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Boosting Facebook Engagement for your Medical Practice

Boosting Facebook Engagement for your Medical Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

When it comes to social media, the name of the game is engagement. After all, what good are all of those fans and followers if they don’t care about or pay attention to what you’re doing?  Just last month, my team and I guided one of our orthopaedic clients into the top ten national “medium-sized” companies competing to win the Social Madness Competition presented by The Business Journals.

Below are some of the strategies we employed to become the “little orthopedic practice that could.”

Identify Your Facebook Target Demographic

Be sure to determine your Facebook page’s demographics before attempting to craft your messaging.

When your office utilizes social media, whom exactly are you trying to reach? If you just say, “Patients,” you haven’t looked into your page insights deep enough. By clicking on the “People” tab you’ll get a top-level overview of who your followers are – gender, age and even location. This information is key when crafting your messaging, as you wouldn’t have the same message for an 18 year-old-male that you would for a 64-year-old female. For this client, we target 35-44 year old females using key imagery and posts that appeal to the mom demographic.

Find Your Most Successful Post Types

Facebook is great for communicating with patients in part because it’s so versatile. You can post a myriad of topics and ideas that appeal to your specific fanbase and Facebook will keep track of how successful each post is for you. For free. Photos, status updates, links, videos – post some of each to find out which ones resonate with your fans. We’ve found that photos generally work best from an engagement standpoint – both in terms of clicks and interactions (“likes”, “comments” and “shares”).  After photos, our most successful results have come with status updates, followed by links and then videos.

Create Interesting Content That Fits Your Successful Post Types

A snapshot of the Facebook reach and engagement levels for one of our clients.

Sounds easy, right? For the most part it is (though it gets a little more difficult when competing against the top companies in the country for months on end, but I digress). If photos work well, be sure to plan ahead and have some fun, creative ones scheduled for the month. Remember, Facebook – and social media as a whole – is supposed to be personal, so not everything has to just be an office photo with a doctor. Those are great and they shouldn’t be ignored; however, don’t feel like you can’t put up a crazy themed photo or a popular meme, too. When updating your status, let people know what’s going on in your office. Having a staff appreciation day? Show your fans your office has some personality. Happy it’s Friday? Tell the world. Odds are, they are, too.

We’ve also found that our followers really enjoy posts that relate to charitable giving and those that ask them questions while presenting facts. For example, come up with a statistic that relates to your practice and have your followers fill in the blank. Or, ask them to answer a true or false question about something you treat in your office. It may sound silly, but simple exercises like this will get people engaged, and it will get them to share the content with their friends and family (i.e. potential new patients).

The End Result

Ultimately, engagement should be your goal with social media, not click through rates to your website. Social media is your way to become more than just a medical practice to your patients. It’s your way to become a part of their lives outside of the office.

As an added benefit, when done correctly, you’ll see benefits within your practice walls as well. For example, just within the contest period alone, we had several patients tell us they scheduled an appointment with the practice because they found them on Facebook or saw a post their friend “Liked”. We were also able to schedule at least one surgery, thanks to someone finding the practice on, you guessed it, Facebook. Thanks to an increase of more than 800 page likes, we were also able to exponentially grow the practice’s organic reach to thousands of potential patients in just a few short months without spending a dollar. It’s all about engagement.

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

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

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5 Best Practices for Marketing to Physicians

5 Best Practices for Marketing to Physicians | Social Media and Healthcare |

Whether your goals involve recruiting, marketing to physicians for referrals or strengthening physician relationships, follow these best practices for connecting with one of the most sought-after—and fiercely hard to reach—healthcare audiences.

Email is the preferred means of initial communication.

According to a 2018 HealthLink Dimensions survey of more than 700 physicians, email is the preferred channel for receiving industry news, product updates, announcements or research, and educational opportunities. This is followed by interactions via in-person visits and direct mail. Only 3 percent of surveyed physicians have used social media for business communications. 

Pro Tip: When engaging physicians (or any audience) via email, it's important to measure the performance of each deployment and identify elements that can be optimized. We recommend A/B testing subject lines for the impact on open rate and article topics and calls to action for the impact on click rate. To illustrate the advantages of testing, True North Custom was able to help a children's hospital achieve an email open rate that blew industry averages out of the water by leveraging this data-driven approach.

Content should be educational.

According to the HealthLink Dimensions survey, “medical professionals prefer marketers to act as information partners.” This can include content about innovative techniques and technology, continuing medical education opportunities, and other topics that offer value and help them manage and grow their practices and careers.

Pro Tip: Physicians trust credible news sources (think JAMA, New York Times), so find ways to align your content with timely, relevant topics featured within those information sources where they're already consuming content (aka newsjacking).

Content must be mobile-friendly. 

It's simple: Physicians are constantly on their smartphones — with more than 75 percent reporting the use of mobile health in their practices on a weekly basis.

Pro Tip: Consider using video as one of the most engaging and mobile-friendly formats, and feature peers rather than patients as physicians prefer a more clinical perspective when reading about new treatments and technology.

Speak their language.

When marketing to physicians, it is critically important to understand their clinical or academic focus and target them using the terminology that matches their specific discipline. "Context is king," according to MediaPost.

Pro Tip: When working to engage physicians, segment the audience by specific practice areas like electrophysiology or interventional cardiology and plan content accordingly. 

Always think, “What’s in it for them?”

Make sure your outreach includes a compelling offer or call to action, which could include downloading a free white paper, signing up for a relevant e-newsletter or another incentive that align with their professional interests.

Pro Tip: Subscribing to your physician-focused newsletter is an excellent call to action, as it allows doctors to stay current on relevant medical topics while keeping your organization top of mind to drive referral and reputation development. For example, a nationally ranked children's hospital leveraged targeted physician emails to increase reputation scores that helped boost U.S. News & World Report rankings.

NOTE: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for freshness.

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5 Ways to Capture The Patient’s Journey With Digital Healthcare Marketing 

5 Ways to Capture The Patient’s Journey With Digital Healthcare Marketing  | Social Media and Healthcare |

With information available at our fingertips, it should come as no surprise that our phones have evolved into a symptom-checker and the place to evaluate a doctor’s reputation or schedule an appointment. One in every 20 Google searches is health related, 57% of consumers go online first to research a specific health condition, and 72% of patients check provider reviews before booking appointments.

This behavior is an extension of what Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, describes as micro-moments, which “have been accelerating consumer expectations for right here, right now experiences.”

Our mobile-dependent culture has led healthcare patients to demand the same convenience, availability, and instant access they receive from retail providers. Are healthcare marketers ready to take advantage of these micro-moments? Here are five ways to move the patient’s journey forward with digital healthcare marketing.

1. SEO-Optimize For Local
Patients search locally for healthcare providers, so it’s important to land on the first page of search results. This first position of Google search results brings a 33% clickthrough rate. To move up, or stay, on the first page of search, your site must include regularly updated content that is driven by your patient’s needs. Search engines rank content by how well it matches their questions, so you must build a robust content arsenal around specific symptoms people search for within your specialty, with a strong base of appropriate keywords. Use the same keywords used by your patients and explore new keywords with search tools, such as Google Trends, to target the most popular healthcare words used in your region.

While providing location-specific health-related content on your website and on social platforms is essential, the most pivotal spot for ensuring you are optimized for local is through your Google My Business page listing. If you haven’t claimed your business, do so now. Ensure your category, description, phone number and website are accurate. Boost your presence by answering, in advance, the questions searchers want to know. For example, do you provide free parking? Where? What insurance plans do you accept? Are you taking new patients?

2. Build Credibility with Video
While it’s important to give prospective patients a variety of content paths to reach you with blog posts, email, newsletters infographics, and E-books, video’s power to educate is unparalleled. YouTube is on its way of becoming the most visited internet site, giving you one more opportunity to meet prospective patients where they already are. Healthcare facilities and physicians can use video to create:

● Physician profile videos: Build trust and a welcoming bedside manner with a physician or practice video that highlights specialties and accomplishments. Give prospective patients a reason to choose you by highlighting your experience, credentials, and commitment to quality care.
● Patient review videos: Testimonials and reviews, covered more below, help build credibility and provide additional search-optimized content.
● Procedure and treatment overviews: Health-related concerns can often be high-anxiety moments. Break down complex procedures, and patient pre and out-patient instructions, into informative short video demonstrations.
● FAQ: Give patients answers to the questions they want to know.

3. Optimize For Voice 
Consumer’s growing comfort with personal assistants and voice-assisted search should be reflected in your content. Match your content around natural language searches to increase the likelihood of bots finding and reading your content back to the patient.

4. Proactively Respond to Negative Reviews 
In 2018, nearly 72 percent of patients used online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, and 42% of patients viewing health information on social media are exploring health-related consumer reviews. Google believes reviews are so important that stars are placed alongside each physician in search results. While the validity of many of these online review sites may not always accurately reflect your competency, online reviews give patients the social proof they’re looking for to make decisions faster. Check your own reviews on Google, Yelp, HealthGrades, Vitals, and ZocDoc social media.

More importantly, develop a strategy to consistently cultivate positive reviews on your website and social media channels by asking for them from patients. Consistently updating your website with customer reviews ensures a steady flow of new, unique content, which boosts your chances of landing on page one of search. Leveraging your patient experiences through testimonials provides valuable information for patients looking for similar issues while giving search engines the same natural language keywords patients are using to search.

5. Tap To Schedule
An Accenture survey shows 77 percent of patients place a high priority on the ability to book, change or cancel appointments online. Ensure your patient portal not only includes the ability to book an appointment, but also the ability for patients to access their own private health information and to pay bills electronically. With society’s priority for mobile, consider giving patients access to your practice with a progressive web app, optimized for mobile and tablets. To help patients remember appointment times and reduce no-shows, offer a text messaging app for appointment reminders.

Digital access to healthcare research, provider reviews, and treatment options have created a new generation of empowered consumers. They are much more selective about their choice of providers, treatment options, and more likely to take a proactive role in their care. As a provider, your overriding goal has always been to improve the continuum of care for your patients. The key today is recognizing that the patient journey no longer begins with that first office visit, but rather with a search on a mobile device. Do you have the digital resources in place that consumers are searching for so that they will book that first appointment with you?

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Social Media Marketing Strategies & Ideas for Orthodontists 

Social Media Marketing Strategies & Ideas for Orthodontists  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Is your orthodontics practice using social media to its full potential? You could be missing out on attracting potential patients and engaging with your current ones. Check out these social media marketing strategies that we recommend to orthodontists that will help you increase your online engagement and reach your community. 

1. Facebook

As an orthodontics practice, you should be targeting parents to get their kids in for a consultation. Eighty-four percent of Facebook users are adults ages 30-49, so you should be using Facebook to reach them. 

2. Instagram 

Bring your practice to life with Instagram! It’s a great way to give patients an insight into your practice and your team. An inviting and exciting practice is appealing for potential patients (especially kids and teens).

3. Facebook Ads

Creating targeted ads to attract patients is a great way to invest your marketing budget. 

4. Social Media Handouts

Handing out social media cards at your office is a great way for people to know which social media platforms they can follow you on.

5. Ask for Engagement

People like to do what they’re told, so tell them what to do. Examples of this include asking for a comment, a like, a share, or a follow. This actually works more often than you think, so try it out!

6. Don’t Forget Pinterest

Although it may not be beneficial for your practice to have a Pinterest in terms of gaining new patients, it is beneficial because Pinterest is a great way to find interesting facts, blog posts, and infographics. These pieces of content work great to repurpose on your more active social media profiles. 

7. Branded Images 

A social media marketing plan with good branding is essential. When possible, use the same approach for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. A simple tool is Canva if you don’t have a great designer on staff.

8. Have Fun!

People are sometimes just on social media to get a good smile or laugh, so give it to them. You’ll be surprised by the awesome results!

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How to Use Social Media Stories to Attract Millennial Patients

How to Use Social Media Stories to Attract Millennial Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

As companies look to generate the largest marketing ROI possible, focusing on attracting the Millennial market can pay off big. Ranging in age from 22-38 years old, this generation has the most purchasing power at approximately $600 billion dollars,1 according to the most recent estimates. With such a large purchasing power, healthcare marketers must find the most effective ways to connect and engage with the Millennial audience.

Unlike their older Baby Boomer counterparts, Millennials are more likely to explore alternative healthcare options and leverage social media as a way to stay informed of healthcare trends and lifestyle movements.2 In fact, 88% of Millennials use some form of social media every day,3 with many spending at least 6 hours a day on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Leading companies are taking advantage of these social habits and finding creative ways to get their brand in front of Millennials on the very platforms that they already frequent. And, the use of social media stories is an emerging strategy that is serving to help healthcare providers quickly engage with prospective patients and grow their social media following. Here are the top three ways that social media stories can enhance your company’s social media marketing to attract Millennials.




Give your followers a varied experience

The world of social media is always changing to give users and businesses new ways to interact with one another. The story feature does just that and enables you to give new and current followers more ways to see your product or service in action. Stories can also be a great way to highlight a specific product, a new product launch, or even a customer testimonial. In this sense, your company’s story can be a supplement to what is already posted on your social media feeds, but can also act as “exclusive” content that is changed daily.


Get in front of more prospective Millennial patients

The story space is relatively untapped (as of now), allowing you to get premium placement for paid ads. Unlike a traditional social media advertisement that can be bypassed in someone’s social media feed, paid story advertisements have been able to generate higher interaction and ROI. With some platforms such as Snapchat reporting up to 60% ad engagement. This means you can get in front of a larger audience, for less, and have better patient acquisition results.


Bring your brand to life

Millennials have grown up being immersed in technology – and being constantly bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day. Being able to connect with them and build brand loyalty is key. And, leveraging stories to share the human elements of your brand can be an amazing opportunity to build that brand awareness. In fact, 62% of Millennial’s report that they are more likely to purchase from companies that interact with them on social media.4 By using the story feature to advertise promotions, announce follower contests, or share an impactful quote, it’s easy to begin connecting with the Millennial audience.

With 300 million and 400 million users actively interacting with social media stories on Facebook and Instagram, respectively, leveraging this fast-growing feature can serve to be an effective way to attract prospective patients.5 The key is to post regularly and choose content that is appealing to the Millennial market.

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To post or not to post? That is the question for DOs on social media

To post or not to post? That is the question for DOs on social media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Using social media to reach potential patients and connect with current patients can be an important step in growing your practice and establishing a brand. DOs who’ve learned to do so effectively have developed an awareness of what works for their practice and their goals.

Whether to tweet, share, like, follow or otherwise engage is part of the growing conversation on social media in the medical profession. More than half of millennials and more than four out of 10 adults are or would like to be friends with or follow their health care providers on social media, an AOA survey found last year.

To help DOs maneuver within the social media landscape, the AOA has developed suggestions for professional conduct on social media, which are shared below. The DO also spoke with two DOs who successfully use social media for different purposes.

‘Social media can benefit any physician’

Jonathan Bruner, DO, runs a private practice specializing in musculoskeletal medicine for women and children in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Dr. Bruner shares links to helpful health-related articles with his followers via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. “Social media can benefit any physician. You don’t have to be out there every day,” he said.

Jonathan Bruner, DO

To attract new patients, Dr. Bruner uses patient testimonials on his website. “Because of HIPAA, we cannot use patient photos, but patient reviews are highly effective,” he said.

Social media can also help physicians who aren’t currently in practice develop a brand and connect with an audience. Ron Holt, DO, a retired San Francisco-based psychiatrist, is the author of six books and creator of a video series that promotes LGBTQ advocacy and awareness. Dr. Holt has found success in sharing his advocacy efforts on social media.

“Interact with those who have a genuine interest in the same topics you do,” Dr. Holt said. “It’s not about the number of followers you have, but the quality of followers you have. It’s a slow and organic process.”

Setting limits

While using social media, setting limits is key to maintaining a professional presence, Dr. Bruner said, noting that he stays away from religion and personal details.

Jonathan Bruner, DO, shares health-related articles on social media and uses testimonials shared on social media to attract new patients.

“I try to keep it very professional. I don’t promote too much engagement,” Dr. Bruner said. “It generates discussion but it gets tricky. I actually avoid it. When you get engagement, you lose your control and now you’ve got things on your page you can’t control.”

Dr. Holt steers clear of responding in-kind to anything negative. “I do not get into politics or religion on social media. I do not engage with comments that are negative or unfavorable,” he said. “We are all entitled to our opinions, and no one wins when you engage with negativity.”

Ron Holt, DO

As physicians, DOs also need to be mindful of the power of their words, especially on the internet, Dr. Holt noted.

“As a physician, I never give professional advice on social media or post anything that would resemble forming a physician-patient relationship,” he said.

AOA suggests doctors can stay professional on social media by:

Ensuring patient confidentiality

Patient privacy is of the utmost concern under ethical requirements and state and federal privacy laws, such as HIPAA. Never post identifiable patient information on social media platforms, even if you are posting anonymously.

Maintaining professional relationships

Consider creating separate accounts/pages/handles for professional and personal interactions. It’s okay to ignore personal requests from patients on accounts that are not used for professional purposes.

Citing your sources

Just as you would cite sources if writing a letter to a medical journal, be sure to note whether information you’re posting online is based upon scientific studies, expert consensus, professional experience or personal opinion, when possible. Clearly state if opinions are your own on forums that may include patients.

Thinking before you post

Strive for accuracy, and when in doubt, pause and think carefully before posting in a public forum. Each post shared on social media platforms has the potential to negatively impact not only one’s own reputation, but also the public’s perception of the osteopathic medical profession.

Checking account privacy settings

Use strict privacy settings to limit who can access your content and/or photos wherever possible. Privacy settings on social media sites often change, so be sure to confirm settings regularly.

Disclosing conflicts of interest

Any information or advice offered on a website or social media site should clearly state financial, professional or personal information that could impact any statements made. This includes discussions, reviews, retweets or other comments on products or services.

Providing advice with caution

Be cautious when providing medical advice online. You could be liable for advice given to patients with whom you haven’t conducted an appropriate in-person exam. It’s advisable to recommend that patients seek in-person patient care for any medical concerns.

Responding appropriately

If you disagree with others’ opinions, keep your response appropriate and polite by avoiding any negative statements about other medical professionals that could be construed as libelous. Also, use caution about statements made when responding to negative comments about you or your place of employment on social media.

Renters insurance 's comment, February 12, 10:40 PM
Very true
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Top Social Media Marketing Trends For Your Marketing Strategy

Top Social Media Marketing Trends For Your Marketing Strategy | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media plays a key factor in your digital marketing strategy for your medical practice. It helps you connect with patients, improve patient retentions, and even get better SEO results. You are making things significantly harder for your practice if you are not already on social media.

That said, it is important to understand that social media is ever-changing. It is constantly evolving and adapting to new trends which can become difficult to keep up with. These are the top social media marketing trends that are completely changing how patients perceive and interact with a medical practice.

Effective Live Streaming

Live streaming is known to get better responses than pre-recorded videos. These take the level of commitment and patient-dentist relationship to a completely new level.

Social media gives you the option to live stream what you are doing without having to pre-record a video, develop it, edit it, and worry that you should start over because it was not exactly what you were looking for.

You can give your patients an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how a clinic functions. This is helpful in easing a patient’s mind and getting rid of pre-appointment anxieties. Personalized patient experiences matter in today’s digital healthcare world.

You can offer your patients a natural call-to-action with this tool, as well. For instance, you can offer a promotion online for particular procedures during the holiday season while live streaming and interacting directly with patients who may have questions and comments that you can answer in real time.

A Prescence on All Platfroms with Video

One of the dominant tools of social media marketing continues to be videos. If you are not already on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, then you are missing a huge opportunity of digital marketing. You can get in touch with numerous potential patients and referrals by being active through Instagram Stories and YouTube videos.

Your best efforts should be focused on all niche video social media platforms where you can offer personalized patient experiences, which is something patients of all generations expect from their medical professionals. Video goes beyond what regular content and text cannot do. People are visual learners by habit and are much more easily impressed by what they see, rather than what they read.

You can also connect with a far larger share of patient audience by recognizing the versatility and popularity of video channels. For instance, you can upload videos on YouTube regarding common medical questions that patients have. This will help you on two fronts – marketing, as well as, establishing you as an authority in your field.

Utilizing Augmented Reality

There are already many small ways by which augmented reality and virtual reality are making themselves known. The impact is small, but significant, and demonstrates that these markets are here to last well into the future. The more obvious markets such as Snapchat’s facial filters, among others, are likely to grow rapidly in the foreseeable future.

You should take advantage of these filters to help attract more patients. Social media, like everything else on the internet, gives you a small window period to retain a patient’s attention.

Augmented reality features can be a powerful tool if used in the right manner. You can personalize interaction more effectively and better adjust your social media marketing strategies when the feature becomes more prevalent across all platforms.

Communications with Patients on Chatbots and Messenger Apps

Messenger apps are an effective tool to help patients reach out to doctors and other healthcare professionals. This can be better recognized by the ease of interaction and connection made possible by Facebook Messenger. It is important to understand that users on Facebook are not always customers looking for goods and services.

However, if a potential patient lands on your clinic or practice’s page and finds something interesting they are curious about, then you can reach out to them via chatbots to answer their query or otherwise initiate a conversation. This could ultimately lead to a user becoming a recurring patient. Currently, WhatsApp, Messenger and Kik are some of the more popular messenger apps as well.

Connecting with young adults

Generation Z is fast entering the workforce and have the maturity to make their own medical decisions. It is best to include this audience in your target patient profile. Many medical practices have already begun offering discounts and ready information on social media websites, which are more frequented by this age group.

You should create videos and develop social media content targeted especially at this age group. This is more important if your practice is in the area of preventative healthcare and cosmetic enhancements.

Connecting with other influencers

Social media is all about connections and networking. This does not just refer to your patients, but, also peers and other influencers in the medical industry.

YouTube is one of the major areas where you connect with influencers. You can identify an influencer if the video is a sponsored video with thousands of subscribers. You can promote your medical services by reaching out to these influencers because they have huge fan followings.

However, this boils down to offering personalized patient experience. YouTubers become popular by developing content that relates to tons of people. These people are hesitant to trust medical care facilities which are not authentic.

Hence, you need to take advantage of social engineering and encourage an influencer to promote your medical services as honest, trustworthy and something that can relate to a patient’s experience.

Involving patients

As mentioned earlier, social media is about networking. It is also a two way communication street. You need to engage your patients and involve them any way you can to become more active on your account. This will increase your user-generated content by way of photos, videos and reviews. This is an excellent way of improving the overall patient experience.

User-generated content can give a big boost to your SEO strategy as well because search engines prefer content created by unpaid followers of a healthcare business. In this technology driven market, word of mouth referrals are still considered significant. Patients do not fall for marketing tactics by sub-standard healthcare professionals anymore.

This kind of content humanizes your practice and you. People do not just see your side of the story, but, recognize that what you are saying is actually true when they read other people’s review. This could be anything from your commitment to patient care, empathy or a great patient experience.

Final Thoughts

Social media marketing for doctors is about improving engagement with patients, navigating them towards your medical practice, and then leaving them with the freedom to choose. You can use social media to promote your online reputation and win new patients without directly or aggressively marketing your medical services or products.

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3 Effective Levers To Grow Your Practice

3 Effective Levers To Grow Your Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

As the first quarter of the year continues to accelerate, we find that many business owners, executives, and practice managers begin to refocus their efforts on business development and marketing. And, when refocusing, savvy management tends to identifies low hanging fruits from which to gain early wins and a strong start. Here are three of these low hanging fruits which can act as levers of effective growth for your company.

1. Citations

Citations are perhaps one of the most overlooked marketing opportunities out there.  As a local business, your Google rank is based off of only 3 things:

  1. Proximity: How close is your business to the person searching.
  2. Reviews: How many do you have and what’s the average rating (more on this below).
  3. Authority: How many places is your business listed (or cited) across the internet.

Now, 90% of companies cover the basics; listing their businesses on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. However, that’s not enough if you want to be consistently bringing in new business from local Google searches.

In the Physical Therapy industry specifically, there are 44 top sites your business should be listed on and over 100 more that are not as important but do help to boost your rank.

Listing your business on these sites is as simple as creating an account and filling out your business profile. Citation errors can be a big problem too.  If your business has an address of 123 main street on Facebook, but has 456 main street listed on Yelp — Google will get confused and doc points from your authority score.

To find out what sites your business is listed on and what sites it isn’t as well as any citation errors you may have, you can CLICK HERE to get all of our best citation resources.

2. Reviews

Consumer studies have been diving deep into the behaviors of patients as they’ve become less “accepting buyers” of clinical services and products — but, rather… they are now sophisticated healthcare consumers.


  1. 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in choosing a new provider.
  2. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as being reliable and genuine.
  3. 91% will read them, regardless of their feelings about online reviews.
  4. 50% of general online users searching a medical condition are also searching for a specific provider.

Beyond that, payers are also asking about internal reviews — a truly unexpected data set; a metric they are beginning to take interest in.

The fact is this: There are many combinations and permutations of purchasing behaviors that healthcare consumers are using to make their shopping decisions. However, one consistent thing is — they WILL check your reviews and they WILL be looking at your website as well as…. your social media channels.

3. Social Media

For so long, healthcare companies proudly relied on word of mouth to achieve practice growth. For quite some time, this was effective and good. Historically, advertising dollars were seen as a cost to the system, rather than fuel to grow a business. As such, many organizations approached marketing with a posture of “losing less” rather than “winning more.”

If we continue to follow the evidence where it leads versus where we hope it leads — we find the corollary facts in healthcare consumer behavior in regards to social media, not unlike that highlighted in terms of reviews:

  1. Nearly 80% of healthcare consumers state that a health provider’s trustworthiness is the most important & desired trait.
  2. For which, 68% of consumers state they would be willing to travel further for a better healthcare experience.
  3. 41% of consumers admit that social media would affect their choice.
  4. 43% of baby boomers are using social media for health information.

As much as healthcare consumers trust online reviews to get a sense of the overall experience, they are also using social media to check up on healthcare companies before they truly buy in.

Being that Social Media is literally Word of Mouth 2.0 — it is the ideal ecosphere for practices to authentically connect with pre-purchasing customers in channels that can lead to direct communication and conversation.

And, despite some recent times of concern with platforms such as Facebook, the statistics are overwhelming — “With the exception of people over the age of 65, more than half of Americans in every age group say they are on Facebook.” AND, that’s just Facebook… not to mention all the numbers behind Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, NextDoor, YouTube, etc. etc. etc.

If practices wish to grow, they must connect with the audience where they already are; healthcare companies can quickly and easily do so through strategic use of social media.

Some Closing Thoughts

The beauty of online marketing is that it is quickly and easily scalable. Thanks to technology and the ultimate playing field leveler in “the digital footprint” (websites, reviews, citations, and social media) — these become a crucial part in creating the strongest reach in scaling your brand’s message to the right audience, for the right action, at the right time.

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Social Media Practices in Healthcare –

Social Media Practices in Healthcare – | Social Media and Healthcare |

Advertising in healthcare has always taken a safe approach. For the most part, you’ll find stock images or the typical narrative of doctors and nurses working to save a life, a smiling patient or a mother nursing a child. The primary reason for these is the fear of being sued for misinformation or having other regulatory bodies come after the healthcare provider. 

However, to expand, these institutions should push to be more creative. The platforms to capitalize on include Facebook and Instagram. Before running an ad, a healthcare marketing strategy ought to be in place. It ought to align with the values that govern the practice as it is what sets your brand apart. Consider the below as you implement your social media advertising campaign.

Consider the demographic

If you’re a children’s hospital, then your focus would be targeting parents. Therefore, know your target market and tailor content toward them. A meditation studio would attract females perhaps between the ages of 25 and 40. Learn extensively about your primary clients so that you can filter and create highly targeted campaigns. Using this approach makes your efforts worthwhile and productive. It is also a cost-effective approach to advertising. 

Have positive imaging

Hospitals aren’t typically a place where patients and nurses are continually smiling. Pain and distress are normal, but no one wants to be reminded of it. It is why healthcare providers go for positive images. The narrative is that, despite what got you into the facility, you will get better. Your flu will be gone, and your teeth straightened, your back straighter. Therefore, use images that evoke hope. Consider having a focus group to determine the most effective pictures. 

Run a video

Instagram has emerged as the ideal place to share videos. The same can also get used on Facebook or YouTube. Videos are effective in sharing information about services offered. It also brings abstract parts of the experience to light. An example will be if you wish to show your clients how simplified the payment process is, a video would be ideal in capturing this. Remember to add subtitles as advertising is shifting to be more inclusive. 

Be informative

Lastly, the advertisement ought to be informative. The healthcare sector is advancing thanks to technology. Share these prospective with your audience to instill confidence in them. They ought to know that through your social media marketing that ought to expect better services than they had years back. It is that aspect that will increase confidence in them enough to engage with your content.

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7 Tips On Using Social Media For Healthcare Industry

From the fashion industry to FMCG firms, entertainment to travel industry, all brands have made social media an integral part of their business model. With the constantly growing usage of social media, it is important that even medical practitioners and other healthcare professionals and businesses use it for marketing.

Social media marketing has a lot of untapped potential for the healthcare industry. Because your customers are going to invest their money to avail your services, they would want to get as much information as they can, about your brand. Today social media is one of the main sources for gathering information about brands. As such, having a social media presence is very important for your brand.

There is great scope for you to use social media platforms for creating brand awareness and engaging with your audience. For the healthcare industry, in particular, social media offers just the right platform to showcase expertise and knowledge. You can build a loyal community of followers and potential customers. In fact, you can use social media to carry out your customer service interactions as well.

If you want to leverage social media to build an effective presence for your healthcare brand, follow the tips given below.

7 Simple Tips On Using Social Media For Healthcare Industry

1. Showcase Your Expertise On Social Media As A Healthcare Expert

First and foremost, you need to set up your business accounts on different social media platforms. Once you have your profile up and ready to go, you have to start planning out your content strategy. Your content will play a very important role in projecting your image as an expert in the healthcare field.


Because you are using social media for healthcare, it is important that you showcase your knowledge through your content on social media. Post important facts and information about diseases, disorders, remedies, treatments etc. on social media. Use photos, graphics, infographics to share information on health and associated topics.

You can also use social media to share daily tips on maintaining health and wellness. The idea is to engage your audience with your content and eventually, build a loyal group of customers through social media.

2. Offer A Platform For Asking Questions

Another way to establish your expertise in the field is by offering a platform where your audience can pose questions. You could have weekly Q&A sessions for your audience where they can ask questions in comments and you respond to their queries as replies. All you have to do is make an announcement or put out a post to alert your audience ahead of starting the Q&A session.

Your topics may range from disease and health-related queries to questions about your business. Such Q&A sessions can help you enhance your social media engagement rate.

3. Share Customer Feedback

Peer-to-peer reviews can work like wonder for any brand. For healthcare brands, good feedback and recommendations are very helpful in enhancing your brand image and pushing for leads on the platform.

One of the top social media trends today, is how brands are leveraging user-generated content. UGCs featuring products or brands play a very important role in ensuring the credibility and trust associated with brands.

As a healthcare brand, you can collect customer feedback or testimonials and share it on social media. You can also ask customers to give their feedback in the video format. Post it on social media after taking their permission. This will help build a positive image around your brand. Eventually, it will also contribute toward generating conversions.

4. Use Live Streaming

Using social media for healthcare involves making the most of all the top features and tools at your disposal. The live streaming feature is an important tool you can use to boost real time engagement.

What are the ways by which you can leverage the live streaming feature on social media for the healthcare industry?

Bring subject matter experts on board for live streaming sessions. You can conduct live interviews with experts and professionals such as dieticians, academicians from the healthcare field and health insurance professionals. This can make for a great option for brands to conduct live Q&A sessions.


Apart from that, you can also broadcast seminars and other such important events using the live streaming option. With live video streaming, you can increase your real-time interactions and take your engagement to the next level.

5. Leverage Social Media For Customer Service

Use social media for streamlined customer service management. Customer service is an integral part of every product and/or service-providing business. Social media allows you to build a cost-effective system for customer service management.

Brand presence on social media also means that the audience can now approach them easily. Whether it is to give feedback or make complaints or inquiries, the audience is now approaching brands directly on social media. In the case of a services-focused industry, such as that of healthcare, a good customer service system should be put in place.

Build a team of customer service professionals to handle customer queries on social media. You can also employ chatbots to handle social inbox queries. Offering quick and real-time responses to customers queries will help you build a stronger relationship with your prospective clients.

6. Invest In Social Media Ads

If you want to maximise your social media reach, you need to invest in paid marketing. Relying on organic marketing alone is not going to be enough.

Every social media platform offers you the option of using Ads and sponsored posts in multiple formats to reach out to a large number of people. Make your Ads compelling enough to push your audience to take the desired action.

Whether your goal is to increase awareness about your brand or to generate more engagement, social media Ads will help you achieve these. Add calls to action to your content to lead your audience to take action.

7. Constantly Measure Your Social Media Efforts

Keeping stock of your audience’s response to your social media activity is very important for proper healthcare social media management. Is your content reaching the right set of people or not? What is the level of engagement on your content? Which is the most popular type of content from which you can take inspiration?

Use a social media analytics tool to find answers to all these questions. Unbox Social is one such tool that can help you uncover important insights about your social; media activity. You can uncover important insights into your reach and engagement levels, along with important social media metrics. You can also track important insights on your audience through this tool.

Using these insights and information, frame a social media strategy that willl help you achieve your goals and objectives.


Marketing on social media for healthcare will soon become entirely mainstream. A more conscious consumer resorts to social media for gaining more information about different brands, including healthcare.

Here is a set of tips on how you can ace social media marketing as a healthcare brand or professional:

  • Use social media to establish your position as an expert in the healthcare field
  • Let your audience ask you questions on the platform
  • Share customer feedback on social media to showcase brand credibility
  • Conduct live streaming sessions for better engagement
  • Carry out your customer services operations through social media
  • Invest in social media Ads for better reach and engagement
  • Measure your social media efforts on a constant basis for best results
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Exercise Posts on Social Media

Exercise Posts on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

The next time you’re scrolling through your social media feed and notice a friend’s fitness post, take note of how you feel. New research shows it could impact you more profoundly than you realize, reports the journal Health Communication.

In the study, researchers found that for some people, seeing exercise-related social media posts such as images of friends exercising or wearing workout clothes, checking into gyms, or posting about fitness-related accomplishments had a positive impact. For example, seeing the posts may make them feel motivated to work out. For others, however, viewing fitness posts had a negative effect on their body image. Specifically, it made them feel badly about their weight.

One of the biggest factors that influenced how exercise-related social media posts affected participants was how similar they felt to the person posting. The more similar they perceived themselves to be with the poster, the more likely they were to feel bummed about their weight.

What You Can Do

If you find yourself feeling down about your body after surfing social media sites, it’s possible to turn your attitude around without unfollowing your friends. They key is to try practicing self-compassion. Research shows that self-compassion—taking a kinder, more accepting view of yourself and understanding that everyone is flawed and imperfect—can act as a buffer against comparing your body with others’ or harshly judging your own figure.

Spring Into Action

On the other hand, if you happen to feel inspired after seeing these posts, turn your motivation into action. Here are three ways you can do that:

  • Start today. Don’t wait for the perfect plan or the ideal time—lace your sneakers up and get out there.
  • Find a super-fit friend. Exercising with a buddy who’s more advanced than you can help you go harder and longer, studies show.
  • Focus on how you’ll feel. Even a short workout can boost your mood and decrease stress.

Exercise is about much more than losing weight. Increasing your physical activity can reduce your risk for disease, improve your sleep, and help you feel better in your own skin.

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9 Reasons Why Doctors Should Be Using LinkedIn For Jobs And Careers.

9 Reasons Why Doctors Should Be Using LinkedIn For Jobs And Careers. | Social Media and Healthcare |
Some reasons doctors should use LinkedIn are because LinkedIn profiles rank highly in Google and health employers are now using LinkedIn for recruitment.

The record shows that I have been a member of LinkedIn since 2010. This makes LinkedIn one of the longest serving social network that I have been a member of. LinkedIn started in 2002. That's before Facebook (2004) which I have joined (before LinkedIn) and left a few times

Now I confess for significant parts of the past 9 years my LinkedIn profile got little attention. But I always saw the sense in keeping it. As a seasoned medical practitioner, past health executive and someone with decades of expertise in Medical HR I have come to view LinkedIn as a valuable and underrated social media platform and essential to my own career and a valuable tool for the careers of other doctors.

Here's Why?

Doctors should use LinkedIn for Jobs because:

  • LinkedIn is generally accepted to be the social media platform for professionals.
  • Employers now look on Google to check information about doctor job candidates. LinkedIn profiles rank highly in Google.
  • Health employers are now starting to incorporate LinkedIn as part of their advertising and candidate identification strategy. So potentially not being on LinkedIn means you could miss out on a doctor job that would have been to your liking.

If none of that convinces you that LinkedIn is for doctors. Then consider this I have recently been getting approached by other doctors to help them with their LinkedIn profiles. These are doctors who never saw the value of the platform before and are generally not on many other social media platforms. Something must be up.

But wait there's more. LinkedIn has other uses and if used properly can help you in other ways in your career.

Some of the other reasons why as a medical professional you should consider renewing your LinkedIn or starting a LinkedIn profile are:

1. LinkedIn is a great place for keeping all your career information.

Possibly the number one reason I like LinkedIn is that over time I have accumulated a lot of achievements in my career and LinkedIn is the vehicle by which I store these. For me. LinkedIn beats having to store multiple versions of your CV on your computer or dropbox and then going back over each of them the next time you need to submit your CV.

I always revise my CV each time I am asked to submit it. Which at the moment is about 10 times a year for various consultancy work and Board positions etc… LinkedIn is often my source of inspiration for when I get stuck with highlighting a certain skill or criteria.

2. LinkedIn for doctors is a great tool for controlling your online social presence and reputation.

LinkedIn profiles have high authority with Google and rank well on search. Just Google your name if you are on LinkedIn or someone else you know who is and you will see what I mean.

As a doctor you may not be concerned about your Google Search. But be aware that there are now a number of doctor review sites around where patients can express their opinion about you. And you won't even know about it if you don't go looking for it. Now you can spend time joining some of these sites and “claiming your profile” as well as establishing an active online presence. You can even develop your own authoritative website if you like. But that takes time. As Kevin.MD points out LinkedIn is not perfect but its a low risk, potentially low resource, high-yield action that you can take to protect your online presence.

With LinkedIn its still currently very easy to distinguish yourself from other doctors just by completing all of your profile. Most doctors just don’t bother to do it right which is good for you and bad for them.

3. LinkedIn Is Great For Building Strong Networks With Other Doctors As Well As Other Professionals.

We all know the saying “Its not what you know but who you know”. LinkedIn was built with that proposition in mind. And that’s an incredibly intriguing proposition for doctors who have taken years to memorize medical information. If you don’t have a great network yet, Linkedin is the best place to start. Doctors on Linkedin are generally very easy to connect with, even the experts. Especially, if you contact them in a genuine and non-spammy way, you’ll probably be able to add them to your network. This is something you could not have done a few decades ago.

4. LinkedIn Can Help In Creating A Personal Brand.

LinkedIn allows you to tell the rest of the medical world and others how exactly you see yourself. But this requires thought and activity. So if you don't feel you have the time or need for this particular point feel free to skip to the next.

Personal branding is about building a reputation, authority and trust about you as a professonal. You are attempting to influence what people think about your when they see your content in a newsfeed or message. Will they click on the link you shared? Will they check out other people in your network and ask to connect with them as well?

The key success factor when building a personal brand is to create valuable content for your connections. You can do this by creating content yourself or just curating interesting information.

5. Doctors Can Use LinkedIn to Establish A Name As A Speaker Advisor Or Authority.

Doctors can sometimes earn additional income from speaking engagements or gain valuable connections or leads. If your name and face come up a lot in their newsfeed next to valuable information, you’ll be perceived as a trusted expert who might be asked to speak or review something.

6. Getting Relevant Information.

With regular use Linkedin becomes better at deciding what information might be relevant for you. They look at the keywords in your profile, your groups and your connections in order to decide what content to show. They are also more choosy than facebook about how much unsolicited content to show. So it doesn't feel like you are constantly bombarded. About once a week I find a really interesting headline that leads me to a nice in-depth article on a topic of interest.

7. Getting Advice On LinkedIn From Other Doctors

Imagine you are thinking of applying for a new job at a hospital you are unfamiliar with but you don’t know if it's a good idea. When the hospital says that the roster is normally one in five at full staffing do they actually mean it and how often are they fully staffed? LinkedIn can connect you with people currently working in this hospital who can clarify your questions. There are lots of situations I can think of where you could use Linkedin in order to get advice from someone who’s already undertaken the experience you are considering.

8. Being Found Online

These days it’s critical to be found on Google. Every day, thousands of patients, recruiters, industry professionals and students are looking for your services. So why make it difficult for them to find you? Google loves Linkedin – if you complete your profile and stuff it with the right keywords, you will not only be found when people are searching your name but also when they are searching for your specialty.

9. Landing Your Dream Job

This is probably the most obvious reasons for being on LinkedIn. Even if you are not a very active participant and get slightly annoyed by being spammed occasionally. Linkedin can be a great place to look for a new job when you need it. Traditionally doctor jobs are not be posted in the regular jobs section on Linkedin. However that's changing. And if you are particularly looking for a creative or non-traditional career path. Whether that be a side gig or a permanent transition then LinkedIn will be a useful source of information for you. In addition, you can join groups targeting your specialty. There’s usually a job discussion section in these groups. There may be tips on the interviews or even early leads on job opportunities. For e.g. you might find out that a Neurosurgery Registrar has just left Hospital X early, leaving a sudden vacancy. Have a look there, then look who posted the job and connect with them.

7 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile As a Doctor

1. Upload a current, professional profile photo. 

Profiles that include a photo are estimate do be more than 10 times more likely to be viewed. Or to put it another way. Not having a profile picture seems weird and is often equated to an incomplete profile. So get a photo. And yes I know that this is completely the opposite of the advice that I give about CVs. But its social media.

2. Be active on the platform.

Active profiles get more attention on LinkedIn. You can be active by joining and commenting on groups and occasionally posting your thoughts on a topic. You can use LinkedIn as a form of blog or you can link your existing blog to LinkedIn

3. Claim your LinkedIn tag.

Create a unique URL. This will make your LinkedIn profile appear unique and give the impression that you have taken the time to establish your brand (For example my LinkedIn is A custom URL makes your profile more professional and it also allows you to add a nice looking link to your business cards and CV or resume.

4. Use a customized headline.

If you don't then each time you change jobs, LinkedIn makes your headline your your updated title (if you remember to update it). Think about using keywords that you want employers to find you for in your headline either on LinkedIn or Google. The headline of LinkedIn is important for Google search.

5. Keep your contact information up to date. 

It’s simple, but oftentimes overlooked. Check the contact information section of your profile. Somethings on your LinkedIn profile are only visible to your connections. But contacts are visible to everyone.

6. Don't share any contact information you’d prefer to keep private.

Its not kept private by LinkedIn.

7. Don't forget to update your work profile when you change jobs.

Don't be that person that everyone congratulates on their 12 year anniversary in a job they left 8 years ago.

Don't forget to update your work profile when you change jobs. Don't be that person that everyone congratulates on their 12 year anniversary in a job they left 8 years ago

Dr Anthony Llewellyn @careerdranthony

8. Make your summary personal. 

This is a bit like your Career Goal Summary but with a bit more individual flair and passion to intrigue readers.

9. Fill out your profile as completely as possible.

There's a reason why LinkedIn keeps nagging you to complete your profile. It improves your search on the platform. Also, as I've pointed out already, Linkedin then becomes a repository of all your career information for you to draw upon the next time your revise your CV or resume. Completing your profile can be a big task. But you don't need to do it all at once. Just chip away at it over time.

So Why Don't Doctors Join LinkedIn?

Most established doctors (we are talking specialists here) have until this time lived and worked in relatively small, geographically defined locations without having to shift too much in their careers. They have managed to be successful through word of mouth and connections. The average Consultant felt that they had no need to sell themselves beyond this local market.

It has also been generally held that doctors of a certain type are relatively similar in their skill sets (but not in their skill). For example what an orthopaedic surgeon does in Newcastle, NSW is likely to be similar to what one does in Perth, Western Australia.

Patients up until recent have had little insight into the quality of doctors and still struggle with what the economists call “consumer sovereignty”, which is the ability of a consumer to use their own knowledge to evaluate the cost of a product or service in a market.

But this is all changing. For one thing trainee doctors generally move around quite a bit and have to land several jobs before they are able to “settle down”. Patients are now getting access to insight and information about doctors through health review sites and there's a lot more consumer sovereignty available now through Dr Google. Experienced clinicians are attempting to brand themselves in niches of medicine. And general practitioners are more regularly now referring to the internet with referring to a specialist.

In addition to the above many doctors may feel that their presence on LinkedIn serves very little direct benefit. As Dr Howard Luks points out he probably has not had very many patients come to him from LinkedIn and a lot of the contacts he has had have been nuisances. However, this is not the experience of every doctor and Howard himself balances out this problem by referring to the utility for LinkedIn to be a protector of online reputation.

What Benefits Have I seen From Being on LinkedIn?

Whilst I used to treat LinkedIn as a bit of a passive place to park my career profile. I have experienced more quality connections on the platform by being an active user. This has included interesting job referrals, connections to like-minded doctors across the world and clients and other opportunities and leads. Yes. You still get some annoying messages. Mainly from locum agencies. Which really wouldn't be annoying if I was looking for a locum. But honestly we are talking once a week at best.

How Tell How Long You Have Been On LinkedIn

  1. Open LinkedIn
  2. Go to your settings page (click on your name at the top of the screen)
  3. Click on Settings & Privacy
  4. And there it is at the top of the screen “Member since …

Related Questions About LinkedIn For Medical Professionals

How much time do I need to devote to LinkedIn as a Doctor?

Most LinkedIn users spend less than an hour a week on LinkedIn. But there are significant periods where they may be more active, for example, when looking for their next job opportunity. As I have pointed out above, LinkedIn is extremely useful if you want an online presence that you control but don't have to spend a lot of time on.

It is however important to regularly review your LinkedIn profile. So you can't completely forget about it. Otherwise when an employer looks you up and sees that LinkedIn says you are still working in the job you were doing in 2008 when your CV says otherwise they will probably think you are sloppy.

As a Medical Professional, Can't I just use other social media platforms like Facebook?

LinkedIn is a bit different from other social media platforms. For sure as Facebook has grown-up along with its audience its taken on a more “adult” look. But LinkedIn is still far less “social” and more “business” than Facebook’s friends, family, groups and pages model.

You can't really effectively record your CV on Facebook as comprehensively as you can on LinkedIn. And let's face it the opportunities to be spammed and waste time are far higher on facebook than LinkedIn.

For healthcare marketing purposes, LinkedIn’s added value is that it is primarily for being visible among and connecting with fellow professionals, including other health professionals.

Are there any alternatives to LinkedIn?

There have been attempts to set up social networks just for doctors, such as Doximity (haven't used this) and SERMO (joined and found there to be no real community and no value). But given their narrow focus and LinkedIn's edge in terms of being established in 2002 these platforms have struggled to be adopted.

I hope that by now I have convinced you that Linkedin is a great place to start your social media career as a doctor. Let me know how you have used Linkedin to your advantage in the comments section.

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10 Strategies for Attracting Patients to Your Dental Clinic

10 Strategies for Attracting Patients to Your Dental Clinic | Social Media and Healthcare |

The number of dental practices in the United States is growing at an exponential pace, thus increasing the competition between practices. You must have seen new dental clinics pop up in your area, promising a variety of unique services and lucrative deals. Creating a competitive edge in such a populated market is extremely difficult.

Most importantly – offering exceptional patient service is the best way to create a competitive edge for your dental practice and stand out from the competition. Once you have established a benchmark for delivering an exceptional patient service, your practice will need to focus on reaching the target audience who are searching for services similar to what you are offering. In order to reach and influence your target audience, you will need a stronger online presence that takes advantage of existing trends and best practices in dental practice marketing.

Your competitors may deter potential patients from choosing your dental practice. While this may make them seem like the enemy, the truth is that competition is not always bad. In fact, it is essential for practices to have competitors because it is through competition that innovation and improvement are likely to occur. However, innovation and improvement can only occur if you know how to recognize and respond to competition. By learning about your competitors and distinguishing your offerings from them, you can actually benefit from local competition.

So, how do you find new patients for your dental practice? Here is what you have probably already read about this business challenge:

  • Identify your target patient by creating a patient persona.
  • Determine the preferred social media or traditional marketing channels in order to reach your target demographic.
  • Set realistic targets for number of new patients in a given time.
  • Decide on your healthcare marketing budget for bringing in new patients.
  • Ensure your dental practice is visible on social networks.

And, while these tips are correct, they do not tell you how to hook new patients. In a market where patients have infinite choices, it is critical to stand out from the crowd. Plenty of other dentists are offering the same service like yours, and if you do not make an effort to reel your patients in, it is likely those patients will be taking their business elsewhere. So, how can you gain an edge over your competitors? Here are 10 ways to make your dental practice standout:

1. Build a patient-doctor relationship: A dental practice is successful because of its patients. This is the most basic rule that all dentists must understand. You may be great at your job, but without connecting with your patients, you may never be able to convert a new patient to a loyal patient. Patients do not just look for treatment options or insurance coverage. In fact, most patients seek compassion, care, and warmth so that they can go home with reassurance regarding their health.

2. Set clear goals: Not just a vague idea of where you want to be next month or next year – your business goals must be specific. What are your sales targets? What steps should you take to meet your sales goals? Break down your goals into small steps. The problem most practices face is too much distraction, a hectic routine, and a lack of focus. It is a lot easier to beat the competition when you are focused on achieving your goals.


3. Be accessible to your patients: It is not acceptable for most patients that you send a nurse or assistant to check up on them. Each check up requires you to be there personally so that maximum patient satisfaction can be achieved. Your absence may send out signals as if you are not interested in the well-being of your patients. However, if you find it difficult to make time for each appointment, then make yourself available for phone calls and emails. This can be done by giving patients your contact number or email address where they can contact you as and when needed.

4. Build an online personality: It is important to become memorable by having not just an online presence, but a strong online personality. Many dental practices have made a name for themselves on social media by giving an edge to their practice’s voice. Bigger and fancier practices that have an active online presence are able to attract more attention and stand out from the competition. Being witty and funny on social media, even if you are playing a game of squabble, is a good way to make a lasting impression on your fans and followers.

5. Announce exclusive offers: You can separate your dental practice from the pack by putting a spin on the ordinary. You can set the trend by announcing theme days for spicing up regular days. You can have “ToothcareThursday” or “MeetTheDoctorTuesday.” These exciting ideas will keep your patients engaged and coming back for more. Engaging your patients will not only demonstrate that there are real people behind the online brand, but it will also help improve brand loyalty.


6. Provide excellent customer service: Often, unhappy patients do not complain; they just never return to your practice. If you do not provide excellent service to your patients, they may never even tell you about your mistakes, or how you can improve your offerings.

Dissatisfied patients, in addition to not returning to your practice, will likely tell their family and friends others about their disappointing experience. This ripple effect can be very damaging to your online reputation. Make sure your medical and non-medical staff is trained in providing excellent patient care. Do not ever allow your staff to make a patient feel unwanted because no patient would want to repeat that feeling. Warm and welcoming employees will help a patient feel connected and may generate a positive review.

7. Build a professional website: Patients usually visit your practice website to share medical records and receive test results. However, most websites are not designed to act as destinations; they are simply a secure post office to send and receive emails and medical records. However, you can easily transform your website into a digital media channel. This will help you share educational content, respond to comments and questions, share links to relevant websites and post valuable information about dental procedures and treatments.

8. Focus on search engine optimization (SEO): It is important for dental practices to invest in SEO tactics because the website ranking is critical to marketing their dental practice. This is because when the patient looks up dental practices online, you want to show up on the first page of search engine results. If you plan on expanding your reach through your website, be sure to invest effort and money into effective SEO strategies. In addition, content plays an important role in website ranking as Google promotes websites that publish informative and useful content on a regular basis.


9. Start a blog: Blogging can add fresh content to your dental website on a regular basis and help with SEO. Consistently posting fresh content on your blog shows that you know your business well and are trying to keep your patients engaged. On your website, you may also provide information about general dental procedures, share oral hygiene tips, announce discounts and updates about your practice. You can promote your blog using social media and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.

10. Focus on social media marketing: Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it has to be utilized correctly in order to leverage full benefits. Social media is playing a significant role in how dental practices will market their businesses going forward. You must select your social network carefully and be sure to dedicate sufficient time and resources to market your practice the right way. Having a strong social media presence is an excellent way to build a brand following, which will help drive new patients to your dental practice.

These dental marketing strategies will not only help you expand your patient base but will also help you stand out from the competition. These strategies will also help you maintain a positive relationship with patients, and ensure continuous growth of your dental practice.

Practice Builders helps healthcare marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make dental practice marketing predictive and effective. Whether you want to expand your dental practice or stand out from the crowd, Practice Builders can not only get you in the game but also help you win.

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How Medical Schools Can Leverage Social Media Influencers

How Medical Schools Can Leverage Social Media Influencers | Social Media and Healthcare |

Medical schools can join forces with active social media leaders from within their organizations to grow the school’s brand and encourage more active, relevant engagement across multiple audiences. Jared Johnson, a top 100 digital health influencer, podcaster and keynote speaker who spent his entire 16-year career in healthcare and education joins us to discuss the benefits, when to centralize the brand message, and managing expectations.



I’m Mariah Obiedzinski, director of content services at Stamats. Joining me today is Jared Johnson, a Top 100 Digital Health Influencer, podcaster, and keynote speaker who spent his entire 16-year career in healthcare and education. Welcome, Jared.

Jared: Thank you, Mariah.

Mariah: Today we’re discussing how medical schools can join forces with active social media leaders from within their organizations to grow the school’s brand and encourage more active, relevant engagement across multiple audiences.

Jared, in higher education, many administrators, residents, and students are active in social media and blogging, some even to influencer-level, which means they have a following of individuals that actively engage with their personal brand.

What are some of the benefits of leveraging those efforts of these individual influencers to affect the organizational brand?

Jared: Well, Mariah, I think there are several benefits. Some of them are direct and some are a little more indirect. But they all have a positive outcome on the brand. And the first one of those is simply building and increasing the digital footprint of the organization, of the institution.

And the way that happens is, at the end of the day, there’s only so much that the institution itself can do to build its own footprint online. And we all understand what that means, I feel like. There’s only so much posting on social media and blogging and putting web content out there, that the organization itself can do.

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What we’re all faced with these days is a general trust gap between an organization, their brand, and people out there who are consuming that content online. And so, to help overcome that trust gap, the more that somebody who’s part of the institution themselves is producing content, that kind of has a voice and a presence out there online and is creating conversations and content themselves, whether it be on a social media channel specifically or blog, I guess we can kind of use those things interchangeably, but the more individuals together that do that, that lifts the brand itself, because it’s kind of the long-tail of search, right?

You’re going to get a lot more people searching for the institution and somebody who says, “These tweets are my own,” that they’re still a member of the institution or attending it. Those individuals are going to overall combine for a much greater impact online. So, I guess the first thing is increasing that digital footprint.

The second one has in my mind is just as important and just as powerful, it’s the impact on the individuals themselves. In higher ed especially (we’re talking medical schools, for instance) there’s a lot going on for the students, for those attending themselves. And so, a lot of times, a way for them to kind of help themselves get through it is to put some thoughts out there, and just tell how they’re feeling, and sharing what they’re doing on social media.

For the institution to support that indirectly shows the students who are attending that the organization supports them as people and not just as students. And it sends a signal to them that, “We’re interested in you,” and indirectly that helps them succeed and feel like the institution really does care.

It’s the same as a teacher in class going outside of class, in my mind, to get to know their students a little bit. And not just talk shop, not just talk about assignments or whatever, but to get to know them a little bit, or what they’re interested in.

We all have experienced that ourselves, or with our families and our children. You know what a difference that makes to the child when a teacher goes out of their way to build a relationship in a slightly different way, to go above and beyond.

To me, this is the institutional version of that. And so, what that does is that empowers the students themselves to feel like they are a part of something special, because the organization supports them.

What all that does, Mariah, together, when that combines together, is that strengthens the brand of the organization because you don’t have to go out and create a word-of-mouth strategy – because people are already doing that for you. So, there are a lot of different benefits. I guess those are the couple that I’d focus on first and foremost.

Mariah: Yeah. That’s really interesting that you bring up the kind of burnout sort of topic. We hear about that a lot in healthcare, in the physician burnout world. But sometimes we forget that medical students are under just as much pressure, if not more, than physicians out there in the field.

So, really, like you mentioned, giving that impression and giving that warm feeling that they care and that they want to vocalize these issues and pay attention provides that empathetic vibe that you can’t necessarily get in an ad or a digital placement somewhere. A little bit more personal.

How can medical schools really connect their organizational brand and content marketing efforts in a relevant way with the digital engagement of these influencers and vice versa?

Jared: That’s a great question. And there’s a lot to it. I would say just some first steps are to be, first and foremost, be aware of those who are attending your institution and out there blogging or posting on any social media channel. And there are a lot of different platforms. We don’t have to go into them too much. But find a platform, if you don’t have one already, that helps you monitor and go out and search for those who are attending.

Because a lot of times, they’re not going to be mentioning the institution by name in their posts. So, you want to find a platform that helps you be able to find it essentially in their bios. A lot of times they will say on their Instagram, for instance, that, “I’m a third-year at such-and-such university med school.” You know, “I’m a resident at such-and-such institution.” And a lot of times that’s in the bios. A lot of times that might be in a post itself.

That can take a while, but that’s a really important step is to go out and see how many you can find. You might not find all of them, but going out, doing some basic searches with the right software will help you find who they are. And then you start just spending some time looking at what they’re talking about.

I’m telling you, it can be overwhelming because especially for a large institution where there are thousands or even tens-of-thousands attending potentially. It’ll be a little easier to scale for a smaller organization. But commit some time to identify and engage with those who are attending and are posting and already trying to establish themselves on social media.

That’s the best thing you can do to start off with. Because then it’s natural to, as you’re monitoring them, to start following them, to share, to like, to engage with their posts. And then you’re extending what we just talked about with the first question in terms of showing your support for them.

So, really, I think that’s the first step is just recognizing that they’re out there. We usually talk a lot about online reputation with anything that we’re doing. Well, we usually say things like, “People are talking about us and our brands anyway, whether we’re monitoring them or not. Whether we’re engaging with them or not.” Well, the same thing holds true for those who are part of our institution, so our staff and our students.

So, what we really want to keep an eye on is, like I said, first and foremost, just finding them. But secondly, being aware of the types of things that they’re saying. Best case is that you have a handful, not a lot; best case is there are a few out there that are just naturally, organically waving the flag, holding up their testimonial of the institution, and praising the institution itself and saying how great it is to be a student here.

I don’t think a lot of people do that from what I see, not naturally. But it’s indirect. So, that’s a good first step, just to figure out who they are. Keep track, follow them, and engage with them and show them some support.

Mariah: I couldn’t agree more. That leg work—let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a lot of work, especially like you mentioned when there’s thousands and thousands of students across all the departments. But it is so important because you’re forging those relationships right away as a student, as a resident, and so forth. And then that can potentially carry over long past when they’re done, and they can continue to be an influencer for you, sharing your content because they remember that great experience.

How do these departments that share some dependencies when it comes to marketing and strategy really collaborate? What are your thoughts on centralizing content versus decentralizing it?

Jared: Well, I’m going to say “yes” to both. I think this isn’t an all-inclusive answer one way or the other. There are some elements of both I feel like are necessary to succeed here. The closest to this, we’re talking about lots of different departments.

So, in my time at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, there were 125 subspecialties there. And our team was charged with monitoring all of those and centralizing our content strategy, which included all of our social. And that was a task because the centralized portion, what you quickly find is that if you try to go completely centralized, most of the time you’re not actually meeting the content needs of those individual departments. So, what you want to talk about isn’t what a lot of them want to talk about.

It’s dangerous to try to go fully centralized because then you’re going to dilute the brand voice itself in what you’re saying. And any individual department might say, “Yeah. We don’t really care about that at all.” And so, you have to have an element of a decentralization in your strategy to really still keep those individual voices in it.

And what I’ve found successful is, at least to start off with as part of your editorial calendar, have a rotation through some of those departments that are kind of the more low-hanging fruit, or the louder voices that are out there trying to post already. A lot of times, they may have their own account somewhere. They may be posting. They may have a Facebook group. They may have an Instagram or whatever else. They may have their own blog that they’re up and running themselves.

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So, while you’re deciding how centralized to be with those voices, start off by rotating through them on that centralized channel that you’ve got. And that at least gives you a better idea of what they’re posting about, what they care about.

Because, at the end of the day, everything is about what they care about. It’s not about what you as your brand care about. I mean, that’s part of it. But there’s still enough of an individual voice out there that you have to think of both.

I’ll give you an example. There’s at one point, there were, like I said, there were 125 subspecialties at Phoenix Children’s. And one of them, you know, the radiology department, came once and asked if they could start their own Instagram. And initially—this is a great example of how centralization/decentralization kind of both were at odds at first—because we thought well, we have a separate physician-facing, provider-facing content strategy.

And Instagram to that point hadn’t been part of it. We had a main account for Phoenix Children’s for the hospital that, in this case, it turned out it was a bit of a diluted voice out there. It was pretty generic content. It was focused on patient stories. So, for that it was good. We had a lot of nurses and staff engaging with the main account.

But when it came time for the radiology team to come, they had a resident who was insistent that they were going to be posting all the time. Because that was usually the concern—just about every department-specific account up to that point had a short shelf life. The pipeline just dried up really quickly within 1 to 3 months, I would say. And we wanted to make sure that we felt that out with them, and they said, “No, really. We can prove it to you.” And we said, “OK. We’ll do a pilot period with you guys.”

And my initial thoughts were very, very wrong it turned out. I wondered how much of a shelf life a radiology account can have on Instagram. They grew that thing so quickly—they hit 12,000 followers on there. Before we knew it, they were surpassing the hospital’s following on the radiology account. And it’s to this day, it’s still growing insanely. And they are posting every day, and they are getting tons of engagement, which first and foremost, told me that, wow. I better open my eyes because, even when I think I know what I’m talking about, I better open my eyes to how quickly things change and how many healthcare professionals in their case, and providers specifically—clinicians of all types were on Instagram engaging with case films and they had been properly deidentified. Everything on there was just—it was unbelievable.

Just an example of when we wanted to be more centralized with it and our team had taken pride actually in being able to kind of shut down some of those other accounts that had been created by other departments but had kind of dried up. Here we had one that was doing the exact opposite and was just putting the main hospital Instagram to shame.

So, if you have somebody like that who knows what they’re doing and they’re going to do it one way or the other, find a way to work with them and recognize—what we would do is on the main Instagram account, we’d start sharing a lot of those radiology posts, even though that wasn’t part of the initial content strategy, because we wanted to cross-pollinate a little bit and just see how much of the audience was looking at both.

Turns out it was a pretty different audience. And so, after a little bit, we didn’t do that anymore on the main hospital account. Just goes to show you, it’s a complicated question.

Mariah: Yeah. Absolutely. And you bring up kind of a finer point that a lot of our audience probably can relate to, as sometimes marketing gets that big bad, “Oh, here comes marketing. They’re going to come and shut us down.”

But I think as we approach more of the digital initiatives and really try to, like you said, cross-pollinate, go across and get that cohesive strategy in higher ed and especially in medical schools, we really need to be a collaborative resource for one another and support and cheerlead more than just say, “No, no, no,” every time.

How can those medical schools really determine and implement what content can be cohesively strategized and shared across the board?

Jared: That is a really good question because that’s kind of the next step. So, as you’ve taken the first couple of steps, as you’ve gotten familiar with who’s out there already and sharing their voices and gotten a better idea of what content can be centralized and what really needs to stay in those individual voices, then really that next step is to keep all of those elements in your content strategy.

And that’s another one that’s really easy to talk about, I feel like, and really difficult to implement. Especially the larger the institution is. The more departments, the more different teams are involved, especially with more diversity of age groups within the team, everyone’s going to have a different preference on which medium or channel they’re gonna gravitate towards anyway.

So, that’s a good example of some, where you can almost tell, I don’t want to stereotype it either, but the fact is there’s a lot of times you can tell just what our go-to social media channel is. A lot of times you can link that to a general generation or age group that you apply to.

And so, just knowing that, knowing what those kinds of conflicts are going to be or at least those kinds of different questions and approaches are going to pop up, those are important considerations. Because a lot of times what we do want to do—I love what you just highlighted there and pointed out, the part of just how we can kind of get a bad rep in the marketing or branding teams. And there’s a legitimate reason why, because ultimately those teams are responsible for protecting and maintaining and growing a brand.

Well, I like to follow what my friend, Aaron Watkins, who leads digital for Johns Hopkins Medicine, what he has said on numerous occasions. From his experience, he has highlighted how it’s very difficult to be seen internally with your stakeholders as a governor and an innovator at the same time.

So, how that applies to this is if the reputation internally is, “Here comes marketing. They’re going to shut us down because that’s what they always do,” the last thing they’re going to do is work with us when they do have an innovative idea or they do want to launch a new account, when they do want to try something different, and that type of experimentation is important. It’s essential, actually, to keeping up with how we’re all consuming information online.

So, we don’t want to discourage that. The more internal stakeholders and a lot of cases, this is going to be staff and students, as they see us as that governor, the ones that are gonna shut them down, we’re the last ones they’re going to come to for support. They’re actually just going to go launch the account on their own and they’re going kinda basically do it as a rogue account.

And so, honestly, one of the main ways to answer your question of just how to implement this strategy, how to lead it and centralize it from the school of medicine, from the institution, is to be aware that those types of things may happen. And so, half of it is just how they approach it with those who they want to be part of their strategy. If that makes sense.

You know, there’s going to be a certain amount of students who are out there and very active already, and we want to, I’ve always wanted to encourage that because, at the end of the day, it’s a lot easier to encourage that content from others and guide it a little bit if needed, then try to get people who aren’t already used to sharing content and creating their own voice to do so.

It’s almost impossible to get somebody who’s just not used to putting stuff out there to start doing that. So, I’d much rather guide it and encourage it. And to me, that has been the main challenge in creating a strategy.

Because otherwise you’re going to be there with the institution’s marketing team itself coming up with a strategy, and if you’re not involving those who are going to be part of it in the planning process, then they’re not going to care what your process is. It’s kind of like trying to plan a digital health platform without asking patients what they want. Do they actually care about what that innovation is?

So, we just have to be careful. I think you can kind of sum all that up by saying the collaboration internally is essential there. And how we approach it with those who we want to be involved is as important as anything.

Mariah: Exactly. And you highlighted a really great example with the radiology program there at Phoenix Children’s of really managing those expectations. How often are you going to post? What are your growth metrics that you’re looking at and so forth? And that really brings us to kind of the next step of once you decide on a strategy.

How can both the medical school marketers and the individuals that are responsible for posting and for creating that content or curating, really manage the expectations internally and with leadership and stakeholders?

Because, both of us know and everybody listening knows, that most marketing efforts, those big wins are not going to happen overnight.

Jared: They most definitely aren’t. And I think making the timeline a main aspect of any expectations is key. So, conveying that right off the bat that, I have a friend, Dr. Justin Smith who leads digital health at Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth, TX, and Dr. Smith, he is @thedocsmitty. A lot of people know him that way.

He’s a genuine thought leader for clinical leadership, especially pediatric leadership. And he really got institutional buy-in to lead that himself. He’s prolific on Twitter. He’s a prolific blogger. He’s always out there asking and answering questions. And he told me, he and I walked through a lot about the expectations that were for his team. Basically, he started a podcast about pediatric leadership for clinicians.

They wanted to establish Children’s as a leader. And I’m sure part of that had to do with recruitment from institutions. And so, the expectation was…it was really funny because he had a really good podcast. And I believe it was once a week. And within like a month, he was saying, “You know what? Leadership is asking what’s the result of it.” And I’m like, “It’s only been a month.” He’s like, “I can count on one hand how many episodes I’ve put out there, and they’re already asking me, ‘What are the results? What’s going to happen? Are we getting more patients? Are we recruiting better physicians? Or what?’” And he’s like, “Man.” He had tried to set the expectations and it was still a challenge.

I think a lot of times we just have to think, at the end of the day, do our stakeholders, do our leaders, see it as us just kind of playing around out there? And I think we always have to constantly communicate the business value of thought leadership, of being on social media and blogs and other online content.

We have to constantly beat that drum and remind everyone of the business content and the business value of that. Because if we don’t, we may have set technically, and as I recall, I’m pretty sure Dr. Smith even said this, “We set all these expectations up from the beginning. And I’m still having to answer these same questions and a month into it, they’re still asking me, ‘Hey, so, how has this moved the needle?’” And he was like, “We’ve been talking about this all the time. I’ll remind you. This isn’t going to move the needle in that short amount of time. Here are our specific goals, here are our objectives,” and so forth.

It’s just another indicator, really, of even though technically we may have set those expectations once, I think a key to making sure they’re understood is continually bringing them up at the right, opportune moments to remind everyone. “Just so you know, remember what we said when we got started. This will hopefully move the needle in these ways. But look, we have to get six months into this, we have to get 12 months into this. And you guys gave us the leeway to do that, and we are running with it. And we are succeeding here and here and here.” It’s just a lot more intentional sharing of that information with our leaders and stakeholders than we might think initially.

Mariah: It’s really going to be interesting over the next 5 to 10 years as more millennials and then the digital native groups come in and start assuming these position roles from medical school, and start assuming these administrative roles, to see how that will change. Because I think, as we highlighted, the different age groups use different platforms and have, sometimes, different understandings of how long things take or different expectations of what viral is and all of those other fun things that we encounter day-to-day in the higher ed marketing space. But yes. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that changes and how that collaboration will flex as well.

How can these organizations and individual influencers really measure their success? What metrics do you typically recommend that people look at, short-term and long-term?

Jared: So, there are a couple different schools of thought here. One is that take someone who’s attending, so a student at a medical school. So, that student might be buried in the actual course work itself, but it’s crazy. It shouldn’t be so crazy, but it feels crazy still. Just recently, I’ve been looking at just how many medical students are on Instagram with fashion—all they’re posting about is basically fashion. And maybe it’s just one group that I found that are all kind of connected to each other. But they’re not—they’ll be one every now and then wearing a white coat. But almost everything else with them, on their off time, this is who they are when they’re not having their nose in a book studying and cramming for exams and attending their clinicals and so forth. They’re showing who they are.

How they measure that success is one of two ways. They’re either going to be happy with the fact that they can share who they are online and share ideas with people. And for a lot of them, that’s all they want to do it for. When we start talking about influencers, they are dead set on growing their follower base, their followers or fans, those who “like” them. And they’re dead set on being an influencer in the space in addition to everything else.

So, they’re going to measure their success primarily by their follower base and their engagement. I know people who will post and, if they don’t get a certain number of “likes,” they’ll actually delete the post off Instagram because they don’t want to be seen as not having a lot of engagement.

To me, that’s a little extreme, but I think that’s the mind of an influencer. They see people are seeing them and saying, “Oh, well if they were any good, they’d have more followers or they’d have more likes, they’d have more comments.” And that’s literally just the world they live in.

And so, you have to put that mindset on to realize, no matter what we say, that’s how they’re going to measure themselves because that’s how they see themselves—literally as influencers.

On the organizational side, it is a combination of that. I tend to think impressions and followers are good. They’re still a primary metric, but they’re not the first one I’d look at. The first one I always look at with anything to do with social media is engagement rate over total engagement. Or engagement rate per post, because that tells me on an individual basis how much people engage with what I’m putting out there.

Now, total engagement is a good way to measure that, too, because if you just look at one of these metrics over the other, then there’s easy ways to do it. If you only want total engagement, then you just post more. Ultimately, you’re just going to do that. But you can’t—it’s really hard to measure how many people you annoyed by flooding their stream all day long with just you.

So, that’s a lot harder to measure. But with the total engagement, it might look like it’s a great metric. So, I’m always cautious about only using total engagement or total followers because those things do help. They help you gauge where you are compared to others. But on their own, it’s easy to use those figures.

So, if you have engagement rate per post as one of your metrics, at the very least, you’re going to recognize the trends that are based on what type of content you’re putting out there, what types of posts, how often, what time of day, all those kinds of things that we like to kind of fret about. It’s a lot easier to see that by the engagement rate per post.

We probably haven’t covered that, but that’s just simply the engagements for that particular post over the number of impressions or reach for that post. It’s a percentage, it’s usually—it varies by channel, but it can be anywhere from 1 to 3 to 5 to 10 percent depending on the channel. Anywhere in that can actually be considered a really strong engagement rate. Anything higher than that, almost any channel, is going to be significant.

So, those are at least base figures. So, I would come back to that. Engagement rate and then total engagement and number of followers just as reference, but not typically the key thing I would focus on.

Mariah: And I’m with you. I am a huge proponent of watching trends. So, it’s good to get down to that granular level once and a while. And I see agencies—and it gives me hives, to be honest with you—I see agencies go all the way down with their clients or even organizations, “We got X number of smiley faces versus hearts on this post.” Or “We got this versus that.”

And sometimes that’s okay to look at. Sometimes it’s entertaining to look at. But what does the number of hearts or smiley faces or angry faces on a post, one post looking at it singularly, really tell you? It doesn’t tell you much. And so, you really have to look, like you said, in a global way. Look at all these metrics across and how they relate to each other and not parse it down to, “We’re going to look at just this one thing and judge our success by that.”

Jared: I was just going to agree with you, Mariah. Because I feel like, especially in an academic institution, a lot of times, a single—it would be extremely rare for a single post anywhere, whether it’s a paid or boosted or organic post, to influence somebody on its own to attend that institution. It might be one of 20 or 30 touch points that all together influenced somebody and gave them something else to think about and come into play.

So, in my mind, a lot of social media engagement is a branding play, not necessarily a direct marketing play. If it is, then the metrics are a little different. And you are going to focus more directly on clicks and conversions and so forth. That tends not to be the case as much with academic institutions.

Although there has been an increase on say, like, Instagram swipe up ads for that to become an increasing way to get people at least contacting the institution or clicking through. It is on the rise. It’s just there’s a lot of confusion that way when explaining what the value ultimately is of the effort put into these channels.

Mariah: And that’s definitely one of those intersections where the things that the stakeholders care about and the things that the marketing teams care about. Because you’re looking at all of this data—everything in a medical school is data driven, everything in a healthcare organization is data driven, and it should be the same in marketing. And I think, as a unit, as an industry, we’re really getting there and really expecting that to be a best practice.

Keeping that in mind, along with that total broad look at metrics and not just becoming extremely granular, what are some of those key components of successful content marketing, in any platform, the measurement of it and how can schools set up a model to govern that process and keep that constant publication and review ongoing?

Jared: That’s a really good question. I think the biggest thing for me is just constantly having enough in the pipeline and knowing who you’re pleasing with the content. So, especially in an academic institution, especially in a medical school, you’re dealing with a lot—healthcare professionals a lot of times, especially tenured ones, are very strongly opinionated. This is not news to anyone. I’m not breaking news here.

But that comes into play with how we explain to them the value of the time that we’re working on. And how we say, “You want me to post that here. This isn’t the best place for that, because here’s our goal for that channel.” So, really, it sounds simple, but it’s one of those things that Content Marketing Institute and other institutions just keep driving into people is that the majority of organizations do not have a documented content strategy.

I love Cleveland Clinic’s content strategy. It’s one sentence and it has been one sentence for their Health Essentials blog, ever since Amanda Todorovich has been there for six years now. It hasn’t changed. And it’s one sentence. And it’s something along the lines of just providing useful, relevant, unique healthcare content to make healthcare and wellness better for people. You know, it’s something generic like that.

But that’s their north star. They can always point to it and say, “Here’s the reason why what you’re asking me to do, to post, doesn’t quite fit that. We do have an alternative for that. We’ve got this Twitter account. We’ve got this other place where we will put it. But, just so you know, that’s why that doesn’t fit into this stream.” So, you have to think about how it helps you kind of defend against the rogue requests. And, like I said, in a medical institution, you’re going to get a lot of them.

So, that’s one of the keys to success in how to set up your model, is to be aware of that and to have your documented strategy. It’s typically a lot more useful—like I said, that was for Cleveland Clinic, just for their Health Essentials blog. For their social media channels, they have different strategies. Now, if I’ve heard correctly, they’re pretty simple as well. They’re not detailed, long strategies, but they’re different for each channel.

If you can’t provide that for somebody and say in one to two sentences for each of your social channels and other areas where you’re creating content, what the purpose is and who you are trying to affect some kind of change in, if you can’t provide that, then you’re going to have a really hard time defending against people who insist, “No, you have to post this somewhere.” And you know what that does.

That’s just like a block in the road, like all the traffic has to stop. All the traffic you’ve been trying to get lined up in your pipeline and maintain that, it all just goes out the window. Then people insist on putting other stuff in there. And you know it’s going to clutter up your feed, and you know that’s not what the audience that you’ve cultivated so hard wants to read about or watch or whatever.

Mariah: So, it’s really the antithesis of what they’ve been talking about at that Content Marketing Institute for the last couple of years. You don’t want to be disruptive. You want to go in, and you want to be very relevant and very natural with your audience.

Jared: Yes. Exactly. And so, it’s always a shame when it happens, but it happens a lot, more than we probably hear about. And maybe it’s just because it seems like such a simple thing to document your strategy. But that also helps a lot of times in the day-to-day decisions. It’s a lot easier to plan out three months, six months out of posts or content when you know what your cadence is and what your goal is, and what the topics are that far in advance. If you just say, “Look. This is what we’re going to stick with. We’re not gonna keep changing it based on who’s asking us to do things.”

So, really, I see that as just, like I said, a simple, easy thing to do. But take the time to do it now rather than later. It saves you now and it saves you down the road. Besides that, in terms of how to just set up that model and process going forward, just being clear, putting yourselves in your stakeholders’ shoes.

So, if you’re on the organizational team and you have connected with some of the thought leaders who are attending your institution and they want to know, like, “Okay, hey. We’re on board with your content strategy. We want to help. We want to amplify some of your content.” They probably won’t say it that way. That’s just how marketers say it. “Amplify some of your stuff.” They’ll be like, “Hey that’s cool. We’ll share some of that.”

If they’re on board, then put yourselves in their shoes. They want things to be really easy for them. They’re not going to go out of their way to share something about the institution, even if it is cool and they agree with it. If you make that easy for them and you are regularly tagging them with your content, those are ways to build bridges with the thought leaders within your institution. So, they can keep on doing their own thing, but then you make it easier for them to, every now and then, just drop in something that you would like them to share about the institution.

Anyway, you just make it easy for them. Just knowing that social media these days for somebody who’s not on the organizational team—they’re spending a lot more time consuming it than they are trying to figure out on a day-to-day basis what to post.

So, put yourself in their shoes. Know what they would like and what makes it easy for them to share things that have to do with our strategy. The more we do that, the easier it will be, and each thought leader that you have out there on your behalf is part of that long-tail of content, kind of coming back to the one of the first things we were talking about. It’s the more touch points you have out there that really does build your brand and just makes it easier and more valuable at the end of the day for everything that you’re doing.

Mariah: Oh, absolutely. And something that I’d like to highlight that you just mentioned, too, is when you really know your audience, and you really know what they want, when they want it, and in what format, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with—and it’s actually encouraged—to plan that content out a few months in advance. You said up to 6 months or so. That’s a really good way to make sure you have something that’s always in the queue.

And if you have that basic understanding, and you have that format you’re going for in the right platform, you can make it very much more manageable. And you can go in and do those daily or weekly checks. Okay, is everything still aligned with what we want to be saying today and what’s going on in the climate of the school, and politically and so forth, to make your message consistent without having to rush in every morning and get everything lined up, because it’s already there?

So, what would a couple of closing remarks from you be?

What would you like to leave for key words of advice for individuals at medical schools who are responsible for content marketing and engagement with that staff and student influencer body?

Jared: I think I would just look at again, putting ourselves in our students’ shoes. What’s on their minds? It’s probably not, “How can I increase the institution’s brand?” They’re just concerned with making it day-to-day. They are studying 14 to 16 to 18 hours a day, maybe more. And they’re intent on what their goal is. They’re likely very goal-oriented people to be where they are. But at the same time, they’ve heard that the medicine that they’re going into is different than the medicine that, if their parents went into it, it’s different than the medical field that their parents went into. And they’re trying to make sense of it all.

In most cases, it’s a young adult trying to find out and make sense of everything. At the same time, they’re being thrust into interesting financial situations. They’re taking on six figures worth of debt. So, anything you can do that showcases who they are and humanizes your strategy for them and including them, that shows that you do support them as people, will go so much farther to strengthen your brand with those individuals.

It doesn’t have to be a push-pull, an adversarial relationship, with them. Don’t come in saying that you’re the brand police and that it’s your job to shut them down and tell them what they can and can’t say. Provide some guidelines that still, at the end of the day, show, “Hey, we encourage you. We want your voice out there. We like the ideas you have out there. We’re glad you’re connecting those with other people’s ideas.” And encourage them, help them see the value of creating a network.

My goodness, I don’t know where I’d be today in my career without the network connections that I have and what I’ve learned from other people. And those relationships that have developed from, with other people and a lot of times, especially the last three to five years, that has really come a lot through social media engagement. And then when I do meet somebody in person at a conference or something, it’s like, “Oh my gosh.” We can’t even remember if we have met in person before because we engage so much in between.

Mariah: Absolutely. That’s where you and I met. We met in the land of Twitter of LinkedIn.

Jared: Right. Right. That’s true. And it was just one of those—you know each other when you do see each other in real life, and it’s like, “Man. This is really cool.” This is just kind of how it is these days.

So, just being aware of a lot of these things that are going to drive a lot of growth and development in our content strategies. It doesn’t have to be us versus them. We really can encourage those ideas. Just think how far that goes for us as employees anywhere we work, where we are shown by our boss (or anyone) that they get where we’re coming from and they support our ideas. It’s the same thing. See them that way and see them as assets to your organization. And then you don’t have to give them all these rules and regulations of how to act online. They’ll just do it naturally.

Mariah: I think that is especially applicable in the medical school setting because, chances are, these individuals are going to “grow up” and maybe come and work for your system. Maybe come and work for your medical school or the associated hospital. So, really, including them in all of the successes, sharing that data with them, giving them that impetus to continue to do so, is extremely important and valuable.

Thank you so much, Jared, for sharing your expertise with us today. And again, it’s just so wonderful to have thoughtful and insightful individuals like you really advocating for the medical students out there, and the faculty and staff that work so hard to drum up that great networking opportunities for them and these great relationships.

Jared: Thanks again for the opportunity. Yeah. I really enjoy—you can probably tell—I really do believe in just the value of the types of relationships and the value that comes from just putting ourselves out there online and sharing who we are. It’s more valuable than a lot of times we realize.

Mariah: Absolutely. And thank you so much for listening today.

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7 Local Search Tips for Health Providers to Take Care of Patients

7 Local Search Tips for Health Providers to Take Care of Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Consumers rely on local search to find the products and services they need, in a convenient location. Healthcare is no exception – 77 percent of online health seekers start at search engines.

While general local search best practices hold true across industries, it is important for health providers to understand the key differentiators within their local space and create a strategy designed to help patients easily access the care they are looking for.

Search in the Health Industry

So, what makes healthcare so unique?

It’s Personal

Healthcare is closely tied to well-being, happiness, and quality of life. For this reason, websites that provide medical information fall into a category Google calls “YMYL” or “Your Money Your Life.”

It’s Held to a Higher Standard

Because YMYL pages can negatively impact a user’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety, Google requires these websites to follow more stringent quality standards.

This became especially apparent during the so-called Medic update of August 2018, which seemed to target health and wellness pages based on their expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

It’s Complex

Medical organizations are complicated, offering a wide array of treatment services varying across locations, departments, and specialties.

Our job as marketers is to leverage digital assets to improve patient understanding and increase accessibility of care.

How to Create a Patient-First Local Strategy

An effective local search strategy will play a key role in helping patients evaluate alternatives and make an informed decision on where to receive the best care.

1. Choosing a Service Line to Optimize

The first step in improving local search strategy is identifying where to start.

Who’s more likely to rely on local search to inform decision making:

  • A patient with a long-term heart condition in need of a transplant?
  • Or a local college student experiencing flu-like symptoms?

To identify low-hanging fruit for local search, select service lines to optimize based on organic performance and business goals:

Business Goals

  • What service lines are important to our business goals?
  • What are the organic conversion rates for these service lines?
  • How would improving conversion rates impact our business?

Organic Performance Metrics

  • How much organic traffic is this service line receiving?
  • How many clicks?
  • What keywords is the service line ranking highly for?
  • What keywords are in striking distance?
  • What is the search volume of our striking distance keywords?
  • Can we improve these metrics?

Compile a list of services lines that will be good candidates for optimization. Next, use the following two considerations to determine which service lines have the highest local intent.

  • Immediacy of care: Google Barometer data shows that health consumers searching for local information are more likely to have an urgent, immediate, or upcoming need for local information (see screenshot below). Prioritize services lines that are associated with a higher level of urgency (e.g., emergency rooms, urgent care).


  • Decision factors: Consider the likelihood that patients will conduct their own research and make a self-informed decision on where to receive care (self-reliant), as opposed to relying on doctor referrals (seeks expert).

The screenshot below is an illustrative example of service lines, mapped by perceived local intent. Service lines that pull toward self-reliant and high immediacy of care, will likely be associated with higher local intent.


2. Finding Primary & Secondary Keywords

The next step is to identify how patients are searching for health services. Look for keywords that are relevant to the service line and resonate with your audience.

  • Check Google Search Console (GSC) and Google My Business (GMB) Insights to see which keywords patients are already using to find your location.
  • Use Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to get suggestions on new keywords to target. Tip: In the left-side bar on keyword planner, select “All Locations” and filter by your location. This will allow you to see how people are searching at a hyper-local level by narrowing average monthly search volume to a specific location.

Organize non-brand keywords into three buckets:

High-Funnel Keywords

Non-localized keywords that focus on what your audience would search before deciding to seek out care (e.g., symptoms and conditions). Typically, these keywords will have higher search volume and higher competition.

Related Questions

Additional keywords help identify the types of questions patients may have before visiting your location.

Note: AnswerThePublic is a great free resource for this.

Localized Keywords

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Low-funnel keywords that will help determine how patients search for locations (by city, by neighborhood, near [landmark]).

These keywords will typically have lower search volume, but also less competition. These will serve as the primary keywords to target for local search.


3. Analyzing Competitive Strategies

While you may have a predetermined list of top competitors, the competitive landscape for health providers often varies greatly based on health service, search intent, and location.

Use the following considerations to identify and analyze your local competition:

  • Perform a search for high-funnel, non-localized keywords (note: depending on the query and its perceived intent, you may get localized, non-localized, or a mix of organic results).
  • Analyze search results looking for best-in-class competitors. Look for common trends among top competitors and identify potential strategies to leverage.
  • Next, search for low-funnel, localized keywords. Analyze the local 3-pack results to determine who your top local competitors are.
    • If you are searching from the location of your practice, you can simply analyze search results.
    • If you are searching from another location, Local Falcon’s Map Scan tool is great for identifying local competitors (and checking your own local 3-pack rankings).
  • Identify 5-10 local competitors, aiming to answer the questions:
    • How am I ranking compared to my competitors?
    • What keywords are my competitors ranking for that my site isn’t?
    • What are my competitors doing well?
    • What are my competitors not doing well?
    • Are there any common trends I can leverage on my own site?
    • How can my site be better?
  • Use your findings to develop a game plan for gaining competitive advantage.


4. Understanding Your Audience

Using site analytics, insights from other digital channels, and first-party knowledge, aim to understand your audience and how audiences vary by service line and type of care being sought out.

Top-of-mind considerations include:

  • Are patients typically proactive, or reactive?
    • Proactive patients are motivated by maintaining their health status quo (routine testing, yearly physicals, consulting with a nutritionist, etc.).
    • Reactive patients experience a trigger or a change in health status before seeking out care.


  • If they are a reactive, what are their triggers?
  • Are they new or returning?
  • How are they interacting with your brand/practice (website, GMB, social media, Yelp, etc.)?
  • What technology/media do they use (device type, browser)?
  • How do they engage with content (landing page, exit page, pages/session, session duration, bounce rate, etc.)?

5. Identifying Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the steps within the user journey where customers interact our brand.

These interactions are opportunities for health providers to increase brand awareness, change brand perceptions, bring new patients to their practice, and improve loyalty among current patients.

Aim to understand the patient’s behavior and identify all points where a patient seeking care may interact with your brand. For local search, the two most important touchpoints to optimize are:

  • Google My Business: eligible to rank in map pack results.
  • Local Landing Pages: eligible to rank in local search results.

Additional touchpoints to monitor include:

  • Other areas of the site: Physician finders, location finders, about pages, and contact us pages all provide important information about your practice.
  • Additional review sources: Representations of your brand that are out of your direct control may influence patients’ perceptions.
  • Other GMB profiles: Any outdated GMB profiles may contain inaccurate information about your practice.
  • Social media profiles: Often, location pages are created on Facebook when users tag themselves at your location.

Analyze your digital touchpoints and performance metrics for each to gain an understanding of what digital assets are converting well and which are in need of optimization.

For local landing pages, make sure to look at mobile performance numbers and ensure there are no discrepancies (may be a sign of a poor mobile experience).

6. Mapping the Patient Journey

Using the insights discovered so far, map out what the typical patient’s journey would look like.

  • Navigate through the process yourself (searching for target keywords, navigating to local landing pages, etc.), marking each click as a step in the journey.
  • Repeat on both desktop and mobile (again, note any discrepancies that might indicate a poor mobile experience).
  • Look for any areas of inefficiency, especially where one user action requires multiple clicks.
  • Compare to the experiences provided by competitive websites, looking for strategies to leverage.

Match digital touchpoints to specific steps in the patient’s journey.

Image modified from @AlexisKSanders

Analyze each step in the patient journey, as well as each digital touchpoint. Use the following questions to begin prioritizing optimizations:

  • Where are you performing well?
  • Where can you improve?
  • What about mobile?
  • Which digital touchpoints need the most attention?
  • Are patients dropping off at any point in the journey?
  • How can we make each step more efficient?

7. Outlining Content Goals

At this point, we can start curating our local strategy using insight gathered from keyword research, competitive insights, audience personas, and patient journey mapping.

Ask yourself the following questions and use the answers to frame your content goals:

  • What are the goal(s) of the patients who are landing on this page?
  • What actions do we want users on this page to take?
  • Are the identified patient goals aligned with intended actions?
  • Are we making it as easy as possible to achieve those goals?
  • Are we providing additional, relevant information to help patients through their journey?
  • How can we offer patients a better experience than our competitors?

Prioritize content goals based on anticipated effort and level of impact, balancing tradeoffs between high-impact, high-effort items and medium/low-impact, low-effort items (low-hanging fruit).


Creating a successful local search strategy for healthcare providers requires:

  • Understanding the key differentiators of local search in healthcare.
  • Prioritizing service lines based on performance, business needs, and local intent.
  • Targeting localized keywords and anticipating user questions.
  • Analyzing best-in-class and local competitors to find new opportunities and strategies to leverage.
  • Gaining a deep understanding of your audience and how audiences may vary by service line.
  • Mapping the patient journey, looking for areas of inefficiency or opportunities for improvement.
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How Europe’s clinicians and patients are using data & AI to fight cancer

How Europe’s clinicians and patients are using data & AI to fight cancer | Social Media and Healthcare |

Fabian Bolin was just 28 years old when he found out he had leukemia. A promising actor, the diagnosis of cancer made him feel as if he suddenly lost control of his future and that nothing could help him regain it.

His experience is all too common.

Each year, there are an estimated 3.7 million new cases of cancer and 1.9 million deaths from the disease in Europe. According to the World Health Organization, despite making up only one eighth of the total global population, Europe bears a quarter of the world’s cancer cases. In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death across the region behind cardiovascular disease.

While Europe is home to some of the best and most established healthcare systems in the world, cancer remains a formidable opponent. Today, leading healthcare providers and organizations are using technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to engage and support patients, empower doctors and accelerate research. Moving us one-step closer to help manage and conquer the disease.

Giving power back to the patient
When Fabian was first diagnosed, he felt powerless and began sharing his experiences on social media. The response was so great that he helped launch WarOnCancer, a social network for cancer patients and relatives.

From left to right: Fabian Bolin (WarOnCancer), Mathias Ekman (Microsoft), Nora Bavey (UNITECH), and Sebastian Hermelin (WarOnCancer)

The original platform, which comprised of a 150-member strong blogging community who represented 40 types of cancer, highlighted the fact that most cancer patients suffer from low self-esteem and depression. With this insight, WarOnCancer is working with six partners in the pharmaceutical and broader life science industry to develop and test a new mobile app, which aims to become a global social network for cancer patients.

Scheduled to launch during 2019, the app will allow members to share their data and track how the industry uses this data in research. Through the power of Microsoft Azure, WarOnCancer can analyze this data to detect flaws and benefits experienced by different groups of patients depending on where, and how, they are treated.

“During my treatment and interactions with specialists, I was astounded to learn that almost half of clinical trials in oncology are delayed because it’s hard to find patients who meet the right criteria for that particular trial,” said Fabian. “Despite the vast majority of patients willing to share their data for clinical trials, many don’t know these are even taking place or aren’t properly informed how their data will be used. This disconnect can literally be the difference between finding a life-saving treatment or not.”

“The long-term goal is to build a ‘matchmaking’ type service for clinical trials and patients. This will increase the number of successful clinical trials, spearhead the pharmaceutical R&D-process, tailor treatment schedules and medication around a cancer patient’s needs, and ultimately save lives,” says Sebastian Hermelin, co-founder and head of WarOnCancer’s industry partnerships.

Helping doctors deliver early-detection, and increase precision and accuracy

The benefits of early cancer detection are clear. Not only does it result in a higher survival rate, but it helps minimize treatment side effects. While the process varies in every country, standard breast cancer screening typically occurs every two years and involves the mammography of women within a certain age bracket.

However, the effectiveness of mammography dramatically decreases when examining ‘dense’ breasts with a higher percentage of fibroglandular tissue. To address this challenge, the Veneto Institute of Oncology (IOV) is using a new breast density assessment tool from Volpara that has the potential to help millions of people. Leaping beyond the limits of a traditional mammogram, the cloud-based solution assesses images of a patient’s breast tissue, honing in on its density.

Volpara’s new cloud-based tool assesses images of a patient’s breast tissue to calculate its density

“Since dense breast tissue and lesions both appear white on X-rays, it is difficult to detect cancer in women with dense breasts. Moreover, it has been proven that women with dense breasts have higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with low breast density,” says Gisella Gennaro, Medical Physicist at the Venetian Institute of Oncology. “But now, through advanced image analysis, we can automatically and objectively assess women’s breast density, use it to estimate their risk of developing breast cancer, and provide them with personalized imaging protocols such as using ultrasound in the event that breast density hinders cancer detection.”

“Without advanced image computing, it would be impossible to get such fast and accurate analysis. Over the next five years, we plan to examine more than 10,000 women; see an increase in cancer detection rates; a decrease in interval cancers; and sustainable screening costs. It’s truly a step forward towards precision medicine,” says Francesca Caumo, Director of Breast Radiology Department at the Venetian Institute of Oncology.

Back in Stockholm, Fabian and his team are tireless in their mission to improve the lives for everyone affected by cancer. It has been almost four years since his initial diagnosis and the journey to date has been nothing short of courageous. Alongside first-rate treatment and family support, data has also proved a somewhat hidden helping hand.

Whether its researchers, clinicians or patients – together with cloud computing and AI – humanity’s war on cancer has never been as fierce.

For more information on how Data and AI are helping clinicians, researchers and patients to make healthcare more efficient, click here.

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Prescribing social media is the answer to GP workload woes |

Prescribing social media is the answer to GP workload woes | | Social Media and Healthcare |

One of the aspects of the new GP contract recently announced by BMA’s GP committee and NHS England is set to save us all from rising workload.

You might have missed it, because up until this point it’s been kept under wraps by those closest to this latest innovation: social media prescribing.

I’m told it’s a new process that has been extensively piloted in digital vanguard sites around the country.


These exemplars can be contacted by fax, of course, should you require further details of the technical specifications.

I’ve heard it is felt that GPs are ideally placed to offer prescriptions to patients for social media content, as well as training.

How often have you thought, ‘All that is really needed to cheer this patient up is a few cat videos on YouTube?’

Well now a toolkit of social media content will be available through a bespoke, integrated app for participating practices, as well as through ‘social media prescribing LinkedIn workers’.


One GP who took part in the pilot commented that she found the availability of social media content for her patients to be transformative

‘We can now spend half the consultation looking at their Facebook feed and finding things to be positive about,’ she said, adding: ‘Once patients watch one video, they just keep on watching and watching and simply don’t come back.’

How often have you thought, ‘All that is really needed to cheer this patient up is a few cat videos on YouTube?’

Social media can also be used as a treatment modality in itself for anxiety, depression, low mood, hyperactivity, social isolation and diverticulitis.

If a social media need is identified within the consultation, then the toolkit allows the GP to meet that need rather than be frustrated that such an important determinant of health be neglected.

Another GP pioneer involved in the cascade of this high-impact action said: ‘We really feel that Maslow’s Hierarchy needs to be revisited, with social media perhaps being the most basic need of patients today.’

He added: ‘We are working towards changing the model of human needs to a BioPsychcoSoMe model. Several medical schools and GP vocational training schemes have expressed an interest.

‘In the future I envisage a time when we no longer use an electronic records system, but we simply enter the consultation directly onto their timeline.’

Social media prescribing at Lily Road Surgery

Lily Road Surgery in London was one the early adopters and disruptive accelerators of this concept.

In the waiting room their patient information screen was switched to Vimeo and they migrated their practice website to Facebook.

Patients are able to contact a GP or nurse through Twitter - as long as they don’t mind the whole world knowing their issues.

Instead of Skype, they use SnapChat and both clinicians and patients are encouraged to add lens effects to their faces (dogs and bunnies are popular) to create a positive atmosphere.

After each consultation, patients are sent a WhatsApp message with an amusing viral video or motivational meme.


Dr Samir Dawlatly is a GP in Birmingham

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Easy-to-Execute Social Media Contests for Your Dental Practice

Easy-to-Execute Social Media Contests for Your Dental Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |
Everybody loves a winner—and when it comes to dental marketing, there’s no easier way to win over your patients and grow your dental practice than with easy and effective social media contests.

Giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes on social media have become a key tool in dental marketing, and for good reason. According to a 2016 study, 81% of content marketers agreed that interactive content is more effective at grabbing a reader’s attention than static content.

Contests provide the perfect opportunity to catch someone’s eye, which is half the battle in social media marketing.

The other half of the battle? Engagement.

Engagement is everything on social media.

Even if your practice has thousands of followers, if you post something on Facebook and it doesn't earn any likes, shares, or hearts — that reflects the value you are providing.

Social media contests add value by providing a tangible incentive for engagement.

Like all social media posts, contests should reflect your practice’s brand. They should always feel highly relevant.

Contests around holidays, trends in the dental industry, and repeatable giveaways that people can dependably look for are low-effort ways to fill your social media calendar and generate buzz around your practice.

Contests are also great because they accomplish several marketing goals at once. If done well, social media contests with your patients can:
Make your practice’s Facebook page more visible
Many people discredit the importance of likes and shares, specifically on Facebook, thinking that if you post something your followers will automatically see it.

This isn’t the case.

Most of the content and contests you post will only go to a small percentage of your following. However, with the way Facebook's algorithm is set up, increasing the traffic on a post will cause it to reach more people.
Increase number of page likes and followers
While focusing on engagement is important, increasing the number of page likes is a huge benefit of contests.

A bigger following makes your practice more credible on social media. It also increases potential reach for every post.
Create relationships with other brands or companies
Hosting contests with affiliated companies, like Crest, Oral-B, or Waterpik, is a great way to associate your dental practice with trusted brands.
Boost awareness and loyalty for your practice
This is the ultimate goal of social media contests. By engaging your patients in fun contests, you can create an invaluable sense of community, provide real value, and stay relevant in their feeds.

Note: For most dental practices, Facebook will likely be the most effective social media channel for running contests.

Facebook makes it easy to schedule, track, and run ads. It's also the social media platform that will reach the largest portion of your patients.

That said, many of our contest ideas are easily adaptable to other platforms.

So, whether this is your first social media contest or you're just in need of some fresh ideas, these simple and fun contests will help liven up your feed.


Contests to Add to Your Social Media Calendar
“Caption this”
Time for your followers to get a little creative. Caption contests make for successful campaigns because they allow both you and your patients to showcase your personalities.

Find a funny picture, and either choose the winner yourself or choose the one with the most likes (or do both!).

However you go about choosing a winner, make sure you clearly state the parameters at the start of the contest.
Ask a question
Asking a question or taking a poll to generate comments is a great place to start.

This is a spin on the classic “comment to win” contest, but because it uses natural, less spammy wording, it is more likely to be seen by your followers — this is even more important with the new Facebook algorithm that downranks posts having any engagement bait.

Post a photo or video with a question to prompt a comment for a chance to win a small prize, like a gift card or discounted treatment.

This contest works well on both Facebook and Instagram, which rely on compelling photos.
(Super) Short essay contest
Increase engagement by giving followers a prompt they can respond to is a creative way. It's also nice way to collect testimonials that can be used in future marketing, should your patients be okay with you doing so.

Keep each essay short, around 15-20 words maximum. (Given the brevity of the essays, this is a great contest to promote on Twitter. Just ask that participants tweet their answers with a specific hashtag for the contest.)

Example: “What does 'healthy' mean to you? Give your best answer in 20 words or less for a chance to win a year’s worth of free toothpaste!”
“Show us your smile” photo contest
People love sharing pictures of their smiling kids on social media. And when a kid loses a tooth, parents grab the camera.

Have you followers submit their best “I lost a tooth!” or another #smilestone picture for a chance to win a prize.

This is also great for a #throwbackthursday where patients can submit funny throwback photos of themselves as kids with missing teeth.

Either have participants submit the photos directly through Facebook Messenger or post them on your wall.

As with the caption contests, winners can be chosen internally or voted on with likes.


Send your “before” picture for a free whitening
Before-and-after pictures can be highly effective marketing tools for your practice.

Set the rules carefully for this one — make sure participants submit their photos privately through Facebook Messenger to prevent a flood of potentially unflattering “before” smiles on your feed.

Select the winner randomly and do a follow-up post after the whitening, but only if permitted by the winner.
Ultimate smile makeover giveaway
Giving away a full smile makeover is a wonderful way to increase your following and create lifelong advocates.

This can include orthodontics, periodontics, crowns, implants, whitenings, and any other treatments you might offer.

Because the prize is more costly to your practice than, say, a $10 gift card, ask for more effort from the participants.

For example, create a unique link for social media, and have it take people to a page where they can fill out their name, address, birthday, email, etc.

Gathering emails through contests is a great strategy because it gives you future marketing opportunities geared toward people who have interacted with your practice.
Post a pic of your pup’s best smile
Because oral hygiene isn’t just for humans!

This is a fun photo contest that is easy for your followers with dogs who are likely already posting pictures of their best friends all over Facebook (for posting rules, refer to contest idea No. 4).

Even better, you can give away something to your patient and their pup! Maybe a Sonicare for the human and some Dentastix for the pooch.
Seasonal and Holiday Contests
Back-to-school smile photo contest
Back-to-school season means plenty of pictures!

Have participants submit their kids’ back-to-school smiles for a free prize at their next cleaning.

Example: “Submit your best back-to-school smiles for a chance to win a bonus prize from our Treasure Box at their next cleaning!”
Refer a friend, win stocking stuffers!
For the holidays, giving away small gift boxes with toothbrushes, gift cards, and sugar-free gum is a warm way to collect emails before the new year.

Think of this social media contest as a new spin on getting referrals.

This strategy can be applied to any holiday with fun-themed gift baskets, gift cards, or services that your practice can provide at a discount or for free.

Example: “Tag a friend in the comments below or refer on our website for a chance to fill your stockings for the holidays!”
New Year’s free-cleaning giveaway
Everyone has self-improvement on their minds at the start of the year. Use this mindset as an opportunity to get people in your office with a giveaway as an incentive.

Example: “New year, new you! Come in for a cleaning in January and get entered for a chance to win a free Waterpik!”

Social media contests are an effective, cost-efficient, and, if done properly, invaluable marketing tool for your dental practice.

While they should never be the foundation of your dental marketing strategy, occasional contests are the added fuel that drives engagement—and with these tips, you will be well on your way to winning over your followers.


Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.
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Tweeting about quality: How social media can help improve care

Tweeting about quality: How social media can help improve care | Social Media and Healthcare |

Informing and connecting: If social media is supporting the development of quality care in Ontario and elsewhere, it is through effectively performing these two key tasks.

While social media may still only be used by a portion of health care providers, policy-makers and patients in the province, the platforms we have come to associate with social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. – can be influential in supporting quality care initiatives.

In developing a system that we wish to be patient-centred, social media has emerged as an important platform for allowing patients and members of the public to engage with health care providers and policy-makers to make their views clear. The degree of interaction between those with lived experience with a disease or illness with those providing their care is unprecedented thanks to online communities and social media like Twitter.

The Twitter hashtag #metoomedicine, galvanized women physicians and their supporters through Twitter to demand more equity and gender equality within the medical profession and has helped bring a much higher profile to this issue. It is an example of how social media has emerged as a powerful tool for helping health care providers share their experiences and insights. It can also help providers deal with their challenges to support the fourth pillar of the Quadruple Aim in quality care – that of enhancing provider wellbeing (although to be fair, social media can also impede this by adding more time pressures to already stressed providers or exposing practitioners to frankly hostile or upsetting views or individuals).

Social media has enhanced the development of a quality care network too, connecting people provincially, nationally and globally. Leaders in the development and promotion of quality care initiatives exist in every jurisdiction, and platforms such as Twitter allow them to share their experiences and knowledge with each other and those who follow them. Examples in Ontario include Health Quality Ontario’s own Dr. Irfan Dhalla (@IrfanDhalla), Lee Fairclough (@LFairclo) and Dr. David Kaplan (@DavidKaplanMD) and family physicians such as Dr. Sarah Newbery (@snewbery1) and Dr. Cathy Faulds (@fauldsca). Elsewhere in Canada there are others too numerous to list although some such as Dr. Dennis Kendel (@DennisKendel) in Saskatchewan merit mention because of the outstanding job they do in sharing information about quality care initiatives. Globally, health quality leaders such as Helen Bevan (@helenbevan) in the UK are highly active on social media and have shared ideas that appear in health quality presentations in Canada and elsewhere.

Conferences such as Health Quality Transformation hosted by Health Quality Ontario and the upcoming BC Quality Forum (#QF19) hosted by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council significantly expand their reach and generate much broader conversations about quality through use of Twitter and other social media channels.

For health quality organizations such as Health Quality Ontario, social media are invaluable for sharing information and engaging about initiatives and programs. Any organization or individual choosing to use social media needs to first consider how and why they are going to use certain platforms or tools.

For instance, Health Quality Ontario (@HQOntario) uses Twitter extensively to engage with its followers and others because it has found Twitter to be the most strategically useful platform to connect with work in or use the province’s health care system. We also use Facebook because many patients and members of the public rely on Facebook to keep informed and we have much that we would like to share with them and seek their opinion. Health Quality Ontario also hosts a vibrant online community about health care quality called Quorum.

It is important to remember that social media can promote and amplify bad ideas and opinions just as easily as good. “Fake news” flourishes on social media, but that is no reason to dismiss the platforms themselves.

For those choosing to embrace social media to support quality care, it is also important not to forget that your social media contacts and online communities do not mirror the real world. As we can choose who to follow on Twitter or which Facebook or LinkedIn groups to join, we often create social media worlds that are amicable to our own worldview and, unless we are careful, can forget other voices and opinions that can be just as influential. To combat this tendency, it is good to follow people or organizations on social media who have views with which you may not agree, so as to gain a broader perspective.

Writing in this space recently, the former CEO of Health Quality Ontario Dr. Joshua Tepper (@DrJoshuaTepper) said one of the seven core competencies of leadership should be familiarity with social media and an understanding of how the growth of social media platforms “is transforming traditional communications hierarchies, means of information sharing and participation.”

I would extend this argument beyond leaders to everyone who has an interest in supporting the principles of quality care and promoting agendas that see these principles more fully enshrined on our own health care system.

Pat Rich is Senior Digital Writer at Health Quality Ontario

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Leveraging Social Media in Medicine

Social media is one of the most prevalent forms of communication and engagement, and physicians and researchers are becoming increasingly more active o
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The Growing Power of Social Media in Healthcare

The Growing Power of Social Media in Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare |

I remember the first time Twitter had an actual impact on my life, rather than just acting as a meaningless platform for me to vent and comment. Ironically, it was during one of my venting sessions. After moving to a new apartment, I was having trouble understanding why there was money owed on the cable bill from my previous apartment. I complained about my previous cable provider for making my life needlessly difficult in an innocuous tweet.  Shortly thereafter a representative from the company contacted me and offered to help clear up my conundrum, which he ultimately did. 

This kind of customer service floored me. I didn’t expect it at all.

Going the extra step and appealing to consumers, while tapping into their concerns in this way, is the kind of phenomenon that’s starting to occur in healthcare, and one hopes will become even more frequent as providers and payers implement social media business strategies. In a recent conversation I had with John Edwards, director of the healthcare strategy and business intelligence practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), he talked about how social media can improve patient experiences and drive engagement for providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Patient engagement in healthcare-based social media is on the rise. According to a recent study from PwC’s Health Research Institute, 40 percent of consumers say they have used social media to find health-related consumer reviews. Twenty-five percent have "posted" about their health experience; and 20 percent have joined a health forum or community. Forty-one percent of the respondents said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility. Forty-five percent said it would affect their decision to get a second opinion.

There is obviously growing interest from patients in using social media platforms, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or a patient-based community site like Patients Like Me, to share and engage in their experiences.  

“Providers, payers, and even pharmaceutical companies have to put themselves in position where they can listen to the conversation that is happening in social media,” Edwards said. “Those conversations aren’t just happening on their sites. You have to look at other community sites, find places where you can listen. Being an active participant in those conversations moves you to the point where you can eventually drive those conversations.”

Several organizations are trying to lead the way with their own social media initiatives. On the provider side, Edwards cites the example of a 24-hospital health system based out of Dallas, Texas Health Resources, which developed internal and external social media platforms, used by Texas Health employees and patients.  The internal system allows for knowledge sharing, innovation, and communication across their wide spectrum, while the external platform allows for patients to create communities and find legitimate medical information.

On the payer side, Edwards used an example of a young adult who had bought an individual insurance policy, received the first bill, and tweeted angrily something along the lines of saying they had made a big mistake. Within the day, just like the cable provider representative had gotten back to me, the payer company had a customer call center reach out, educate the person on their benefits, and help them understand what they were confused about. Later that day, the young adult tweeted about the company positively.

These two companies are the exception, rather than the rule. In our conversation, Edwards said the majority of providers and payers look at social media merely as a marketing tool and nothing more. For the PwC survey, the group surveyed 124 members of the eHealth Initiative (eHI), which includes providers, payers, and pharmaceutical organizations. Of those eHI members, even though more than 80 percent surveyed had some kind of social media presence, only a small percent had it fully integrated across the board. This, Edwards says, has to change. Providers have to listen and engage through social media.

He’s not the only one who sees the benefits. I spoke with Deloitte’s (New York) senior advisor for healthcare transformation and technology, Harry Greenspun, M.D., in a two-part interview series on mHealth. We broached the subject of the impact social media on healthcare.                                                                                                                                                                      

“The impact of social media will be huge on healthcare for a number of reasons,” Greenspun said. “It increases patient engagement and involvement. It increases connectivity between individuals. It allows for much better flow of information.”

Greenspun said he hopes to see social media, and that above interest by the patients in using social media as a way to find, create, and discover health-related reviews, used for understanding patients’ experience with real clinical measures. “What we need to move towards is a simple way for people to understand the cost and quality of their care,” he said.

The truth is providers, payers, and other healthcare stakeholders are the ones who can and should be leading the charge on this front.

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Time to dispel vaccine myths spreading on social media

Time to dispel vaccine myths spreading on social media | Social Media and Healthcare |

The internet has long been a place for the free exchange of ideas, regardless of the ideological beliefs of the posters. Indeed, the idea of internet censorship is anathema to Americans, whose free speech is protected by the First Amendment.

But what can be done about the growing amount of harmful misinformation intended to influence thousands of people to make decisions that put not only their lives, but the lives of their and others’ children, at risk?

Such is the situation for the anti-vaccination, or “anti-vax,” community, thousands of whose members flock to social media pages where they promptly remove “pro-vax trolls,” and post fear-mongering memes and exaggerated personal anecdotes.

 They also direct like-minded individuals to websites like, which promotes error-filled articles topped by misleading headlines such as “WARNING: Dangerous flu shots being given to children without parental consent” and “FDA decision to approve Gardasil vaccine for adults will likely increase cervical cancer rates.”

If it were only a matter of putting oneself at risk by refusing vaccination, we would not necessarily be called to action. After all, a personal choice is just that, regardless of how silly it may seem to outsiders. But people who refuse vaccines for themselves and their families are putting the most vulnerable members of their community at risk of severe illness or death.

Case in point: In 2018, measles rates in the United States continued to skyrocket, with over 1,700 cases reported since 2010 even though just two decades ago, it was largely eliminated from the country. The situation is even worse in Europe. In the first six months of 2018, more than 41,000 Europeans were infected with measles and 37 died. The recent uptick in preventable infectious disease-related morbidity and mortality has been directly linked to the increasing rate of parents who opt out of vaccinating their children.

Many of those in the anti-vax community are energized by Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet article, which linked the MMR vaccine to autism. Though the article was retracted in 2010 and Wakefield lost his medical practice license, it circulated very widely and became an integral component of anti-vax communities around the world.

Unfortunately, misinformation tends to spread faster and more profusely than the truth. According to a study from 2018, the top 1 percent of false news cascades propagated on Twitter from 2006 to 2017 diffused to between 1,000 and 100,000 people, while the truth rarely diffused to more than 1,000 people.

Such was the case in October 2014, when another article linking autism and the MMR vaccine went viral, despite its retraction just a month after its original publication due to unstated conflicts of interest and questionable methods and statistical analysis. Not only did it circulate through anti-vaccination websites for weeks, but it also became mainstream once it was published on a CNN-affiliated website, which subsequently garnered more than 786,000 views and 256,000 shares on social media.

Measles is not the only preventable disease on the rise because of vaccine rejection, nor are Western nations the only countries with vaccine skeptics. Northern Nigeria poses a threat to the worldwide eradication of polio because of rumors, misconceptions and anti-polio vaccine propaganda circulating the region. Much of the distrust in the polio vaccine stems from claims made by local Muslim clerics that the vaccines were contaminated with anti-fertility agents, HIV and cancerous agents. Further complicating the issue is a general distrust of aggressive, mass immunization programs in a country where basic healthcare is not easily available.

Given the vast scale of misinformation, it is important that there be a very active counter-movement to dispel myths, especially those that counter the well-being of citizens and scientifically sound public health principles.

There are many strategies that could be developed and expanded in a robust effort to refute misinformation using commonly available communications tools. For instance, billboards, posters, signs and online media could more effectively promote how vaccinations are safe, easy and appropriate.  

Active use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can rapidly correct misinformation, rumors or false information. Likewise, creative campaign partnerships with known, respected organizations, like FEMA, Red Cross or the American Academy of Pediatrics can be effective. Faith leaders, survivors and medical professionals also add credibility to messaging.

In places where the internet is not as widely available, mass public awareness campaigns can be created about why vaccines are so important using radio, television, print media, local music and theater.

And we would not be above calling out “conspiracy sites” and statements based on ignorance. Finally, we should start early, making sure that young people, at least by middle school and continuing through higher education, understand science and how to distinguish between credible and non-credible information.

While there is no single infallible strategy capable of overcoming all the intricacies of correcting people’s misinformed beliefs, the most successful corrective strategies aim to tailor different, simultaneous and frequent interventions in order to increase the likelihood of people making sound decisions about their own health and the health of their communities.

Rachel Alter is a graduate research assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter @rachelalter007. 

Irwin Redlener, M.D., is president emeritus and co-founder of the Children's Health Fund and has more than three decades of experience providing healthcare to medically underserved children. Redlener is also the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and professor of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter @IrwinRedlenerMD

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8 mistakes to avoid with your online physician directory

8 mistakes to avoid with your online physician directory | Social Media and Healthcare |

Physician directories are vitally important to every health care system.

They are:

  • Among the highest viewed pages on any hospital website
  • The first impression of your health system and physicians
  • Patient conversion vehicles

There are eight common mistakes made in physician directories. Once you know the mistakes, you can revise your directory to drive new patient acquisition.

1. Naming the tool something other than “Find A Doctor.”

Because prospective patients visit the site to learn more about potentially receiving care from your organization, the naming of the online directory should reflect the user need. A best practice is to include the directory in the primary or global navigation of the site.

2. Requiring a search before showing any doctor results.

Showing the available doctors and providing search terms helps the user narrow their results, creating a more effective and user-friendly experience. This helps the user to see all potential doctors and control how the search is narrowed.

3. Not having individual bio pages for each doctor.

Some online directories show search results as a list of doctors’ names, but a best practice is to create a unique URL per doctor for their individual bio pages. This creates a space to showcase much more information about individual physicians. By not using unique URLs per doctor, you make it difficult for the user to share information about individual doctors—internally, through social media, in digital campaigns, among care givers or among potential patients.

4. “About/Bio” content is missing from the bio page.

Many online directories have unique URLs per doctor, but miss the mark when they don’t help a prospective patient learn more than the basic facts about the doctor. Patients expect more information to help make their health care buying decision. Include a profile picture, relevant videos, publication listings, and patient testimonials.

Here are two examples of health systems that incorporate “About” and “Bio” pages:

Duke Health:

Martin Health:

5. Search filters are too broad or too specific.

In other words, avoid jargon; use everyday language. People who don’t work in health care don’t search for “Oncology”; they search for “cancer.”

6. Profile images are poor quality or nonexistent.

Whether the docs wear lab coats or are standing in front of the same blue backdrop depends on the branding and your organization’s persona. Most of all, high-resolution images are a must, especially because many in your audience are using iPhones and other tablets with high-resolution displays that magnify the flaws in low-quality images.

7. Not offering a way to contact the doctor or hospital.

Not providing a way for prospective patients to contact the doctor happens far more often than we would like to admit. Most often, only a phone number is listed, which raises the communication barrier between the provider and the prospective patient by prompting the user to make a call—instead of sending an email when they are already on a device. Given that the user is searching the online directory, the suggested communication method should follow. Providing a phone number might not be convenient for the user; often, phone numbers put a patient into a phone tree. Also, the user might search the directory at a time when the phones are not being answered.

8. An “Advanced Search” feature is not available.

The advanced search feature enables users to narrow their results so they can select the best doctor for their needs. Not having this feature puts too many choices before the user, which can cause decision fatigue. An advanced search is great for people who want to narrow their search and have a better idea of what they are exactly searching for. Omitting this feature can frustrate users by not allowing them to narrow their searches effectively. It is also a terrific way for hospitals to label things, in all their quirky ways, that satisfy internal political issues but allow the focus to be on usability with basic search features.

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How do physician demographics, training, social media usage, online presence, and wait times influence online physician review scores for spine surgeons?

How do physician demographics, training, social media usage, online presence, and wait times influence online physician review scores for spine surgeons? | Social Media and Healthcare |

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of certain demographics, social media usage, and physician review website variables for spine surgeons across (Healthgrades), (Vitals), and (Google).METHODSThrough a directory of registered North American Spine Society (NASS) physicians, we identified spine surgeons practicing in Texas (107 neurosurgery trained, 192 orthopedic trained). Three physician rating websites (Healthgrades, Vitals, Google) were accessed to obtain surgeon demographics, training history, practice setting, number of ratings/reviews, and overall score (January 2, 2018-January 16, 2018). Using only the first 10 search results from, we then identified whether the surgeon had a website presence or an accessible social media account on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.RESULTSPhysicians with either a personal or institutional website had a higher overall rating on Healthgrades compared to those who did not have a website (p < 0.01). Nearly all spine surgeons had a personal or institutional website (90.3%), and at least 1 accessible social media account was recorded for 43.5% of the spine surgeons in our study cohort (39.5% Facebook, 10.4% Twitter, 2.7% Instagram). Social media presence was not significantly associated with overall ratings across all 3 sites, but it did significantly correlate with more comments on Healthgrades. In multivariable analysis, increasing surgeon age was significantly associated with a lower overall rating across all 3 review sites (p < 0.05). Neurosurgeons had higher overall ratings on Vitals (p = 0.04). Longer wait times were significantly associated with a lower overall rating on Healthgrades (p < 0.0001). Overall ratings from all 3 websites correlated significantly with each other, indicating agreement between physician ratings across different platforms.CONCLUSIONSLonger wait times, increasing physician age, and the absence of a website are indicative of lower online review scores for spine surgeons. Neurosurgery training correlated with a higher overall review score on Vitals. Having an accessible social media account does not appear to influence scores, but it is correlated with increased patient feedback on Healthgrades. Identification of ways to optimize patients’ perception of care are important in the future of performance-based medicine.

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5 ways GDPR is changing Healthcare –

5 ways GDPR is changing Healthcare – | Social Media and Healthcare |

But how patient data is managed has been radically updated, as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into action on 25th May.

The GDPR will affect every industry, but in health the new regulations give every patient more control over the personal data that is being collected and stored about them, as well as how this information is used. Included in these changes are heavy penalties, another core component, with a maximum fine of €20m or 4% of turnover for noncompliance.

What do these changes mean for healthcare and patients? We have compiled five ways that the GDPR will affect the healthcare industry over the coming years. 

Personal data is safer

Under new regulations, healthcare organizations must be more diligent in how they collect and store patient information. To do this, they must better understand how their patient information is collected and where it is stored. This is a standard change for digital data, but this also includes paper data.

Under the new GDPR, it mandates that data breaches must be reported within 72 hours. Naturally, this will drive healthcare professionals and organizations to take better care of the data they hold and, of course, the higher fines in play will act as another incentive to dramatically improve data security.

More detailed patient profiles

Multiple data points are collecting data on patients, ranging from doctor’s surgeries, specialized healthcare facilities and to wearable health tracking technology. But this data footprint on an individual is usually highly fragmented.

The GDPR has a few core components, one of these is to ensure that there is more available information about the purpose and location of any data that is collected. What this should lead to is a more detailed view of a patient, which in turn should lead to better and more accurate diagnosis, with targeted treatments, therefore, a lower cost for both patient and healthcare organizations.

However, there is a counterpoint to this, the GDPR ensures the right to be forgotten, which could prove to be a barrier to improved diagnosis and create fragmented data.

Mandating that patient data has more structure could be hugely beneficial to HealthCare Providers. The GDPR places a framework around how this data can be collected, used and in which scenarios it must be deleted, but individual patient care should benefit from reduced fragmentation.

Putting patients in control

Healthcare is the one area of our lives that has remained highly sensitive and private. But test results are often shared widely to reach a diagnosis, with the patient having little insight into how this information is collected, who has access to it and how it is stored. GDPR places individuals firmly in charge of their data. Giving customers control can help to shape relationships in a positive way.

The framework is there to give the user control but how? How are people going to be educated? How will this be facilitated? GDPR goes part of the way in definition but there is no easy way for the individual to control their data. In short the potential is there but how successful it will be is yet to be seen.

New data sources

According to Future Health Index data, 57% of patients own or use a connected care device to monitor various health indicators, but only one-third of these individuals (33%) have ever shared this information with their doctor. Furthermore, FHI research found that healthcare is the industry the general public most trusts with its personal data. There is, therefore, a strong foundation from which to make health data collection part of more peoples’ lives.

On the Healthcare Provider side, technologies from social networking are increasingly being used to deliver patient care and support. Healthcare professionals regularly use networks such as Whatsapp to send patient data to each other. As this information moves across the network, this could mean sensitive data is held outside of the EU, breaching GDPR regulations.

Better prevention to data insights

The masses of data that healthcare organizations have been collecting for decades is still often unstructured and inaccessible. The ideas behind big data and how it can unlock the insights contained with healthcare information is a major reason why GDPR could offer the healthcare industry a huge opportunity. The insights that come from the drive to structure and integrate data could accelerate new therapies and bolster moves to improve prevention.


Overall, the GDPR is a reason for the health sector to be excited, it could help unlock the potential in huge stores of data that have remained dormant for decades.

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