Social Media and Healthcare
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Incorporating Social Media into Medical Education

Slides from Social Media workshop for medical educators at Academic Internal Medicine Week 2010. Presenters represent 3 different universities and different rol
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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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Thought Leadership In Digital Health 

Thought Leadership In Digital Health  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social networking behemoth Facebook has taken a lot of flack for its role in the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath. In response to this controversy, Mark Zuckerberg announced in January that the Facebook news feed would be getting a bit of a makeover.


Specifically, the new layout makes sure users mostly see status updates and photos from family and friends while limiting things like news articles and anything shared by brands. While this change certainly has its merit, it could also have a different impact on both patients and healthcare companies.


The epidemic of “fake news” so rampant on Facebook has affected health information just as much as politics. Without question, limiting the amount of this potentially damaging content that patients see is a good thing.


That said, there is plenty of resourceful, valid and good health information shared on Facebook.


WEGO Health study of patient influencers found that 87% of study participants say they share health information via Facebook posts. As one patient influencer put it, “Any kind of information is helpful so we definitely look into every aspect of everything and Facebook is a big help.”


The recent news feed changes may potentially eliminate a genuinely positive source of health information for patients.


For many patients, Facebook’s biggest value is found in groups. In both public and private groups, patients are finding thriving communities where they can engage with other patients around specific health conditions. The changes won’t affect the groups themselves but they could limit how often new group content is seen on users’ news feeds.


Patient Leaders may actually see a boost to their engagement thanks to the news feed changes. In a WEGO Health Alzheimer’s Patient Influencer case study, we found that engagement was both higher overall and more consistent after Facebook’s changes. Patient Leaders can capitalize on this by being authentic and creating truly valuable content.


For the healthcare company, the impact may be even more dramatic. Engagement has been on a decline for the majority of brands already but this change may well lead to a drastic drop. While Patient Leaders are treated much like “friends and family” on users’ news feeds, brands are categorically not.


The option to pay to boost posts and run ads on the platform will likely become even more important in order to engage with patients. Brands can also encourage users to mark them as a “see first” page to ensure their content is seen.


Perhaps the best option for healthcare companies is to create content that encourages even more engagement. This could include live videos and campaigns that feature user-generated content. Zuckerberg has said that “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” Finding ways to start conversation is key.


Healthcare companies should recognize that Patient Leaders can be a huge asset in this regard. By engaging with trusted Patient Influencers to help them make their content valuable and interactive, healthcare companies may see a significant boost rather than a decline. As a bonus, this kind of content is good for patients as well.


Zuckerberg suggests that the news feed changes will be good for the mental health of users. This is almost certainly true and that is a very good thing. The news feed changes will benefit Patient Leaders, as long as they continue to provide valuable and engaging content. If the healthcare company is strategic in thinking about how to offer value and inspire engagement, however, the Facebook changes could actually end up being enormously beneficial to all parties.



About the Author


Laurel Netolicky has been in the digital and social media space for over 15 years, and she specializes in forming sincere and productive relationships. Every day at WEGO Health, she works to create collaborative connections between patient community leaders and healthcare businesses while continuing WEGO Health’s growth as a caring and informative company. Laurel spends her free time as an avid runner, boater, cook and mom to her twins.


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Millennials: From Social Media in Healthcare to Rich Patient Relationships with Cutting-Edge Communications 

Millennials: From Social Media in Healthcare to Rich Patient Relationships with Cutting-Edge Communications  | Social Media and Healthcare |

For business leaders, millennials are a source of intrigue, opportunity, and sometimes even apprehension. When it comes to the healthcare industry and its trends, this is no small consideration — and it's not just about social media in healthcare. As Steve Bullock at MediaPostpoints out, millennials are plugging into "online forums, social media, health apps, wearables … and want multi-channel access to all their healthcare-related business."

Reaching digital natives goes beyond social media in healthcare — it's about providing more robust and integrated ways to engage with and care for the millennial population.

Millennials' love for dynamic, real-time, interactive digital experiences is changing how healthcare organizations reach them, take care of them, and earn their business and loyalty. This demographic, aged 20 to 35, wields spending power on the scale of $1.3 trillion — the biggest spend out there, according to Agency Ascend — and they are also the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, according to Inc.

In an age of immediate, personalized interactions, building communications channels that reflect millennials' wants and needs will shape how the healthcare industry builds its own future, influencing how offerings and opportunities evolve over time. Here are some pathways to earning millennials' attention and loyalty, while also keeping digital-first healthcare solutions on the cutting edge of quality and compliance.

Millennials Put in the Healthcare Homework

One of the healthcare trends that's shaping the future of the industry is how millennials use their digital resources to educate themselves as patients before they talk to their doctors. As Bullock reports in his article, 54 percent of millennials have consulted as many as seven information sources for purposes of self-diagnosis.

That's social media in healthcare at work, but the conversation grows even louder when healthcare organizations enter the picture.

Digital natives are already creating a profound impact on healthcare, and millennials are on the leading edge of this change.

Digital Natives Expect Speedy Solutions and DIY Options

Digital solutions are increasingly cloud based, and with the cloud comes the agility of unified communications. This is important in healthcare, an industry in which dynamic, flexible, and speedy person-to-person contact is critical to patient outcomes.

Unified communications solutions are capable of extending far beyond the more familiar elements such as automated routing that cuts down on patient wait time. For example, the patient may benefit from an impromptu telehealth session. In this case, a voice call can evolve into a video conference from whatever device is in play. Healthcare professionals can take the session a further step if necessary, instantly bringing in a second opinion or a companion consultation with the ease of a click, tap, or swipe.

Patient engagement strategies are changing: The digital world is increasingly a self-serve ecosystem, and healthcare is no exception. Take appointment scheduling and records management, for example. Millennials want self-service options that let them skip phone queues — they don't expect to spend time on hold — and they don't want to repeatedly fill out paper forms. Unified communications can satisfy these patients, creating on-screen billing access, pre-visit and symptom-input tools, and do-it-yourself scheduling.

Personalization: Rich Relationships Run on Data

Data in the digital space is on everybody's mind, and when it's put to nuanced, permissions-based uses, patient data helps physicians build insight-rich relationships.

Millennials expect conversational commerce. This means a lot more than relying upon data to simply prompt appointment reminder texts. It's about deeper lines of two-way communication that bring a patient's history and a physician's records together in private, selective, compassionate ways that link every visit — in-person or not — to the spectrum of care the patient has experienced.

Millennials and Beyond: Healthcare Depends on QoS

With the well-being of every patient in play, business communications downtime during physician–patient appointments is simply unacceptable. The good news is that newer solutions in the unified communications space include SD-WAN systems that can ensure backup communications reliability should a healthcare organization's MPLS or other in-house system experience an interruption.

And since solutions like SD-WAN are cloud based and never need a physical upgrade, they're also economical ways to meet healthcare's critical QoS standards.

Social Media in Healthcare: Embracing the Digital Future

Digital natives are already creating a profound impact on healthcare, and millennials are on the leading edge of this change. But the industry must also keep its eye on the next up-and-coming generation. As Generation Z begins to drive business in the years to come, they will bring billions in their own spending power to the table.

For the healthcare organizations that successfully engage these younger patients, the steps considered here are pathways to the industry's future. Embracing the future of healthcare means the start of a vibrant and healthy digital conversation for every physician and patient.

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Beware of pseudoscience: The desperate need for physicians on social media

The power of social media is clearly evident in cases such as the Russian influence on our election and Mark Zuckerberg‘s realization of the need for transparency on his powerful platform of Facebook. However, maybe not so evident, is the transformative power of social media on health care trends and misinformation.

A popular new term for the misinformation regarding medical topics has arisen: pseudoscience. It has run rampant on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Why does this matter? Like it or not, social media and the internet is the way Americans are receiving information regarding important medical choices in their lives. They can find an answer to a question regarding a health concern in less than five seconds by searching Facebook or google about the HPV vaccine.  If physicians aren’t writing about these topics, someone else will.



As a board-certified OB/GYN, I was curious to see what patients actually find out when they are searching for the HPV vaccine. I did a search to see what I (and they) might find. I was disgusted, angry and even saddened by what I found. There was story after story about the HPV vaccine that was neither medically correct, verified, or quoted from a reputable source. Sensationalized stories floated to the top of search engines results, and the boring, true, evidenced-based information was buried under the hyperbole.

Tucked away and surrounded by like-minded individuals during my medical training and residency, I was blissfully unaware of the public’s perception of the HPV vaccine or frankly any medical treatment recommendations regardless of specialty. I ignorantly assumed most people go to their physician first for medical information. I’ll be honest: I didn’t often check Facebook or Twitter as I was consumed by medical practice.


In addition, there are very strict rules placed upon physicians by their employers and hospitals where they work. Most physicians stay away from any social media outlets out of fear of lawsuit or concern for their employer seeking retribution for voicing opinions that they do not endorse. This dated outlook must change so that we can connect with patients in a more modern way.

Unfortunately, right now we are left with massive amounts of misinformation on the Internet about medical issues without a physician perspective.  The barriers have been 1) lack of time for physicians encompassed by patient care and clinical duties having little time for other endeavors 2) the above mentioned legal or employment constraints.

How do we rectify this? Academic institutions need to be vocal on places like Facebook and Twitter where patients are looking for information. We need to allow doctors to speak their minds (perhaps also with a legal clause that their views are their own and not linked to their employers/hospital), but they need a voice nonetheless.


One on one patient counseling is, of course, important and necessary in some cases. However, imagine how many people you could reach by writing an article about the HPV vaccine from the physician’s point of view. We as physicians need to be better about distilling this information to our patients. This is our responsibility. Of course, the public is going to be drawn more to stories of human interest regarding vaccines and latest trends instead of dry, data-heavy medical journals. Articles with only complicated statistics, and unnecessarily ostentatious medical jargon are boring for even those of us who love science and statistics.

We need to tell our stories, of course in a HIPAA compliant way, but tell them in a way people will want to listen or read them.

So, Mark Zuckerberg and wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, I’m reaching out to you. Please lead the way again with social media. Help our patients to understand the lack of veracity behind the viral post they are reading that correlates the HPV vaccine to the death of a young girl without any established causative factors. Please stop the propagation of incorrect medical facts and pseudoscience that make it so hard to gain patient’s trust. To the hospital CEOs, let your physicians have a voice. Stop threatening with retaliation for their presence on social media outlets. This is an under-utilized and impactful way for your physicians to make a difference and be heard.

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Social media: A new tool in the doctor’s bag?

Social media: A new tool in the doctor’s bag? | Social Media and Healthcare |

When you Google your doctor’s name, have you ever considered that your doctor could be Googling yours too? A survey at a major urban medical center found that, although most doctors do not regularly Google their patients, 93 percent of the psychiatrists surveyed had Googled at least one patient. The most commonly reported reasons were “patient care” and “curiosity.”

As this study suggests, information on the internet could possibly provide useful information about patients. There are already publications about social media searches positively affecting medical care. One casedescribed a 13-year-old girl who was brought to the emergency department after her parents found posts discussing suicide on her Facebook page. The physician then diagnosed the girl as a suicide risk based on her statements and the Facebook posts.

Another paper discussed an emergency response training exercise that compared a team with access to Twitter and Facebook versus a conventional no-media team. The team with social media access responded to mock casualties significantly quicker than the conventional response team.

The use of social media postings for healthcare is already occurring in isolated scenarios, and it will likely grow faster for populations that use social media heavily.

As a medical student going into pediatrics, these reports made me think of my future patient population. I’ve seen teenagers at their pediatrician’s office for well visits, in the emergency room for accidents, and in hospital beds for serious treatment; the one thing they all had in common was a smartphone in their face. Frequently, they were scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or some other social media website, posting updates on their every move and emotion.

Two colleagues and I recently wrote an article encouraging primary care doctors to discuss social media habits with their adolescent patients. This is important as adolescents may become addicted to social media or find themselves involved in high-risk activities such as cyberbullying or communication with sexual predators. Moreover, we believe a physician cannot thoroughly assess a teenager’s social health without inquiring about their internet habits.

At first, many of us might consider a physician viewing their social media page as a privacy violation. However, 70 percent of employers look up social media pages to screen applicants, 35 percent of college admission officers have looked up applicants’ social media pages, and it’s hard to argue that anything posted on a global interface can ever be considered “private.” The question at hand should not be privacy per se, but clinical appropriateness.

Not every tool in the physician’s toolbox is appropriate for use all the time. I anticipate viewing patients’ social media pages to work the same way. Not every patient will warrant it, but it may be a useful tool in certain situations. As with all diagnostic tools, the decision to use will require balancing the positives and negatives.

For example, the possible inaccuracy and exaggeration of online posts may distort the physician’s assessment; therefore, the potential benefit of viewing their online presence would need to outweigh the consequences of finding inaccurate information.

There are too many unresolved concerns to recommend that physicians routinely incorporate viewing patients’ social media pages in their history and physical. There is still too little research on its effects, there are no guidelines on which sites are best to search, and there are no standards regarding physician liability or consent for minors.

However, we should support future research of this practice to answer these questions and establish regulations that encourage innovative and holistic care. 

-By Danielle Clark, fourth-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine

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Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice?

Which Social Media Platform Is Best-Suited For Your Dental Practice? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Chances are, your dental practice is on social media. Chances also are that you are not using it appropriately. Maybe you have a dull account with whatever social network was popular at the time you signed up, and you post whatever and whenever you find the time. Or maybe you have joined almost every social network and are now spending way too much time and energy trying to keep up.

As with any form of marketing and advertising, it pays to be strategic on social media, as well. You are better off choosing a few social media platforms and using them to their full potential.

Some practices have not yet begun to harness the potential of social media marketing. By spending as little as five hours a week, more than 66 percent of healthcare marketers enjoy enhanced lead generation with social media. A well-executed social media strategy can improve your search rankings, drive more traffic and increase conversion rates.

However, how can you develop an effective social media strategy when you do not even know which platforms to choose? With a plethora of options, it can get overwhelming to determine whether your practice needs to build an online presence using Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

When it comes to choosing the right social networks, there are some factors to consider, from target audience to how your content and business goals will fit within its framework. Here is the complete guide to choosing the right social media platforms for your dental practice:


With more than 1.7 billion active users, Facebook is the go-to social media platform for most businesses. Using Facebook, you can share visually appealing and informative content with your target audience. Facebook also help you to gather feedback from your existing patients. However, you have to be sure to monitor patient comments and respond promptly.

Audience: Usually between 15 and 49 years old. According to recent research, nearly 91 percent of millennials have Facebook accounts.

Best suited for: Practices looking to nurture long-term patient relationships.

The catch: Facebook operates primarily on a pay-for-play model, which means that your content share and posts may not reach a wider audience unless you are paying to boost your posts or advertisements. Per Facebook, for as little as $3, your posts could reach up to 500 people.

Should you be on Facebook?

Definitely yes, but only if you do not mind the intense competition. According to a report, more than 70 percent of online users use Facebook. It is by far the most popular social media platform. If your target audience uses the Internet, they are highly likely to be on Facebook. However, Facebook News Feed is a crowded place for your dental practice updates.


Instagram has more than 800 million monthly active users and claims to have one of the highest engagement rates of any social media platform. Instagram claims to be the best platform for reaching millennials and other users who appreciate a good picture or video. This platform prefers visually appealing content, which sees more engagement here. However, avoid using stock photography on Instagram.

While considering Instagram, do not forget about hashtags. While other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter use one or two hashtags per post, Instagram encourages as many hashtags as possible, as long as they are relevant.

Audience: Nearly 90 percent of Instagram users are under the age of 35.

Best suited for: Practices that are looking for brand promotion by posting and sharing visually appealing content.

The catch: It may get difficult to measure direct ROI. In addition, it is difficult to link your Instagram account to a webpage except in your bio, which makes this platform better for brand promotion or assisting other social media efforts.

Should you be on Instagram?

Yes, especially if visually appealing content is your forte. Instagram works excellently in combination with Facebook or Twitter and may help your practice grow and thrive.


With more than 7,000 tweets every minute, Twitter can secure a place in your social media strategy if you want to have real-time communication with your target audience. Twitter perfectly blends all types of creative communication, including videos, graphics and text. You can use features like polls and hashtags to catch the attention of its more than 350 million users.

According to a survey, 42 percent of Twitter users expect to receive a response within an hour of posting their query or concern. The USP of Twitter is that it can make your posts go viral within hours. You will attract more followers when your existing followers Like or Share your content. You can post news, dentistry updates and general articles on Twitter. Hashtags can help you increase momentum for your posts, so try to include as many relevant hashtags as you can.

However, your tweets can get buried in a users feed. Therefore, in order to maintain excellent visibility, it is essential to tweet at least a few times a day. While Twitter also allows prescheduled tweets, you should combine them with regular posts in order to increase patient engagement.

Audience: Twitter users are the most diverse in terms of age groups, but the majority of users are between 18 and 50 years old.

Best suited for: Practices with plenty of content to share and a goal to connect directly with existing and potential patients.

The catch: If your tweets are not live or trending, they may have a short lifespan. For high levels of patient engagement and a high follower count, you will have to be very active and share useful content regularly.

Should you be on Twitter?

Yes, especially if you are targeting a younger, tech-savvy crowd. Current and diverse content works great on Twitter. However, do keep in mind that a tweet reaches its peak after 18 minutes, so it is important to get your next tweet ready fast.


Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is not just for travelers, foodies or fashionistas. With more than 100 million active users, it is one of the few platforms where older content can also do well.

Pinterest is essentially a visual platform on which people can “pin” content to their boards, which makes it one of the most effective platforms for website traffic referrals. This platform can work well if you have a “cool-looking” office or special offers or discounts that can be communicated visually. For instance, if you focus on cosmetic dentistry, you can utilize Pinterest to post visual content that establishes that side of your brand image and reputation. Remember not to overuse image filters, and get trained on ways to display visually appealing graphics and marketing images. When pinning content, do not forget to optimize your images.

Audience: Nearly 85 percent of users are females, and 67 percent are millennials.

Best suited for: Practices that can share visually appealing content or can experiment with behind-the-scenes images or before-and-after images of patients, but with patients’ consent.

The catch: This platform is generally slow-moving and can be challenging to attract a large following. However, if you can manage to generate fresh content that is visually appealing, it can prove to be an ideal platform.

Should you be on Pinterest?

Yes, but only if you can frequently create content that is a treat to the eyes.


Initially created as a social networking platform, LinkedIn has grown to become a powerhouse for small and Fortune 500 businesses alike, with more than 100 million users. If you want to network with your colleagues, peers and community, you must have an active presence on this platform.

Maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn will increase the visibility of your practice among other professionals. You can increase your professional credibility by staying active in LinkedIn groups and commenting on other posts.

While there are different opinions about what should and should not be posted on LinkedIn, a good rule of thumb is to stick to content that looks professional and is relevant to your dental practice.

Audience: More than 50 percent of users are between the ages of 30 and 64.

Best suited for: Practices that work with other professionals and want to increase quality and quantity of their professional referrals.

The catch: Unless you are a recruiter, you should not be selling anything directly to LinkedIn users. The only reason for your LinkedIn presence is to promote your brand, not any specific products.

Should you be on LinkedIn?

Yes, but only if you can play the business game. LinkedIn’s niche audience is full of great insights on productivity, ethics, networking and recruitment.

Which platforms can bring you the most business?

Although we believe any dental practice needs just three social media platforms, this may not apply to every dentist. Eventually, it all comes down to your specific needs and business goals. Experts recommend Facebook and Instagram (followed by a few more) to build your dental brand and bring in more patients. However, it is advised to focus on one social platform first and gradually span out from there.

Facebook is one of the best social networking sites for maintaining close contact with your existing and potential patients. Not only will this platform help you build and sustain the loyalty of existing patients, but it will also help attract new patients. The secret to successful dental social media marketing lies in the value your services can offer to your patients.

Social media for dentists is getting more critical as time passes, and you should not fall behind your competitors. At Practice Builders, we provide targeted social media marketing services to help dentists increase their brand awareness and bring in new patients. Now is the time to start! The Practice Builders team would love to help you.

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Survey Finds Patients Want to be Friends with their Physicians on Social Media

Survey Finds Patients Want to be Friends with their Physicians on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

A new survey from the American Osteopathic Association finds more than half of millennials (54%) and more than four out of 10 (42%) adults are or would like to be friends with or follow their healthcare providers on social media. The online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll in April 2018 on behalf of the AOA.1


The survey also found nearly two thirds of millennials (65%) and 43 percent of all adults feel it is appropriate to contact their physician(s) about a health issue through social media either by posting on their page or direct messaging them. Doctors, however, are still navigating how to manage the patient relationship on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms that are traditionally designed for sharing content that is not private or sensitive.

"Please don't send me a picture of your rash on Facebook Messenger," says Jennifer Caudle, DO, an osteopathic family physician and associate professor at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. "I want to be an active part of my patient's care, but social media does open up opportunities for over-sharing or providing information that would be best managed in the office setting or through designated telemedical technology," says Dr. Caudle, who has built a vast social media following and is a regular television guest on health matters.

Health professionals are broadly prohibited from communication over social media if any information shared could be used to identify a patient. Over the past few years, the Department of Health and Human Services has instituted numerous policies and standards to guide practitioners who use social media.2

Still, some physicians find social media to be an effective tool for sharing important medical information.

"People—and young people in particular—don't go to the doctor as often as they should but they are interested in improving their health and wellness," says Mikhail Varshavski, DO, an osteopathic family physician in New York City who is the most "followed" doctor on social media. "If I can inspire a positive lifestyle change in someone through YouTube, then I've been an effective physician."

Better known as 'Doctor Mike,' Dr. Varshavski reaches millions weekly through his popular YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. He believes that social media is breaking down communication barriers that previously existed in health care, and driving the wellness conversation around important topics including burnout, addiction, nutrition and mental health.

Meeting patients where they are

Dr. Varshavski's approach aligns with the third survey finding: Nearly one-third of Americans (32%) have taken an action related to their health (e.g., changed diet, exercise or medication, taken supplements or tried an alternative treatment such as acupuncture), as a result of information they read on social media. Moreover, 15 percent of parents of kids under 18 have self-diagnosed a health concern as a result of information they read on social media.

"As an osteopathic physician, I went into this field to make differences in lives by not only treating disease but also through education and prevention," says Dr. Varshavski. "Social media is a tool doctors can use to continue this mission, one that can influence the health decisions of millions," he continued.

While health information sourced from social media has been shown to help patients make better informed decisions, people must be certain they are seeking out credible sources and limiting consumption if it's causing anxiety, cautions Dr. Caudle. Research has found "health anxious" individuals may not benefit from increased access to online health information, forums and 'Dr. Google,' which can generate anxiety and may even influence a patient's perceptions of their symptoms.3

"Social media and other digital platforms hold great promise for improving health outcomes," says Dr. Caudle, "but the conversation should start in the doctor's office—and in some cases remain there."

According to Pew Research, 69 percent of the U.S. public uses some type of social media. Among 18-29 year-olds, that number is 88 percent.  Forty percent of people ages 18-24 do not see a medical professional annually.4

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Have You Googled Yourself?

Slides from my May 16, 2018 presentation as a webinar for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
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5 Reasons Your Medical Practice Needs a Visual Marketing Plan

5 Reasons Your Medical Practice Needs a Visual Marketing Plan | Social Media and Healthcare |

To start with, here are the key stats you must know about the importance of including visual content in your healthcare marketing plan in 2018:

  • Nearly 37 percent of marketers said visual marketing was important for their business, second only to blogging (38%). (Source: Social Media Examiner)
  • Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it. (Source: Animoto)
  • Eye-tracking studies show that Internet users pay more attention to information-carrying images. When the visual graphics are relevant, readers spend more time on the web page looking at the images than reading plain text. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)
  • Studies show our brain not only processes visual content faster, but it also retains and transmits information faster when it is delivered visually.
  • Tweets with graphics and visuals receive 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets than plain text tweets. (Source: Buffer)

One healthcare marketing trend that is impossible to ignore is the growing influence and power of visual content. Just look at the fastest-growing social media networks: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

The way Internet users — especially millennials — are consuming online content is radically changing. If what an average human consumes in just one minute online tells a fact, people are engaging with, connecting to, searching for, watching and downloading visual content more than ever. As a healthcare marketer, it is critical to adapt your marketing plan to maintain a competitive edge.

Visual content increases brand recognition, awareness and engagement. It also enhances the overall impact of your healthcare marketing plan by effectively communicate your message to your target audience. Visual content such as pictures, infographics, illustrations and videos are some of the most effective forms of content that are having a huge impact on the way patients consume healthcare information. Most of your visual assets will continue to grow in importance over the next few years.

Another reason that makes visual content more appealing is that most people have an innate psychological resonance with visual content. According to a report, nearly 54 percent of people prefer to receive useful information in the form of videos instead of email newsletters or social media posts. In addition, information that is presented using effective visuals and graphics is more memorable than plain text-based content. With visuals, you can convey emotions that are not possible with plain text. Human emotions usually lead to action, and action usually leads to conversions. This is why landing pages with attractive visuals convert 80 percent better than those without visual content.

Visual content is gaining an important place in the healthcare marketing plans of most medical practices, regardless of their size, specialty and location. Most healthcare marketers use innovative forms of visual content to connect with their existing and potential patients, engage with them and convert prospects into loyal patients. According to a study, using the word “video” in the subject line of your email can increase click-through rates by 65 percent, increase open rates by 19 percent and reduce un-subscribers by more than 26 percent.

Brand building and visual content go hand in hand. If you are looking to improve your brand image and want to be recognized as a thought leader in your niche, you need to create persuasive content that resonates with your target audience. Your content should tell your story and maximize your online outreach. However, with hundreds and thousands of medical practices spawning every single day, it gets harder to cut through the noise and convey your message to the target audience. According to healthcare marketing experts, 2018 is the year when individual medical practices and larger healthcare facilities should explore newer content types to acquire new patients and improve their online reputation.

How Does Visual Marketing Work?

Digital healthcare marketing relies on strategies. Many healthcare marketers are turning toward visual marketing as a means to convey messages to their target audience. Whether you are writing blog posts to attract more patients to your practice or you are optimizing your website to improve conversion rates, it is important to sit down and think about how to move forward. Industry experts recommend including visual elements as part of your new healthcare marketing campaigns.

The idea of visual marketing is that it stops readers from skipping past you on social media or a blog post that you have shared. The beauty of visual marketing is that it allows you to break down complex information and help readers digest more information through your visual elements.

One of the most effective forms of visual content is video. According to a study, video reaches three times as many people and gets 20 percent more attention than standard text blog posts. Video engages your target audience and guides them through the patient journey like no other medium can. Your video content can help nurture relationships and help you stay top-of-mind with potential patients.

Visual marketing is an effective way to build brand awareness because the majority of people are turning to online content for entertainment and education. Visual content provides opportunities for creativity and versatility, and if done right, it does not eat into your marketing budget. With effective visual content, your can improve conversion rates, increase patient outreach and improve patient engagement levels.

Benefits of Visual Marketing

Are you launching a new product or service? Are you looking to launch an effective digital marketing campaign that gives your medical practice the attention it deserves? If yes, then turn to visual marketing. Nearly 71 percent of marketers agree that visuals outperform any other form of marketing content. This is why 45 percent of businesses have an explainer video on their landing page, and 83 percent of those businesses feel their explainer videos are effective.

Emotionally charged and creative visual content can spread on the Internet like wildfire, getting millions of views within a few days. A well-made and effective visual or graphic can become your best patient acquisition and marketing tool.

Undoubtedly, visual marketing is one of the newest additions to your healthcare marketing toolbox. Here are some of the key reasons why you should consider visual marketing to market your practice:

1. Attracts your audience’s attention:Visuals can speak a thousand words and engage your audience more effectively. The current fast-paced, digitally powered world leaves us with shorter attention spans. By integrating visuals with plain content, you can help your target audience absorb more information and keep their attention longer. Studies prove that people retain 65 percent of information after three days when the plain text is combined with visuals. Stimulating your target audience’s imaginations will heighten their creative thinking, allowing for a more profound understanding and retention of your marketing message.

2. Gets more followers: Sharing effective visuals generates more traffic and responses and reaches a greater audience. By sharing more visuals, your target audience can easily share, like and respond to them for greater impact. In addition, visual content on social networks is 40 times more likely to be shared than any other form of content. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 60 percent of social marketers used video content in 2015. The latest features on social networks encourage sharing of video content. However, on social networks, people are more interested in sharing emotions, not facts. Though emotions cannot directly increase your ROI, social shares can drive more targeted traffic to your website.

3. Increases ROI and conversions: In order to get you more excited, 83 percent of businesses say visual content provides a good return on investment. Creating good-quality visuals is not a simple task, but the gains are significant. For instance, adding a video on your website can increase conversion rates by almost 80 percent. Video can also lead directly to appointments. According to a study, 74 percent of viewers who watched a product video subsequently bought it.

4. Builds trust: Trust is the foundation any medical practice. Visual content is likely to engage users and ignite emotions. For instance, some people are skeptical about trying a new healthcare provider. But effective visual marketing can present your practice and services in a conversational form. This is why 57 percent of users feel videos about a business or services make them more confident.

5. Google prefers visual content: Videos increase the time spent by visitors on your website, which signals search engines that your website has relevant content. According to Moovly, a company is 53 times more likely show up on the first two pages of Google if it has a video embedded on its website. However, be sure to optimize your videos for SEO.

Types of Visual Content

Here are four types of visuals that will take your healthcare marketing to the next level:

1. Product demonstrations: Product videos allow your existing and potential patients to see your products and services at their own convenience, without relying on your staff members to walk them through the process. Including videos on your product page will increase visitors’ time on that page, which may increase the likelihood that they might convert. Product videos will highlight your products’ features and benefits while effectively engaging your target audience. These videos are particularly beneficial for prospects who are in the awareness stages of the buyer’s journey and looking for a comprehensive explanation of your services. You can also consider including product update videos on your practice website. These videos can keep your patients updated about the latest changes to your service offerings. In addition, product update videos can educate your target audience and help increase product adoption.

2. Patient testimonials: This is one of the quickest and easiest forms of visuals to produce. It is also one of the most powerful because there is no better salesperson for your practice than a satisfied patient. Most potential patients do not trust testimonials written on a third-party website because there is no way of ensuring if the comments are genuine. However, a video is quite convincing. Video testimonials will not only tell a success story but will also empower happy patients to share their stories in their own words. This will create a much more powerful message for both marketing and conversion purposes. Patient testimonial videos can play an integral role in attracting new patients.

3. Educational video: Explainer or educational videos are an excellent way of introducing your practice to potential patients and explaining your services. These videos are simple and easy to follow, pointing out how you address your patients’ health issues. Explainer videos can increase your conversions by almost 20 percent, so consider adding one to your landing pages. By the end of your explainer video, your viewers should be ready to take the desired action based on the information they have learned in your video. While product videos will ultimately be replaced by updated videos, educational videos will provide value for a long time.

4. Behind-the-scenes pictures or video: These pictures or videos can give you the opportunity to interact with your target audience by telling them your story. Behind-the-scenes images allow your target audience to become familiar with your practice and the unique value it offers. Sharing these visuals is particularly important for individual practices because they have the potential to increase patient awareness and highlight the unique services that set your brand apart from competitors. One of the best ways to make your practice seem more trustworthy is to share visuals that provide a glimpse of your values and culture.

Final Word

With online visual content becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information needs, medical practices that fail to include visuals in their marketing campaigns will do so at their peril. Visuals are the future of healthcare marketing. According to Nielsen, almost 64 percent of marketers are expecting visuals, especially video content, to dominate their online strategies shortly.

When it comes to potential reach, visual content is incomparable. For instance, YouTube attracts more than 1 billion unique visitors every month, which is more than any other social network, except Facebook. Video can give you access to a vast community of online video viewers. Engage your viewers and they will not only share your visuals with others but also spend more quality time on your website. For social media marketing, SEO campaigns and online marketing strategies, visuals are the best tools in your arsenal. Now think this: If your target audience is reacting favorably to your plain text, imagine how they will react if you combine text with attractive visuals. The conversions will be as good as their reaction.

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Pros and cons of using social media in healthcare marketing

Pros and cons of using social media in healthcare marketing | Social Media and Healthcare |
Pros :
1. Doctors can connect with patients and establish relationships online, allowing them to build credibility and trust with the growing social media community.
2. Most cost-effective way to reach patients and influence them .
3. Targeted marketing helps directly reach the exact person who is conscious about the treatment needed.
4. It extends the reach of medicine to rural areas without access to high quality care, and it also enables patients to consult with specialists.
5. Brands can facilitate groups with similar diseases that might want to get together to talk about their treatments, their symptoms, things they’ve tried.
This leads to improved brand image, increased reach and create a smart point of contact.
1. Privacy- Social Media team needs to secure the SOP, making sure that confidential patient information doesn’t leak out of the organization.
2. Compliance: There can be regulatory and legal issues through content as healthcare needs to follow that strictly.
3. Control – You can’t control what’s said about you on social media and so users may complaint freely. But this can be solved by strategically responding.
Time – Social media does not give instant results.It takes commitment and continued efforts to create or curate content, manage your page, respond and analyse.
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Non-Traditional Trial Recruitment Strategies for Non-Traditional Populations

Non-Traditional Trial Recruitment Strategies for Non-Traditional Populations | Social Media and Healthcare |

Innovative and out of the box methods are often required for the recruitment of challenging populations in clinical trials that would otherwise fail miserably when using conventional recruitment strategies. In this arena, Biorasi has positioned itself as a pioneer and repeatedly demonstrated enormous capabilities in establishing smart recruiting approaches for difficult to recruit patient populations. In this blog, we will discuss a few of these approaches.


Recruitment Strategies

An increasingly common tactic involves the use of tailored approaches in recruitment like use of community based settings and groups, as well as the use of “patient navigators”. Community settings outreach effectively tackles the problem of patient identification. For example, to fill the existing wide gap between minorities and the clinical research enterprise, researchers can do outreach in community-based settings and via existing community groups, such as civic groups and neighborhood associations, for recruitment. Hence, designing or adapting recruitment methods that are in accordance with the cultural framework of a targeted population.

On the other hand, the use of patient navigators addresses the recruitment problem after identification. Researchers have recently begun utilizing trained laypersons (“patient navigators”) to engage patients both in their communities and in certain health care settings to increase awareness and enrollment in clinical trials. Patient navigators also increase opportunities for trial participation by guiding patients through the frequently complex series of diagnostics or through the clinical visits required that often precede the identification of suitable clinical trials. Finally, once a patient is offered enrollment in a trial, a patient navigator may facilitate potential participants’ informed decision-making at the point of entry into a trial by addressing their questions about the trial procedures or the informed consent process.

Another growing type of approach includes forging partnerships with disease centered foundations. In fact, this strategy works best with the increasingly available trials targeting rare diseases. Foundations represent a seamless resource to access rare disease patients in a variety of ways. Many of the rare disease foundations created detailed registries of patients across the country that hold information about demography, healthcare institutions and clinics involved and type of care given, etc. Subsequently, these foundations can easily disseminate information regarding symposia, webinars, and available clinical trials to the specific patient population and their care givers. Hence, well founded partnerships with those foundations could go a long way in terms of insuring success of clinical trials by facilitating the access to both the patients and their healthcare providers.

Finally, social media represents the newest trend in clinical trial recruitment strategy, especially for hard to reach populations. In fact, it allows for out of the box recruitment tactics like boosting posts, promoting websites, events and public fan pages, all of which have proven to be very effective. In an effort to quantify the effectiveness of this method, a recent peer reviewed study showed that social media resulted in an 86% boost in the number of applications initiated and 2.5 times faster recruitment when compared to traditional strategies.


Enrollment of difficult to recruit patient populations constitutes a definite rate limiting step in a clinical trial. Non-traditional methodologies are then required to bypass this obstacle, ensure success and potentially deliver novel lifesaving therapies to understudied patient populations. Hence, it is imperative to continuously explore and optimize alternative strategies for the successful recruitment of hard to access populations.

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Saint Clare's Dover Hospital patient receives surprise visit from the NJ Devils.

Through the power of social media and the kindness and passion of the New Jersey Devils organization, Lauren Liff, a patient at Saint Clare’s Health Dover and enthusiastic New Jersey Devils fan, received something better than ‘get well’ flowers or balloons! Liff received a surprise visit from one of her favorite hockey players, New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac, and the Devils mascot, N.J, Devil!

From the moment Zajac and NJ walked into her room, Liff’s excitement overwhelmed her. “I have been a New Jersey Devils fan all my life and to see them walk through the door was the most unbelievable surprise of my life.”

Surprise video tweet:

On Monday, April 30, 2018, Liff was sitting in her hospital room using Twitter to rally her fellow hockey fans to retweet a challenge. She tweeted, “So…how many retweets to get the @NJDevils to come and visit me?” After almost 600 retweets, the New Jersey Devils organization jumped to action. The team contacted Saint Clare’s, and working together, made Liff’s challenge a reality. “I am incredibly proud to be a New Jersey Devils fan. For them to come to Saint Clare’s to see me was unbelievable. This visit gave me hope and put a big smile on my face,” expresses Liff.


The kindness and the passion of the New Jersey Devils organization, Zajac and N.J. Devil will not end with this visit. After learning that one of the items on Lauren’s bucket list is to sing the national anthem at Prudential Center, the Devils’ national anthem singer Arlette invited her to come to “The Rock” this offseason to audition with her. Fans can follow along the story here.

Anthem invite tweet:

About Saint Clare’s Health

Saint Clare’s Health is an award-winning provider of safe, high quality, compassionate care, serving the communities of Morris and Sussex counties. Its network of hospitals and healthcare facilities include Denville Hospital, Dover Hospital, Behavioral Health centers in Boonton, Denville, and Parsippany, Sussex Community Urgent Care Center, and an Imaging Center in Parsippany, among other satellite locations.

About the New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are part of the 31-team National Hockey League, with teams throughout the United States and Canada. Established in 1982, they are currently in their 35th season in the Garden State. During that time, the team has won three Stanley Cup Championships: 1995, 2000 and 2003. Follow the Devils, on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. The New Jersey Devils organization is a Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment property.

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Closing Pharma’s Digital Divide 

Closing Pharma’s Digital Divide  | Social Media and Healthcare |

By 2020, the US healthcare and pharma industries will spend upwards of $3 billion on digital advertising annually, according to projections by digital market researchers eMarketer. Their forecast represents a compound annual growth rate of more than 13% in pharma’s digital marketing spend since 2014. Steadily increasing spending doesn’t mean that digital marketing is getting any easier, however.

Even the most tech-connected pharma brand managers can still find it a challenge to navigate the complexities of regulation, patient privacy, and cross-channel promotions in the digital marketing space. And this year more than any other has provided proof positive that digital media’s upward trajectory is as vulnerable to real-world pressures as any marketing medium.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional mea culpa to the many failings of scandal-hit Facebook is only the best-reported reminder that it’s not all smooth running on the information superhighway.

New media darlings Buzzfeed and Vice Media both missed their 2017 revenue targets and laid people off. Mashable went from a $250 million valuation to a $50 million fire sale in less than six months. YouTube has had to bring back humans to manage content on its Kids video channel to protect children from obscene content that the algorithm thought was okay.

Never as heavily invested in digital as other industries, pharma marketers can perhaps breathe a little sigh of relief that they’re not all-in on digital. Enjoy the moment, then get back to figuring out how to make digital work for pharma brands.

Still need to catch up

If there wasn’t before, there’s clear evidence now that digital media and marketing is not perfect. But perfect or not, it continues to deliver unprecedented reach, growing engagement, and real potential for building long-term brand awareness.

eMarketer’s projections show that healthcare and pharma spend the least on digital advertising among the 10 industries measured. Retail is the biggest and will outspend healthcare and pharma by $20 billion in 2020 if eMarketer’s projections hold up.

Research by eConsultancy, in association with Adobe, similarly sees a sector playing catch-up on the digital transformation journey. But their “2017 Digital Trends in Healthcare and Pharma” report goes on to describe prospects for “exponential change,” as consumers show increasing interest and participation in their own healthcare. The report says drug companies will be forced to overcome the challenges posed by complex regulation and siloed organizational structures.

While eConsultancy’s research shows just 6% of companies ready to describe themselves as “digital first,” compared with 11% in other sectors, healthcare and pharma companies are increasingly aware of the opportunities. They are also getting ready to spend more: 71% said they were planning to increase their digital marketing spend last year compared to 60% in other industries.

Pharma futurists see a sector transformed by technology where pills alone are not enough. The US head of Takeda Digital Accelerator, Daniel J. Gandor, told eConsultancy, “It’s pills with companion apps, and coaching, diagnostics, and personalized medicine all wrapped into one.”

Research from global consulting firm Accenture estimates that digital health funding in the US will grow to $6.5 billion by 2017, with investment sustained by funding for digital health startups.

But French consulting rival CapGemini describes the pharma industry as a “digital beginner” in its “Digital Advantage” report. The reality is, the vast majority of pharma marketers will need to prioritize practical decisions about how to invest their digital budgets today rather than re-imagining the digital healthcare ecosystem for tomorrow.

Multichannel campaign management

A strengthening focus on the customer means that pharma marketers are increasingly having to work across multiple touchpoints. In eConsultancy’s 2017 digital trends report, multichannel campaign management was rated several points higher by pharma marketers than those in other industries—21% versus 16%.

Cross-device targeting driven by data analytics and programmatic advertising is not yet pharma’s strong point. 

Programmatic advertising—automated media buying that relies on algorithmic bidding—has grown exponentially over the last few years. Forecasts show programmatic buying in the US accounting for more than four of every five ad dollars spent by next year. 

Growth has come from the targeting possibilities programmatic ad buys allow marketers to specify, from geographies to detailed audience segments. Done right, it’s a dream come true for marketers in a highly regulated market like the life sciences. The problem is, it’s not easy for non-technical people to understand rapidly developing technology options or properly control ad placement. This explains estimates showing programmatic advertising accounts for less than 5% of digital ad spend in pharma.

Conversely, longer experience and direct control mean social media was noted as a budget priority for 63% of pharma respondents to eConsultancy’s digital trends survey. That compares with an average across other industries of 55%.

Social media maturity

Health communications agency Ogilvy Healthworld recently partnered with social data firm Pulsar to produce its fourth-annual “Social Check-up.” The report’s conclusion was that pharma’s use of social media has “matured” and companies are getting “more and more mileage” out of their efforts on social platforms. 

Findings are based on analysis of 11-month’s activity on global corporate social channels for 20 leading pharma companies. The data shows that the average number of weekly posts across most of the social channels monitored—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram—has decreased. The one exception is YouTube, which was up but on very limited activity.

This drop in post frequency is in direct contrast with significant increases in both community size and engagement across platforms at half of the top 20 companies. Top brand Novo Nordisk grew its engagement by 13%; Novartis by 77%; Johnson & Johnson by 111%; and Merck & Co./MSD by 122%. None of these brands posted the greatest amount of content.

The social team at Ogilvy Healthworld came to the conclusion that high-value content, possibly with paid amplification, was key to driving engagement.The definition of high-value content is varied, stretching from the drone footage of Bayer and Eli Lilly’s headquarters posted on their respective Instagram accounts, to associations with celebrity influencers.

Celebrities and pharma are not always an easy fit, but Ogilvy Healthworld highlights the spikes in engagement that came from partnerships with Novo Nordisk and Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram for #ChangingDiabetes and Oprah Winfrey supporting J&J’s HIV vaccine announcement.

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What’s The State of Healthcare Content Marketing in 2018? –

What’s The State of Healthcare Content Marketing in 2018? – | Social Media and Healthcare |

I just love reports, don’t you? 

Firstly, Social Media Examiner’s annual marketing industry report, published last week, threw up these findings:

  • A very significant 94% of marketers use Facebook (followed by Instagram at 66%). Two in three marketers claim Facebook is their most important social platform. However, only 49% of marketers feel their Facebook marketing is effective and 52% said they’ve seen declines in their organic Facebook reach in the last year.
  • Facebook ads reign supreme: Facebook ads are used by 72% of marketers
    (followed by Instagram at 31%). Nearly half of all marketers increased their
    Facebook ad activities in the last year and 67% plan on increasing their use of
    Facebook ads over the next 12 months.
  • Facebook Messenger bots pique marketers’ interest: While only 15% of
    marketers are using Messenger bots, 51% plan on using Messenger bots in the
    next year.
  • For the first time in years, generating leads has become more of a focus for marketers than cultivating a loyal fan base. This could be a sign that metrics and automation are becoming more important than engagement.

You can download the report here.

Secondly, a content marketing report from True North Custom and Healthcare Insight based on data from a survey conducted in 4Q17 among 53 healthcare marketing professionals who work for hospitals, urgent care centers, physician practices, and other healthcare organizations, found that the rise of content marketing in the healthcare industry continues, with steady growth in usage. 

However, measuring content marketing effectiveness is (still) slightly behind the adoption curve. Some 36% of respondents say their organization’s content marketing efforts are very effective, and 58% say they are somewhat effective.

Only one-third of respondents say their healthcare organization has a documented content marketing strategy.

Measuring ROI

Increasing the ability to demonstrate return on content marketing investment remains a challenge. The majority of respondents (65%) consider themselves successful at tracking ROI, compared to 44% who responded the same way last year. However, only 10% consider themselves very successful at tracking ROI.

When it comes to measuring impact, website traffic is the most popular way to do this.

Content Marketing Goals

Content marketing goals remain consistent with top-of-the-funnel priorities like Brand Awareness, Engagement and Patient Loyalty holding the top three spots for the third consecutive year. 

Marketing Tactics

Social media reigns supreme, followed by eNewseltters and video taking the top three places in marketing tactics.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review in an article on healthcare marketing trends for 2018, “Health-related video content is in demand. There is a whole market for qualified physicians to provide health information through videos without offering clinical advice.” 

Social Media Distribution

No surprise that Facebook tops the poll when it comes to organizations promoting their content on social media. YouTube is also extremely popular testifying to video’s growing influence, and I am happy to see Twitter is still hanging on in there. 


The report concludes with three recommendations.

Create a documented strategy

A well-documented strategy will help your brand message rise above the noise. Mapping out your plan avoids what Convince & Convert Founder Jay Baer calls random acts of content and involves the use of personas, journey maps, editorial calendars, and other tools that set your brand and content apart from the pack.

Leverage Email Marketing

The large majority of people who visit your website or subscribe to your e-newsletter aren’t ready to make a healthcare decision. This is where content can play a crucial role in keeping them engaged while building affinity for your brand as a trusted resource. And while email is a leading channel for delivering content, many healthcare organizations never tap into that potential. A well-designed email nurturing program has proven to be an effective tool for building an audience and advancing them through the buyer’s journey.

Make Sure Everyone Is On Message

Rather than losing your prospect at the most critical point in the campaign, coordinate with your call center or intake team to integrate tracking mechanisms and create scripts that facilitate the lead intake process.

You can read the report in full here.

What do you think of these two reports? I don’t think there are any real surprises – we’ve been hearing for years that many healthcare organizations don’t have a documented strategy in place and struggle to measure ROI.

  • Facebook still reigns supreme, but I wonder how effective it truly is considering the lack of metrics employed to measure its effectiveness?
  • LinkedIn and Instagram are in joint place in terms of social media marketing, but should this be the case? They are two very different platforms and I wonder if marketers are using each of them effectively?
  • I am pleased to see YouTube high up the rankings – this is a good strategy for healthcare marketing.
  • And while people either fall into two camps of loving or hating Twitter, I personally see many robust healthcare conversations take place on this platform.
  • Finally, Pinterest and Snapchat are under-utilized and there’s a real opportunity here for us to own this space.
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How to leverage social media to grow your medical practice

How to leverage social media to grow your medical practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

The future of digital media has already arrived. The 24-hour news cycle has quickly become the 24-minute news cycle. The sheer abundance of “breaking” news and new information floating around makes it hard for professionals, pundits and everyday people, to keep up.

With this increased access to new information, also comes new opportunity for professionals with voices of authority to grow in their industry. This is because people simply browsing the web for answers may not even know what they’re looking for until they find it…

Professionals who have expertise in a particular field can easily cut through the noise of information overload. And believe it or not, people are craving a voice they can trust when they need new information on issues that matter to them.

We know that excess information, often inaccurately and hastily posted online, can be harmful to patients. Just look at the increasing rates of cyberchondria and you’ll see how misinformation can manifest in everyday life.

This is exactly why there’s an avenue for doctors to express your voice online. Patients won’t turn to “Dr. Google” quite as often if you’ve already established your voice on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or your very own blog.

The data shows something remarkable…

In fact, an incredible study from UCLA psychologists examined the neurological responses that occur when people share information they find useful. The study found that people naturally want to spread information that they think can be informative or helpful to others:



“Good ideas turn on the mentalizing system. They make us want to tell other people. […] Such knowledge could also benefit public health campaigns aimed at everything from reducing risky behaviors among teenagers to combating cancer, smoking and obesity.”



This, in essence, means that by posting (or bloggingvlogging, etc.) you’re actually tapping into aspects of human psychology and our desire to be both relevant and useful in our helping of others. Whether you’re looking to drum up new business or further establish yourself in the field, the new age of digital media, however ubiquitous and sometimes distracting, provides the ultimate landscape for you to market yourself like never before.

6 tools you can take advantage of today

The best part is that you can get started right away. Creating a Business Page via Facebook is easier than ever and totally free. LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets are also free and easier than ever to use. While promoted posts (those that reach users outside of your established networks) will require a budget, you may be amazed at how far your content can go without spending a single penny.

So, without further ado…here are 6 easy suggestions you can use to begin building your presence online and growing your medical practice as a result:

  1. Using your Facebook page, LinkedIn or other business account, share stories and pictures of satisfied patients. Whether this is a “feel good” story, a new testimonial or information about somebody that’s been coming to you for years, the power of compelling patient stories are truly unparalleled online.
  2. Write a thoughtful or informative post that positions yourself as a thought leader and industry expert. As we explored above, people are searching for voices they can trust when they need it most. Share your expertise, industry takeaways and proven suggestions to begin building your following and earning new referrals outside of your existing network.
  3. Advertise and update your availability in real-time. You can make your business hours public, make an announcement of an updated holiday schedule or provide details of parking near your practice. When patients can check online to access your availability as-needed, they’ll begin checking more frequently leading up to an appointment or exam.
  4. Respond to comments or reviews, thoughtfully and positively. By engaging with patients, you’ll show that you’re listening and dedicated to their satisfaction. This is an easy way to win patient loyalty and show others a compassionate perspective.
  5. Post new promotions, service updates or other pertinent information as it becomes available. If business is slow, you can create a quick marketing effort to bring new patients in. If business is booming, thank your existing patients!
  6. Tap into your patient network. Whether it’s to build a patient following, or strengthen the relationships you have with your patients, engaging with them on social media enables you to tap into their network just as much as you’re inviting them to tap into yours.

Whether you’ve already started using these tips or are just now beginning, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with the right approach.

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How Social Media Can Support #Biosimilars

How Social Media Can Support #Biosimilars | Social Media and Healthcare |

As many of you are likely aware by now, at the CBI Annual Biosimilars Summit this past January, I joined forces with Eric Sjogren, formerly of Merck, to present on a series of predictions made at the end of the 2017 conference. Though a handful of the predictions we addressed were straight-and-narrow, there were a few we couldn’t easily tackle given our innate lack of omniscience. (Sigh.) One of these harder-to-answer predictions was that patients would turn to their doctors and social media more frequently to learn about biosimilars. Though Sjogren and I couldn’t say whether this was true or false, we did remark that it’s an interesting age for social media in the pharma space — and this certainly extends into biosimilars as well.   

When I first entered the pharma world as an editor a few years ago, there were a number of ongoing conversations about how pharma companies could use social media to help with patient engagement, trial recruitment, education, and even post-marketing surveillance. As patients become more engaged in their treatments — and in many cases seek out a community on social media — it makes sense this would be a valuable way to reach them. And, according to a recent research report, pharma’s attempts to refine its social media efforts are having a positive effect.

In March 2018, Ogilvy published “The Social Check-up 2018: Pharma in the Social Space,” revealing that a company doesn’t need a huge number of posts on a social platform to see greater engagement or social community growth. In fact, it turns out the companies with the highest overall social engagement — Novo Nordisk, J&J, and Novartis — did not necessarily have the highest number of posts throughout 2017. Instead, they created certain types of posts that helped improve their reception. For instance, the most engaging posts targeted a specific therapeutic area, highlighted the human aspect of the company, or joined in larger conversations around awareness campaigns (e.g., World Cancer Day or Earth Day).

Biosimilar Goings-On In The Social Media Sphere

Although I’m a member of the millennial generation which is supposed to be quite fluent in social media, my skills rarely extend beyond posting or retweeting poems, biosimilar news/articles, and cat videos. (My Twitter profile is a strange place for all involved.) But in the countless moments I’ve spent scrolling through social media platforms, a few ways they’re being used by pharma companies, organizations, and patients have caught my eye. Though they aren’t all posts about biosimilars, I think they’re worth calling attention to as potential strategies for biosimilar companies and other stakeholders.

Facebook: According to Ogilvy’s research, Facebook was actually where pharma companies saw the greatest engagement. (Facebook posts earned an average of 524 engagements. YouTube came in the lowest with three.) I can’t specifically pinpoint a biosimilar-related effort on Facebook. But an article in FiercePharma a few weeks ago caught my eye because of how one company chose to use the Facebook Live function. Boehringer Ingelheim is currently working to expand the label of its idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) treatment Ofev to treat some patients with scleroderma. To bolster education on the condition, the company launched a campaign called “More than Scleroderma — The Inside Story”  on its website, featuring stories and photos of patients impacted by the disease. But to bolster education about the disease, the company also Facebook Live-streamed a patient-based panel discussion (related to their campaign) that took place at a European conference. I’ve often wondered about the value of Facebook Live in disseminating information — especially if it was used to stream portions of a patient access panel (or a specific “for the patients” educational panel) at a biosimilar conference to increase access and spread knowledge about biosimilars or their therapeutic areas.

Twitter: I could, of course, discuss the fact that many pharma companies, industry organizations, and patient groups have Twitter handles. Biosimilar conferences have hashtags for their events so people tweeting at the conference (or following from afar) are able to keep up. I equip a majority of the articles I post with a biosimilar hashtag (#biosimilars) in case someone is searching Twitter for biosimilar articles. In the past, Twitter has also been the place where companies have taken a stance on a key issue — for instance, Merck’s CEO announced his resignation from the president’s manufacturing council last year, and Allergan’s Brett Saunders tweeted his “social contract” to keep annual price increases below 10 percent. But I would argue the true winner of the pharma Twitter universe has been the FDA’s efforts. Since taking the helm, Scott Gottlieb has been a regular addition to my news feed, whether he’s announcing new guidances, new initiatives, drug approvals, or issues the FDA plans to take a stance on or solve. Overall, I’d argue the FDA has never been more “present” than it is today, and I think a large part of that has to do with its presence on Twitter. Though Ogilvy’s social media study found Twitter was on the lower end of the engagement spectrum for pharma (average of 61 engagements per post), these efforts to amplify the FDA’s voice are a benefit for the biosimilar industry in particular. As we continue to face safety and efficacy questions in this space, I’ve wondered if those fears aren’t driven by an inherent distrust of the regulatory bodies making those decisions. To see the agency sharing (albeit bite-sized) pieces of information on Twitter about the work being done ensures the FDA doesn’t remain a large, anonymous, siloed body.

Reddit: Since I don’t use this platform, I know very little about it except that it enables members of the Internet community to strike up dialogue on pretty much any topic — regardless of how obscure it may be. (To many people, a thread about biosimilars is a great example of one of those obscure conversations.) I wouldn’t have even thought about it as an educational tool for biosimilars. But in keeping with their ongoing social media blaze, the FDA turned to Reddit (specifically the pharmacy subreddit) a few weeks ago to host a biosimilar Q&A. (And it turns out the FDA wasn’t the first to bring biosimilars into the wacky world of Reddit — I also found a biosimilar-related Q&A thread published by a chemist working in the field of biosimilars.) If you read through the FDA’s lengthy thread, there are a wide variety of questions posed about what biosimilars are, how they’re regulated, ongoing legal issues, interchangeability, and pricing schemes — to name a few. I applaud the FDA for venturing into this communication channel. In fact, I’d be interested to learn more about what led them to this platform. Was it simply to support the agency’s ongoing efforts to bolster its transparency and approachability, or were there other factors?

Instagram: I’d argue this is one of the most interesting platforms for biosimilar makers to check out. According to Ogilvy, this social channel poses great opportunities for companies looking to boost their social engagement moving forward (but only if they have a “visually compelling story to tell.”) But if we step away from the use of social media as a tool for a company to educate or engage stakeholders, I’d argue Instagram is a great tool for showing how biosimilars are being used and experienced in the real world. Simply by searching the terms “Inflectra” or “Benepali,” you will find pictures of people from all over the world sitting at IVs or injecting themselves with auto injectors filled with biosimilars they’ve termed “life elixirs” or “magical liquid.” (One of my favorite biosimilar posts was a photo of a Benepali auto-injector sitting next to a plate of a triple-chocolate cookie dough bake topped with custard. A winning combination, if I do say so myself.) What I found most interesting was the amount of engagement amongst patients in the comments on some of these posts. There are followers offering well-wishes and encouragement, asking questions about the treatment, or sharing their own experiences with the condition or treatment at hand. Of course, there are a few harder posts to see — ones that describe an ineffective switch to a biosimilar or a lack of efficacy. But most notable is that the majority of posts mentioning the biosimilar are depictions of patients living with and confronting their conditions. Right now, those of us in the industry are fighting to get through certain industry politics and fear-mongering to enable greater access. But what these images tell me is that, at the end of the day, patients (at least on the surface level) are putting their faith in and integrating biosimilars into their treatment regimens — just as they would an innovator biologic. There’s no drama or politics in these photos, but there is hope. One post I cannot get out of my mind was of a young woman smiling after receiving her first treatment, accompanied by one unforgettable phrase: “I am normal!”

These are just a few of the many ways I’m sure social media has been used in the pharma space. Those of you who are social media aficionados in companies, no doubt, will continue to creatively engage patients on a number of different platforms. But I was also drawn to this topic given the conversation I had recently with Erin Federman, an expert from Mylan. As we discussed, there is a need to ensure that biosimilar policies and the discussions about biosimilars remain informed by the human aspect. Social media can provide a more human element to the work pharma companies and regulatory agencies do all day, as well as provide all of you working in the pharma industry with insights into what your patients care about most.

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Patient Experience Made Easy

Patient Experience Made Easy | Social Media and Healthcare |

You’ve just been nominated as the “social media person” at your practice. How do you feel?

You may have a few great ideas for Facebook posts. You can’t wait to post a few selfies with favorite patients. Maybe you’ve even brainstormed a few video topics with the team.

Still, sometimes social media success can seem as unpredictable as a shell game.

When done right, social media can be a valuable tool for connecting with patients and marketing your practice. However, when done wrong, it might damage your brand reputation. Quite the conundrum!

No worries. Here are 10 common social media mistakes–and how you can avoid them. 

Mistake 1: Not knowing your audience

A dancing toothbrush may catch the attention of kids and moms, but if the majority of your patients are baby boomers, you’ve missed your target. How about some tips about Medicare, instead?

The point is, profile your ideal patient segment so you can catch and keep your target audience’s attention.

Mistake 2: Right content, wrong platform

Are you posting on the social channels where your patients spend the most time? For instance, if only a handful of your patients really use Twitter, you probably won’t want to spend a huge amount of time on that platform.

Also, consider content that will best showcase your business. Check out different social platforms to see if your content is a good match. For example, Instagram won’t let you upload your latest blog post; however, blog posts are easy to re-post on Facebook and Twitter.

Social media is continually evolving, so your strategy should also. If you start out on one platform and find you aren’t getting any traction, don’t be afraid to try another.

Just remember: like Rome, most social success wasn’t built in a day.

Mistake 3: Too many posts

Just because you post every day doesn’t mean the content you’re providing is valuable. The length of your post and amount of sharing depends on both your platform and your audience.

Don’t get us wrong: it’s still important to post often if your posts are engaging and authentic. Quality content will always be welcome, especially when it’s a timely topic that’s relevant to your audience. 

At the end of the day, just remember that quality is as important as quantity.

Mistake 4: No written plan

Your social media strategy is the framework you use to plan, prioritize, execute, measure, and optimize your marketing and engagement efforts. Ideally, your plan will help you plot your course weekly and monthly instead of just day by day.

Without a plan, you may end up with inconsistent activity and lackluster content that leaves your patients wondering about your service. Even the most rudimentary plan will point you in the right direction. Just get started!

Mistake 5: Delayed interactions

If a patient called your office and was met with silence on the other end of the line, they’d hang up.

Social media is no different. When you respond quickly to questions, compliments, and complaints on social media, you show prospects and current patients that you value them and genuinely want to offer fantastic customer service.

Mistake 6: Ignoring analytics

Why bother with social analytics? In a nutshell, these numbers tell you what’s working and what’s not. Every major social media platform lets you view reports, identify trends, and give your audience more of what it wants.

Use social metrics to identify your most engaging content so you can re-share it later. Those numbers will also help you refine your strategy and improve future posts.

Over time, analytics can help you increase your social media marketing ROI. And that’s good news for your practice.

Mistake 7: Zero personality

You can be informative and boring, or informative and entertaining.

And guess what? Your patients want the latter. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Use stories and images of real people that showcase your unique culture and build stronger relationships with patients.

Mistake 8: Straying off topic

People are looking to you as an expert in your field–and your practice and content should reflect that. While it may be tempting to post the latest viral video or political commentary, it won’t build patients’ respect or grow your practice.

By the way: it’s not that a viral video is innately bad. But before you post, make sure the content really suits your culture, staff, and services.

Mistake 9: The hard sell

It’s no surprise that most social media users want helpful information, not a sales pitch. After all, social media platforms are designed around the individual experience of sharing with friends and family.

That’s why you’ll always respect your patients by sharing content that is useful, engaging, or entertaining.

It’s okay to announce the occasional promotion or announce 15 percent off a procedure for the most referrals by the end of the month. Just don’t get in the habit of posting promotional content 24/7. 

Mistake 10: Insensitive Posts

Many businesses have learned the hard way that posts may be perceived differently by those of various races, religions, sexual orientations, or economic backgrounds.

Unfortunately, it only takes one insensitive post to damage your brand reputation. That’s why it’s best to implement a review policy before posts go live. Even one more pair of eyes can help you spot potential problems before it’s too late

Of course, you can always delete posts after the fact. All the same, it’s better to avoid hassles by vetting your content before you publish.

To sum up:

Social media is a low-cost way to increase your practice’s visibility and help others connect with you in a more personal way. Even if you make some mistakes, you can recover from them and move forward successfully!

As you work to avoid the pitfalls described above, you can expect even more community loyalty to your practice. Sounds like a recipe for future growth to us.

What social media wisdom have you learned by trial and error? We’d love to hear your stories.

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Social media: A double-edged sword?

Social media: A double-edged sword? | Social Media and Healthcare |

#JawSurgery: Analysis of social media use in orthognathic surgery patients

Br Dent J 2018; 224: 635–638

The increasing prevalence of social media in the last decade combined with the fact that 5% of all Google searches were health related, means it may be more likely that individuals consult 'Dr Google' for their symptoms before picking up their phone to ring their GMP or GDP.

Image: ©Miami Herald, Contributor/Tribune News Service/Getty

To investigate this phenomenon, authors Olivia Coleman and colleagues studied a group of 51 orthognathic surgery patients at Bristol Dental Hospital to find out how they used social media to obtain health-related information related to their treatment. A questionnaire was given to each patient to evaluate if there should be more invested in social media to support this patient group. They were mainly teenagers and young adults – an age group where use of social network sites (SNS) is comparably higher than others.

An analysis of 47 valid responses showed that 94% of patients were always or very likely to use the internet for health information, which was the highest compared to other options. While internet usage as a source of information was the most popular option, nearly half (49%) of responders have also browsed SNS in relation to their orthognathic treatment.

The survey also revealed that 87% of responders reported that using social media reduced anxiety with treatment. Multiple studies reflect agreement with this, as patients can reach out and interact with those having similar experiences, thoughts and feelings.

Eighty-nine percent of patients reported trusting information from medical professionals online, while 56% trusted those of general users. Information online is mostly unverified, making it possibly inaccurate and misleading. It is essential that patients are discerning while reading non-professional websites and advice from unqualified individuals online.

Ultimately, it is evident that younger patients prefer interactive sites over static sites where information is shared in a one-way manner. Ideally, health boards could produce administered social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with an element of interactivity that these patients seek in order to allow them to share experiences with each other.

Social media can indeed be a double-edged sword for the healthcare industry but it is a trend that is unlikely to die down. From this study, it can be seen that patients are shying away from leaflets, preferring social media instead to obtain information. Nevertheless, it is important that more studies are conducted into this matter, such as on the use of blogs or the quality of social media postings online.

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6 Healthcare Marketing Ideas to Cure Your Social Media Woes

6 Healthcare Marketing Ideas to Cure Your Social Media Woes | Social Media and Healthcare |


Around half of the world’s population (3.3 billion people) are now active on social media.

Today, social media isn’t just a place for friends and family to stay in touch. It’s where people go to catch up on the latest news. This is where your clients search for recommendations and even for healthcare providers. Social has turned into a place where you connect with loyal and long-term patients.

For the healthcare industry, social media helps to engage patients, promote new partner relationships and improve the credibility of doctors. One study found that 57% of patients decide where to get treatment based on a provider’s social media presence. Another report shows that 60% of doctors feel that social media improves the quality of care they give their patients.

When social media increases patient satisfaction and boosts brand reputation, it’s no surprise that countless doctors jump on the digital bandwagon.

Healthcare & Social Media: The Benefits of Marketing

Before we start exploring healthcare marketing ideas for your new strategy, let’s drill into the benefits a great campaign can offer.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of social media healthcare marketing is that it allows doctors and medical experts to connect with patients in real-time. The more you communicate with your clients, the more you build a relationship with them.


When someone is in pain, they want support from someone they know and trust. Social media establishes crucial connections with your target market, so you become the obvious choice for anyone in search of medical care.

Healthcare marketing can also:

  • Educate your patients: Social media and content marketing allows physicians to share useful information with patients. This helps support preventative care initiatives and also makes it easier for clients to determine what kind of medical care they need.
  • Facilitate collaboration: Through social media sites like LinkedIn, healthcare experts collaborate with their industry peers to expand their skills and improve knowledge. Networking also improves your chances of referrals from other doctors and surgeons.
  • Expand brand awareness: Today, almost every brand knows that if they want to get the best possible share of clients, they need to be active online. The right healthcare marketing ideas help you reach the targeted audience that’s right for you–whether that’s cosmetic surgery patients or families in search of general care.

So how can you combine healthcare and social media to master marketing for a modern audience? Follow these six healthcare marketing tips to get started:


1. Make Wellness a Lot More Fun

Health is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean your brand has to be all doom and gloom. By having a little fun with your healthcare marketing campaigns, you convince your clients they don’t have to dread a visit to your practice.

Look at the “We Dare You” Campaign from United Healthcare, for instance. This marketing strategy is a fantastic example of how healthcare brands engage with their following and raise awareness for important concepts. The website hosts monthly quizzes, dares and competitions that convince people to take an active part in their healthcare plan.

The campaign was a success because it was fun, interesting and an all around different approach to healthcare. It encouraged people to make one healthy change to their lifestyle each month and document it on social media. Encouraging patients to take part in wellness not only improves their quality of life, but it draws attention back to your brand too. A branded hashtag like #MyHospital could encourage your engaged patients to send more people to your practice.

Firelands Hospital@FRMC_Hospital

#MyHospital stands with the more than 5,000 other U.S. hospitals in providing quality patient care to Americans #HospitalWeek



2. Go Viral by Appealing to Community Values

Social media is all about building active relationships. Every minute there are more than 120 new LinkedIn accounts created, 452,000 tweets sent, and 900,000 Facebook logins. The key to successful healthcare marketing is figuring out how to activate this engaged community in a way that’s positive for your brand.

Viral marketing has been something of a buzzword over the last few years–used to refer to campaigns that rocket quickly into fame and capture the attention of a wide audience. Healthcare companies are perfectly suited to take advantage of viral marketing because their focus is on a topic that everyone cares about. Everyone wants to fight back against cancer, cure disease and live a healthy life.

All you need to do is find a way to reach out to a community who’s already willing to act for an important cause. Partnering with a charity on a campaign could be the perfect way to show your patients how much you care about them. For instance, an oncology clinic could partner with a campaign like MacMillan’s Brave the Shave to simultaneously raise awareness for an important cause and their own brand.

Brave The Shave@Brave_The_Shave

We’re looking for people for our 2018 Brave the Shave photoshoot! They will take place from next week through to April. We’ll make it a really special day, with a professional photographer, make up and expenses paid. Email us at for more info.



3. Be a Source of Helpful Information

One of the things that make illness and disease so scary is the fact that we don’t really understand them. When people search for a doctor, they’re looking for someone to help them to fight against problems they may know very little about. One of the best things you can do for your healthcare marketing strategy is to show your clients that you’re a reliable source of in-depth clinical knowledge.

In a world where today’s patients are constantly searching for the diagnosis to their aches and pains online, it’s important that you’re there to answer your follower’s questions. Use your social media page to share links to blogs and case studies that might help your patients to answer complicated questions about disease prevention and healthcare.

As video grows increasingly popular on social media, Facebook Live could be a fantastic way to connect with your followers. For instance, the Mayo Clinic hosts a regular #AskTheMayoMom video stream. These live Q&A sessions allow moms-to-be to ask a professional any pressing questions they might have about pregnancy, labor or aftercare.

4. Embrace the Infographic

While it’s important to share valuable information as part of your healthcare marketing campaigns, it’s also worth it to share that info in an easily digestible way for your followers. While doctors and nurses often use medical jargon and percentages to explain their points, hard facts get dry pretty fast on social media.

Remember, your marketing campaigns need to be emotional, interesting and relatable. Create content for an audience that doesn’t know much about the medical industry. The easiest way to do this is to assume you’re writing for someone who has absolutely no prior knowledge of your niche.

When it comes to creating easy-to-absorb content, visuals are often the easiest way to connect with your followers. An infographic on myths about the flu is much easier to absorb and share than a 10-page case study. Look for ways to make complicated information easier to understand for your audience. For instance, Health Digest recently posted an image gallery on Facebook with quick tips on how people can eliminate pain without medication.

The list is fun, helpful and it gets straight to the point. Remember, simple and useful content encourages your audience to share your posts with their friends and that helps to boost your brand reach.

5. Use Employee Advocates to Build Relationships

Perhaps more than any other industry, the healthcare sector relies on relationships. Illness is a scary thing and your patients want to feel comfortable with the doctor they choose. That’s why it’s important to go beyond your branded pages when you’re investing in healthcare marketing ideas.

Your nurses, doctors and even administrative staff are the people who interact with your patients every day. They know which problems your clients face, and they understand how to immerse themselves in these communities. Activating your staff with the help of an employee advocacy campaign can be a great way to bring more humanity to your healthcare practice.

For instance, you could ask your advocates to link back to your page or even post videos with tips and tricks from people inside your team. Even posting pictures of your team in their element and encouraging them to retweet your shares can be enough to boost your healthcare marketing strategy.


6. Empower Your Patients to Market for You

Finally, why spend all your time stressing about healthcare marketing, when you can get your patients to do it for you? Patient reviews can be a fantastic way to improve the credibility of your medical practice and boost visibility. In fact, 80% of people say they look for health information online before going to a hospital or doctor.

While you’re curating content for your employee advocates or encouraging them to share your tweets online, make sure you don’t overlook your customer ambassadors. Sending surveys to your patients after they’ve visited your practice or even asking them for feedback online is a great way to build your social proof.

Video testimonials of patient stories are incredibly moving–particularly if you have before-and-after shots to include. Just make sure that you stick to the HIPAA guidelines and get permission for any information you want to share.

Abrams Eye Institute@abramseyeLV

We strive to give our patients the very best experience, treatment, and care. We are blessed to have such great patients. #Friday #review #doctor



Combining Healthcare & Social Media

Relationships have always been an important part of healthcare marketing strategies. Today, the rise of social media and online marketing means it’s easier to make a connection with your patients than ever before.

Using the tips and strategies above, medical professionals can find new ways to reach out to their audience, demonstrate their expertise and help their practice thrive. Remember to keep track of your marketing campaigns as you implement them. The more you learn about which content your audience responds to best, the easier it will be to create an online strategy that really resonates with your patients.

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Containing health myths in the age of viral misinformation

Containing health myths in the age of viral misinformation | Social Media and Healthcare |

t has never been easier in human history to find and share information about health and medicine. But much of the information found on the Internet and shared on social media is inaccurate and potentially dangerous. As more people seek health content online, it will become increasingly important for medical researchers and practitioners to find effective ways of steering the public toward evidence-based content and away from myths and pseudoscience.

Viral misinformation has become a threat to public health. Unfounded fears about vaccines have resulted in the re-emergence of preventable diseases. Purveyors of naturopathy and homeopathy have huge audiences on social media, and often discourage their followers from seeking medical care for serious illnesses. Fad diets with unhealthy adverse effects, unproven wellness products hawked by celebrities, appeals to opinion and emotion over facts and reason — all of these proliferate online like bacteria on agar.

What can science and medicine do to contain the threat of health misinformation? Throwing more facts at the problem, unfortunately, is not the answer. People who study the growing disregard for evidence in society suggest this is more a matter of human psychology than scientific literacy. No matter how much contrary evidence they encounter, people tend to cling to long-held health myths. Many social media users avoid sources of information that challenge their views, sticking to communities in which their beliefs are confirmed.1

Nor is it constructive for medical experts to talk down to people whose beliefs fall outside the consensus within the scientific community. Well-known physicians and scientists with large numbers of followers on social media frequently dismiss views they deem unworthy of respect, with disparaging remarks and putdowns. As a result, people who already have misgivings about modern medicine become further alienated. Humility, compassion and friendly persuasion would perhaps make for a more productive approach to changing minds than combative superiority.

It is beyond the scope of medicine to fix the Internet, but tech-savvy medical experts can assist in the fight against misinformation. They can lend their expertise to technology companies and help develop better methods of weeding out low-quality health content and promoting medical knowledge based on scientific data. The medical community can also experiment with unconventional ways of disseminating accurate health information.

One new approach that has shown promise is contacting social media influencers and asking them to share useful medical content with their followers.2 This can be a more productive means of reaching a skeptical audience than having medical experts use traditional channels of communication, which usually go no further than likeminded peers. The goal of generating medical knowledge, after all, is to improve human health, not receive kudos from colleagues.

Likewise, public health organizations need to improve their social media presence to help Internet users find accurate health information. A study of digital pandemics of public health misinformation found that in online discussions about a sample scientific publication, half of social media users encountered negative and nonempirical content unrelated to the original paper.3 The authors refer to this problem as “social diffusion,” and concluded that public health organizations must employ new social media strategies to improve their communication of public health information.

At the clinical level, doctors attempting to change the minds of patients who cling to potentially harmful health myths and misconceptions will need patience. People are unlikely to abandon long-held beliefs overnight, especially if it means abandoning online communities that have become an important part of their lives. A meta-analysis of the factors underlying effective messages to counter attitudes based on misinformation found that these beliefs are persistent in the face of debunking.4 Success rates improve, however, if people are encouraged to scrutinize their information sources, and if the debunking message includes new information that provides additional context rather than merely labelling a patient’s belief as incorrect.

The Internet and social media aren’t going anywhere, and patients will continue to seek and share health information online. Misinformation will persist as well. Helping patients live healthier lives includes helping them find better health information.



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Telemedicine and social media intersect to advance population health

Telemedicine and social media intersect to advance population health | Social Media and Healthcare |

Telehealth and social media appear to be on a collision course that could ultimately help physicians drive population health efforts to better manage chronic disease, and reduce readmissions and ER visits for patients who need help managing a health issue.

And as telehealth continues to gain traction and people look for new ways to engage with physicians and their own healthcare, social media seems an obvious channel to enhance these goals. 

Quite often patients have questions following an episode of care that they'd rather not re-enter the in-office patient queue to answer. A quick query made via social media falls in line with the type of consumer-centric approach patients, especially millennials, are seeking. With the consumer power and share of the patient population millennials will occupy in years to come, it is likely social media will occupy at least an ancillary role in healthcare communications considering its popularity among that generation.

The evidence is emerging that social media could play an increasingly important role in the doctor-patient relationship. A new survey, conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, found that more than half of millennials, 54 percent as well as 42 percent of adults, would like to be friends with or follow their healthcare providers on social media. 

The research also found 65 percent and 43 percent of all adults felt it appropriate to contact their physician regarding a health issue via social media, either by posting on their page or direct messaging them. 

Doctors, however, are still fine tuning how to navigate such correspondence and set appropriate guidelines and barriers. 

"Please don't send me a picture of your rash on Facebook Messenger. I want to be an active part of my patient's care, but social media does open up opportunities for over-sharing or providing information that would be best managed in the office setting or through designated telemedical technology," Jennifer Caudle, an osteopathic family physician and associate professor at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine told the AOA. 

While health professionals are barred from sharing information over social media that could identify a patient, violating their privacy rights, the AOA said some physicians find social media to be an effective tool for sharing important medical information, especially since young people often don't see a doctor enough.  

But with nearly one-third of Americans, 32 percent, having acted on health information obtained on social media, such as diet changes, exercise, medication or alternative treatments, according to the AOA survey, social media and telehealth could also prove valuable in reducing readmissions. 

By acting as another medium through which patients can access physicians for follow-up advice or care questions stemming from procedures and visits, the technologies could curb potential secondary issues by giving patients the information needed to adjust their own behavior in a timely fashion. The same could be said for the management of chronic disease.

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 5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Medical Practice

 5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Medical Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

If you’re looking for better ways to promote your medical practice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed: search engine marketing, social media, blogs, direct mail…the options can seem endless. To help make it easier, here are five of our top tips for marketing your medical practice:


Build a Website for Your Practice

If you want to attract new patients, you’ll need to market yourself online – and to do this, you need a professional-looking website. More than 70% of adults in the U.S. search for health information online. This means you need a responsive site that looks good on any type of device, from computer to tablet to mobile phone. It also means that your site content needs to be written in a way that helps build trust in your healthcare practice.


Engage Your Patients with Email Marketing

Email isn’t just a way to send routine information like appointment reminders. You can – and should – be using it to communicate with patients, even when they don’t need to visit your office regularly. Your email messages can be about anything, from a monthly Health Tip, to a quarterly eNewsletter, to an announcement about an upcoming event. And with a low-cost email marketing platform like Constant Contact or MailChimp, you can easily automate your email campaigns, so it won’t take up much of your time. The key to email marketing success is to ensure your content educates and engages with both current and future patients.


Don’t Forget About Direct Mail!

While email is an incredibly efficient way to communicate with your patients, it’s still easy for people to ignore an email. So, why not try sending out “Welcome to the Practice” letters to all new patients, or sending birthday cards to all your patients. Personal touches like this will help you keep your patients happy—and happy patients are much more likely to refer you to their friends and family. 


Market Your Practice on Facebook

With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a powerful marketing tool you can use to promote your practice – for free. However, a lot of healthcare providers don’t give their Facebook business page much thought after the initial set-up. Many people don’t realize it’s a great way to engage with patients – for example, you can post a “Fitness Challenge” and ask people to post a picture to show they’ve completed it. Facebook helps you hear what your current (and future) patients have to say and helps them feel more connected to you. And it’s the ultimate way to get word-of-mouth referrals.


Build Your Online Reputation


Today, people often use online reviews as a first step to find a new doctor. Unfortunately, they typically focus on the bad reviews more than the good. So, tobuild (and manage) your online reputation, you need to embrace online ratings and reviews. Ask your patients to rate you: add a clickable link to your website, send an email request, or keep a tablet at the front desk where patients can review you before they leave your office. Ideally, you want new reviews every week to build up your total volume of positive reviews. In time, and with enough positive reviews, your ratings will rise to the top in any online search despite a few (inevitable) critical reviews.


Medical professionals work with iHealthSpot because they know they need a full-service digital marketing partner that can support the unique needs of their healthcare practice. From award winning medical website design and proprietary patient education content, to online marketing including social media and reputation management, we enable medical practices to market themselves using proven online and offline marketing strategies.


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Digital RD 4 Ways To Maximize Patient Engagement In Clinical Trials

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions recently interviewed 43 biopharmaceutical industry stakeholders to explore where the industry sees value and opportunities for using digital technologies in the clinical development process; understand reasons behind the relatively slow pace of digital adoption; and uncover strategies to overcome barriers and accelerate the use of digital in clinical trials. This is the first of two articles that shares interview findings and insights published in the new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions report Digital R&D: Transforming the future of clinical development.

During the last decade, biopharmaceutical companies have successfully brought many breakthrough treatments to market. Still, industry stakeholders often say the current high-risk, high-cost R&D model is unsustainable. A Deloitte analysis of return on pharmaceutical R&D investments for a cohort of 12 large biopharma companies shows a sustained decline from 10.1 percent in 2010 to 3.2 percent in 2017.1

Many clinical trials still rely on 1990s-era processes, and many R&D functions are yet to fully leverage real-world evidence (RWE), genomics information, and emerging data sources such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, mobile apps, and more. Digital technologies may have the potential to transform the way biopharma companies engage, execute, and innovate during the clinical trial process by addressing many of the pain points faced by sponsors, investigators, and trial staff, including those impacting patient identification, recruitment, and retention throughout the life of the trial.

As patients’ (e.g., trial “consumers”) expectations evolve, they will likely demand a more inclusive and personalized trial experience. Digital technologies can radically improve the patient experience and support other patient-centric objectives by making trial participation less burdensome and redefining how patient care is delivered during clinical trials.

1. Fewer empty seats: Digital technologies can expedite patient recruitment and increase population diversity.

Recruiting patients to fill clinical trials has become increasingly difficult. Almost 15 to 20 percent of trials never manage to enroll a single patient, and more than two-thirds of trial sites fail to reach their original enrollment goals for a trial.2 In addition, traditional recruitment approaches have largely failed to garner study participants who reflect real-world patient cohorts — in the United States, for instance, only 10 percent of clinical trial participants are non-white, although increasing evidence suggests that factors such as ethnicity and gender can impact drug performance and healthcare outcomes.2 Digital technologies can reduce the effort and cost involved in patient identification and help recruit a more diverse and representative study population. Technology-aided approaches can include advertising on websites and online patient communities, targeting patient opinion leaders through social media, and mining unstructured patient data (e.g., social media, electronic health records, lab results). Some solutions help patients find trials, while others help investigators find patients. 

Antidote, through its platform, Antidote Match, culls data from and uses machine learning along with minor human intervention to create structured eligibility criteria for single or multiple studies. The platform automatically generates a pre-feasibility questionnaire that translates complicated medical terms into easy-to-understand language for patients. Completing the questionnaire can enable patients to easily sift through hundreds of studies and find the ones they are eligible for. As of September 2017, Antidote had allowed patients in the United States to search close to 14,000 trials and plans to extend coverage to all U.S. trials in the coming year.3

2. From subjects to collaborators: Digital tech can increase patient engagement in the research process.

Biopharma companies could gain greater insight from trial participants by treating them as collaborators instead of subjects and by seeking their input on issues such as overcoming research mistrust and addressing patient-specific concerns related to study design.4 Many forward-looking clinical teams are using digital technologies to measure patient-centric endpoints — such as quality of life or the ability to perform specific daily activities — and incorporate patient feedback into the trial process through, for example, online surveys and focus groups, study pilots, and crowdsourcing. In addition, many of these teams are using patient feedback on their trial experience to shape the final treatment.

3. Less travel time: Digital technologies can make trial participation more convenient.

Traveling to clinical sites for assessments, sometimes several times a month, is a major burden for some trial participants. In fact, 70 percent of potential participants in the United States live more than 2 hours away from the nearest study center, which often impacts their willingness and ability to participate. Virtual trials can make it possible for patients to participate in certain studies from the comfort of their homes, reducing or even eliminating the need to travel to sites. Such trials leverage social media, e-consent, telemedicine, apps, and biosensors to communicate with patients and support both passive and active data collection. The individuals we interviewed for this research estimate about half of all clinical trials can be conducted either partially or completely on a virtual basis.

Roche used an app connected to smartphone sensors to remotely monitor participants in a multiple sclerosis (MS) study and compare readings with in-clinic assessments. The app directed patients to perform tasks such as hand and wrist turning, gait and balance exercises, and cognitive tests to assess their neurological activity. The data from the sensors created a continuous picture of a patient’s disease progression. Analysts found that results from remote patient monitoring were comparable to in-clinic assessments and, in some instances, were even more sensitive.5

4. More consistent treatment: Digital tools can improve clinical trial patient care and treatment adherence.

Today, patient adherence is measured primarily through self-reporting: researchers ask patients whether they are taking the prescribed drugs and review their diaries (if there are diaries as part of a protocol). Blood tests to validate self-reported data are another way to measure adherence, but they’re not always practical or affordable, and may require additional site visits. Digital technologies can improve patient care and increase treatment adherence throughout the length of a trial. For instance, text messaging and smartphone apps can remind patients to take their medication, record health data, answer patients’ questions in real time, and schedule their visits. Digital adherence tools that use facial recognition can confirm that medicine has been taken and generate non-adherence alerts to investigators.6

Transforming the future of clinical trials

While digitalizing clinical development can be a complex, resource-intensive, and lengthy undertaking, the rewards can be significant. Digital technologies can radically improve the patient experience, create efficiencies, and lower costs throughout the entire clinical development process and can increase the amount and quality of data collected in trials. In addition, digital technologies can facilitate participation by clinical research staff, investigators, and study nurses and help enable faster cycle times for products in development.

The first big shift has already taken place – many in the biopharma industry realize the importance of patient engagement and the need to design trials that put the patient front and center. Now, it’s a matter of using digital technologies to make that happen — and quickly. Given the complexity of operationalizing a digital strategy and the industry’s relatively slow pace of digital adoption, this should be the time to be a leader, not a fast follower, as undue delay could put biopharma organizations at a competitive disadvantage.

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Bring your pharma brand to life with Facebook Live

Bring your pharma brand to life with Facebook Live | Social Media and Healthcare |

Facebook Live has enabled pharmaceutical companies to connect with healthcare professionals and consumers in social media by broadcasting video content live on Facebook. Live video is easy to use, can be low cost or professionally produced, and enjoys extremely high engagement levels. Healthcare marketers are increasingly adding this tactic to their social media marketing programs and leveraging the unique storytelling features of live video.

Video storytelling helps companies connect with an audience emotionally, transfer more information in a highly efficient manner, all while gaining valuable attention for their teams, programs and products. Live video, in particular, is a way for pharmaceutical companies to become more accessible to healthcare professionals, and connect with patients to improve adherence. These videos can provide a new dimension to a brand in social media and provide a way to connect with people in a preferred manner that compliments marketing programs in other channels.


Viewer engagement levels for live videos are ten times more than regular video by social media metrics such as likes, comments, and shares, making Facebook ideal for connecting to a pharma brand’s audience. Additionally, healthcare industry videos receive six times more engagement than any other Facebook content.

Facebook is now putting a greater emphasis on videos. Their algorithm prioritizes live video while they are being broadcast allowing the content to appear at the top of a  user’s News Feed. Using the same advertising targeting controls for Facebook sponsored posts, marketers can dial-in just the right audience for live video content. And, with over 1 billion videos viewed per day on Facebook, audiences can be sizable.

A simple video from over-the-counter (OTC) drugmaker Aleve was one of the most viewed videos on Facebook in 2016 with more than 7.7 million views and 11,000 shares.

Educate, empathize and connect with key audiences

Live video enables pharma companies to breathe life into the brand, projecting an empathetic and supportive tone, while educating consumers on their product in a conversational format. Done well, live video packs rich content that commands attention and connects with an audience more deeply than text or image posts. Deeper emotional connections increase social media engagement via likes, shares, and comments which drives up overall video views. Monitoring and collecting comments from live video becomes a natural extension of ongoing community management and social media brand protection measures.

Healthcare brands are finding that Facebook Live is a natural fit for raising brand and product awareness through a more preferred storytelling format. They are using Facebook Live to:

  • Raise awareness of little-known conditions
  • Improve people’s understanding of a disease or disorder
  • Interview company experts and industry authorities
  • Promote corporate social responsibility activities
  • Enhance brand perceptions

One of the earliest live video success stories was Novartis’s Facebook Live event to support its Rise Above Heart Failure initiative – a disease state awareness campaign about heart disease. The program featured a Facebook Live chat with Queen Latifah, which drew nearly 1,000 people during the live event – and ultimately received approximately 35,000 views showing the two-punch potential of live and on-demand video content. Compelling content achieves views, shares and conversational engagement offering a more effective way to achieve marketing objectives.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is an excellent example of not having to be a large brand with a large budget to use Facebook Live to bring attention to their healthcare professionals. The organization began in 2016 with a live video series on Periscope – a live video platform that works across social networks and is similar to Facebook Live – that featured a new mother learning how to care for her premature baby, Madeline. The first three live videos attracted a total of 900 viewers and were considered a success – and encouraged the hospital to continue to broadcast content and connect with families using live video.

Next, Children’s Hospital started creating weekly “Q & A” live video events and later added a “Meet the CEO” live events aimed at hospital staff, which began to draw thousands of views. They have since used Facebook Live to showcase events such as a three-day marathon fundraiser. Today, the weekly live events attract between 15,000-45,000 views and drive traffic to produced video segments that receive up to 200,000 views. These efforts have helped Children’s Hospital gain 145,000 Facebook fans, an impressive feat for a small regional hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Building their Facebook audience through live video has enabled the hospital to leverage their engaged community to participate in future events, fundraising, volunteerism and direct donations such as their wildly successful Rocks for a Reason campaign.

Korre Johnson, Digital Engagement Manager for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, is the man behind live video campaigns. Johnson and his team continue to tap their creativity and time to bring an innovative edge to healthcare marketing building impressive engagement. Johnson generously shares his knowledge and experiences at speaking events such as Health.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin using Facebook Live and Periscope to engage patients and families.

Why live videos make sense

Video is quickly becoming the new standard and preferred media type with adults spending over an hour a day watching, mostly on mobile devices. Investments here, small or large, are paying off for those who include video as a core element in their marketing playbooks.

Live videos on platforms like Facebook empower brands to connect with consumers in real time, increase followers and harness the power of social networks through likes and shares to grow viewership. By encouraging viewers to ask questions and comment on live videos, marketing professionals will get instant feedback from their audience, which they can use to share empathy, information or promote digital resources.

Adding Facebook Live is one of the most real, sociable and genuine ways to connect with followers online and on mobile devices. Facebook Live can act as a window into a brand in the moment with real people conversing. But it’s not the only choice for live video. Twitter Live and Instagram Live share similar attributes and are worth exploring as marketers delve further into using live video.

What to take into consideration

After completing a live broadcast, the video is available to view like any other post. For those who were not able to tune into the live event, they can watch it when it’s convenient for them, increasing the life and value of the video. To drive additional value, promote the video in email newsletters, on websites, or with paid advertising to bring a broader audience outside Facebook to your Facebook page and video content

Check in on your video analytics to see what content works and what doesn’t. In addition to the standard Facebook Audience Insights video stats, Live analyticsprovide additional insight into peak live view times, total reach, reactions, comments, and shares.

Just like you would during any other public outreach in digital channels, pharma brands need to a plan to remain compliant. However, that’s not difficult to manage, at least when it comes to managing adverse events (AEs). Facebook Live simply becomes another comment thread – like traditional posts on Facebook – that needs monitoring to keep your brand protected.

Harness the power of real-time video and tell your brand’s story in new and dynamic ways. By complementing your marketing strategies with Facebook Live, you’ll be able to connect with and engage more people in a more familiar and direct manner that as with everything in social media, drives digital word-of-mouth.

Photo: Martin Barraud, Getty Images

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The Benefits of Social Media for Doctors

The Benefits of Social Media for Doctors | Social Media and Healthcare |

Doctors have a lot to gain by making use of social media. For example, it helps them to market their practice, share their experience and network with their colleagues in the industry.

Doctors may sometimes shy away from social media due to liability or privacy concerns. However, it is possible to strike a good balance of transparent communication, while still abiding by the necessary limitations of the healthcare industry.

Social media for doctors is still evolving, which is why leaders in the healthcare industry should take advantage of this opportunity to build their brand name. If you’re neglecting social media, you’re potentially leaving out a good number of patients in your marketing strategy.

Interaction with Patients

The greatest benefit of using social media for doctors is that by doing so, you can take advantage of the opportunity to connect with your patients. With social media, you can keep patients informed about your latest offerings and any changes in your service, hours, or even policies. You can also keep your patients up to date on information about flu season, any new drugs, or simply share healthy tidbits.

Social media for doctors can help you retain your existing patients and acquire new ones. Your patients will realize through your social media updates that you’re a helpful doctor who cares about their health. As a result, they are less likely to switch providers.

Network with Other Professionals

Professional relationships are as important for doctors as for any other professional. Using social media, doctors can build a professional network and use it if they need to consult on any unusual medical problems. Having professional connections with other doctors also gives you a pool of fellow doctors to whom you can refer your patients in need. Similarly, those doctors may also refer their patients to you.

Connecting with other doctors on social media is easy. Search for your local doctors in the popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to see if those doctors have profiles. LinkedIn also provides the capability of creating and joining professional groups categorized by interest and expertise. Doctors can find useful connections through these LinkedIn groups.

Share Your Knowledge

As a doctor, it is important to ensure that you’re providing the most value to your patients. Using social media, you can share your unique expertise and share timely and relevant information about what you know best. Social media helps to scale and spread knowledge between doctors, their patients, and the healthcare community.

Using common social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, doctors can share more about their practices and hence reach out to more patients. iHealthSpot is a healthcare industry leader that helps create strategies for doctors to ensure that their social media strategy is both beneficial and within the confines of the healthcare industry.

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Don’t Let Your Healthcare Practice Get Left Behind: Why Social Media Is a Powerful Marketing Tool

Don’t Let Your Healthcare Practice Get Left Behind: Why Social Media Is a Powerful Marketing Tool | Social Media and Healthcare |

Your product is healthcare. It’s consumed and administered by humans.

Are you still using the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) as a reason to stay away from social media? Do you refrain from using this powerful marketing tool because it’s “casual,” and healthcare is a professional undertaking where the well being of patients must be presented formally?

Healthcare is a business and compared to other areas of business, it’s woefully behind in using social media to find new patients and deepen relationships with existing ones. Numerous healthcare companies have demonstrated it’s possible – and beneficial – to be reputable while using social media to humanize their companies.

Consumed by humans

Your product is healthcare. It’s consumed and administered by humans. When medical professionals are treating people, they interact socially. They laugh, display genuine interest and concern, and share common interests. Why does all of this get jettisoned when the relationship moves online to social media?

Ah, that’s right. HIPAA. Many medical professionals – as well as entire healthcare organizations – avoid social media as a way to maintain their relationship with patients because of a fear of violating HIPAA regulations.

Distilled to a commandment, HIPAA would be, “Thou shalt not use private patient information to promote services or products without written permission.” The same precautions you take as a medical professional to protect patient privacy in real life easily translate to the digital realm of social media.

All about people

As a medical professional, you interact with people, and you treat their health issues. The people are private. Their health issues are things shared by millions or even hundreds of millions of others.

If it’s your goal to increase your patient load, helping people find information about these health issues and then showing that you are the best health professional to help them with a solution is the benefit – and the reason – to use social media.

Nobody’s faulting you for being cautious, but you’re crippling your marketing efforts by continuing to think that using social media to interact with prospects – and with patients – is a HIPAA privacy violation. If you wouldn’t say in any circumstance other than face to face in the privacy of an examination room, it isn’t going to be appropriate for social media.

Meanwhile, an exponentially growing list of healthcare professionals and organizations are using social media to make human connections with prospects and deepen existing relationships with patients. None other than the Mayo Clinic has undertaken the effort to compile a list of hospitals, physician practices, and other health-related organizations in the United States that actively use social media.

It's how people want to find you

Several years ago, Avvo surveyed over 1,000 people about their usage of the Internet to find medical information and choose a doctor. The results were surprising, with 73% of the respondents saying they research physicians online. Another survey by the National Research Corporation shows that over 40% of us search for medical information on social media sites. What are they looking for?

  • Patient reviews
  • Physician resumes and certifications
  • Published articles

Social media is quickly growing and is the preferred source to learn about a health professional based on their perspective and their approach ability. It’s also important to understand the psychology behind the search. We recently wrote about this in an article here where we observed that people want to feel like they make these choices themselves. They’ll choose you if the story of your organization and why you do what you do resonates with them. Self-promotional content will likely turn them off.

Reputation management

Just because you, as a healthcare professional, choose not to use social media, it doesn’t mean that you’re not all over it – and not in a way that’s good for you. Social media has become the preferred way to share word-of-mouth recommendations. Regardless of how you feel about it, social media has also emboldened people to be far more forthcoming with criticism.

HIPAA regulations do not restrain the public, and unfortunately, discretion. They can choose to disclose whatever they like about their interaction with health professionals. Thankfully, most patients use social media to make negative comments without divulging detailed personal information. Either way, they’ve telegraphed a negative comment out to their network, which can continue to spread.

How will you respond? How will you even know? Reputation management is by itself sufficient as the crucial reason you need to have a social media presence.

Wading into the world of social media is something that does require careful thought. You need a strategy, and it must be tied to your marketing objectives. We look to healthcare professionals as heroes, and we do expect them to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and discretion. We also expect them to be approachable human beings.

That expectation isn’t met when we discover they have no social media presence. It’s a serious disconnect – especially when it’s not uncommon to actually engage with a celebrity.

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