Social Media and Healthcare
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Facebook as a Platform for Health Information and Communication: A Case Study of a Diabetes Group

Facebook as a Platform for Health Information and Communication: A Case Study of a Diabetes Group | Social Media and Healthcare |



As one of the largest social networking sites in the world, Facebook holds a great potential for promoting health.In this exploratory study, we analyzed 1352 messages posted to an active Facebook diabetes group to identify the characteristics of the group. The results revealed that the group was international in nature. Users overcame language barriers to communicate with people with similar conditions. Users interactions were structured around information, emotion, andcommunity building.
They exchanged medical and lifestyleinformation, and highly valued their peers personal experi-ences, opinions, and advice. They also demonstrated a posi-tive attitude toward the reality of living with diabetes andgenerously provided encouragements and affirmations to one another. Great efforts were made to maintain the proper operation of the community by the administrator and a group of cormembers. As a result, the group was shaped as a social network where peer users share social support, cultivate com- panionship, and exert social influence. Based on the results,we discussed future directions for research of health communities in a highly connected world.
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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. 

Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
Nice post
Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
#Formdox integrates perfectly with several #functionalities for the monitoring
cctopbuilders's comment, April 26, 6:01 AM
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The Future of Social Media and How to Pick the Best Platform for Your Business –

The Future of Social Media and How to Pick the Best Platform for Your Business – | Social Media and Healthcare |


That’s what a lot of you feel when you look at brands and influencers who generate huge amounts of traffic and sales from social media.

Don’t worry, I get it too. Now a lot of these people are either: extremely talented, have a lot of money for ads, or have grinded their way to the top of the newsfeed. 
And I have the utmost respect for the vast majority of them. But saying that, there is another reason why these people/brands reached the summit of their game. 

It’s because they got there first. Speed is the most valuable asset to have in this game and striking fast and hard is ideally  the way to go about things. Over the past year, a lot of people have asked me what the next big social platform is going to be.

Here are 7 of my predictions in regards to the future of social media. 

1. Pinterest isn’t used to its potential and is seriously underrated for driving traffic to blogs, this won’t last forever. 

With many people struggling to drive web traffic from Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to their blog many people are beginning to give up.

Whilst I think people are seriously underating the importance of SEO, there are plenty of people I know who are KILLING IT with Pinterest. One of my ex-pupils generates 100,000 impressions a month using Pinterest a month for next to nothing.   

I seriously wouldn’t underestimate this platform. 

There are plenty of useful automation softwares for it IFTTT, followlike, tailwind. Use these to auto-pin content and follow/unfollow people at scale.

If you’ve got a blog or ecommerce store, and a pretty decent sales funnel, then I seriously would look at driving traffic there from Pinterest.

Like I said, this won’t last forever. 

2. As Facebook throttles more and more traffic to websites, SEO will make a big comeback.

Lots of people keep saying Facebook is killing the organic reach of pages. (I might be the first one to say this). It’s actually now been killed. Every post that a page sends out, that doesn’t have any money put behind it, and includes and external link gets seen by one, maybe even two people. What’s the point? SEO is free (okay you might need to pay for some optimization tools, training or backlinks) but at it’s core optimizing blog posts for SEO is free.  So I reckon that more people at the bottom will be less inclined to dive into social media content marketing and more people will go back to perfecting the SEO for their articles/blog posts.

3. Want to get the attention of high-ticket prospects through social media? Don’t waste your time, use physical and lumpy mail. This will always be effective in my eyes.  

People love receiving (cool) stuff in the mail.  

Do you ever get excited about a package arriving from Amazon? I know I do! 

So if you can physically send something to someone, do it. 

Physical mail has a 95%-100% pickup rate, especially if it’s something large like a box. 

Tip: Call up the office of your prospect (influencer/CEO) and say to their assistant “we want to send x a free pair of shoes what is his/her size?” Then buy the high ticket prospect a nice pair of shoes but only send them one. Tell them in a nice letter “Now I’ve got my foot in the door, I’ll happily give you the other shoe if you agree to go for a coffee with me” 

Very cheeky and everyone wants the other shoe. 

4. Learn how to grow a Twitch account, this will conquer the earth in the next decade.

This platform will be huge in the coming year, not just for gamers but for everyday folk too. 

In fact, it’s huge now! The Amazon owned platform now has 100+ million unique users every month. 

The channel IRL (In Real Life) has people live streaming everyday things from: painting, drawing, playing music, building things.

So why not get there first for your niche and find some new customers.  

Maybe I should set up the first live growth hacking channel before someone else does ….

5. People gave up on Facebook chatbots too quickly and no one has done them right yet. Everyone will have them eventually so make yours the best.

When Facebook chatbots came to town everyone went crazy for them, but I’ve seen less and less people rave about them. 

For those of you who don’t know chatbots are essentially FB messenger broadcasts that pages can send to anyone who signs up to them.They’re super powerful with many still boasting a huge open rate. 

Because people wanted to treat them like an email list they burnt out a lot of people who don’t want marketing messages in their Facebook messenger every other day.

Some of the best bots I’ve seen impart REAL value that people want in their inbox 3-5 times a month MAX.

What a lot of brands haven’t realised is that people have joined your bot it’s because they’ve trusted you. 

They’ve allowed you into their inner circle that was previously reserved for their close friends and family. Don’t betray that by selling to them everyday. 

(MsgHero and ManyChat are among for favourite chat bot providers)

6. Too many businesses are always looking for the next shiny object

A lot of startups and businesses come to me and say “You’re the guy that can get traffic out of thin air using social media? Help us!”

While there are a lot of ways to grow their traffic I always ask to see their current traffic, conversions and email list first. 

There’s normally a lot of things that people aren’t already doing with their current customers.

So look at your current methods before embarking on completely new strategies. 

7. People are still using Twitter wrong

It’s not a broadcast network. It’s a one-to-one network at huge scale. 

The half life of a tweet is so short, and the feed moves so fast, that hardly anyone following over 200 people will see your one tweet a day. 

So use to either send out 24 tweets a day or just simply @ the people you want to contact instead! 

There is software that will help you do this in an organic and human way (don’t go overboard), but this will allow you to scale and hit many people at once. 

I reply to nearly everyone who tweets @ me and I’ve seen many a celebrity and influencer do the same. 

Start using it right.

That’s a wrap for the predictions (I’ll put my crystal ball away now) 

So those are my predictions and observations about social media marketing in 2018.

Whilst this is the way I believe things will play out,

It’s important to look back at times and check yourself before you decide to massively change course. 

If it isn’t broken don’t fix it, this is also known as the “Learn, implement, review” system.

This ties into you should work out which social media platform is right for your business.

To be perfectly honest it’s actually quite simple.

To start with you should already know the major places your ideal customer hangs out online and that should be your starting point (if you don’t then you have bigger problems to address first!)

Most people try and go for a multi-channel approach and hit all bases. While I too recommend this, it’s very difficult to execute right from the off if you’ve got a small team or work on your own. 

If you spread yourself too thin and don’t go in hard on one platform you won’t get any results. 

I suggest picking one main channel to focus on, and then a secondary channel a little later down the line.

You need to then look at the competition and work out if they are having success by using this platform, then work out how you can start to attract people to your brand instead.

Happy hunting everyone, I’ll see you on the other side.

Vin was on social welfare in the U.K., living off less than $100 a week when he learned how to use the internet to make things go viral. His growth hacking book raised over $100,000 in pre-orders, which he supported with a 100-date speaking tour in ten countries around the world. Vin launched two websites that received over 20 million visitors, two rounds of funding, and got into the TechStars accelerator.

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Social Media and Advancement of Women Physicians |

As a new generation advances through medicine, the number of physicians who use social media and online networks as primary vehicles for communication is growing.1 Of course, the young physician workforce was brought up with online networks, but more and more mid- and late-career physicians in academic medicine and beyond are also communicating with one another through these platforms.2 Social media can both facilitate near-instantaneous communication across states and continents and help support trainees and physicians of all genders, races, cultures, specialties, and institutional affiliations.

Female physicians have been vocal on social media about many aspects of their professional lives, including work–life balance. Their virtual discussions have led to an increase in awareness of issues related to gender parity in medicine. In 2017, for the first time, women accounted for more than half (50.7%) of incoming U.S. medical students,3 and social media may play a role in supporting these female students, just as it has begun to support women physicians at all career stages, helping them overcome traditional barriers to professional development.

Women physicians discuss a range of issues on virtual platforms, including sensitive topics that historically would have been shared only privately. More than a decade ago, Robinson described stereotyping of female physicians as complainers or “overly sensitive” if they voiced concerns, particularly about issues that were unique to them (e.g., lactation rooms at medical conferences) or that disproportionately affected them (e.g., slow rates of promotion).4 Robinson described stressors specific to women physicians, including workplace discrimination, lack of role models and mentors, lower compensation and fewer resources than their male counterparts were given, and role conflict between motherhood and professional roles — issues that remain relevant today.

In 2016, Jagsi et al. found that in a sample of clinician researchers, 30% of women and 4% of men reported experiencing sexual harassment.5 In her recent related Perspective article, Jagsi noted that after the study was published none of the women who reached out to tell her about harassment they’d experienced had reported those incidents to any leader in their organization: “They speak of challenging institutional cultures, with workplaces dominated by men who openly engage in lewd ‘locker-room conversation’ or exclude them from all-male social events, leaving them without allies in whom to confide after suffering an indignity or a crime.”6

We believe that virtual communities may offer women physicians additional coping mechanisms, provide new avenues for sharing information, and perhaps reduce stigma associated with sexual harassment, burnout, and workplace culture by allowing experiences to be shared and validated, perhaps lessening social isolation and feelings of loneliness or even self-blame.

Current Social Media Use

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are increasingly used by the medical workforce. Some studies suggest that both male and female physicians use online platforms for personal and professional purposes.1,7 A leader in this area, the Association of American Medical Colleges has been encouraging medical students and physicians to use social media for education and advocacy.8 One survey revealed, not surprisingly, that medical students have the highest rate of use (93.5%), but about 40% of practicing physicians also use these platforms.7 Logghe et al. have described surgeons’ “mass adoption” of Twitter, but more specifically, social media platforms are reportedly valuable for enhancing the mentorship of female surgeons, who may lack female mentors at their own institutions.9

In “virtual doctors’ lounges,” women physicians can have group discussions with their colleagues. People who start groups on Facebook have “administrator” status and can control access to the group and to its conversations — for example, to practicing physicians only — and female Facebook users tend to be both more concerned than male users about privacy and more likely to participate in support groups.10 Women may therefore be more likely to use a private or closed Facebook group than a public platform such as Twitter to ask questions about sensitive topics such as maternity leave policies, nursing an infant while on call, or where to seek new employment. Physician Moms Group (PMG), a private Facebook group for female medical students, residents, and physicians, has more than 71,000 members. A search for “women physicians” in Facebook groups identified more than 100 other groups, ranging from subspecialty groups to groups with similar interests (e.g., Women Physician Writers) to those focused specifically on women’s leadership in medicine. The popularity of such focused online groups for female physicians suggests that communities of women in medicine may be providing coping strategies for overcoming barriers and navigating roadblocks to professional advancement, including gender discrimination. As women physicians build community with like-minded professionals who share similar experiences, it will be important to study the ability of such communities to remove gender barriers in medicine.

Since social media are available 24/7, women can connect at their convenience. These virtual connections often evolve into live friendships, and many groups that have formed online have later convened in person at medical conferences to support members’ professional development. Indeed, there are even examples of live conferences dedicated entirely to supporting women in medicine that have evolved from online communities such as those sponsored by the PMG and Females in Emergency Medicine (FemInEM).

Beyond the small group of people who discuss a particular topic on social media, there is usually a much larger group “listening in.” In this case, the listeners may be trainees, who can thereby gain early insights about problems encountered by women in medicine, or they may be leaders or researchers whose work can be informed by the online discussions. Indeed, women physicians have already begun using virtual communities to conduct research on gender parity and to engage colleagues in advocacy for gender equity. Advocacy stemming from virtual interactions has similarly begun to make its mark; for example, a conversation about greater inclusion of female speakers that began with tweets from the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiology has led to grassroots efforts to make representation at future meetings more equitable.

Platforms such as Twitter are also used for communicating key educational messages about research or other topics. Twitter use by physicians has grown dramatically over the past few years as a means of promoting education and linking physicians with common interests.11-13 On Twitter, women physicians use various mechanisms to find one another and establish loosely affiliated virtual communities. For example, medical students often use the hashtag #GirlMedTwitter, and surgeons use #ILookLikeASurgeon14; these hashtags may be used in conjunction with specialty-related ones (e.g., #diabetes, #PlasticSurgery) or the Twitter handles of formal groups that support women physicians (e.g., @WomenSurgeons, @womenMDinanesth) to find like-minded or similarly situated colleagues with whom to share insights.

Women in Academic Medicine

Women physicians continue to face many barriers in promotion and compensation, speaking opportunities, recognition awards, and more.15-18 Especially in aggregate, disparate treatment such as being hired into lower positions or being given less respect than male colleagues (e.g., being invited to give a lecture but not the plenary address) negatively affect women’s careers.19-22 Social media may provide female physicians with opportunities that previous generations lacked to express their opinions, insights, and vision for their specialty. Such platforms may also provide nontraditional but far-reaching avenues for disseminating their research, which may, in turn, lead to speaking invitations or other traditional career-enhancing opportunities. They may thus begin to level the playing field by offering increasing and evolving opportunities for women to build their professional reputations and disseminate their academic portfolios.

Social media dissemination of research may be of particular benefit to women, since it does not rely on mentorship or conference invitations — areas in which women tend to be disadvantaged.23,24 A recent campaign in Australia, “Catch a Rising Star,” designed to inform the scientific community and the public about the work of women scientists, used online platforms to increase visibility for female researchers — and its tweets from 18 women scientists garnered 600,000 impressions in 1 week.25

Women who publish in medical journals now have opportunities to glean insights about the dissemination of their research through alternative metrics, which are growing in importance.26 Using a journal article’s digital object identifier (DOI), such measures track the article’s reach online and provide real-time information about its dissemination. A company called Altmetrics calculates an overall “attention score,” the proportions of the overall attention gained on individual social media platforms, and numbers of mentions in conventional media and policy reports. Such alternative metrics complement conventional ones such as the H-index and citations, and there may be synergy between the two: interactive multimedia exposure of published manuscripts may lead to more overall citations and boost the impact of a journal article.27,28 Medical journals are increasingly focusing on alternative metrics and are investing resources in disseminating research by social media (e.g., developing visual abstracts and short videos), and some specialty journals have used their Twitter accounts to highlight the diversity of the specialty’s physicians or the work of female specialists.29 Interestingly, in 2016, the Mayo Clinic became one of the first academic medical centers to formally include social media scholarship in promotion criteria,30 classifying it as low-, medium-, or high-impact, and has published a conceptual framework and guidelines for other institutions that seek to follow suit.31

Social Media’s Downsides

For women physicians, there is reputational risk involved in publicly supporting gender equity or other diversity and inclusion efforts, and research suggests that female leaders who engage in “diversity-valuing” behavior may receive worse performance ratings, whereas men appear to avoid being penalized (in fact, their reputations may even be enhanced) if they engage in similar behavior.32

For better or for worse, social media also unflinchingly — and permanently — document unprofessional behavior, whether it’s public intoxication, use of profanity or discriminatory speech, or posting of confidential patient information.33,34 Obviously, social media platforms do not cause such behavior, but they do provide a forum where many other people can witness it. Some sources advise physicians to be respectful on social media, to avoid swearing and arguing, and to “be nicer online than you are offline.”35 Langenfeld et al. have recommended specific curriculum goals for teaching residents about professional behavior online.36

There is also a real risk of obtaining or spreading misinformation on these platforms.37 Kotsenas et al., however, recently argued that the onus of monitoring and correcting false reports and inaccurate interpretations lies on professionals: “The question is whether medical professionals and health care organizations will allow misinformation and disinformation to prevail or whether they will intervene to provide trustworthy, scientifically valid perspectives.”30 Online bullying, cyber stalking, and catfishing (luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona) may specifically target women physicians.38


Physicians of all ages are using social media, and many women are communicating on virtual platforms to connect with each other and with supportive male colleagues. The sheer number of women physicians participating and their robust engagement suggest that they value these online connections. Studies will be needed, however, if we are to determine whether social media will help to advance women in medicine.

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Reformed HIPAA Regulations Needed to Better Facilitate Use of Patient Engagement Tools

Reformed HIPAA Regulations Needed to Better Facilitate Use of Patient Engagement Tools | Social Media and Healthcare |

According to a recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reformed privacy and security requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) could allow better access to increasing patient engagement technology.

Ameet Sarpatwari, JD, PhD, and Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, argue that patient engagement might improve if providers implemented a system that required patients to elect to receive current privacy and security standards for sharing protected health information. However, such a change would require amending HIPAA regulations.


Patient engagement has been called the “blockbuster drug of the 21st century,” according to the researchers, yet current regulations are dimming some of the promise offered by interventions that are being developed, tested, and implemented to tackle the challenge of making patients active participants in their own care. Patient portals, smartphone applications, and Bluetooth-connected biometric devices, such as blood pressure cuffs and glucose monitors, can facilitate ongoing communication between physicians and patients.

The researchers noted that in order for these engagement tools to work, they must be accessible, allow for personalized communication, and facilitate instantaneous sharing of information. However, HIPAA regulations designed to protect patient privacy may be preventing these tools from being used to their full potential.



Many hospitals and physician's offices prohibit the inclusion of protected health information in text messages or unencrypted email, and patients often need a key to access healthcare portals or encrypted messages. The investigators argue that these policies may not reflect what patients need or want, and that they can hinder clinicians' abilities to engage with patients. Amending existing HIPAA regulations to allow better access to technological advances could meaningfully increase patient engagement with the healthcare system, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

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5 Ways Social Media is Good for Wellness Businesses

5 Ways Social Media is Good for Wellness Businesses | Social Media and Healthcare |

In the unstoppable rise of wellness businesses, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba said it best. 

“Today’s customers want to be healthy and happy, no matter who they are.”

And he is right.

In fact, a new survey affirms that people want products and experiences that make them happy and healthy.

We know this yearning for health, wellness, and happiness to be true, especially on social media.

More and more people are joining health and wellness fitness groups on Facebook than signing up for gym memberships.


When was the last time you witnessed a weight loss journey, liked a healthy recipe and shared a workout tip in your newsfeed? 

We follow them every day.

But when it comes to transformation, the trend has shifted.

The health and wellness market seeks advice that requires small steps—not demand big changes—to achieve a holistic lifestyle.

This makes social media the perfect place for these bite-sized, practical and accessible tips and information; not to mention a great place for every health and wellness business.

It has created huge opportunities for savvy health and wellness marketers to create a large following and make a huge impact on social media. Health and wellness professionals are using social media profiles to their advantage to grow their clients, increase brand awareness and overall trust and transparency.

1. Wellness Businesses can create healthy communities on social media

If social media has taught us anything it’s this: our decisions and choices are deeply influenced by our social network.

Thankfully, the health and wellness conscious society love to surround themselves with like-minded people, following fitness groups and support wellness businesses that offer healthy choices.

Consider the success of Weight Watchers for example;

This study showed that Weight Watcher’s helped people lose twice as much weight as those following standard weight-loss advice.

The reason: having a support system among the community provides motivation and enhances self-control.

You could harness the power of social media to influence people and create your own healthy community. You could create your own support group by starting a discussion and encouraging group sharing.

These are the groups on social media that people love to join and go back to for information and inspiration.

In fact, we have started our own Facebook group called ‘Marketing for Health & Wellness Businesses‘, so feel free to join and join in on the conversation here also.

2. Create a Client-Centered Experience

How often do you hear of clients’ need for a more personalized healthcare experience?

In health and wellness, we’re all about holistic approaches.

Clients expect to find information about their health choices conveniently. So don’t underestimate your social media presence. Make sure you are open and transparent about what products and services you offer and what to expect.

As Michael Roy, Executive Director of the Clearview Women’s Center shares in an article from Forbes, everyone should be on social media.

Many healthcare professionals think marketing isn’t something they should pay attention to, or even do at all. In my experience, delivering great service alone isn’t enough. Social media tools are increasingly providing opportunities to expand and help more people, and health care professionals who embrace the trend and make use of a bit of innovation will be in the win for a long time.”

3. Social Media Marketing is Targeted

Traditional advertising is costly and casting a wide net doesn’t guarantee a catch. With social media, you have a higher chance of matching your content to the right person who needs to see your ad, especially Facebook.

Targeting is one of the leading edges of maximizing social media advertising, from location and interests and down to more specific details. You can personalize your posts and target your desired audience in a social media platform that best fit your clients.

If your preferred target market are regularly exposed to the type of content they need, not only can you build trust but convert them into loyal clients.

In this study, 41% of people claimed that social media affects their choice of a specific practitioner, or health treatment facility. This means with the right approach, there’s return on investment on social media for your wellness business.

4. Share your Success

Most health and wellness practitioners, especially those who are starting out struggle in marketing their name.

When in fact there’s one thing that can help you boost your reputation and strengthen your credibility: social proof.

Autumn Calabrese of 21-Day Fix believes in the value of social media when it comes to social proof.

“For me, coming from being the trainer, I think that it’s huge in the fact that it is all about sharing your success or sharing people’s success,” Calabrese, who shares her own clients’ success on Instagram, told Business Insider.

Simply put, it’s a shortcut to all the long process of marketing every business has to go through. Any potential client will be convinced to book with you when you have proof that you’ve successfully solved related health problems in the past.

If you’ve had an unfortunate encounter with a client gone public, it’s not the end. Bad reviews are part of every business. But with a good amount of social proof, a few bad reviews can’t hurt your reputation.

So don’t shy away from asking for testimonials (both written and video) from clients you value and trust. They’ll be happy to lead your community of healthy and empowered followers.

5. Connect to the World

Expanding your professional network is now EASIER than with social media. But as a health and wellness professional, it’s not just about advancing your connections, it’s about helping you connect and understand people better. So engage, engage, engage!

There are simple ways to provoke engagement:

By being eager to help others on social media, people would want to connect with you. Social media is a strong force in connecting people as Deepak Chopra puts it.

“I am an optimist about social media and use it every day to reach out to the world. I see it as a global nervous system glittering with activity. If social media allows someone to share their journey, either with their friends or the whole world, that is enough,” Chopra, a well-respected figure in alternative medicine, said to Yoga Journal.

A word of caution: social media ethics

As with any health practitioner, ethics is a big issue in social media practice. Patient confidentiality is of top importance. Whenever you post any case, it’s best to seek permission from your clients first.

To be on the side of caution observe professional conduct on social media such as:

  • Observing your language and demeanor
  • Avoiding conflicts
  • Avoid diagnosing any patients in newsfeeds
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The Best Way to Reach More New Patients than EVER Before

The Best Way to Reach More New Patients than EVER Before | Social Media and Healthcare |

One of the first things any growing practice asks is how can I find cost-effective, (yet still ACTUALLY effective ways) to get more new patients.

Well, what if I told you the most inexpensive, and effective, way to market your practice is right at your fingertips?

It’s Digital Marketing.

Cue to throw away your newsletters RIGHT HERE!

Surely that makes perfect sense… after all, everyone is plugged into something these days.

By properly making use of the platforms out there, you’ll build an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you and your brand.

It’s the way of the future.

With that in mind I’d like to give you my hot tips to maximize your reach and reap the rewards when it comes to online marketing!

Maybe you’re just starting out or maybe it’s time to really crank up the volume…these are for you!


Create a NEW Digital Marketing Strategy

First things first, don’t make the mistake of using the same marketing strategy that you have used over and over.

Shake things up a bit if you want to see great results.

If you want better results, you have to re-evaluate your strategies and improve them.

The online world is constantly changing; therefore you have to make adjustments too so you can remain competitive and relevant in the industry.

Just blindly running your digital marketing campaigns is not going to help, strategize on how to do it and set goals to improve it on a regular basis.


DO NOT ditch email!

Email is Digital Marketing’s old faithful for a reason – it works!

If you have an email list, make sure you use it, keep connected with them in new and interesting ways.

They already know you, like you and trust you. Keep in touch with them to stay front of mind, OR someone else will.

Simply use these tips we are about to go through to liven things up!


Take Advantage of Social and Mobile Marketing

Market for your audience’s behaviour.

More and more businesses are increasing their multi-channel marketing plan by up to 137%.

This includes integrating channels such as mobile and social media marketing into the mix.

Implementing a multi-channel approach will help you maximize your results and drive up your revenues.

Take advantage major social media platforms like: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

It’s more powerful than most people think

Set up social media handles on different platforms, and post on these platforms on a regular basis so that you actively engage your audience.

Also remember that most people use their mobile device, A LOT.

And an enormous amount of buying decisions happen on mobile.

If the user experience you provide on mobile is not fast, easy to navigate and doesn’t provide an amazing experience – you’re wasting the marketing opportunity.

Don’t bother.

It can actually damage your brand when not done well.

Optimize your marketing for mobile (not just desktop) with sleek emails, clear links, as well as engaging text and images –  to provide a great audience experience that can fit in your palm.


Develop Quality Content

There’s so much information online that generating fluff stuff is no longer going to cut it.

If you want your content to stand out, then you have to provide epic content that will hit your audience’s hot buttons and get them to engage.

We want them to read, review and even shared with others (time to think viral!).

What’s the next word you think of when you hear “VIRAL” ?

It’s “VIDEO” of course!

The use of audio-visual elements can increase the interest generated by your content by up to 180%.

Video is the most attractive and interesting content that you can easily create to generate more interest and help create more interest around your brands message.

By including videos, photos and links in your emails, posts and webpages, you can increase your audience by up to 94%.

It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s easy.

People buy on personality. Anyone can write a great marketing sales letter by hiring a professional, but to be good on video, that shows authenticity.

Give a ton of value in your marketing. Share valuable and useful information in every email, video, post, blog.

The more valuable you are, the more you will build a following of the right tribe for you and grow your business by serving patients that you want to work with.

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What Is Mobile Responsive and Why Should You Care?

What Is Mobile Responsive and Why Should You Care? | Social Media and Healthcare |

If you read this blog regularly, you’ve probably seen more than once that the use of mobile is growing. According to Pew Research, nearly 75 percent of people in the US now own a smartphone. Most people want to engage and communicate using mobile devices. We’re always recommending you use text and that services like online scheduling be available on mobile.

This growing use of mobile also means that you need to rethink your website. Most people aren’t looking at your website on a desktop or laptop anymore. They are looking at it on a phone or tablet. This means that your website needs to be easy to read no matter where your patient may access it. In other words, a site that adapts to the size of the device.

What is the difference between mobile responsive and mobile friendly?

You might hear different terms thrown around when it comes to the ways used to optimize your website for mobile viewing. Mobile responsive and mobile friendly, while sounding like they’re interchangeable, are actually very different.

A mobile friendly site is one where code is created that allows your website to scale to a smaller size. This means that, generally, your site will look very similar on a mobile device as it does on a computer. It is simply smaller. Mobile responsive sites, in contrast, “respond” to the size of device you are using, adjusting the website accordingly. Mobile responsive sites are greatly preferred over sites that are simply mobile friendly.

Why should practices optimize for mobile?

Of course, the main reason you should make your website easy for patients to view on their phones (or tablet or any other mobile device), is because they are judging YOU by your website. Patients are looking for you on the web and your website is often their first impression of you. Virtually everyone—94 percent—say that web design, on either mobile or computer, is the #1 reason they mistrust or reject a site. You want to look as good online as you do in person.

In addition, a mobile responsive site leads to:

Better SEO

Making your site mobile responsive isn’t just important to the user experience, it actually impacts yoursearch rankings. Today, two-thirds of patients do an online search prior to booking an appointment. If you want them to find you then you need a mobile responsive site. As more patients turn to the web to find new healthcare providers, you need to be easy to find. If your website isn’t mobile responsive the search engines will ding you, and you won’t rank as highly. In fact, Google now recommends a mobile responsive site, and they have said that mobile responsive sites will rank better due to the improved user experience they provide.

In addition, Google uses a separate algorithm for mobile. So, if your current site ranks well on desktop applications, that doesn’t translate to mobile. And mobile searches have overtaken desktop search.

Increased Traffic through Social Media

Did you know that social media is the #1 driver of all website referral traffic? This means that more business websites are visited through a social media site than any other referral method. Since mobile is heavily used for social media (80 percent of the time!), it is extremely likely that any patient who clicks on your site via a site like Facebook or Instagram will be viewing your site on a mobile device

Improved Management and Return

For a long time, businesses either had one site that didn’t work well on mobile or they had to manage two sites. This can be tedious and costly. A mobile responsive site is a single site that adapts. It is easier to manage and costs less. When you add lower costs to better visibility, you increase your return on investment.

If your current site isn’t mobile responsive then it is time for an update. As mobile continues to grow, having an outdated site that only works on a desktop will hurt your SEO more and more. And, if you still don’t have a website then you need to get one, and it needs to be mobile responsive. And don’t wait! Patients are looking for providers, and if they can’t find you, they will go somewhere else.

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The Top 4 Reasons Your Dental Practice isn't Gaining New Patients Online

The Top 4 Reasons Your Dental Practice isn't Gaining New Patients Online | Social Media and Healthcare |

Attracting new patients online is tough, and there’s not one specific solution. But, every day I see a few glaring reasons that dental practices fail to earn more patients online. Here are the top four:

#1 – You aren’t appearing in search results.

Whether through desktop or laptop computer, or on mobile phone, 89% of people use the Internet at least once each week to search for a local business. In fact, most new patient appointments come from search engine results, second only to word-of-mouth. More importantly, 97% of all search click-through traffic goes to the top 5 search results.

If you’re not appearing in the top search results – first page of search, first five search results – for your specialty and location (on Google, Apple Maps, and other key directories), then your practice is invisible online and is missing a tremendous number of potential new patients. 

#2 – Your reviews stink.

84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For most searchers today, this means that a key part of their buying process involves research using reviews – have too few, and your competitor is likely to get the new patient call; have a low total review score, and new patients won’t even select your listing. It’s essential that you implement a system to build new, positive reviews on important sites like Google and Facebook.

Learn more about how Smile Savvy’s Review Pro allows dentist to target happy patients and build hundreds of great reviews.  

#3 – Making an appointment is a hassle. 

From ordering a pizza to scheduling a hair appointment, patients today value convenience. It’s shocking (or should be) that dentist are asking patients to make appointments using 75 year old technology when even hair salons have moved into the future. Why are you still forcing patients to wait until business hours to schedule a simple check-up or cleaning?  

Services like LocalMed (a Smile Savvy partner) allow new patients to schedule your most common procedures directly into your appointment system in real-time, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week no matter where they are: on your website, Google, on a review site, even while on Instagram. And you still maintain 100% control of your schedule. Even better, tracking your investment is easy.

#4 – Talking to you is a pain.

Most dental practices aren’t taking advantage of technology that allows prospective new patients to connect the way they prefer. Today’s parents, for example, do not want to talk to you on the phone and prefer chat or messaging. Also, many new patients are simply unable to call during the day because of work restrictions. Try incorporating  text-based messengers that allow your patients to connect with your office without having to call on the phone.

Online Traffic is Vital for New Patient Growth 

76% of local searches result in a phone call to a local business. People are constantly using search engines to find dentists and choose a dental home. 

In order to attract more patients, you must have a digital strategy that works in your market. Smile Savvy provides comprehensive digital marketing tools and strategies for dental practices that work to improve SEO placement, and gather more patients. From optimized websites to social media, Smile Savvy has everything your dental practice needs to thrive online.

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The Role of Social Media and Internet Search Engines in Information Provision and Dissemination to Patients with Kidney Stone Disease

The Role of Social Media and Internet Search Engines in Information Provision and Dissemination to Patients with Kidney Stone Disease | Social Media and Healthcare |

Kidney stone disease (KSD) is a global issue that is increasing in prevalence. It is believed that poor diet (high protein and/or sodium consumption, or low calcium intake), increasing obesity rates (coupled with an increase in average body mass index), and low urine output (insufficient fluid intake) contribute to kidney stone formation. Therefore, these dietary/lifestyle factors are often targeted in the prevention or management of KSD. 



Social media (SoMe) are Web 2.0-based applications that enable the creation, and publication, of user-generated content. SoMe include social networking sites, video sharing sites, blogs, web-based or smartphone-based applications, and wikis. The use of SoMe is increasing, and not just with younger generations. A study by the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2017, 88% of adults in Great Britain used the internet every week (a 51% increase from 2006). It was also found that an increasing number of adults (78%) use the internet whilst ‘on the go’, via their smartphones. This could be aided, in part, by the explosive increase in smartphone usage, with over 39% of the world’s population possessing a smartphone (a figure which is predicted to rise to 59% as soon as 2022). As SoMe usage increases, so does the influence that it has on the medical decisions of the patients that use it.

Patients have already begun using SoMe to find online support groups, and to share advice with each other. Additionally, several studies have shown that mobile technology has, thus far, improved patients’ adherence to, and understanding of, their medical conditions and treatment. SoMe is also being used by healthcare professionals in order to aid in the management and prevention of diseases. 

Facebook, the most widely used SoMe application, has an average of 2.07 billion active users worldwide. In the United States, the SoMe platform ‘WebView’ has been trialed, enabling patients to contact their doctors with any medical queries or to order repeat medication. Furthermore, some medical professionals have begun using Facebook and Twitter, in order to educate their patients as well as more closely monitor their progress with any management or treatment that has been suggested. Using SoMe in this way has highlighted potential issues, with several healthcare professionals voicing concerns that it could potentially lead to ethical problems, however, the majority of medical professionals surveyed agreed that this form of interaction between doctors and their patients was favorable and could lead to positive health outcomes. A survey conducted by the PwC Health Research Institute found that approximately 90% of participants surveyed stated that they would trust the medical information they found on SoMe networks. It is, therefore, a consideration that SoMe may be utilized by both healthcare professionals and their patients, in order to aid in educating patients about their conditions, as well as improving their adherence to medical management and treatment, enhancing their motivation to comply with recommended regimes, and improving doctor-patient relationships.

An internet search engine is a software that is used to collect and organize content from the world wide web. It has been found that 72% of those using the internet have used it in order to find health information. Of this 72% of internet users, nearly 77% begin their search for health information by utilizing a search engine. Furthermore, a study conducted by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that 11% of people surveyed admitted to using online health information in place of contacting their doctor. It can, therefore, be seen that search engines may be a useful tool for both health promotion and providing patients with medical information.

In light of the increasing prevalence of KSD, and of search engine and SoMe usage (and the potential benefits that they could both offer), this paper aimed to systematically review the current literature regarding search engines and SoMe, and their use within the prevention and management of KSD, to determine what benefits (if any) have been found thus far, and to discover whether SoMe and search engine usage and availability has changed over time with respect to KSD management and prevention. Overall, all papers reviewed found that SoMe and search engine usage is increasing with regards to KSD. Therefore, these are tools which can be accessed by healthcare professionals in order to improve the management and prevention of KSD within their patient populations. The information which was provided, regarding dietary aspects and fluid management, was good. However, information regarding advice on other aspects of KSD prevention (blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes) was lacking.

Written by: 
Enakshee Jamnadsass, University Hospitals Southampton NHS Trust, Urology, Southampton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 
Bhaskar K Somani, MRCS, FEBU, DM, FRCS, Associate professor in Urology, University Hospitals Southampton NHS Trust, Urology, Southampton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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5 Ways to Make Social Media Work for Your Oncology Practice

5 Ways to Make Social Media Work for Your Oncology Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

Here's a statistic every oncologist ought to know: 77% of Americans use social media.1 Why is this figure so important? Because, chances are, a large swath of your current and prospective patients are on social media. You can reach them through these platforms and build your practice without spending much capital. (And it can be fun.)

First things first: Sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursquare, and every other social media website you can find. Then, add contact information, links to your website and other social media profiles, and instructions for booking appointments. Once you have the basics in place, take advantage of these 5 tips to make social media work for your oncology practice:

1.   Start spreading the (oncology) news. Two in three Americans get at least some of their news through social media,2 making it a highly effective medium for educating patients. Any time a new research study or technology surfaces, share links to reliable news articles, blogs, or videos covering the subject. Keep your patients informed and they'll know where to look for news that affects them.



2.   Share updates about your practice. Patients want to know that they're receiving cutting-edge care. If something new and exciting is happening with your team, make sure everyone knows about it. Through social media, you can let patients in on the latest and greatest approaches your oncology team is implementing.

3.   Respond to comments. Don't just post content and forget about it. Instead, engage with your followers. If a patient posts a comment to your Facebook page or responds to your Twitter post, acknowledge them and provide thoughtful feedback. Remember, building a friendly and professional relationship with patients isn't restricted to in-person interactions.

4.   Ask questions. If you don't have many comments to respond to, try asking questions. For example, post an article and ask what your patients think about it. At its core, social media is not about self-promotion but rather conversation. Involving your patients will make them feel connected with you.

5.   Post about community service. Humanizing your online presence can be tricky. Promoting your work in the community is a good way to break the barrier. If you and your employees will be taking part in a fundraising event, create a Facebook page with event details. Afterward, share stories, videos, and pictures from the event.

Social media can be an invaluable tool for growing your oncology practice. Try out these 5 tips and see for yourself just how impactful it can be.


  1. U.S. population social media penetration 2018Statista. Accessed July 2, 2018.
  2. Moon A. Two-thirds of American adults get news from social media: surveyReuters. September 8, 2017. Accessed July 9, 2018.
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Social Media’s Having a Crisis. Here’s Why Your Organization Still Needs It.

Social Media’s Having a Crisis. Here’s Why Your Organization Still Needs It. | Social Media and Healthcare |

It’s been just about 15 years since Facebook brought social networking to the mainstream, and like a lot of teenagers, it’s having an identity crisis. Data breaches, electioneering scandals, and privacy concerns are buffeting the platform, along with its offshoots and competitors.

With all this going on, hospital leaders may be wondering: is using social media still a sustainable strategy for connecting with patients?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. But as social media comes of age, so should health systems’ relationship with it. Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, recently shared some advice on the subject in an issue of BoardRoom Press.

Here are three of his tips to help your organization find a mature social-media strategy.

  1. Get Involved—But Have a Plan

94% of healthcare organizations have some social-media presence. Nowhere near as many have a social-media strategy. Instead, many health-system marketing teams improvise, eking out likes and shares as they go.

Lee points out that this is usually not the best approach. The stakes are high for hospitals’ online interactions—so hospitals should make them count. “Your patients are already talking about your hospital online,” he says. “You will be affected by what they say.”

To keep that social-media conversation meaningful, hospitals should approach social engagement strategically. Tips on how to accomplish that could fill an entire book. But at the very minimum, hospitals should establish clear lines of thought for two issues:

– Employee social-media presence. Your hospital probably doesn’t need a stand-alone social-media policy. But guidelines will help employees understand how to apply existing hospital policy when they’re online. This is critical to help healthcare systems protect their online brands. The Mayo Clinic shares their guidelines here.

– Responses to customer complaints. No matter how excellent the hospital, there will always be a vocal minority of unhappy patients. Sometimes they bring their complaints to highly visible social-media platforms. A consistent policy on how to field these concerns will serve hospitals well. If hospital staff can address complaints with respect and tact, they’ll often be able to defuse the situation, and earn a lot of credibility in the process.

  1. Watch out for Risks

“A chainsaw can do work much more quickly than an axe, but also can do much more damage if used improperly,” Lee says. Likewise, social media can be an extraordinarily valuable marketing tool, but it comes with substantial risks.

The most obvious of these is HIPAA violations. Each one could cost hospitals up to $1.5 million in civil fines alone—not even counting additional criminal penalties or legal settlements for victims.

And with social media, it’s distressingly easy for employees to break the law. Some of the more common social-media HIPAA fouls are:

– Posting images of a patient without written consent

– Posting gossipy information (often gripes and complaints) about patients online

– Posting identifying details about patients

– Posting photos where Protected Health Information (PHI) is at all visible

This last one is particularly troubling. Medical identity theft is on the rise, and thieves can potentially use images from social media to compromise patients’ records. That’s why even something as innocuous as a selfie with a patient chart in the distant background can result in civil and criminal penalties for a healthcare facility.

The guidelines mentioned above can help employees protect their patients’ privacy. But safe social-media training must be a persistent, ongoing effort. It’s the only way to avoid running afoul of HIPAA laws.

  1. Capture Opportunities

But health-system leaders shouldn’t let these risks scare them away from social media’s promising innovations. The evidence is clear that social networks empower healthcare professionals to accomplish some remarkable things:

– A study from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found social media to be the single most effective way to reach an extremely vulnerable patient population: homeless youth.

– Researchers in Canada discovered that social-media engagement improved patient compliance with dietary recommendations.

– A meta-analysis from Hong Kong Polytechnic University confirmed how much clinicians rely on social media to educate each other, make referrals, and support care delivery.

– And finally, Cochrane Child Health carefully reviewed their social-media activity for more than a year, and found empirical evidence supporting social media’s unique efficiency in disseminating evidence to healthcare professionals—and in enhancing the prestige of a healthcare brand.

Don’t Miss Social Media’s Promise

Among marketing experts, much is made of social media’s ROI. The techniques listed above illustrate how powerful those returns can be. There’s obvious value for investment in social.

But there’s a further ROI that healthcare organizations should consider. Lee (paraphrasing media consultant Danny Brown) calls it not Return on Investment, but the Risk of Ignoring. He means that social media gives healthcare organizations an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their patients. There’s no doubt that savvy organizations will continue to capitalize on it—and those that don’t will find themselves further behind the curve.

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Take two and Tweet me in the Morning: How Social Media is Reshaping Health Care

Take two and Tweet me in the Morning: How Social Media is Reshaping Health Care | Social Media and Healthcare |

Given the rapid changes in the communication landscape brought about by participative Internet use and social media, it is important to develop a better understanding of these technologies and their impact on health communication. From 2005 to 2017 participation in social networking sites more than quadrupled. In the health communication community, there is a widespread assumption that recent advances in Internet technologies, particularly social media, have transformed the pattern of communication, including health-related communications.

In today’s changing healthcare landscape, the use of social media has a direct implication for health communication programs, prompting efforts to identify new opportunities of using social media to impact patient care. Social media has played an integral role in improving lives of patient’s and healthcare companies are on the forefront of this technological breakthrough through several important ways. First, the Internet-based social networks increase social support and interconnectivity among individuals. Second, with the increase of user-generated content, information sharing is seen as more democratic and patient controlled, enabling users to exchange health-related information that they need and therefore making the information more patient/consumer-centered Third, in recent times, public health programs have demonstrated success in adapting social media as a communication platform for health promotion efforts such as smoking cessation, kidney disease education, and dietary interventions, increasing their reach through cyberspace. Social media, a great information equalizer, is radically transforming the way people communicate around the world. Until recently the predominant communication model was "one" authority to "many". Social media has changed the monologue to a dialogue, where anyone with internet access can be a content creator and communicator.


Protecting Patient Information:

With the rise of health-related information being shared over social media on a daily basis, it is vital that healthcare workers educate themselves on how to keep patient information confidential.
The Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress in 1996 with the intent of providing patients more control over their healthcare records. HIPPA encompasses a variety of key points including:

  •   Reducing healthcare fraud

  •   Implementing industry-wide standards for information provided on electronic billing

  •   Providing health insurance to individuals that are changing or have lost their jobs

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

  •  Distribute clear social networking policies to employees
  •   Avoid any discussion of patients, even in general terms

  •   Speak generally about conditions and treatments

  •   Prominently post your policies and procedures on all social media platforms

  •   Do not practice medicine online by responding to patients offline

Utilizing Social Media

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

#1: Share Information

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

  •   Provide updates on new technologies

  •   Introduce new doctors in a practice on social networks

  •   Answer questions on various topics (e.g. how to reach doctors or hours of operation)

  •   Offer patients any updates that relate to the practice itself

#2: Compare and Improve Quality

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

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

#3: Train Medical Personnel

Some healthcare organizations have begun to utilize social media channels as part of their training process. During presentations, trainees are encouraged to use certain hash tags on Twitter or join other groups to engage one another to make training processes more enjoyable and interactive.

These training techniques provide trainees a central location to ask questions and quickly receive answers. Social media gives participants the power to provide presenters with immediate feedback on training sessions.

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

#4: Live Updates during Procedures

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

** Keep that “Dancing Doctor” in mind when discussing the possibility of sharing any medical procedure via social media!

As a marketing approach, organizations create a buzz on social media with these updates, creating excitement and enhancing public awareness of an individual organization to attract patients and medical personnel.

#5: Communicate in Times of Crisis

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

As social media continues to become a valuable asset to healthcare organizations and new methods of use are implemented, the industry requires administrators to set guidelines and procedures for effectively managing these channels. To provide the best customer service and accurate information while adhering to HIPAA regulations, organizations need individuals versed in the healthcare administration.

According to the Pew Institute, the growing popularity of social media in health care can be attributed to two key factors:

1. The wide spread use of social media tools
2. The growing desire for patients, particularly those afflicted by chronic illness, to connect with each other

Coupled with other online resources, social media now largely impacts the way people interact with information—including health-related content. And while most patients continue to prefer face-to-face interaction with their health care providers, online health resources, including social, are now an extremely important supplementary tool in their health journey.

There is a wealth of healthcare information and communication technologies that transform how providers and patients think about access, and act upon, digitally supplied healthcare information. The transformation has an impact upon the clinical encounters, rendering the traditional face-to-face patient encounters as one of many options, and often not the preferred one. Social media facilitates instantaneous information sharing and patients seem to be way ahead of healthcare professionals when using digital technology to access health information. With the easily accessible Internet and the Internet of Things (IoT) now increasing connectivity in the USA and abroad, patients and Healthcare Providers (HCP) are more able than ever before to communicate in ways that will change how patients receive care now and in the future.

It’s no longer a matter of’s all about the HOW...Physicians and hospitals are personally well acquainted with social media and the Internet as a professional resource. The rise of social media in the world has affected many different aspects of our lives. From the way we communicate with others to how we shop, dine, and travel, social media has impacted how efficient and informed we are. Its impact on the health care industry is evident as well. The internet allows people to research symptoms, nearby doctors, and medications and their effects. More and more people are sharing information about health care, including reviews about doctors, their experiences with illness and opinions on different therapies. People can also use social media to ask for advice and search for information on the go, which is an important benefit to many people in the workforce who may not have time to consult a physician face to face.



  1. Rimal RN, Lapinski MK. Why health communication is important in public health. Bull World Health Organ 2009; 87: 247- doi: 10.2471/BLT.08.056713 pmid: 19551226.

  2. WallI, Robinson L. Leftinthedark:theunmetneedforinformationinhumanitarianresponses[policy briefing no.2]. London: BBC World Service Trust; 2008.

  3. Internet world statistics: usage and population statistics [Internet site]. Available from: [accessed on 13 July 2009].

  4. Leithner, A.; Maurer-Ertl, W.; Glehr, M.; Friesenbichler, J.; Leithner, K.; Windhager, R. Wikipedia and osteosarcoma: A trustworthy patients’ information? J. Am. Med. Inform. Assoc. 2010, 17, 373–374.

  5. “Rising Use of Social and Mobile in Healthcare,” The Spark, Dec. 17 2012,

  6. Pictures Provided by Pexels 

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Video: 5 Things Your Specialty Clinic Needs to Know Now

Video: 5 Things Your Specialty Clinic Needs to Know Now | Social Media and Healthcare |

You’ve heard the Latin phrase, “Carpe diem” – or “Seize the day!”

Those three words summarize what I’m advising all specialty clinics to do when it comes to leveraging video to create an effective digital marketing strategy! Here are a few facts that back up my proclamation:

  • Video attracts 2 to 3 times as many monthly visitors to a website and has a 157% increase in organic traffic.
    • Translation: If your specialty clinic used video, it could translate into about 10 or 12 new patients a month vs. one or two (without video marketing).
  • Video equates to higher viewer retention. The information retained in one minute of online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words. (Source: Brainshark)
  • Online video is a powerful marketing tool:
    • 74% of internet users engage on social media.
    • 80% of those internet users are specifically looking for health information, and ...
    • Nearly half are searching for information about a specific doctor or health professional. (Source PewResearch)

I’d like to add one other fact that I’ve personally procured while working with specialty clinics over the last decade:

  • Video is underutilized as a medical marketing tool by a majority of these clients.

The upside? Specialty clinics have a tremendous opportunity to build brand and revenue by leveraging digital marketing and the power of video – today.


  1. Educational videos. Don’t just educate, “explain.” This holds true whether you’re providing a general introduction to your clinic’s services or specialist or talking about a specific service. 
  • Information delivered via video vs. print equates to a much higher retention rate with the majority of consumers.
  • Answering questions up front can help build transparency, which can build credibility and translate into a higher level of comfort with new patients.
  • This type of video can establish your clinic and staff as a trusted authority on the services you offer.

Legato Healthcare Marketing developed the following educational videos with our client, Urology Associates, and posted them on their website and on social media:

While the right-brain side of me gives a nod to the Gold Aster award and Silver Healthcare Advertising Award the videos received, the numbers (i.e., results) are all that matter when it comes to a client’s ROI. And as you can see, the number of people reached was pretty significant:

  • Dewire video: 2,450 people reached; 1.8K views (473 minutes viewed).
  • Butler video: 1,514 people reached; 2.9K views (450 minutes viewed).
  • Womack Video: 307 people reached; (170 minutes viewed). 
  1. Patient testimonial videos. Testimonials of patients’ experiences can help build trust as well as provide information to consumers who are going through the decision-making process. They can:
    • Convey the impact that your clinic, staff or a specific specialist had on their lives and their healthcare journey.
    • Add realism and credibility. Consumers trust their peers more than your marketing department.
    • Showcase others on your staff who played a role in their car

Sheila’s Perspective” shows how a video testimonial can be a powerful and credible way for your specialty clinic to connect with prospective patients. Legato Healthcare Marketing developed the video in partnership with our client Black River Memorial Hospital.

  1. Patient prep videos: Using video to share details about a specific procedure can help reduce patients’ anxiety by answering frequently asked questions. We developed these prep videos for our client, GI Associates. The videos can be played at home (from GI Associates’ website) as well as in the clinic’s exam room, to replace much of the verbal instructions:
  1. Virtual tours: Knowing where to go and what to expect when they get there can help calm new patients’ nerves, which can equate to a better patient experience. Here’s an example of a video we produced for a small rural hospital.
  1. TV ads: Don’t forget that TV ads fall under the category of “video” – and they can be powerful promoters of your specialty clinic. Here’s an example of a TV spot we created for Bone and Joint:

Another famous saying ... “Seeing is believing”

Video is key to incorporate into an effective digital marketing strategy – but it’s just one component. See how Legato Healthcare Marketing worked with Urology Associates to develop a strategy to grow online visibility, create engaging content for patients and build reputation with positive patient reviews.

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How This Clinician Found Freedom in Writing –

Few doctors have the patience, perseverance, and time to jumpstart a new career, let alone during a pregnancy. Internist Dana Corriel, however, managed to channel her inner creativity into another career during her pregnancy leave, after giving birth to her third child.

Dr. Corriel brought about her own creative outlet with a business revolving around uniquely crafted home decor and furniture. She also began bloggingin 2010 out of frustration over the fact that doctors are frequently told ‘no’ throughout their medical careers.

“You hear all the time, ‘don’t blog, don’t post this or that online, don’t take time off from medicine to work on anything else’ — I wanted to create a space where we could find the right balance, and start to say ‘yes’ to one another, for a change,” Dr. Corriel said.

The moment she started blogging, Dr. Corriel finally felt freedom from traditional rules. For her first post, she commented on the one-sided nature of physicians getting slammed on Facebook. More recently, she wrote a post titled “Your Doctor May Need a Tip With That Prescription,” which was shared widely across social media. She also publishes poetry, like her piece “Primary Care is Like a Box of Chocolates,” which takes readers through a typically hectic day as a physician.

Her writing has taken off and essentially turned into a second career — earlier this year, Dr. Corriel participated as guest faculty at Harvard Medical School’s CME conference called Writing, Publishing, and Social Media for Healthcare Professionals, and will be returning in 2019. This winter, she will be speaking at the Women Physicians Wellness Conference about developing creative outlets outside of medicine, as well as building a community through social media.

Now, she is based in New Jersey and manages to balance blogging at with being a mother of three boys, the Director of Quality for Highland Medical, PC, while operating a primary care practice in New York.

Stronger Together

Although she was able to express herself through blogging, Dr. Corriel recalls the process being rather lonely at first.

“The problem for a lot of doctors with ideas is they aren’t able to find an audience,” said Dr. Corriel. “They don’t have the time, or they’re not sure how to.”

Dr. Corriel wanted to build a central hub online for doctors to do just that: communicate their thoughts outside of the exam room to a receptive audience. She launched a website called Doctors on Social Media(#SoMeDocs), as well as a Facebook group that has more than 1,200 physician members to date.

“I created [Doctors on Social Media] as a platform because I felt like there were so many voices that weren’t being heard and so much talent wasn’t being seen in our community,” said Dr. Corriel. “I have a lot of physician friends who wanted to speak out on healthcare, for example, but they did not have a private forum to do that.”

The closed network is open to physicians only; the Facebook group aims to be a secure space where medical colleagues can share their endeavors outside of medicine. (I.e. sharing any stories and projects around traveling, food, art.) She also started a space for the general public called Medicine Connect.

So far on these platforms, physicians are showing enthusiasm and excitement toward using and creating a presence on social media. They are seeking advice on how to build a social media presence, they share their work with each other, they give each other ideas, they inspire collaboration, and they cultivate connections.

On the Horizon

As part of her Doctors on Social Media Series, she is working on blog pieces titled, “On Branding: More Than Just Chanel” and “On Tweeting: Tips for Tackling the Blue Bird,” where she gives advice on how to grow exposure on these and other platforms of social media.

Always looking for ways to share medical stories, Dr. Corriel is working on a book of essays written by female physicians about medicine. The book is in the editing process and will be published later.

As for the future of #SoMeDocs, Dr. Corriel plans to boost her creative efforts. Her vision is to lend a voice to more physicians who wish to embark on a similar journey of medical storytelling.

“I want us to put an end to competition,” said Dr. Corriel, “and start embracing collaboration in medicine.”

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Digital Divide in the Healthcare Industry | The haves and have nots of a healthcare professional in the digital age

Digital Divide in the Healthcare Industry | The haves and have nots of a healthcare professional in the digital age | Social Media and Healthcare |

Castells broadly defined digital divide as “the inequality of access to the internet”. Scholman defined digital divide as “the gulf between those who have ready access to current digital technology and those who do not”. This definition included the consequential “social or educational inequality” that comes with this gap.

An approximate measure of determining the extent of “digital divide” in a country is the NRI ranking.

“The NRI is part of the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2015: ICTs for Inclusive Growth. The NRI identifies the capacity of countries to leverage Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), by assessing the overall political and business environment, the level of ICT readiness and usage among the population, businesses and government, as well as the overall impacts of ICTs on the economy and society at large.”

The Philippines ranked 77th, in the most recent, 2016 Global Information Technology Report by World Economic Forum.   That’s a notch down from our previous 76th ranking. Detailed results and subcategory analysis of this NRI ranking can be found in this site. We scored worst in infrastructure but other indices are no better. This, despite the country being tagged as the sms and social media capital of the world. Around 87% of our adult population spends average of six hours on the internet per day. Our internet and mobile population penetration is increasing also. So while, infrastructure (physical access, internet speed and portals) seem to be the biggest obstacle up front, it cannot account for the digital divide occurring in sectors where physical access is not the biggest concern.

Health implications:
While the greater portion of our general population is consequently denied physical access to internet because of poor hardware and network infrastructure, this is may not be true for the healthcare industry’s professionals such as doctors or nurses. Many healthcare professionals already have material and physical access to the internet. The recent Digital Asia report also showed many patients are are going to the internet for information regarding their health issues. Health information is increasingly made available over the internet . Healthcare professionals need more and more sophisticated skills to use electronic resources in improving healthcare services. This, despite the rising cost of accessing copyrighted, medical journals. This complicates the issue and resolution of digital divide. It places tension on patient- doctor relationships or collegial collaborations when either of the party belong to the opposing fences in this digital divide.

T1. Is there a digital divide within the healthcare sector? Please elaborate on your answer.

Scholman further subdivided digital divide in to mini gaps namely technological, content, gender and commercial divide. These mini gaps form many of the basis for surveys of the occurrence of digital divide among population. While this gives us an idea of how we fare in terms of our digital literacy with that of other countries, it does not account many other factors that contribute to digital divide other than infrastructure or physical access, like in healthcare.

Scholman’s mini digital divides are often good when identifying or characterising gaps. I find Jan van Djik’s relational views of digital divide relevant when looking for strategic solutions. Jan van Djik’s proposes a relational framework for understanding digital divide and coined a cumulative, recursive model and successive kinds of access to digital technologies. (See figure 1) .

Source: van Dijk (2005, p. 22) Figure 1: A Cumulative and Recursive Model of Successive Kinds of Access to Digital Technologies

When a sector of society went pass the motivational and material access problem, they are still faced with another level of obstacle to hurdle the “digital divide” -namely skills and then usage access.

T2. What’s most salient reason or contributor to this digital divide in the healthcare industry?

In my opinion, this is what the health sector (the academe to be specific) should deal with to narrow that gap or digital divide in healthcare.

T3. What do you think is the best solution to this type of digital gap in the health sector?

This is the main topic for our discussion this Saturday July 7, 2018 9:00PM Manila time. Here are our guide questions:

In your experience as a healthcare professional:

  • T1. Is there a digital divide within the healthcare sector? Please elaborate on your answer.
  • T2. What’s most salient reason to this digital divide in the healthcare sector?
  • T3. What do you think is the best solution to this type of digital gap in the health sector?

Closing Thoughts:
Digital literacy and digital scholarship has been put forward by many strategist as a way to narrow this gap in medicine. As a healthcare professional, what do you think could be your biggest contribution to advocating or promoting digital literacy or scholarship in the field of medicine?


Castells, Manuel 2001 The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. New York: Oxford Univesity Press.

Schloman, B. (May 7, 2004). Information Resources Column: “The Digital Divide: How Wide and How Deep?” Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Available:

van Dijk, J. A. (2005). A framework for understanding the digital divide. In The deepening divide: Inequality in the information society (pp. 9-26). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452229812.n2

World Economic Forum (2016). Global Information Technology Report 2016. Retrieved from

Department of information and communications Technology (June 6, 2016).Department of ICT Law takes effect today. Retrieved from

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People are using social media to improve their odds of finding organ donors: 'Doing it can save my life'

People are using social media to improve their odds of finding organ donors: 'Doing it can save my life' | Social Media and Healthcare |

When Melanie Perry peers out the seventh-floor window of her Kenwood high-rise, she has a clear view of the helicopter pad at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"It's as if God is telling me your kidney is in your view," she said. "God is keeping me. He can move mountains."

Perry, 34, has spent most of her life hoping for better days. When she was a girl, she was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that claimed both kidneys. After her first transplant failed, her 16-year relationship with dialysis began. Every week, she undergoes three appointments, each up to three hours.


The grueling routine has saved her life, but it has also made it harder to get another transplant. After so many years of undergoing dialysis and receiving blood products, "I'm sort of like a melting pot, and that makes it hard to find a match," Perry said.

So she has turned to social media, hoping to reach as many people as possible willing to donate a kidney. "I'm emotionally drained," she said recently. "I'm afraid of not being able to get (a kidney). ... I'm afraid of having to live the rest of my life on dialysis."

Perry is not alone.

More than 8 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease, and about 450,000 of them are kept alive through dialysis. About 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, 300 of them near death, according to the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. Just in Chicago, about 3,165 people are on the waiting list.

Most people in this country waiting for an organ transplant need a kidney. Next in line are those waiting for a liver, then heart, then lung. The wait for a kidney donation can be years, compared to weeks or months for a heart.

Organ donation via an app? Tinder is on board »Commentary: Why price heroism? Organ donors can save taxpayers millions. They deserve a break. »

Like Perry, more and more people are resorting to social media as medical advances make it increasingly possible for strangers to become living organ donors.

Facebook, for example, allows members to share their organ donor status and helps them register to become an organ donor. Several other online sites offer advice and help people either locate potential donors or register as one. They include WaitList Zero, the National Kidney Registry and the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation.

An article this month in the journal Bioethics proposed Facebook-type platforms where people looking for living donors could post information about themselves.

"One can appeal to people by providing facts, figures, and impartial generalized reports," write Greg Moorlock and Heather Draper with the Warwick Medical School in England. "But something that prompts a stronger and immediate emotional reaction may be more effective at motivating them to provide a solution."

The authors worry that such networks could be abused by people who profit from "the underground organ market." But they argue that the benefits are still worth looking into. "Using 'identifiable victims' within a personalized approach to promoting donation may be an effective way to increase living kidney donation," they conclude.

The National Kidney Foundation also urges caution. "Be careful and use common sense," it says on its website. "Ask your transplant center for advice. Don't put yourself in a vulnerable situation where someone can try and take advantage of your situation. The issue of buying and selling organs may come up. This practice has been illegal in the U.S. since 1984, when it was outlawed by the National Organ Transplant Act."

Live donors -- like the son who donated a kidney to his father, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson -- are key to reducing the long waiting list, according to Kevin Cmunt, CEO of the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network.

The network has overseen about 260 live donation transplants and its goal is 500 by 2020, Cmunt said. Reaching more strangers would help the group meet its goal.

"A person can function quite well and normally with one kidney," he said. "With education about live donation, we can make people comfortable with the process and hopefully lower the number of deaths each year."


Cmunt acknowledged that many in need of a kidney find it difficult to ask a relative or a friend, much less a stranger.

Perry said she had to get up the nerve to ask her family. When no one was a match, she finally went to Facebook.

She posted her status on Facebook and asked friends to get tested to see if they were a match to her. She also asked them to reach out to their friends. She posted her appeal in early March and has not found anyone yet.

Meanwhile, her situation is getting more urgent. Last year, tests showed that calcifications in her body -- abnormal accumulations of calcium salts -- were worsening.

The calcium buildup will eventually get to the point in which Perry will not be able to receive a new kidney, according to Dr. Yolanda Becker, surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant team at the University of Chicago Medicine. "Dialysis is a lifesaving procedure that cleanses the poison out of your body, but it's not natural," she said. "Eventually you get hardening of the arteries."

Perry has had other health issues. She spent most of April and parts of May in the hospital for digestive and stomach problems.


During all her struggles with end-stage kidney disease, Perry has managed to capture glimmers of hope.

She recently completed a business program. "I was a hermit before school, but I even made the dean's list," Perry said. "It was an experience."

Going to school opened her eyes to other possibilities. "I want to work. I love to do customer service," she said. "I want to travel and explore things."

But Perry hasn't dwelled on other dreams, such as getting married or starting a family. "I don't even bother dating. The guys in my age range are so immature," she said. "I don't want to deal with the heartbreak."

But who knows what might happen, she wonders, if someone finally calls her transplant team at the University of Chicago Medicine (773-702-4500) and asks about getting screened.

"I don't want anybody feeling sorry for me," Perry said. "If you don't want to do it, it's no pressure. But doing it can save my life."

The screening process begins with a simple blood test. Those wanting to be a live donor must be 18 and share the same blood type as the person receiving the organ. Donors must be prepared to undergo extensive medical and psychological screenings, including a check for the human leukocyte antigen HLA, which plays a role in the body's immune response to foreign substances. The level of HLA helps determine the likelihood of the organ being rejected.

Typically, donors should also not be suffering from high blood pressure, uncontrollable diabetes, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

"Most live donors go back to their normal lives within one to two weeks after surgery," said Becker, adding post-operative care comes with a few instructions like no heavy lifting.

Usually, the transplant recipient's insurance will cover such expenses as evaluation, surgery and some of the follow-up testing. Potential donors can contact the National Living Donor Assistance Center at 703-414-1600 or with questions and help with costs.

Officials at the Gift of Hope have been working with legislators to draft measures that would provide specialized health care for donors. Also in the works is a family leave measure that would give workplace protections to donors, according to Cmunt.

"You can save someone's life," Cmunt said. "There's nothing greater you can do in life."

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7 Startup Tips for Small Healthcare Marketers

7 Startup Tips for Small Healthcare Marketers | Social Media and Healthcare |

Small healthcare marketers, like single practitioners, have to get started somewhere. To that end, PulmonologyAdvisor has seven tips to get them started with their marketing.

While the site is concentrated on a specialty, the tips published on July 3 apply to many small healthcare marketers.

Develop Your Brand

What differentiates you from your competitors? How is that more valuable to your target audience? Decide on that, pick a logo, and keep your brand consistent in all of your marketing in all channels, writes Tom Greenhalgh.

Build Your Website Accordingly

Greenhalgh says this step will give small healthcare marketers an advantage over their competition immediately, because 45% of small businesses don’t even have a website.

Related story: 2 Tips to Navigate TMI Healthcare Marketing

The PulmonologyAdvisor article continues:

“A website is an invaluable tool for reaching new patients, enhancing the patient experience, establishing yourself as an authority in your field, and even reducing the amount of time your staff spends scheduling appointments and giving directions. Make sure your website works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktops.”

Employ Social Media Marketing

Small healthcare marketers of course have to follow regulations, but that doesn’t mean social media marketing is off limits.

Greenhalgh writes that small healthcare marketers can get started with sharing links to their site blog posts, which may bring in patient leads.

Be a Content Marketer

Greenhalgh says blog posts help keep sites updated, which aids in organic search rankings. Providing health tips also keeps small healthcare marketers engaged with their patients, which aids in retention/loyalty.

Be Where Patients Are Searching

Small healthcare marketers benefit from word-of-mouth marketing, with friends and family sharing advice on the best providers. But those same people often write the reviews down on social sites, review sites and elsewhere online, where marketers can see them, too. Respond to the reviews politely and with useful information or solutions, whether they’re positive or negative.

Trying to get negative reviews removed, for example, is useless, as a recent court ruling in California reveals about Yelp reviews, says Dan Goldstein, owner of Page 1 Solutions.

Goldstein suggests marketers employ these measures:

"Start with good customer service. … Every consumer knows good service from bad service.
“Tell your happy clients that your … practice depends on referrals and ask them to share their experiences with others who may benefit. One good way to do this is by sharing their experience through an online review.
“Always provide feedback by replying publicly to every review, including both positive and negative reviews. Consumers appreciate businesses that acknowledge reviews, because it shows they are paying attention.
“Don't get angry when someone posts a negative review. Provide a short reasoned response that asks the reviewer to contact the owner directly so you can resolve their concerns. Other consumers will see this as a positive and in some cases, it may result in the negative review being removed.
“Don't offer an incentive to post a positive review."

List Your Healthcare Practice in Local Business Directories

By this, Greenhalgh means professional directories. But don’t forget to ensure the practice is listed correctly in Google, on Facebook and anywhere else online that patients will search in order to find the phone number, physical address and email address.

Sponsor Events, Provide Education and Otherwise Participate in Your Community

Providing wellness webinars helps small healthcare marketers gain leads. Sponsoring local events, such as sports leagues, can do the same. This can also aid in brand awareness.

What do you think, marketers?

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3 things to know when upgrading your doctor website to HTTPS

3 things to know when upgrading your doctor website to HTTPS | Social Media and Healthcare |

This blog is Part 2 of a two-part series about the July 2018 Google Chrome version 68 update. Visit this webpage to read Part 1.

It’s bad enough that independent physicians have to find the time to stay atop of all the reimbursement and regulatory changes coming out of Washington, D.C. Now they need to pay close attention to happenings in Silicon Valley, too.

With the release of version 68 of it’s Chrome browser, Google marks HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) websites as Not Secure in the URL bar. The reason, Chrome Security Product Manager Emily Schechter writes, is to “help users understand that HTTP sites are not secure” and, therefore, should not be trusted.

According to NetMarketShare, Google Chrome’s share was 62.85 percent in May 2018. In a distant second was Internet Explorer, with less than 12 percent. So, this change immediately impacts nearly two-thirds of U.S. internet users. And there’s a high chance other browsers will soon follow suit, which would affect even more people.

If your site is Not Secure, your best move now is to upgrade to HTTPs. Read on for tips on

How to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS

Upgrading your site from a non-secure to HTTPS is relatively easy. If done incorrectly, however, your site’s search performance could suffer.

If you are the admin of a doctor website, the first thing to do is figure out where the website is hosted. If it’s hosted by a company like GoDaddy or Squarespace, the easiest thing to do is contact your hosting company. They should be able to enable HTTPS on your behalf, or they can walk you through the process. (This won’t guarantee you’re in the clear, however, as you’ll learn below.)

If you are hosting your site, then you’ll need to acquire a validation certificate. I recommend obtaining one from, because the site is backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is free and easy to set up, taking about 20 or 30 minutes to do so.

Below are a few additional things to keep in mind when upgrading your site.

1. Avoid mixed content

Occasionally, resources like third-party chat widgets and images are served over HTTP instead of HTTPS. If you have upgraded to HTTPS, you could see errors from these unsecured widgets. In some cases, Google Chrome might block them completely.

2. Update internal links

When you update the navigation as necessary, you’ll want to ensure the links point to the HTTPS version of the website. Of course, you’ll probably have internal links among your content, too. You’ll want to make sure they also get updated. It will avoid warnings from across your site appearing in your patients’ browsers.


3. Add proper redirects & canonicalization

Upon launching the HTTPS version of your site, make sure people are getting to the new pages. To do this, you need to put proper 301 redirects are in place. These are directions that tell anyone — including search engines — that if they go to an HTTP page, to push them to HTTPS.

Also, making the HTTPS pages canonical will help ensure duplicate pages don’t end up in the search results. A proper canonical tag will help avoid duplicate content and direct search engines to your HTTPS pages.

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Why healthcare needs 'patient leaders' to make new solutions work

Why healthcare needs 'patient leaders' to make new solutions work | Social Media and Healthcare |

While leading the health practice at Yahoo, Jack Barrette made a discovery that changed the course of his career.

In the early 2000s, Mr. Barrette — former president of a consumer health strategy consultancy and former health and medicine lead at an online marketing firm — was tasked with building Yahoo's health presence. As part of his effort to expand the company's healthcare reach, he jumped headfirst into Yahoo Groups, a platform where users convened to discuss issues ranging from music to politics to sports. He wanted to understand what made the search engine's users tick.

There, Mr. Barrette discovered thousands of online discussion boards dedicated to healthcare, where passionate users would steer discussions on medical conditions, provide health advice and offer support to one another. "I found a relatively small, but passionate, group of consumers who were helping thousands of others by leading health groups and answering questions," Mr. Barrette said during an interview with Becker's Hospital Review.

Mr. Barrette dubbed these users "patient leaders," and in 2007 he founded WEGO Health, a company centered on the idea healthcare organizations need these advocates to inform improvements to the care delivery process.

"A patient leader is someone who uses their health journey to educate others and raise awareness," explained Mr. Barrette, who now serves as CEO of WEGO Health. "We've been successful in recruiting more than 100,000 patient leaders to WEGO Health by demonstrating our commitment to building their visibility, getting them in front of the industry and ensuring they receive compensation for their time and expertise."

Today, WEGO Health connects its network of patient leaders with hospitals, health startups and drugmakers to ensure these organizations incorporate the patient perspective into the design, development and promotion of their products and services.

Mr. Barrette spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about why this patient-driven innovation is essential for organizations seeking success in today's healthcare landscape.

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Question: What surprised you most about working in the healthcare industry?

Jack Barrette: The disconnect between the industry's goal to improve the patient experience and its failure to make greater strides. Health systems, in particular, have genuine incentives — financial and otherwise — to become truly patient-centered organizations. Getting there requires a commitment to human-centered design, yet most health systems continue to innovate for patients, instead of with patients. The key is to include patients throughout the development lifecycle — it's not enough to get their input at the beginning and then at the end.

Q: What are some challenges you've seen for hospitals looking to engage patients in their healthcare?

JB: A big challenge is doctors and care providers have too little time to connect with their patients, and that is only amplified once the patient walks out the door. Hospitals have struggled to put systems and tools in place that can bridge the engagement gap between visits. Patient portals help only marginally, if at all. We believe health systems could better collaborate with patient leaders to help on this front, especially with significant challenges in the industry related to self-management, medication adherence and behavior change.

Q: WEGO Health's work revolves around the idea of "patient-driven innovation." How do you define patient-driven innovation, and how can the concept help hospitals today?

JB: Patient-driven innovation is what happens when you bring patients to the table as peers, as co-creators and fellow collaborators. There's plenty of evidence to support the fact that hospitals uncover new solutions to improve the patient experience when patients are actively involved in a human-centered design process. At WEGO Health, we connect healthcare companies to our network of patient leaders, most of whom are hyper-connected through online patient communities and social media networks.

Q: What opportunities do you see for hospitals to include patients in the development of new programs and technologies?

JB: At WEGO Health, we see an opportunity for hospitals to involve patients in every phase of the process, from patient journey mapping and personal development to design sprints, user testing and content development. One of our hospital clients recently discovered unmet needs for its epilepsy patients by bringing a patient expert with epilepsy into the design thinking process very early on. The patient is now a member of the advisory board and is as integral to the design process as the clinicians, researchers and health IT team.

More articles on patient engagement:
5 consumer thoughts on healthcare providers' patient engagement
Patients don't care if physicians have tattoos or piercings, study finds
Apple's App Store turns 10 — Here are 4 ways it's tackled healthcare

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Clinical Trial Accrual Challenges: Is Social Media Here to Help? (A. …

Clinical Trial Accrual Challenges: Is Social Media Here to Help? (A. Denicoff)
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5 Social Media Do's and Don'ts for Rheumatologists

5 Social Media Do's and Don'ts for Rheumatologists | Social Media and Healthcare |

It may seem like social media is just for sharing pictures of cute animals, but it's also a great marketing tool for rheumatologists. In fact, according to a survey published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 71% of young rheumatologists and basic scientists use social media professionally.1

Why such a large percentage? Because it works. A whopping 77% of Americans are on social media,2 making it the place to go if you're hoping to connect and interact with patients. Just keep in mind, as a healthcare professional you're held to a higher standard than most. Take a peek at this list of do's and don'ts before you hit send.



1.   Remain current. Follow the accounts of colleagues, thought leaders, and facilities you admire to keep up-to-date on all that's happening outside your practice. Check in regularly and you'll be among the first to know about new case studies and other rheumatology news.


2.   Inform your patients. Help your patients stay current, too. They'll be interested to know what's new in rheumatology. Provide links to content from credible sources and you'll establish yourself as a dependable source of information.



3.   Stay on topic. While a video of an otter dunking a basketball is undoubtedly adorable, it's not relevant to your audience. The things you post should be related to rheumatology. If you wish to share and opine on other subjects, create a personal profile and set it to private.


4.   Keep it simple. It's easy to get caught up in numbers and figures. It's also easy to write an essay when a sentence will do. If you don't address the “so what?” quickly, your audience will move on.


5.   Post regularly. An abandoned social media profile gives the impression you're not tech savvy or, worse yet, not even in business. You don't need to tweet and “like” all day long, but try to set a reasonable target for how frequently you post. Maybe that's once a day, once a week, or even once a month. Whatever target you set, commit to hitting it.




1.   Violate patient privacy rules. Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated because it's that important: do not compromise any patient's privacy online. While HIPAA predates social media, you and your staff are still responsible for upholding its standards. Implement a HIPAA social media policy and train your staff to execute it. When in doubt, follow this rule of thumb: if you wouldn't say it in public, don't say it online.


2.   Accept friend requests from patients. While it may feel rude not to accept your patient's friend request, you need to maintain proper boundaries. Social media can blur the line between professional and personal and alter the way your patients see you.



3.   Give out specific medical advice. If a patient asks a personal health question on social media, politely direct them to contact your office.


4.   Snoop on patients. Every now and then you may be tempted to type a client's name in the search bar. Resist the temptation. Looking through a client's profile is a breach of their privacy and trust.


5.   Rant or complain. No matter how bad your day was, don't take to social media afterward to rant or complain about it. Even if a patient or staff member drove you nuts, know that if you post it online it can – and probably will – come back to bite you.


Remember, there's a right and a wrong way to use social media. Keep these do's and don'ts in mind and you'll stay trouble-free. Now, back to the cute animals on your private profile

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Support & information for radiotherapy patients: how can social media…

Slides from my presentation looking at social media for patient benefit and also for healthcare professionals in the field of cancer and radiation therapy. Pr…
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The Fight for Patient Privacy Under Big Data Analytics

The Fight for Patient Privacy Under Big Data Analytics | Social Media and Healthcare |

A viewpoint review published in JAMAexamined the adequacy of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the “big data” era of MyHealthEData and similar electronic record systems.   


Introduced by the Trump administration in March 2018, the MyHealthEData initiative seeks to broaden patient access to electronic health records and insurance claims information. MyHealthEData and similar electronic systems allow patients to share health information at their discretion, an approach which may enable individuals to identify optimal treatment plans and network with health services. However, the digital sharing of health-related information raises new privacy concerns, not the least of which is the prospect of “invasive marketing” and “discriminatory practices that evade…law.” In the present day, the authors assert, HIPAA-protected data owns a “diminishing share” of health information stored electronically, and privacy regulations should be amended accordingly.


The HIPAA Privacy Rule generally requires written patient authorization for the disclosure of protected health information. Researchers may obtain de-identified data without patient consent only with the approval of a privacy board or institutional review board. This privacy rule has curtained inappropriate access in the past, but modern advances in computation and the growing volume of sensitive data generated outside healthcare settings pose new challenges, the authors say. HIPAA does not cover data produced by noncovered entities or information shared by patients (eg, through social media), and the expanding scope of these influences represents a threat to confidentiality.

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Best Practices When Implementing Social Media Marketing for Your Medical practice

Today just like any other industry, the healthcare sector is also using social media as a healthcare digital marketing platform to engage with potential patien…
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Healthcare Providers, Patients & Social Media

Healthcare Providers, Patients & Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social Media, Healthcare Providers, 

Social media networks are an important method of mass digital communication. Celebrities, politicians and companies have been forced to learn how to use these new channels of communication. Social media provides a direct way to message patients as well as have them engage with their healthcare providers. Medical practitioners have seen this trend developing and are starting to use social media networks as another way to engage with both current and potential patients. The growing importance of social media in the doctor-patient relationship displays the communication challenges facing physicians and other healthcare providers as they meet the needs and expectations of their patients.

To put these new forms of online communication in perspective, people who directly use social media to communicate with their healthcare provider is only a small percentage of the total number of Americans who use social media. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the use of social media networks is defined by a mix of long-standing as well as newly emerging trends. According to the survey, 88 percent of U.S. adults (ages 18 to 29) use some form of social media network. The amount of usage drops as the age of adults increases, falling to 78 percent among adults who are 30 to 49 years old. This trend continues with age, with 64 percent of adults between the ages of 50 to 64 and 37 percent among those 65 years and older using social media platforms.

Facebook and YouTube (Google/Alphabet) are still the most popular social media platforms, with a majority of U.S. adults routinely using each of these sites. Simultaneously, younger Americans stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users. In many instances, people are accessing social media throughout the day. Seventy-four percent of Facebook users, 63 percent of Snapchat users and 60 percent of Instagram users visit those sites one or more times per day. These groups are not exclusive, with many people using multiple social media platforms which creates a sizable overlap between the users of different online services. For example, the survey results showed that 87 percent of people who use Facebook also use YouTube, and 90 percent of people with a LinkedIn account also use Facebook. As with overall use, the average number of social media platforms used was highest among adults 18 to 29 (four), decreasing to three platforms among adults 30 to 49, two among those 50 to 64, and one among those 65 and older.

The increasing use of social media and other online channels is not only occurring among patients. According to the Southern Medical Association, roughly 88 percent of physicians and other healthcare providers use social media as well as the internet to research medical devices, pharmaceutical information, and biotech data. Much like professionals in other fields, doctors are using social media networks as a tool to reach out to other specialists. For example, they can explore the social media pages of pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. Healthcare professionals may even follow the blogs and news update of other practitioners to learn more about their experiences. More professional online networking and social media channels like ZocDocor LinkedIn provide access to online communities and enable users to create CV-like profiles that showcase qualifications, skills and achievements. These specific social media channels allow users to search for members with expertise in many occupational fields, as well as create networks and groups that encourage discussion and collaboration among fellow professionals.

Two popular social media networks that are increasingly used as a messaging/email service are Facebook and Twitter. Here is a brief summary of these social media networks:

Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platform, with roughly 2 billion active monthly users worldwide. The popular social media network was launched on February 4, 2004. Since this time, it has grown in size and dominance. Facebook is centered predominantly on text-based interactions, with the ability to embed photos, links, and videos. This social media network also has a dedicated platform for many industries and fields that use custom analytical tools that make it easier to create paid advertisements. Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platform, so it is used by a diverse group of people. Typically, for medical practices and healthcare providers, Facebook’s content is directed toward patient advocacy and patient engagement.

Twitter is centered on text-based interactions between users called tweets. As of April 2017, Twitter had 328 million active monthly users, with more than 1 billion unique visits to websites embedded within tweets (messages). Originally, tweets were composed of no more than 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, the limit was doubled to 280 characters. Tweeting on this platform provides a brief but direct communication to all followers of a user. Other users can stumble upon tweets when they search for specific hashtags. With its large user base and text-centered format, discussions on Twitter can include comments and responses to individual tweets on a specific topic. Apart from text-based capabilities, users are also able to embed media such as links, pictures, and videos within tweets. The use of media has become more prevalent, and many users now add images or videos to supplement text-based tweets.

The various social media platforms have inherent advantages and disadvantages. However, the ways in which patients and healthcare providers interact has forever changed. Communication channels that patients now use include phone, e-mail, a social media platform and/or a healthcare-specific web portal. Patients who are under 30 are more comfortable using text or e-mail to contact their healthcare providers. Similarly, this age cohort of patients is more comfortable researching personal health information through online resources. Older patients are willing to use newer communication channels like online portals for communication purposes, but still prefer to use more traditional methods of communication like the telephone. Over time, older patients will likely adopt the style of communication that younger patients use, emailing, social media and texting. Naturally, measures should be taken to ensure the protection of patient privacy when using social media to communicate with patients.

For additional questions or comments please contact us. We will explore this topic in future articles as social media technology increasingly becomes embedded in people’s everyday activities. Advanced Billing & Consulting Services is a full-service medical billing company. Our services range from credentialing and digital marketing to HCBS Waiver billing and workforce management tools.

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Using Social Media to Market Your Medical Products 

Using Social Media to Market Your Medical Products  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a powerful marketing tool that every type of business can benefit from using. Whether you’re using Instagram to sell or just using it as a way to advertise, getting your business on social media seems to be a necessity these days. While every business can benefit from it, not all advertising and marketing methods will be as effective for one type as they will for another. For example, marketing medical products on social media is a lot different than marketing clothing and may require a unique approach.

Rather than publishing your favorite clothing-related memes among posts about your latest arrivals, when you use social media to market your medical products, you have to do things differently. Your tone will generally need to be more serious, and your approach will need to be more formal in some cases; however, you can use it to build trust, help your products stand out, and educate your followers, making it an important tool to use.

If you’re just getting started or are ready to revamp your social media pages, here are a few tips to help you use social media to market your medical products right:

Get On The Right Platform

Different platforms are designed for and used by different demographics. LinkedIn, for example, is not the place to post personal photos and information about your vacation. Facebook and Instagram, on the other hand, are full of people who love seeing those types of things. So, which social media platforms are best for medical products?

Facebook, being a general platform that covers everything from musicians to food manufacturers, is a platform that your business needs to be on. It’s free to use, it helps you easily connect with your followers, and it enables you to target new customers through ads with niche demographic options.

In some cases, Pinterest is also a social media platform that your business should be on. If your product is both beauty and medicine related, then it’s a great place to advertise and educate. Posting on Pinterest can help you pick up new customers and educate those who may not know the truth about your product and the specific conditions that it helps.

There are also several niche social media sites that are designed specifically for healthcare providers; however, they may be a great option for you and your business as well. Whether you advertise or maintain a profile to interact with providers who offer your products to their patients, it’s important to be on the networks that your target audience is on too.

Let It Help You With Market Research

When you run a business, it’s important to conduct market research. Not only when you’re first launching, but throughout the life of your business as well. The more information you can gather about what your target audience wants and what feedback they’re giving about your product, the better. Social media is a great way to gather that info and use it in your market research, helping you improve your product and make it better for your clients.

Even if they aren’t following your brand’s page(s), people will say stuff about your business that you can monitor and watch, then use to help you make the changes you need to or to know what you’re doing right so that you can continue to focus on that area.

Use It To Educate

One of the biggest challenges today is properly educating clients on your products. Not only do you have to educate them about the benefits and proper use of your product, but sometimes you may have to educate them on the dangers and misinformation out there about other products that are similar to yours. Luckily, social media is a quick and easy way to start getting the word out about your products and educating your clients and potential clients properly. In doing so, you will build up trust and authority in the space and establish yourself as a resource for those looking into your product and products like yours.

It’s important to remember, though, that not all of your clients are familiar with the jargon used in your industry or the technical terms and explanations. On top of that, people reading online don’t typically want to read long, detailed explanations, so keeping it short, understandable, but informational is important. If you want some examples of brands using education to engage their audience, check this out.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used by businesses in many ways. From connecting with clients to educating them, or using it as a way to offer customer service, every business should be on the social media platforms where their target audiences are and take full advantage of the benefits social media has to offer.

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