible value to your patients.

We recommend providing interactive programs that patients can engage with, including patient portals, online chat systems, symptom checkers, and treatment guidance solutions. By enabling your community to engage with you online you are actively nurturing the customer relationship.

Care Planning

After engaging your patients on the front end of the website and with social media, health systems enter the challenging job of interacting with their patients for the care planning process. Organizations leverage a variety of tools to successfully work through this phase of the relationship.

With a customer management mindset, care planning becomes part of an overall communication strategy. Health systems can leverage their patient portal to share important medical information, and provide a user friendly scheduling interface for the patient.

In this early stage of care management, patients are likely researching their health diagnosis online. Health systems can support their patients need to analyze their care options by providing symptom checkers and treatment guidance solutions on their website or via their patient portal. Evidence-based solutions provide quality answers for patients seeking additional resources.

Often during this stage of the patient cycle, a person is designated as the primary contact for patient communications and care planning. This can be a specialist or a resource on a team of specialists. This person helps the patient understand the expectations of the care planning process and helps the patient navigate all of the information being provided.

Again, the digital tool of a patient portal is becoming increasingly important as the vehicle to communicate important information to the patient and family members.

Patient Retention

There are numerous aspects to ensuring patients are supported and in the loop with providers and insurers throughout their treatment. Focus on creating a trusted relationship to keep patients in your network.

An easy scheduling platform for setting appointments with preferred providers is a basic digital service, and one that pays off in patient satisfaction and reduced staff time.

Incorporate cost information, like procedure and prescription pricing, to create a level of transparency that goes beyond evidenced-based treatment guidance and into the financial ramifications of treatment.

At the heart of patient retention, though, is communication. The extent to which a patient can remain updated about their health records, lab results, and treatment plans is a key part of patient retention.

Customer management platforms enable communication through app notifications and email marketing that is segmented to each of the network’s core audiences. Segmented email lists let health organizations craft the most relevant and timely messages to their patients.

Patient Engagement

As your patient moves through the care cycle, their needs from the health system change but the opportunity to be that valued source of healthcare information remains.

Similar to how you can attract new patients leveraging your digital assets, you can also use your digital tools to continue to provide value and engage your patient community.

Content campaigns designed to address specific medical conditions can be promoted through digital tools and can provide the ongoing education and support needed by patients who are no longer in the active care management stage.

Health systems can leverage data available within social media to communicate with the right patient on the most appropriate subject. Valuable content includes articles, videos, and events that educate and inform patients and family members on specific health issues. Once again enabling your organization to be seen as a trusted source for healthcare information.

Viewing your engagement with patients through the lens of customer relationship management can help healthcare organizations thrive through seamless engagement over the entirety of the patient-organization relationship.

Let us know what you think.

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Googling Your Patients

Health care professionals are not immune to the lure of social media or the ubiquity of Google. And like most, turn to the Internet to find answers to questio…
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3 Ways Social Media Revolutionized Medical Care

3 Ways Social Media Revolutionized Medical Care | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media has inarguably taken the world by storm. From Twitter to Facebook, users worldwide are more connected now more than ever, and the healthcare industry has not been left out.

People are actively discussing health issues on social media, sharing experiences and engaging with healthcare professionals.

In 2012, Pricewaterhouse Cooper carried out a consumer survey of 1,060 U.S. adults, and the results—which were published in its aptly titled publication, Social Media “Likes” Healthcare—showed that one-third of U.S. consumers “are using the social space as a natural habitat for health discussions.”

Social media use is particularly high among patients with chronic diseases. A 2010 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that more than one-half of e-patients living with chronic diseases consume user-generated health information.

But what are the specific ways social media has impacted medical care, especially for patients? We’ll take a look at the three major ways below.

Relationships

Social media sites are insanely popular. Sites like Facebook house nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, and seven in 10 Americans use social media.

These numbers present infinite opportunities for patients to connect not only with professionals, but also with people going through similar experiences. Patients can reach out to medical professionals and maintain relationships with them outside of the consulting room.

Online communities for patients, such as Facebook groups, are so popular that they have become the subject of scholarly research. A 2011 study found 620 breast cancer groups on Facebook containing a total of 1,090,397 members. These groups are used to raise awareness and funds and provide support.

Natt Garun, technology editor for The Verge, shared her story of how a Facebook support group helped in her cancer struggle.

What’s more, 88 percent of doctors use social media to research pharmaceutical, biotech and medical devices, and 60 percent of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients. Clearly, it’s a win-win for both doctors and patients.

Less widely known sites such as Doximity work like Facebook, allowing medical practitioners to connect and interact with each other.

Information

This is by far one of the most important ways social media has impacted health care. 80 percent of internet users are specifically searching for health information, and 40 percent of those are looking for a specific doctor or healthcare professional. This is interesting because 72 percent of all internet users are active social media users.

Of course, seeking health information on the internet presents its own problems: People are much more likely to wrongly self-diagnose or to access wrong information.

“The Internet is full of nonsense, hype, clickbait and ridiculous information about all kinds of health and medical elixirs and remedies that have no basis in fact,” says Art Caplan from the division of medical ethics at the School of Medicine at New York University. And he rightly poses the question: “If you think about it, how often do you actually see a doctor, an established scientist out there, trying to correct or engage the public with scientific, verified, evidence-based information?”

The bright side is that 60 percent of social media users are also more likely to trust social media posts by doctors over any other group. Leading healthcare organizations and companies have obviously gotten the message and are actively building their social presences, effectively reaching consumers where they hang out. More hospitals, professionals, and clinics are getting online and putting the right information where their patients can access them.

Take the approach of the New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (NYDNRehab) clinic, an 18-year old private establishment specializing in rehabilitation and physical therapy. The clinic understands that a lot of misinformation exists online in the physical therapy niche, and traditionally, it would be difficult for patients to access quality information. This is why it has completely embraced social.

The clinic regularly shares actionable tips with thousands of its followers on Twitter and Facebook. For more difficult concepts, such as virtual reality using Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), it turns to YouTube, recording detailed videos of typical sessions at the clinic. The clinic director, Lev Kalika, also actively engages on Yelp, addressing even the most negative reviews about the clinic.

“Communication is a big part of our responsibility in talking with the public,” says Caplan. “I think doctors and scientists, to be regarded as professionals, really should take on the duty of trying to be an antidote to what is often nonsense, or worse than nonsense, in the social media world.”

Accountability

On social media, power has changed hands. Social media has given patients the space to vent their frustrations and anger and to collectively follow up on causes they feel most compelled to join. This keeps healthcare providers and policymakers on their toes. A patient who has a bad experience at a particular healthcare facility is only one tweet or Facebook post away from sharing the experience with the world.

But accountability is not a one-sided affair. For patients, sharing experiences of their own health struggles, such as weight-loss efforts, also makes them accountable. A study conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that people who expressed positive sentiments on Twitter were more likely to reach their diet goals. Social media, for all of its ills, still present great ways for people to improve their health.

Conclusion

Although social media presents a lot of benefits in terms of information access and improving public relations with healthcare professionals, many medical practitioners are still reluctant about joining the bandwagon, with the top reason being the blurred lines between what is appropriate to share on social media and what is not.

One thing is clear, though: Healthcare organizations that are serious about reaching more audiences or interacting better with existing audiences should be on social media. As the internet evolves, the right balance between information sharing and relationship building on social media for the healthcare industry will gradually emerge.

Pius Boachie is a freelance writer and inbound marketing consultant who works closely with business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands on providing content that gains social media attention and increases search-engine visibility. He shares actionable marketing ideas for businesses on his blog, Digimatic.

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Gareth Thomas - #EngageWell 7 November

Social media in the hands of a patient experience team presentation from #EngageWell: Patient and public engagement on social media
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Is It A Good Idea To Share Patient Info On Social Media?

Is It A Good Idea To Share Patient Info On Social Media? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In August, a doctor in Spain posted x-ray and microscopic pictures from a man's thigh on Twitter, asking for help.

The physician was concerned that he had cancer.

But the images that pathologist Jerad Gardner saw on his screen in Little Rock, Ark., reminded him of something else he had come across a few times — a benign tumor that looked like a rare form of cancer. He suggested the Spanish doctor perform a molecular DNA test. It ultimately revealed that the tumor wasn't cancerous.

No one thinks that doctors should make a diagnosis via Twitter. But there is a growing movement to use social media to share information. And Gardner, an associate professor pathology and dermatology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is one of the pioneers, building a community of followers and colleagues on Twitter and Facebook.

"Dr. Gardner is a leader in approaching diagnoses in new ways, embracing the latest technologies and innovations medicine has at its fingertips, " says Dr. R. Bruce Williams, president of the College of American Pathologists, an organization that advances the practice of pathology and laboratory science.

 

As with almost every use of social media, this practice has its critics as well as its supporters.

Telepathology — sending images to diagnose, educate and research diseases — began decades ago, says Dr. Ronald Weinstein, director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program at the University of Arizona.

Weinstein is sometimes described as the "father of telepathology." In fact, he is reported to have coined the term. He wrote the first paper on the topic and organized the first international exchange between the U.S. and China in 1993 — using the fiber-optic cables of an international phone to transmit microscopic photos.

But when it comes to asking for opinions on social media, "there are legal, regulatory and 'quality of service' issues," Weinstein says. Is the remote physician licensed in the country where the patient lives? Are patients giving informed consent for their doctor to share when their photos are published online? And is medical information being transferred securely for the patient's privacy and confidentiality?

The 35-year-old Gardner started out by Facebook-friending peers he met at annual medical meetings. In 2013, he created two discussion groups on the social media site. One focused on skin conditions and the other focused on tumors found in bones and soft tissue. He thought he would post a few interesting medical cases for fellow pathologists, who study diseases.

"Before I knew it, people from all over the world were posting cases and asking not for official advice but for an approach on how to handle cases."

Thousands of people entered the groups within the first few months and more than 47,000 people have joined so far. They are doctors and nurses, medical students and, sometimes, patients. Members come from all corners of the world, from Nepal to Syria to Colombia.

One time, a doctor in Afghanistan emailed Gardner pathology images from a young man who had nodules on his neck, chest and other body parts. He had been seeing doctors for years and receiving treatment for tuberculosis. Gardner recognized his condition as a fungal infection and suggested the doctors test for HIV because of the fungus' spread across his body.

The HIV hunch was not correct. The patient tested negative.

But Gardner also sent the doctor a chapter of a book he was co-authoring that described how farmers are often infected by the fungus through a pre-existing wound, since the fungus naturally exists in soil and plant matter. The Afghan doctor learned that the patient had been in a car accident that sent him flying into a vegetable field. "Perhaps he had multiple, small penetrating injuries when he crashed into the farm field," Gardner wondered in an email. The patient started a treatment for the fungus and his condition improved in follow-up visits.

YouTube

Gardner's YouTube and Snapchat channels, launched in Nov. 2012 and Feb. 2017 respectively, feature instructive videos and photos. And on Instagram, which he joined in May 2015, he posts images of cells that are meant to show practitioners new diseases but that could pass for abstract art.

"Awesome rainbow polarization of urate crystals from gouty tophus. Pretty but painful," he writes to his 29,000 followers.

Gardner also uses social media to communicate directly with people who have been diagnosed with rare cancers. They mainly want to know more about their own diseases.

Once, Gardner says that a woman who had a rare type of cancer caused by a defect in her DNA asked, "If it's in my genes, then my kid will get this, won't they?" Gardner explained that with her kind of cancer, only the tumor cells mutate. There wasn't an increased risk for her child because the mutation isn't inherited.

"That mom probably lay in bed at night worrying that her kid had this bad risk of getting cancer, and it just took me 30 seconds of time to explain," Gardner says.

Weinstein says there may also be cultural barriers and ethical questions when working with people from afar. In developing or war-torn countries, patients might find out that they need treatment that doctors nearby don't have the resources to provide.

Gardner, a fellow at the College of American Pathologists, acknowledges this and other challenges.

"I'm no stranger to criticisms about social media. It's been a long uphill fight to convince my colleagues that this is something we should do and I know there are still naysayers. Most of those are people who don't actually use social media so they don't really understand how it works."

In terms of privacy, he says that images where identifying information is left out "do not require patient permission to post on social media, either ethically or legally." An article he co-authored, published in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, states that images omitting a patient's identifying details on social media, just like in medical journals, don't violate privacy law.

In Gardner's view, it's a good thing if "everything on social media is public. If I do something wrong other people can call me out on it immediately." He adds that the immediacy and wide reach of social media offer benefits not found in medical journals — but with caveats.

"These are great places for people to think through different possibilities, but they certainly don't take the place of a real consult," he says. He stresses that doctors and patients use caution. "Anyone can say anything in a Facebook group or anywhere on social media. Just like you can't trust things that you read on the Internet, you have to take them with a grain of salt and do your own research."

On any given day, Gardner interacts with 10-20 people online. Sometimes he looks at pictures and tells health care workers that he just doesn't know. Sometimes he argues with doctors, as in a case where he disagreed with a pathologist's analysis of a mass on a child's face in India. Gardner didn't think the images showed cancer and worried that invasive surgery would leave the young patient scarred for life. As with some online interactions, he never found out what happened to the child.

The virtual exchanges occasionally blur with real life. Gardner has published papers with fellow pathologists whom he has only met online. Some have become actual friends, like a Turkish pathologist who flew 400 miles within Turkey to meet Gardner when he was attending a conference in Istanbul.

Anurag Sharma, now a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, has been following Gardner on social media since 2013, when he was a pathology resident in India. He says his program lacked resources but that Gardner's posts gave him more chances to learn:

"Jerad was my Facebook mentor and his updates taught me much more than I would have learned just in my residency training. Thanks to his amazing Facebook pages, I was able to access [images of] the rarest of the rare [cancer] cases and the approach that world famous pathologists follow to diagnose them."

Jaime Mejia, a Colombian pathologist, adds that through the discussion groups, Gardner "has given us the opportunity to get involved with other pathologists around the globe."

Gardner doles out digital insights in his spare time, during gaps in his day. He might be checking his Twitter or Facebook feeds from his iPhone early in the morning, while getting haircuts, at weddings or waiting in line at Disney World on family vacations.

It's a far cry from the first cell phone he got at 19. The main purpose of his "Nokia brick" was to keep in touch with his future wife — now a child psychiatrist but at the time a young woman he met at a punk rock concert.

Sasha Ingber is a multimedia journalist who has covered science, culture and foreign affairs for such publications as National Geographic, The Washington Post Magazine and Smithsonian. Contact her @SashaIngber

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Build Medical Practice Brand Through Social Media Marketing

Build Medical Practice Brand Through Social Media Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Connecting with patients on social media allows you to engage, educate and forge a lasting connection with them, sometimes long before they need your help at all. When you connect on channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you become a regular, trusted presence in your prospective patients’ lives; when they have a need, they know where to turn.

Knowing you need a presence is just the beginning. What you post and how you engage with prospective patients will have a big impact on your success. Provide the right content at the right time and you should see steady growth over time, making it easy for you to reach people right in your own community. Regular attention to your social media campaigns also makes it easier than ever to connect with your local community and take a place as a trusted authority brand. When you post to your own local prospects, they see you as someone close at hand, not some anonymous brand on the Internet. Here are 3 ways social media can establish your brand and help you grow your medical practice.

Educate Current and Future Patients

Providing a steady stream of educational and informative content allows you to easily position yourself and your practice as the experts you are. You do not have to create everything yourself. Sharing authoritative content from other sites that are not your competitors still informs your patients and helps position you as somewhere to turn for help when they need it.

Share information that is easily understood and that helps explain the type of work you do, procedures you offer and that answers the most commonly asked patient questions. Your own content from your blog, posts and consumer friendly information from national organizations and groups and other interesting content can be shared regularly to help inform your patients and keep them in the know.

You’ll end up with more savvy patients who know where to go when they have a question or need—right to you.

Promote your Initiatives and Practice

In addition to offering a steady stream of relevant and useful content about the conditions, populations and areas you treat, social media is an ideal place to promote your own initiatives and practice.

Related Article: Use Digital Marketing to Increase Visibility with Potential Patients

Create ads or images sharing that you are looking for new patients, share the news about your latest achievements or even promote community sponsored events you take part in. If you help raise awareness about proper brushing habits for school kids, then a photo of your visit to the local 3rd grade classroom can be used across all your social channels. Hosting or participating in a blood drive, awareness campaign or safety/wellness screening? These details can be promoted on your social pages as well.

Sharing the news about your actions, initiatives and work lets prospective patients know you are actively at work to make their lives better and that you are looking out for them. These posts can help trigger a phone call or prompt an online appointment when a patient is in need.

Join the Conversation

Your group or posts should not be all about you. Share community news and images of events you participate in and join local groups to participate in the conversation. You’ll be more accessible and reachable to those right in your target audience.

You don’t need to take on an overwhelming schedule or hire a social media specialist unless you want to. Free programs like Moz and Hootsuite make it easy to schedule all your posts in advance in a relatively short period of time. Once you are posting consistently, you’ll begin to see a steady flow of followers and patients who connect with you online and eventually, make it into the office.

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Why surgeons should get on social media, according to the Harvard Business Review

Why surgeons should get on social media, according to the Harvard Business Review | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In an age when the surgical community is increasingly dispersed, social media sites can serve as platforms where surgeons can interact with one another to acquire new knowledge and skills, according to experts writing for the Harvard Business Review.

Social media use in health care and IT implications 

The piece is written by Christopher Myers, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety & Quality; Yusef Kudsi, an assistant professor of surgery at the Tufts University School of Medicineand a practicing surgeon; and Amir Ghaferi, an associate professor of surgery and business at the University of Michigan and a practicing surgeon.

The importance of interacting

According to the authors, peer-to-peer interaction is a critical method of professional development among surgeons. For instance, academic surgical departments hold weekly Morbidity and Mortality meetings to review cases and improve care, and research suggests that surgeons in solo practice, who may have less peer interaction, score lower on the American Board of Surgeons Maintenance of Certification exams than do their group practice counterparts—except when the solo practitioners reported higher levels of social engagement with colleagues.

 

 

But as the field of surgery has increasingly specialized in practice, grown in number, and become more geographically diverse, "surgeons are less able to rely on casual hallway conversations, conferences, or other informal knowledge sharing strategies to learn from each other and stay sufficiently up to date with new techniques or practices," the authors contend.

What social media offers                                  

In turn, the authors write, social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, "have emerged as powerful tools for keeping surgeons connected."

For instance, Facebook groups like the International Hernia Collaboration (IHC) and the Robotic Surgery Collaboration (RSC), which Kudsi founded, let surgeons worldwide share de-identified cases, ask questions, and share their experiences about certain practices and techniques, the authors explain. They cite research that indicates surgeons are actively and intentionally engaging in at least one of the groups, RSC, with surgeons checking in with the group during workdays and text-only posts generating back-and-forth commentary (which at least one study indicates helps foster vicarious learning).

One RSC user described the group as "a safe space to challenge ideas, post videos to get tips on how to do things better, and generally advance medicine collectively." But the social media groups' benefits can go beyond an exchange of ideas and actually help surgeons learn new techniques. For instance, Ghaferi was able to use the IHC Facebook group to learn a new surgical technique which had positive clinical outcomes among his patients.

The authors also discuss the value of Twitter, citing instances when stakeholders have had "TweetChat[s]" to discuss surgical treatment and disease management or used hashtags such as #NYerORCoverChallenge and #ILookLikeASurgeon to bring attention to the underrepresentation of women and minority groups in the surgical field.

According to the authors, online forums such as Facebook and Twitter also offer the opportunity for diverse input that might be absent in a clinical setting. The settings allow non-surgeons to participate and garner benefits—for instance, according to the authors, a surgical assistant member of the RSC said participation in the group "has made [the user] a better assistant."

 

 

Challenges and how to address them

Despite these benefits, the authors acknowledge that "significant managerial and legal barriers" can impede "the broad adoption of these platforms."

For instance, the authors note that while leading social media groups call for "dedicated effort and oversight," such a role "does not fit neatly into existing paradigms or leadership structures in the field of surgery." Those in the health care industry "will have to determine how to recognize, validate, and reward these learning-oriented efforts," the authors write, suggesting a new provider role that would manage social media similar to the chair of a Morbidity and Mortality conference.

At the same time, however, the authors note that the benefits these groups afford—such as their size, reach, and cross-institutional composition—make them "inherently more difficult to govern and manage." On this front, the authors call for "dedicated guidelines from major professional organizations or support from hospital leadership."

The authors acknowledge that some physicians may be hesitant to "engage professionally on social media," for several reasons, with perhaps "the most pressing and anxiety-producing" reason being "how a surgeon's social media activity would be treated in a malpractice lawsuit." The authors point out that while conventional peer review and quality improvement efforts are traditionally protected from being subject to legal discovery—which they say suggests that social media discussions might be similarly shielded—"there are no state or federal statutes that specifically protect social media groups."

Ultimately, the authors acknowledge that "social media will never completely replace in-depth, face-to-face interactions as a forum for vicarious learning in the surgical community." Nonetheless, "in an era where the practice of surgery is evolving faster, spreading farther, and involving greater numbers of people, social media provides a scalable tool that can augment in-person learning opportunities," the authors write. They conclude by calling for health care leaders and professional organizations to "embrace [social media's] potential and work to combat its current limitations" (Myers et al., Harvard Business Review, 10/30; MacDonald, FierceHealthcare, 10/31).

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Connecting moms-to-be and doctors online can boost vaccination rates, study says

Connecting moms-to-be and doctors online can boost vaccination rates, study says | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Being able to connect with doctors online during pregnancy about vaccine concerns may encourage new mothers to make sure their babies get all the recommended shots, according to a new study in Colorado.

Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research found that, when moms-to-be were able to ask questions of doctors and other experts through a specially made website, their children were significantly more likely to be fully vaccinated after six months than if the moms weren’t given the option of online interaction.

The study could change how and when doctors start talking to expectant parents about vaccination because it appears that families are already searching for information about vaccines before their babies are born.

“It suggests that maybe at those well-baby visits (after birth) it is a little too late,” said Jason Glanz, a senior investigator at the institute and the study’s lead author. “They’ve already made their decision.”

The study is published this week in the journal Pediatrics.

Colorado once had one of the lower childhood vaccination rates in the country but has recently seen its ranking rise. One of Glanz’s research interests is how to increase vaccination rates among kids.For this study, he and his colleagues recruited 888 pregnant women in Colorado and assigned them to three equal groups. One group received the care and information that is currently standard practice. But women in the two other groups had access to a new website with vaccine information that the institute built for the study. Half of those women had access to an enhanced feature on the website: the ability to interact with doctors, other experts and each other as they might on social media.

Glanz said researchers found that the moms-to-be who had access to the social media component rarely asked questions of each other. But they did frequently ask questions of the doctors and other experts.

When the study was done — six months after the birth of the women’s children — those families receiving the usual care and those with access to just the informational website showed no significant difference in vaccination rates. But kids whose mothers had access to the social media component of the website were twice as likely to be fully vaccinated as those whose mothers just received the standard care.

Glanz said the result convinced researchers that providing earlier and more varied opportunities for expectant parents to talk with doctors about vaccines will boost vaccination rates.

“The follow-up,” he said, “is to figure out how to implement this into care.”

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