Social Media and Healthcare
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5 tips to create a strong social media presence

5 tips to create a strong social media presence | Social Media and Healthcare |

1. Focus your content. Find your niche.

We live in a world where purpose matters.

2. Create consistent themes.

If people like what they see, they'll come back for more.

3. Give your content a branded look.

If people share your image by uploading it to Facebook or another social media site, make sure you own it.

4. Have a flexible content calendar.

Follow the two-stream content method:

- One stream of content is planned.

- The second stream of content is based on listening in real-time to what's going on in your niche and around the Web.

5. Post what the audience likes-and wants to share.

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

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
Nice post
Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
#Formdox integrates perfectly with several #functionalities for the monitoring
cctopbuilders's comment, April 26, 6:01 AM
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The best pharma tweeters in the UK - 

The best pharma tweeters in the UK -  | Social Media and Healthcare |
A new report looks at the effectiveness of dedicated UK twitter accounts for pharma companies

Bayer, MSD and AbbVie have topped  a new ranking of pharma companies’ UK Twitter usage.

The Pharma Social Media Series: UK Twitter Ranking – Summer 2018, developed by Owen Health and firstlight PR, takes a snapshot of the Twitter performance of 11 pharma companies who have dedicated UK accounts – AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi and Teva.

“We wanted to see whether pharma companies were using social as a part of a multichannel marketing strategy or not,” says Steve Sponder, director of Owen Health. “And we wanted to see the impact this was having on the quality of their social channels. We’ve seen first-hand the challenges presented by the social platforms morphing into paid platforms for many global brands from other industries e.g. retail, entertainment and automotive, and felt it was time to delve deeper into pharma.”

Bayer, MSD and AbbVie ranked highest with overall performance scores of 66, 65 and 59 respectively (see table below).

These scores were calculated using various data points which take the following attributes into consideration:

  • Authority – Is the Twitter account verified?
  • Reach – How many people are following the account?
  • Active – How frequent are the tweets?
  • Engagement – How much response are the tweets receiving?
  • Influence – How much influence does the account have?

Only Bayer, MSD, AbbVie and Roche had verified accounts. The companies with the highest reach were Sanofi and Bayer with 4,164 and 4,084 followers respectively. Novartis, AstraZeneca and Pfizer were ahead of the pack on account activity, which was measured by the number of tweets posted over the course of a month. The most influential UK companies on Twitter were Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca and Novartis, measured using the Klout system, which uses data points such as follower count, retweets, list memberships, how many spam/dead accounts are following a company, how influential the people who retweet the companies were and unique mentions (see table below).

Engagement, meanwhile, was measured by creating a weighted formula, incorporating likes, retweets and replies, which produced an engagement score for each account (see graph below). This score was normalised, taking into account the number of followers and the volume of tweets sent during the period. Pfizer, MSD and Teva had the highest engagement scores via this method, and placed well ahead of the other companies.

Sponder says that content about patient conditions received the most engagement: “This took various shapes, from supporting various charities to Pfizer’s request for tech start-ups with a passion for patients to join their HealthcareHub.

“This showed us that companies need to ensure that the content strategy and the content represents the values and purpose of that company – it must be genuine. That might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. Then bringing the content to life through interesting and distinctive storytelling makes a real difference. Finally, don’t think the job is done when the content is developed. Meaningful budgets for content promotion isn’t a nice to have, it’s a necessity.”

He adds: “Vanity metrics of community size could actually be detrimental to the brand if there isn’t the commitment to ensure the community can be engaged. We saw in our research that there is a correlation between large community size and low engagement, hence the danger of ‘zombie communities’. If there is no commitment to investment in engaging a large community then maybe an alternative strategy should be considered.

“We saw a similar ‘zombie community’ effect in our Global Pharma Twitter Ranking earlier in the year. However, an interesting comparison between the two rankings was whether the company had decided to have a separate UK Twitter account or not and if they did, how different the performances were between the global and UK Twitter profiles. This would suggest that a best practice global model has yet to be agreed across the industry.”

As such, the report concludes that the best approach is for companies to put the interests of their target audiences at the centre of a social media strategy, whereas broadcasting information with no thought adds little value for the company or the audiences they are trying to reach.

“Too many [companies] seem to struggle with their identity and purpose,” the report says. “Committing to a robust content marketing plan, which delivers relevant and distinctive content for their UK Twitter account is vital and can be done at scale and in a cost-effective manner. Working smarter not harder is true when it comes to Twitter content.

“Without this they’re just playing lip service to social; at best missing opportunities and at worst damaging their corporate brand.”

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Social Media Trends That Have Transformed The Healthcare Industry

Social Media Trends That Have Transformed The Healthcare Industry | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is now becoming one of the most frequently used sources of digital marketing being adopted by most people and institutions. By the means of social media marketing, it has become very easy for anyone to propagate their business model and direct attention of people to their product or service. The main features of social media as a means of marketing technique are-

 1. It helps in creating brand awareness

2.  It is cost- effective to other marketing techniques

3. It makes interacting with users and retaining them very easy

4. It helps in promoting a healthier business image and market presence

5. It helps in increasing traffic being directed to the dedicated website

6. It helps in enhancing SEO rankings

 The healthcare industry which is an aggregation of divisions that aims towards goods and services that contribute to the health and well-being of people is an ever- growing industry.  The integration of social media marketing trends in the healthcare industry has led to much advancement in the healthcare domain.

 The various popular social media trends that have contributed to changing the healthcare industry are-

1. Emphasis on user-generated content-

New users generally rely on the available user-generated content such as comments, feedbacks, credits etc. Medical practitioners and institutions leverage from positive content created by their users. This helps in maintaining quality service provision because of the reinforcement of healthy competition in the marketplace.

2. The popularity of video content-

Video content has gained popularity in the present times as it is more customer-centric and helps in holding their attention for a longer duration of time. Marketers are now using various formats of video to engage the more relevant audience. The best way to create and publish video clips on social media is to curate content that is relevant to the preference of the target audience.

3. Chatbots and messaging applications-

The experience of the end user is what helps in inviting and retaining a feasible lead for the business. In the healthcare domain, it is very important to understand the most convenient and accessible way to interact with the target audience. This can be done by providing them with an interactive platform in order to get more inclusion and engagement from the audience. Platforms such as docprime have live Chatbots available for individuals looking to find a doctor near them or getting online doctor consultation.

4. Influencer marketing-

This marketing technique focuses on centering the marketing of a product or service on an influential figure instead of the general target population. This influential figure is carefully chosen after identifying their capability of influencing the target audience’s preference.

5. Instagram Stories and live video streaming-

The live streaming market, as well as viewer base, is growing at a rampant rate. The main benefit of live streams is that it has the ability to rank a website organically. Most healthcare brands are now using live streams to get better reachability to their target audience and also to keep them informed about the latest updates of the product or service being offered by them. Social media accounts of healthcare providers such as docprime Facebook page has regular live streams in order to draw the attention of audience looking for information related to healthcare.

Instagram stories allow individuals and brands to publish interactive graphic or video content that stays for 24 hours. The best feature of this means of marketing is that it helps in keeping the target audience engaged for a longer duration of time as well as gives them something to look forward to. Instagram allows users to add hashtags to their stories as well as posts, making it easier for the target audience to access relevant content.

6. Digital trend monitoring-

Organic keyword searches are now being relied upon in order to understand the prevalent diseases, symptoms, and medicines being searched by the general population. This is helping healthcare facilities and providers to identify and be prepared with the necessary measures as well as information to help the target users.

7. Telemedicine technology-

The latest trend which is gaining popularity among the masses is the use of telemedicine technology. This essentially eliminates the need to physically travel and get a consultation with a doctor. The main implication of this technology is that a patient is able to get a consultation from a medical professional in the comfort of his/her home by the means of using mobile technology. Not only is this service convenient but it is also cost effective. More and more platforms such as docprime, practo, 1mg etc. are providing consultation as well as medical prescriptions online.

 The above mentioned social media trends have been beneficial in improving the customer experience and reach. They have also paved way for a positive reaffirmation of healthcare services amongst the masses.

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Social Media in Clinical Research: 

Presented at the SPONDYLOARTHRITIS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT NETWORK (SPARTAN) Research and Education Meeting, Saturday, May 5, 2018, Cambridge, MA.
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Negative Online Reviews Result in Patients Being Sued 

Negative Online Reviews Result in Patients Being Sued  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Defamation, libel, harassment, and causing emotional distress are some of the charges patients who launched online negative review campaigns are defending themselves against in court

Healthcare systems, surgeons, family practitioners, clinical laboratoriesanatomic pathologists—none are immune to receiving negative online reviews from patients who believe they’ve been damaged by their caregivers. And these reviews can have such an impact on practice revenues, doctors and hospitals have begun suing patients for damages caused by harmful online reviews. And they are winning.

Several notable cases involve high-profile healthcare systems. One such lawsuit involved the Cleveland Clinic. A patient who claimed a 2008 prostate surgery left him impotent and incontinent due to negligence on the part of the surgeon launched a negative campaign that spanned a decade, USA Today reported.

David Antoon, a retired Air Force Colonel, filed a malpractice lawsuit against urologist, Jihad Kaouk, MD, and the Cleveland Clinic. Antoon alleged Kaouk was not present in the operating room during his surgery, even though he insisted that only Kaouk perform the procedure. Antoon also claimed the Cleveland Clinic’s urology department did not have the proper credentials to operate the robotic device used during his surgery.

In addition to filing the lawsuit, Antoon complained to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the State Medical Board of Ohio.

However, Antoon also vented his frustrations on social media, as well as sending e-mails to Kaouk, which the doctor felt were threatening and made him concerned about the situation escalating. “What would be next—showing up at my door?” Kaouk asked during the criminal trial against Antoon. “That’s what we feared.”

Jihad Kaouk, MD (above), a urologist with the Cleveland Clinic, giving testimony at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court during a lawsuit involving patient David Antoon, a retired Air Force Colonel. Kaouk and the Cleveland Clinic prevailed in that lawsuit and the State Medical Board of Ohio closed a five-year investigation into Kaouk without reprimanding him. (Photo copyright: USA Today.)

Antoon posted unfavorable online comments about Kaouk for a decade. The urologist eventually petitioned the court, which granted him a civil stalking protective order against Antoon. It banned Antoon from contacting the doctor. Nevertheless, the day after that order was granted, Antoon posted another bad review about Kaouk on Yelp and urged people to avoid Kaouk when seeking medical care.

Antoon was later arrested on felony charges of menacing by stalking, telecommunications harassment, and violating a protection order. He faced up to one year in prison if indicted. In addition to spending two days in jail, he paid $40,000 for a defense attorney and a $50,000 bond after being arrested. He also agreed to pay $100 as part of a plea deal.

Above is David Antoon (left), Col USAF Ret, and Don Malarcik (right), an attorney with Malarcik, Pierce, Munyer, and Will in Akron, Ohio. Malarcik argued that “the Yelp review doesn’t violate the protection order because Antoon did not make direct contact with Kaouk,” reported. (Photo copyright: USA Today.)

Other Lawsuits Against Patients Involving Social Media

Joon Song, MD, PhD, a New York City area gynecologist sued patient Michelle Levine over critical reviews she left about his practice on several online sites. Though Levine removed her posts from the sites after being sued, Song wants her to pay $1 million in legal fees and damages. The doctor accused Levine of defamation, libel, and causing emotional distress. Sound familiar?

Two Scottsdale, Ariz., doctors—Albert Carlotti, MD, and Michelle Cabret-Carlotti, MD, DDS,—successfully sued patient Sherry Petta for defamation after she posted negative statements about the doctors online. After filing a complaint with the Arizona Medical Board and clashing with Carlotti over access to her medical records, Petta posted unfavorable reviews about the practice on several online sites and created a website to warn others about Carlotti. The doctors claimed the statements Petta made were untrue and portrayed them in a false light. A jury agreed and awarded the doctors $12 million, which was later vacated on appeal.

Cleveland cosmetic surgeon Bahman Guyuron, MD, sued a former patient after she posted adversarial reviews on several online review sites about her dissatisfaction with a nose job. The patient, who remains unidentified, alleges that Guyuron acted in an untrustworthy and unprofessional manner, that she received no follow-up care, and that Guyuron urges people to post erroneous positive reviews online. She also claims that there was no informed consent to the procedure and that her nose is now twice as large as before.

Guyuron is seeking monetary damages, an injunction against the patient to prevent her from posting negative reviews about him online, and an order to remove all existing statements about him from the Internet.

Clinical Laboratories Vulnerable to Negative Reviews

Healthcare is complicated and positive outcomes can never be guaranteed. When patients do not get satisfaction by complaining to the doctors and facilities, they may seek other ways to be heard. And negative comments made on social media and online review websites can harm the reputations and businesses of physicians and medical facilities.

“It would be great if the regulators of hospitals and doctors were more diligent about responding to harm to patients, but they’re not, so people have turned to other people,” Lisa McGiffert, former head of the Consumer Reports Safe Patient Project, told USA Today. “This is what happens when your system of oversight is failing patients.”

However, Ryan Lorenz, Petta’s attorney warns consumers to be aware of the consequences of posting critical online reviews, especially if they post factually inaccurate information. “Make sure what you are saying is true—it has to be truthful,” he told USA Today.

Similar situations can arise in the clinical laboratory industry as well. There were multiple postings on Yelp in 2014 and 2015 by patients criticizing blood-testing company Theranos regarding discordant test results they’d received from Theranos’ lab, which Dark Daily covered in multiple e-briefings.

Trust is the hardest thing to earn, the easiest thing to lose, and once gone, can be impossible to get back. Clinical laboratories are just as susceptible to negative reviews as hospitals and doctors.

Worse yet, labs can be drawn into lawsuits simply because they service the hospital systems and caregivers involved. Preparing in advance for this possibility should be on every clinical laboratory manager’s do list.

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7 Healthcare Marketing Trends To Help You Stay On Top

7 Healthcare Marketing Trends To Help You Stay On Top | Social Media and Healthcare |

If you want to grow your healthcare facility, hospital, or treatment center, then these 7 latest healthcare marketing trends will help do just that.

Healthcare Marketing Trends that Have Shaped the Industry Today

In 2016, U.S. healthcare companies on average increased their marketing expenditure by $4.6 million. And we saw the effects in 2017. The healthcare marketing trends in 2017 included rising patient awareness and engagement as well as an increased focus on laser targeted content marketing.

Broader trends included more transitory content on Instagram, the evolution of live streaming, and several new Google algorithm updates. These trends played a role in shaping the new healthcare marketing trends for 2018.

So without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 7 healthcare marketing trends of 2018 that you can ride to success in 2019!

2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends

  1. Patients Always On The Go

People are always on the go with their smartphone nowadays. And your patients are no exception. In fact, at the end of 2016 a staggering 77% of Americans owned a smartphone. And 58% of those smartphone users used their device to get in touch with medical professionals.

How did they get in touch with medical professionals? It was usually by first searching for healthcare information (62% of smartphone users used their device to lookup healthcare information).

Furthermore, according to Google, 77% of smartphone users have used their phone to find local practitioners in the past 6 months. “Near me” is one of the most searched queries on Google.

How Patients Use Mobile

You might be wondering when exactly your patients are using their mobile phone for healthcare purposes? This is a good question to answer because it’s at these times that you’ll want your company to be at the front and center.

There are many different examples, but here are just a few things that an allergy sufferer might check on a daily basis:

  • The day’s pollen forecast
  • The number of allergens in their location
  • Air pollution level in their home
  • Prescription refill status
  • Referencing health records
  • Looking at the symptoms from the current allergens in the air

You can place your healthcare practice in front of this person during all of the times that they check these things. And by doing so you’ll build a stronger patient-customer relationship, which is one of the biggest healthcare marketing challenges.

  1. SEO Trends In Healthcare Marketing

Putting yourself in front of prospective customers leads into one of the other most important healthcare marketing trends for 2018 – SEO.

SEO is very important for the healthcare industry. Consider the fact that 89% of people immediately turn to a search engine when trying to answer a healthcare question. In addition, 82% of those people use a search engine to find healthcare treatment.

So the big question with SEO is: how can healthcare companies rank higher in Google?

How To Rank

First of all, there are two different places that you can rank for – local SEO and the Local Pack. You 

probably already know what local SEO is, but you might not have heard about the Local Pack.

The Local Pack is an area that shows up above the organic results and it lists 4-5 different businesses. It’s especially useful for mobile users because they can see it without scrolling down.

The information contained in the Local Pack is pulled mostly from your Google “My Business” page.

In order to improve your ranking in the Local Pack, make sure that you’ve added the following to your My Business page:

  • Correct business category
  • Primary phone number for your business
  • Clear description of your business
  • Correct business hours
  • Physical address and service area
  • Include any reviews

Ranking Tips

Now as for ranking in local SEO, there are many different tips. Here are some of the easiest/most applicable ones that follow the latest healthcare marketing trends:

  • Improve your website’s SEO: make sure that your website is fast, secure, and mobile friendly. Ensure that you have the right schema, as well as a content distribution plan. And finally, be sure to use the right keywords for the healthcare industry (some keywords are better than others). We can help with this.
  • Videos: a video is 50 times more likely to rank organically in search. And by 2019 videos will make up 85% of online traffic in the U.S.
  • Increase your site authority: get authoritative websites to link to you and reference you as an authority.
  • Demographic targeting: accumulating big data will allow you to target specific demographics. For example, if you’re a pediatrician you could target population areas with a population of families with young children.
  • Location based marketing: this will allow you to target consumers near your healthcare facility in real time by utilizing the (voluntary) GPS feature on their smartphone. Location based marketing ads can also be sent via geo-fencing by showing ads on devices in a defined geographical radius. You could even send personalized offers to customers near your facility.
  1. Content Marketing

Many studies have shown that healthcare content is the 2nd most searched for service online. But what are the times when patients want healthcare content?

There are 4 key times that you’ll want to capitalize on:

  1. “What’s wrong with me?” Those times when someone searches for the cause behind their symptoms. Depending on the affliction, the person might be in great distress. You should have all the answers to their concerns on a web page in an easy to consume format like a video or infographic.
  2. “Where can I get help?” This type of search has doubled since 2015 according to Google Trends.
  3. “Who is the best doctor?” After the searcher identifies their healthcare concern and locates a nearby hospital, they’ll likely start to do some more research on specific doctors. To build trust with them you’ll want to present them with content such as testimonials, awards, academic papers, etc.
  4. Ready to schedule an appointment – after they’ve gone through the above steps, they’re probably going to be in a rush and ready to book an appointment. Make the process of discovery and booking as simple as possible.

Besides these key questions, you’ll need more topic ideas to generate new content. Here are some more tips:

  • Consider the types of questions you get when patients phone your office. Document these questions so that you can answer them in a future blog post. This will help bring in new customers through web search. You will improve your company’s efficiency since you’ll cut down on phone time spent answering repetitive questions.
  • Natural language is becoming a more integral part of Google’s algorithm. This means that you should focus more on natural sounding keywords. For example, take the keyword “Atlanta physician.” Compare that to “who is the best physician in Atlanta?” The latter keyword is better because it’s conversational, more specific, and long tailed – meaning that it’s more likely to rank higher in the search results.
  • Writing blog posts that highlight the importance of annual tests, checkups, and immunizations is a good strategy. Well written content on these subjects will attract searchers and convert them into a new customer at the same time.

And finally, there’s one more key element to your healthcare content marketingstrategy that shouldn’t be overlooked. And that’s landing pages. Their importance for converting visitors into making a phone call or booking an appointment cannot be overstated.

So what should your landing pages say? Well, the purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors, and the best way to do this is to answer the visitors’ most important questions.

A creative way to do this is to make a simple on site quiz that can help diagnose someone. If they complete the quiz, then the next step is to prompt them to book an appointment.

  1. Social Media Marketing

The latest healthcare marketing trends revolve around social media. Attitudes are changing towards social media. People are now using it for advice and as an informational resource for making healthcare decisions.

The proof is in the numbers: 41% say that that social media content influenced their choice of which hospital to go to.

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Social media is also a place where people go to look at health related reviews.

In short, social media has become intertwined in every part the customer relations. Be sure not to miss the boat on this one, and read on.

Social Media Healthcare Marketing Challenges

Some of the most powerful healthcare marketing trends are based on social media, but they don’t come without challenges. Healthcare in particular is a topic that isn’t very “sexy.” It will take a different approach than, say, sports marketing.

Healthcare marketers can utilize Facebook and Twitter as they still remain popular. But there are also other types of social media apps that are gaining in popularity, like Snapchat for example. You can use all of these apps to build stronger relationships with your customers.

The thing to remember with all of these different apps though, is that you have to stay compliant with HIPAA regulations.

Video Marketing

Video marketing has been gaining a lot of steam on social media, and this is especially the case with healthcare companies. It’s one of the healthcare marketing trends generating the highest levels of engagement.

Statistics are hardly needed to prove that videos can be extremely effective in marketing, but here’s one anyway: 80% of Hootsuite users said that they would rather watch videos of content instead of reading it.

And as we mentioned earlier, healthcare isn’t a very attention grabbing topic on its own, which is why video marketing is even more useful for healthcare companies. Videos will help you drum up interest for your company’s services.

But what kind of videos should you make? You could make a video about any of the topics we mentioned earlier. Another particularly effective type of video for healthcare marketing is testimonials from patients and staff. These will help build up your trust and credibility with potential customers.

Social Media Ads

Finally, one of the most important aspects of healthcare marketing on social media is ads. If you don’t use ads, you’re unfortunately more likely to be overlooked.

Thankfully, ads on social media are starting to blend in better and better with normal content. These new types of ads mimic normal posts almost perfectly.

This phenomenon is known as native advertising. It’s one of the latest and greatest healthcare marketing trends and it’s spreading throughout social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

However, even though social media marketing is a great way to start growing your healthcare practice, it can get complicated sometimes. This is because of the many different targeting restrictions on healthcare marketing companies. If you want to stay away from potential legal issues, then you should work with an agency that specializes in healthcare marketing, like us!

  1. Professional Website Design

If you’ve read this far, then we’re sure you already know how important your website design is for getting new customers. But did you know that 83% of people visit a hospital’s website first before booking? And that 48% of people judge website design as the #1 factor in a business’s credibility? Furthermore, when your website page loads, users will form an opinion in approximately 0.5 seconds.

These numbers are all about first impressions. First impressions matter, both in and outside the office.

When your patients enter your office, you want them to have a good experience right? That’s why you invest in cleaning services and decorations.

Now think about your website as your building’s exterior. You’ll need to spend money on it to keep it looking nice and inviting.

The Future Of Healthcare

Now let’s get into some specifics. What is the future of website design based on the current healthcare marketing trends? Here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Users now expect an Amazon quality experience when browsing healthcare websites.
  • 89% of consumers wish for easier access to their personal health records.
  • 71% of millennials prefer online scheduling over other forms of scheduling, and they also prefer receiving digital reminders.

As you can see, the above factors all tie into the user experience (UX).

The Importance of UX

UX has been brought up recently along with the topic of electronic medical records. But why is UX being so heavily discussed?

In today’s day and age, an attentive UX can help you build stronger relationships with your audience. In fact, 79% of consumers say that they’re more likely to revisit and share a website if it’s easy for them to use.

There are also negative consequences of creating a site with a bad UX. According to Klein and Partners, 11% of visitors to a hospital website left the website with negative feelings about the brand.

UX Tips

Here’s how to design your website UX so that your visitors won’t leave your site feeling unsatisfied.

  • Start by having a mobile first mindset. Ensure that the layouts work with small spaces, improve page loading speed to counteract any mobile connectivity issues/slow cellular data speeds, and make sure that content is designed for finger scrolling.
  • Loading speed: your website needs to be fast – meaning that pages should load in 3 seconds or less. If not, then 50% of people will hit the dreaded back button.
  • Make sure that your website has high contrast in fonts and colors to cater to those with visual impairments.

Now those are the modern UX elements that you should address. But what future UX elements are also worth considering?

Virtual Healthcare

In a similar fashion to the healthcare marketing trends above, consumers are more interested in taking care of their healthcare concerns online.

  • Virtual healthcare services: 78% of consumers say they would be interested in this.
  • The number of virtual healthcare visits increased from around 54% in 2014 to 71% in 2017!
  • Accenture predicts that by 2019, 66% of healthcare companies will offer self scheduling, and 64% of patients will take advantage of it.

Website Tips

If you want your website to provide the best UX, then the following elements are required:

  • Online scheduling, bills payment, and prescription renewal.
  • Current waiting time in the emergency room.
  • Live chat/instant messaging so customers can reach out quickly to providers.
  • On site search function to help visitors find specific doctors.
  • Option for virtual healthcare appointments.
  • Security measures in place: you wouldn’t want to put your patients’ medical records in jeopardy. It could literally put their lives in danger if you can’t monitor their health records accurately.

Other Healthcare Marketing Trends

Now that we’ve covered the 5 biggest healthcare marketing trends, we’ll touch briefly on a couple more that are also important to consider.

  1. Patient Portals

Patient portals are places where customers can easily and securely access their personal health data. Patient portals have been a thing for many years. But now they’re becoming more and more user friendly and sophisticated as more companies’ catch on to these latest healthcare marketing trends.

But it’s not too late to capitalize on patient portals. According to a recent CDW healthcare survey, less than 30% of patients would give their healthcare provider an A grade for technology. And a whopping 89% wanted a more user friendly experience.

The lesson to take away here is to apply user friendliness to all aspects of your healthcare marketing efforts.

  1. Voice Driven SEO

As we mentioned earlier, natural and conversational language is a big part of Google’s new algorithm. And increasingly these types of searches are being done through voice and not through manual text searching.

In fact, voice search already accounts for 20% of all searches.

Most voice searches are also done on mobile, which is another reason why you should design your website with a mobile first mindset.


In summary, modern healthcare marketing trends are all about connecting with your customers online and then intensely focusing on what these customers want. You should then provide it through the media that’s most accessible to them.

We know that there are a lot of changes in the healthcare digital marketing industry to keep up with. And this makes it harder for you to keep up with your competitors. Which is one of the main reasons why you should consider working with a digital marketing agency that specializes in your field.

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5 Ways Healthcare Communicators Can Build Stronger Patient Communities –

5 Ways Healthcare Communicators Can Build Stronger Patient Communities – | Social Media and Healthcare |

It seems to make so much sense: an online community of patients tapping into others with similar conditions and concerns, and sharing what they know to help others. But, no doubt, easier said than done.

John Novack oversees communications for the million-member healthcare social network Inspire, and will be shedding light on the topic, “Building Online Patient Communities With Social,” in a session at the upcoming Healthcare Social Media Summit Oct. 23 in Baltimore. In a recent interview, he touched upon key issues in building those communities.

Obstacles organizations face setting up an online patient community on social media: Trust, privacy, and value to the member are three crucial components to online communities for patients and caregivers, according to Novack. “It’s not easy to grow a disease-specific community to an appreciable size, and it’s even tougher to create and foster an online environment in which members share what can be emotionally wrenching, embarrassing or stigmatizing information,” Novack says.

He adds, “It sounds simple, but you’ve got to constantly ask yourself, ‘What’s in it for the person joining this community?’ from very early on. When members thank us for creating the Inspire community, we know they’re doing so because they find real value in it. If it’s perceived that the value of your community is flowing only to you, it likely won’t grow.”

Novack advises to involve the types of patients and caregivers you want in the community as you plan your launch. If you can’t find and involve them, he says that may be an indicator that you’re not ready.

The PR advantages of online patient communities: “I’m fortunate to have established relationships with many Inspire members who are open to talking to the media, or speaking at conferences,” Novack says. “Many patients and caregivers want to share their stories primarily because they feel those stories are going untold. We’ve had media placements that involve Inspire members who I have invited to participate in an interview, or speak at a conference alongside one of my colleagues—our head of research, for example.”

Novack cites one example from an article in STAT ( that occurred because he learned of the death of a longtime member of his lung cancer online support group. “The late member’s widow agreed to talk to a STAT journalist whom I knew had a specific interest in end-of-life issues,” Novack explains. “The article demonstrated the deep value of healthcare social networks, particularly those for people affected by life-threatening diseases. Moreover, the widow thanked me afterward for what she saw not as just an article, but as a tribute to her husband.”

Some media placements, Novack says, involve just the Inspire member, without a direct mention of Inspire, as the story didn’t warrant it. “And that’s OK, as helping get patients’ stories told is important to do for many reasons,” he notes. “In those cases, the journalists know that my interests are not solely to get my company into their stories every time.”

Managing and maintaining online communities for continuing success: It is key, according to Novack, to have clear community guidelines, and have the people and the commitment to managing the community. As a company with a healthcare social network, Inspire has invested in having full-time, trained moderators who staff the online community on around the clock, 365 days a year.

“Peer health networks allow members to make informed decisions with help from fellow members,” Novack says. “But one size does not fit all, and for us, we focus on ensuring that the members feel in control in how they want to navigate”

He adds that organizations need to identify what the goals of the new community are in advance, and have everyone in leadership in agreement. “Creating and managing an online community can be a time-consuming process, so communities can quickly become a drain on resources, for little benefit,” he points out. “Ask yourself: Do you have the coverage in place from the start to ensure that your community will protect members from spammers and trolls?”

How much control the organization has in managing the discussions, and how much control is given to the patients and group participants: “At Inspire, we look to ensure there is respectful sharing of opinions among members,” Novack says. “We have more than 200 groups and our members represent some 3,600 conditions, so it’s not feasible to be an arbiter of medical information.”

Novack says Inspire partners with more than 100 nonprofit patient advocacy organizations, and  involves them as subject member experts to help provide authoritative information to members. “It’s a delicate balance—we want to encourage members to be able to freely talk about their lived experience. We encourage members to not make radical decisions about their approaches to managing their conditions without consulting their physicians.”

Personal successes through an online patient community on social media: “As one of the public faces of Inspire, I have had the privilege of members telling me how important the online community has been to them,” says Novack. “Several times members have said, ‘You’ve saved my life,’ and what they mean is that they found a pathway to a lifesaving treatment through an online community. That’s humbling, and those examples demonstrate the power of healthcare social networks.”

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7 Proven Social Media Tips for Pharmacies

Just like running a profitable pharmacy, we didn’t learn how to schedule a Facebook post in pharmacy school- right? If you’re like me, you had to bootstrap and…
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How to reach new patients using social media

How to reach new patients using social media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Some 2.8 billion people use social media to share their thoughts and life updates, connect with family and friends, and uncover news and information that’s relevant to them. Though sites like Facebook and Twitter were created to cultivate personal relationships, healthcare practices can also use social media to reach new patients and help drive business goals.

Read on to learn how social media can be beneficial for independent doctors, as well as a few best practices for using social media.

Reasons doctors should use social media

Doctors can realize a number of business benefits from social media. Primarily, social media helps doctors reach new patients by increasing their online footprint and by providing them a platform to share their expertise and insight.

Social media increases online footprint

The more places a healthcare practice appears online, the larger its online footprint. The larger the footprint, the more likely the practice is to be found by new patients.

Creating social media profiles and sharing information related to your specialty and practice on those profiles can help increase your ranking on Google, Bing, and other search engines. And social media profiles help new patients find your practice when they use Facebook and other social sites to search for information related to your specialty and practice.

Look: 3 ways healthcare providers can build online presence

Social media allows doctors to share expertise with new patients

The doctor-patient relationship is intimate. As such, many people will gather as much information as they can about a doctor before becoming new patients.

Social media can help you calm reservations people might have about putting their health in your hands. On social media, you can give glimpses inside of your practice, so new patients know what to expect before they walk through your doors. You can also share your expertise regarding your specialty, so new patients feel confident you are the real deal.

Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of your personality in your posts, so new patients can begin to feel comfortable with you as a person even before meeting.

You might like: How adjusting your bedside manner can boost patient retention

Social media helps doctors build celebrity

Though doctors don’t get into the business of healthcare in search of fame, a little celebrity can help attract new patients and build thought leadership in their specialties.

When you consistently share helpful information related to your specialty on social media, you become a go-to source for media and other audiences on related topics. As you are cited as an expert more and more often in online articles, you can expect more new patients to find you using search engines and social media.

Social media best practices for doctors

Doctors need to follow a few best practices in order to get the most from their social media use. Below are a few tips to help you get started.

Read: 4 steps healthcare providers should take before using social media for business

Choose the social media sites that are right for you

Each social media site is different. Rather than jumping on all sites, think carefully about what you want to get out of using social media so you can select the site that will work best for you.

Do you want to showcase results from your services? Instagram could be your best bet. Do you primarily want to share news and advice? Twitter might be the right site. Do you want to increase organic traffic to your website? Consider Google+.

Think about your overall goals, and then determine which sites will help you reach those goals.

Instagram 101: Practice marketing tips for healthcare providers

Consistently share relevant, authoritative, and actionable content

Inactive social media profiles won’t help you attract new patients. When you commit to using social media for business, you’re committing to sharing relevant and authoritative content on a regular basis.

Develop a schedule to help you post on social media consistently. In general, about 80 percent of your content should be information new patients will find helpful or interesting and 20 percent should be promotional. Only share information that is relevant to your practice and specialty and that comes from credible sources.

Be sure to make your content actionable by including links where new patients can find more information, whether it’s on your website or another site. Also include actionable phrases like, “Visit our website for more information,” that clearly tell new patients what to do next.

Engage with new patients

Engagement is key to social media success, because social media sites like Facebook are more likely to surface engaged users than non-engaged users in searches.

To spark engagement, you can follow relevant pages or users and like or comment on their posts. You can also share content that’s proven to get more views and engagement. According to the book “A Field Guide to Using Visual Tools,” 90 percent of information that goes to the brain is visual, which means visuals could better engage new patients.

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet…. Considerations For Using Twitter | 

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…. Considerations For Using Twitter |  | Social Media and Healthcare |

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question! Knowing whether it be nobler in your mind to utilize social media such as Twitter or not to, is up to your organization to decide. With Twitter growing in popularity it is no wonder why so many organizations are deciding to utilize it’s benefits to promote their agendas.

For those unaware of what Twitter is, it is an online social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to interact with posts, called “tweets”. Tweets can be posted with using text, with a 280-character limit, with or without an accompanying image and/or a short video included. Twitter continues to maintain its popularity – in the second quarter of 2018 Twitter averaged 335 million monthly active users!   When used correctly, Twitter is a powerful communication and marketing mechanism that has the capability of reaching others quickly.

The Benefits of Twitter

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), addresses the benefits of Twitter as part of their HHS Twitter Guidance. According to HHS, Twitter has several benefits, including:

  • Information can be disseminated very quickly.
  • Broad reach potential – a vast “network or networks.”
  • Targeted reach potential – a growing number of groups on Twitter, including social marketing, health disparities, and health IT.
  • Collaboration – professionals are using Twitter to network, build relationships, etc.
  • Continued growth as a conversation mechanism.

Do’s and Don’ts when using Twitter

Do use Twitter if the stakeholders you are trying to reach utilize Twitter.

Don’t use Twitter if you lack the resources to manage the Twitter account, such as reading monitoring, posting, or re-posting of tweets.

Do use Twitter to connect with others by answering and asking questions.

Don’t use Twitter to discuss treatment with patients. For example, if patient asks about a condition he or she is experiencing.

Do use Twitter to share information about services you provide in your practice and information relevant to those services.

Don’t include protected health information (PHI) on Twitter unless you have been authorized to do so.

Do use Twitter if you would like to share time-sensitive updates about your practices that you would like to announce.

Don’t use Twitter as a static website. As HHS puts it, “Nobody likes spam or self-promotion.”

Now more than ever before, social medial in commonplace in the healthcare industry. Twitter allows us the ability to instantaneously connect with others at the use of the button. As long as Twitter is used correctly, in a HIPAA compliant manner, it is a powerful tool for healthcare organizations to have a strong social media presence.

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A Technical Framework for Rigorous Health Communication Research in the social media era…

Presented on September 12th, 2018 at the 2018 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media in Atlanta, GA.
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How Can Content Marketing Help Your Healthcare Company?

How Can Content Marketing Help Your Healthcare Company? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Recently google found that one in every 20 searches were for health-related information. So how come your healthcare business hasn’t been using the power of content marketing?

If you are already using content marketing as part of your strategy, I will help you with some additional tips and tactics that can take your strategy to the next level. The healthcare space is much different than most industries when it comes to content marketing due to the laws associated with HIPAA.

A lot of the same tactics that you will be using in either the real estate industry, the banking industry, the construction industry and someone doesn’t apply to the healthcare industry due to the strict restrictions. However, there are still many ways that we can use the power of content to educate searchers and also grow our brand.

Why Content Marketing is Important for Healthcare Companies

Over 77% of patients use search engines before booking their appointments at the hospital. With this stat, we really need to optimize our site for the search engines, I’ll providing the best user experience and information to our users.

There are a lot of search engine optimization tactics that we need to be aware of to make our site more visible to the public. The first thing we want to do is understand how our searchers are using the search engine. Are they looking up Certain procedures? Are they trying to find what is wrong with them and what medicine is usually prescribed? Are they looking for which doctors in their area specialize in a certain field?

There are a bunch of great ways to understand how our users are using the search engines, and with a better understanding of this we can optimize our content to help these people.

How to Provide Your Audience With What They Are Looking For

1. Do Keyword Research

Do keyword research to determine what the best way to help answer these questions are. You should have a lot of frequently asked questions from former patients or customers that are a great starting point in helping you develop content that will bring more people onto your website.

It is really important to be answering these type of questions to show potential patients are customers that you are really in authority of the medical space, and a place that they can go for answers.

If 77% of these patients are using the search engines why would we not be putting all of our efforts into optimizing our reach on Google?

2. Answer Questions Your Audience is Asking

It’s also important that we really focus on helping a wide variety of questions, but we want to be spending the majority of our time being the absolute leader in whatever our specialty is.

Say a dermatology department puts out two pieces of content every week. There’s going to be a lot of times where you want to talk about best practices for keeping your skin healthy or possibly doing recommendations between certain products that keep you pimple free.

However, if your department mainly focuses on say skin rashes, then you really want to be the number one result at least locally on your specific skin rash treatment or care.

This means that you want to have every single question covered Regarding skin rashes that your patient could possibly think of. This shows that yes you can help them in a wide array of areas for dermatology but you are the absolute only person they should go to when it comes to skin rashes because you are the industry leader.

3. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

With all of the companies jockeying for position in the healthcare industry, we really need to find those one or two places to be able to stand above the pack. Using our specialty is a great way to do this.

Another way to stand out is by being extremely transparent. And a recent study that I was reading it showed that millennials care more than anything about the company they work with being transparent.

This can mean a lot of different things but really you just want to be upfront with who you are and what you do and who you can help. Some tactics you can use are the following.

You should go back to the beginning of your company and tell a little bit about how and why you guys got started. Let people know who you were trying to help when you set out on this mission in the healthcare industry.

Maybe you had a family member with a certain illness when you were a child and all your life you just wanted to help other people with the same illness. Something like this will really connect you to potential readers and show you as a much more compassionate brand.

4. Tell Your Story

Not only this but it’s much easier to go to a company or work with someone when you feel they are doing it for a common good, then if they were just out to try to make some money. A lot of folks have misconceptions about the healthcare industry so really just tell your story to be honest and try to connect with them.

Another option you have is to show off some of your team members. If you are a hospital do a little background on all of your staff, your doctors, nurses, those women at the front desk. It’s all for the same reason. We want to stand out, be transparent, and have patients feel like they already know us before they even step into our place of work.

I recently walked into a doctors office and in the waiting room, the hallways, and even inside the patient room, there were posters telling you to like the hospital on Facebook. I love seeing companies engage in this way and really embrace social media‘s impact on today’s society.

5. Leverage the Power of Social Media 

It’s actually been shown that 41% of patients say social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor hospital or medical facility. Knowing that you really can’t afford to not be aggressively pursuing social media as a means to connecting with your customers and patients.

If people are trusting in connecting with brands through social media you really need to take a step back and see what you need to do as a business owner or marketer to really have a presence on social and engage with patients.

There are many ways that we can use content marketing in the healthcare industry to still get our brand out there, and help people. I know that there are a lot of restrictions in this industry that not everyone has to deal with, but they are easy to get around and we can still move forward with a great marketing strategy that helps build your brand.

Important Factors for Effective Healthcare Content Marketing

When it comes to implementing and leveraging the power of content marketing in your healthcare company, you need to remember some key elements of any successful content marketing strategy.

1. Maintain Consistency With Your Content

We’ve all been to those websites that have a blog, with one to five posts on them that are scattered throughout the years, and ultimately have random subjects that they discuss.

A content marketing strategy needs to be consistent, both in terms of the content that you are producing, and how often you are producing it.

If you cannot commit to a multi-weekly, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly posting of content to your site, you will likely never gain the traction necessary to boost your online presence.  There is no substitute for consistency in this game. Over time this consistency really builds up, like a snowball rolling down a hill.

It can be easy to get discouraged at first when your efforts do not seem to make that much of a difference in terms of traffic, but over time, it is one of the main factors contributing to generating traffic.  A one week break can cause months of progress to be lost overnight, and equally, take months to gain back.

2. Produce High-Quality Content 

It sounds obvious, but I cannot tell you how many clients I speak to who stress the fact that they “already have a content marketing strategy in place”.  Sure, posting a  few blogs a week is great, but if they are low-quality content that brings no value to your customer, they will not succeed.

You want to answer real questions that your customers have, and do your best to truly understand what it is that they are looking for. Just throwing up a 600-word blog post each week that glazes over a few topics and offer a clickbait title is not going to build your brand.

High-quality content is usually anywhere from 1,200+ words and covers a comprehensive list of commonly asked questions regarding the topic at hand. Professional insights are given, and unique statistics and viewpoints are offered.

3. Develop a Unique Voice in Your Space

If you are just echoing what other influencers in your space are saying, while you may be bringing forth good points and still educating people, you will likely not set yourself apart from the competition.

You want to find your brands voice, and really try to imbue it into all of your content marketing efforts moving forward.  It is okay to be somewhat polarizing.  If you are trying to please everyone, not only will you never accomplish this, you will also likely lose the fans that you do have along the way because you have no backbone.

4. Find the Channels That Your Audience Hangs Out On

So many business owners try to appeal to their audience on every single social media platform known to man.

It makes me cringe when I go to a website and they have links to about 30 social media platforms, 12 of which even I have never heard of as an internet marketer.

Yeah, it’s great to give your audience a lot of options to follow you, but ultimately, if you are a fitness guru or someone promoting homeopathic medicine, there are a few super relevant channels to you and your audience, and the rest just fall short.

Ultimately, try to stick to about 2 or 3 channels where your audience hangs out the most, and strengthen these before even considering hopping into another one. Usually, for B2C companies in the healthcare space, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are the top 3.  This can be said for most industries. For B2B, LinkedIn is the obvious choice.

Master these, and then if you feel the need to move on, do so with caution and without forgetting about the channels that have the core of your audience on them.

Content Marketing for Healthcare Companies – Wrapping Things Up 

Ultimately, content marketing is not as easy as just combining all of these elements and rolling the dice.  You need to have a pinpoint understanding of what your audience is looking for, what your competitors are providing them with, what you are providing them with, the difference between the two, and why customers should choose you over them.

From here, you want to spend as much time as possible obsessing over what your audience is asking. Find the places they hang out online and spend some time getting to know them and their common problems.

Then, craft a strategy that works towards establishing yourself as a thought leader on how to go about solving these problems. Maintain consistency and quality, and eventually, with enough hard work, you will get where you want to be through the implementation of an effective content marketing strategy.

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Where are the lines: Social media and the regulators

Presentation on how social media is impacting the work of organizations regulating the health care professions in Canada
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Should Hospitals Still Aim for a #1 SEO Ranking?

Should Hospitals Still Aim for a #1 SEO Ranking? | Social Media and Healthcare |

A top search ranking may be harder to achieve than it once was, but hospitals shouldn’t despair. Quality content and conversion-driven strategies can still improve SEO rankings and turn leads into patients.

Like many aspects of digital marketing, SEO is continuously evolving. As search engines have become more nuanced, search engine results pages (SERPs) have begun to include pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media information, news, videos, and local maps. These additional features may have hospitals asking: is a #1 SEO ranking achievable or even relevant?

Fortunately, hospitals don’t necessarily need to aim for the top result to have success. Your hospital can still build an engaged audience by developing high-quality, informative content.

By addressing users’ specific interests and establishing yourself as an authority on a particular topic, you can increase click-through-rates (CTRs) and generate valuable conversions. Here are five tools that your hospital can use to attract new patients without obsessing over that number one spot.

1. Informative copy and a friendly user experience

2016 survey showed that for many patients, website usability is more important that trustworthiness when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. That’s why it’s important to make your website visually appealing, easy to navigate, and quickly scannable.

Quality content is also an important ranking factor for Google. To take advantage of this, make sure that your copy is clear, concise, and relevant to target patient populations. Instead of packing each page full of general keywords, focus on writing descriptions that are compelling, concise, and informative for patients seeking information about your services or doctors.

2. Landing pages dedicated to specific conditions

Patients often get lost or confused when they have to search through a hospital’s general website to find the information they need. Creating a specific landing page is an effective way to speak directly to their needs and highlight applicable treatment options.

Plus, landing pages can help hospitals rank higher for a particular condition, as opposed to trying to rank the entire site. By including narrower long tail keywords relevant to the condition at hand, you increase your chances of being noticed by Google’s algorithms and showing up in SERPs.

3. Smart keyword choice

As mentioned above, long tail keywords cater to users’ precise interests, such as “rotator cuff surgery near me” or “local laser ablation for varicose veins.” Unlike more general keywords, these highly specific and localized search terms target patients who are looking for treatment, rather than those who are simply gathering information.

Instead of competing with the plethora of established resources on a given condition, these keywords help your hospital get in front of patients who are close to conversion without an inordinate amount of effort.

4. Focus on conversion

It’s not enough to generate a lot of traffic to your site or landing page — you want patients to move forward by providing their contact information or scheduling an appointment. In order to increase conversions, you’ll need to have a clear and visible call to action (CTA) on your website.

Your contact information and phone number should be easy to find, and your patient forms should be simple and intuitive. When visitors are able to quickly locate information that is relevant to their condition, they are more likely to pursue treatment at your hospital. Make sure to keep language consistent across all your touchpoints so potential patients have a cohesive experience.

5. Continual optimization

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important for hospital marketing teams to check in regularly for best practices. Do regular searches to see how your hospital shows up in SERPs and what your website looks like on mobile. As 40% of users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load, it’s also important that your site speed is up to par. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see what’s slowing down your page and how to make simple improvements.

While there are strategic ways medical marketers can increase their SEO rankings, it’s important to remember that being the top search result isn’t necessarily the key to success. Instead, patients are increasingly looking for relevant information that speaks to their needs. By providing engaging copy and a positive user experience, your hospital is likely to build a loyal audience and see an increase in conversions. Ultimately, Google recognizes quality content, which means that your continued success will likely boost your SEO rankings as well.

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Seven Key Health Care Marketing Tips To Impact And Alter Consumer Behavior

Seven Key Health Care Marketing Tips To Impact And Alter Consumer Behavior | Social Media and Healthcare |

Health care consumers have been routinely sacrificing their health and longevity by delaying and avoiding care due to the escalating costs of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Miraculously, however, the tides are turning, and we’re witnessing a vital and positive shift in health care consumer behavior with the surge in well-being programs.

Well-being programs, in essence, were designed to establish and reinforce positive behavior change. With the guidance of virtual wellness coaches, biometric screenings, holistic educational resources and incentive options, companies that implement well-being programs often boast decreased health care costs and healthier employees.

According to “The 8th Annual Industry Pulse Report,” released by the HealthCare Executive Group and Change Healthcare, 25.4% of respondents listed “incentives” as the key to encouraging positive and engaged health behavior, whereas only 3.4% of respondents identified high-deductible health plans.


Applying Behavior Change Principles To Health Care Marketing

The growing adoption of these programs is based on the fundamental understanding that daily healthy habits will result in positive and lasting behavior change. How do we take this proven approach to behavior change and apply it across health care marketing?

In some situations, people don’t look to change their unhealthy behavior until the habit becomes a tangible barrier to something in their life. Everyone knows smoking is terrible for your health. So, which is a more effective marketing campaign for a 40-year-old father to get him to change his behavior and quit? An advertisement stating “Smoking Kills,” or one that shows a daughter walking down the aisle stating, “You Won’t Want To Miss This,” with a call to action (CTA) to a smoking cessation program?


Your health care marketing has to, first and foremost, appeal to the emotional and human side of people. Impactful and memorable marketing campaigns are what resonate with your audience long term. At emagine, we apply the following keys to our clients’ marketing campaigns to impact and alter consumer behavior.

1. Build An Emotional Connection: If you’re looking to truly make a difference, it starts here. As referenced in the example above, your marketing should embody a genuine, empathetic, emotional connection with your audience. Translate what matters most to your audience through your campaigns. Spark that motivation for them to take action now.

2. Create An Engaging Community: A sense of community lets your audience feel they are not alone. It provides a safe and social way for them to share stories, challenges and their overall journey toward health, hope and happiness with others. Social networking platforms are a great community builder, providing your audience with a universal location to learn, connect, motivate and grow with one another. According to the aforementioned study, social media was cited by health care leaders as one of the top strategies used to engage with their consumers. 

3. Build Brand Pillars Of Trust And Transparency: Your consumers want your brand to be authentic, reliable and trustworthy. Create and offer educational resources to your consumers. Arm them with the appropriate tools to help them manage the health care needs of not only themselves but of their loved ones, as well. A resource center is an excellent way to house your materials in one convenient location on your website.

4. Invest In Mobile: Virtual care has empowered consumers to take back control of their health. Mobile technology has opened countless doorways to health care across America. In the past few years, we’ve seen mobile health empower consumers to self-diagnose, video chat with their doctors, and manage their prescriptions and appointments all from the palm of their hand. In fact, 79% of health care leaders feel diagnostic apps have the “greatest potential” for evolving the future of health care.

5. Strive For Accessibility And Affordability: The inability for high-deductible health plans to succeed with this consumer behavior change is, in part, because of these barriers to care. Fortunately, virtual care has stemmed from the desire to significantly reduce -- or eliminate -- both. The recent venture between Apple, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway is a prime example of organizations looking to transform health care. Actively strive for accessibility and affordability to stay competitive and truly impact consumer behavior.

6. Get Involved With Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Consumers want to know you are an accountable and environmentally friendly brand, investing in the social impact your brand has on its community and our planet. By building CSR into your marketing strategy, you can highlight key ways you’re taking action to make a difference to your audience.

7. Empower Your Consumers: Now, more than ever, consumers are actively taking control of their health. Empowering your consumers includes not only getting them to take that first step but keeping them motivated to continue making lasting progress.

As Confucius is credited for having said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” This methodology is equally true for behavior change. Ingraining behavior change that lasts a lifetime is done by creating and reinforcing positive, daily healthy habits in your consumers. Infuse these seven key health care marketing tactics to impact and alter consumer behavior, and remarkable change can follow.

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5 strategies for improving health literacy with digital signage 

5 strategies for improving health literacy with digital signage  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Let’s tackle health literacy once and for all and move our health care system forward. Let’s remove complex and hard-to-understand messaging in all forms of communication. Let’s use innovative technology such as digital signage in hospitals to consistently engage patients and employees at the point of care.

Tell people what they need to do and where to get help and watch them take action. When you are clear and direct you help people assimilate, absorb, and retain information. You are empowering them to them to change their thoughts and behaviors, ultimately increasing the trust between patient and provider.

Improve health literacy and optimize digital signage communications with these five strategies:


Use plain language to explain “how” to do things and “why” they should be done.

Breaking down barriers to communication can help prevent avoidable hospital readmissions. Patients who know and understand a physician’s instructions will feel empowered to act in their own best interest. Demonstrating how to properly take medication, explaining why not refilling a prescription can have severe consequences, and why following a physician’s discharge instructions is critical to recovery are examples of messaging that can help support physician communication.

Help alleviate anxiety and reduce confusion with universal symbols.

Easily recognized symbols included in patient education messaging can help increase understanding as people capture meanings at a glance. Combined with compassionate and supportive messaging, symbols can help calm anxious patients and caregivers.

Provide easy-to-remember numbers and web addresses so people can act upon information in real time.

Call-to-action information in large eye-catching fonts and visually appealing designs can grab attention and encourage people to make physician and screening appointments on their cell phones while they wait. Tell caregivers to get prescriptions filled at on-site pharmacies while their loved ones are being discharged and show them exactly where to go. Provide discounts and coupons for nutritious meals in the hospital cafeteria.

Reinforce “teach back” opportunities with clinical staff to elevate quality care.

Ensuring seamless communication is an important component of delivering quality care and “teach back” is a proven means of increasing patient understanding. Offering helpful tips, reminders, and support on monitors in nursing stations and employee break rooms can go a long ways to moving health literacy forward.

Clarify insurance terms and connect people to the right coverage.

Studies have shown that not understanding basic insurance terminology makes it difficult for people to select the right coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Help people become more “insurance literate” when you shed light on terms like premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. As you expand the types of messages delivered, your community will see you as a more comprehensive health resource.

We can’t ignore each opportunity to establish thoughtful, effective communication with patients, employees, and the communities we serve. Our messages must encourage a flow of conversation that is seamless and time-efficient. Health literacy needs to be addressed on many levels and digital signage, at the point of care, is a platform that can go a long ways towards breaking down the walls of confusing medical jargon and ineffective communication.

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Innovative Ways To Promote Hospitals Online - Hospital Marketing Strategies

Innovative Ways To Promote Hospitals Online - Hospital Marketing Strategies | Social Media and Healthcare |

Hospitals are often considered a dreaded place. Nobody wants to go there unless and until they are left with no other option. Inspiring patients to visit the hospital is not really easy. Need to follow hospital marketing strategies that will help them create a positive image among the masses while also promoting a healthy living habit.


Hospital marketing strategies will help connect with patients in a meaningful way while also increasing the patient base. However, recently the healthcare industry has witnessed a lot of competition which brings in the need for a fresh and innovative hospital marketing plan.

Here are some simple yet effective marketing strategies to promote your healthcare organization and motivate people to make informed healthcare decisions.

1- Design a responsive website

People do a lot of research about the hospitals before considering a treatment unless and until there is an emergency in which case they will go for the one which is nearest and can be easily reached. But if they are doing some research about the hospitals they would like to know everything be it the doctors, quality of care and success rate etc.

Your website is the first and foremost medium that allows people to interact with you on a personal level. Hence, it should be designed in a way that makes it easier for people to find information related to health care rather than just offering details about the hospital or doctors. It should also be easy to navigate from one page to another for a happy user experience.

You should also optimize your website for search engines to make sure that people are able to find you. Majority of people do a Google search when looking for best healthcare services and if your website is not optimized for seo, chances are that it will not appear in search results. Use healthcare terminologies as keywords to improve your website’s visibility.

2- Increase your social media presence

Social media has evolved as a wonderful medium for influencing people’s opinion. That’s not all. Having a strong social media presence also adds credibility to your brand or organization.

Given the huge potential offered by social media, marketing for health services can greatly benefit from it. Take, for instance, Facebook campaigns will help you improve your brand presence. Twitter is wonderful for making announcements or new achievements. Similarly, YouTube can be utilized for giving users an insight into your services.

You can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube etc. to create awareness about your healthcare services. It will help you stay connected with users and they are more likely to come to you in times of need.

Having a strong online reputation will allow people to choose your healthcare service over others thus helping you to stay ahead of your competition.

3- Enhance waiting room experience

If you are judicious you can turn the waiting room experience into a marketing opportunity. The patients as well the relatives of those seeking treatment present in the waiting area can be utilized as the target audience of your marketing plans. Use LED displays to provide hospital related information. This also includes promoting a service or making an announcement about the hospital.

Sharing positive stories will also help calm patients and rid them of anxiety. It will not only help you get their confidence but they can also become your spokesperson if they are happy with your services.

Satisfied patients are more likely to use the services again. They will also refer you to their family and friends thus promoting your hospital and what could be better than having your customers speak for you? Improved patient care and exceptional services will serve better than any other marketing effort.

4- Personalized Emails

Emails offer a great way to stay connected to your target audience. Make sure to send regular newsletter and personalized emails etc. explaining useful tips and information. This could be in a variety of forms. You can either send latest blog posts where you talk about new developments in healthcare, a video showing the working mechanism of your hospital or simply offer the necessary industry news to help them stay up to date with the happenings of the latest healthcare policies, a breakthrough in treatments etc.

If you want to take your marketing efforts to the next level you can go for personalized emails. Send informative emails to patients based on their illness. It will tell your patients that you care for them and that your services extend beyond hospital stay.

5- Optimize your website for the mobile

Given the ease and availability of smartphones, more and more people are using their phone to carry out the day to day activities including searching for some information, browsing a website etc.  Hence, it is extremely important to have your website optimized for mobiles or else you will lose out on a large number of audience. You can also offer a mobile app that will help users schedule appointments, check doctor’s availability and inquire about other necessary information to improve user engagement.

6- Use data to target patients

Marketing for hospitals is changing regularly through the use of technology. Softwares like CRM give hospitals plenty of data about patients which can be constantly used for marketing opportunities. All this data can be used to increase patient base once you know how to target them.

7- Promote various specialties of your hospital

A vast majority of people in India are still unaware of different health care services. For them healthcare mainly revolves around the family physician. They consult him/her for every medical problem they encounter. This is not only compromised with their health but also deprives other doctors from patients.

You can utilize this opportunity to promote the various specialties of your hospital and educate them why it is important for them to consult the right doctor for the concerned problem. Most people are not aware of which specialty to consult for particular disease. You can target them and promote your specialities. It will not only improve the condition of healthcare in India but also increase your patient base.

Wrapping Up!

Patients are the lifeblood of hospitals. Following these marketing tips for hospitals will help you build your brand and get more patients. There are various marketing strategy to promote your healthcare services. You should do proper research before arriving at the marketing strategy that will work for you.

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10 Healthcare Website Design Tips that Deliver Patients

10 Healthcare Website Design Tips that Deliver Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Today, most patients in need of a healthcare provider will begin their search online. Even if your organization is primarily physician referred, people are searching for your website before following through with an appointment. A poor web presence could be a deal breaker. Recently, we’ve written a lot about what kind of websites deliver patients. That’s why we’re breaking down our top 10 healthcare website design tips.

#1. HIPAA Compliance in Healthcare Website Design

First and foremost, your website must be HIPPA compliant. Before you can focus on which healthcare website design elements get patients through your doors, you have to ensure the safety of all patients, new and existing. Make sure your web designer specializes in healthcare in order to ensure HIPAA compliant form fills and more, and learn more in the link below.

Full article: Is Your Medical Website HIPAA Compliant?

#2. Choosing the Right Photos and Imagery

There’s an art to choosing the right photos and images for various sections and pages of your healthcare website. At Healthcare Success, we employ both web designers and art directors to select and fine-tune imagery patients can identify with. Often, an onsite photoshoot at the client’s office is required in order to make the most impact. Read the full article below to learn about the top problems we see on healthcare websites (as well as how to correct them).

Full article: 6 Glaring Photography Mistakes We See on Hospital and Practice Websites

#3. Looks Aren’t Everything

Your website might look exactly as you’d hoped—but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to go live. Too often, a good-looking website is missing some of the key marketing aspects that convince patients to call your office. Read more about why the best-looking healthcare web designs can still fail in the blog below.

Full article: Why the Best-Looking Medical Website Designs Still Fail

#4. What REALLY Makes Your Website Marketing Friendly

Need to know which elements do help a website convert patients? As mentioned above, a website is about more than design. In the next blog, we go over 8 of the key elements (though there are many more) that help prospective patients to find your website, see your services, call your team, and schedule an appointment.

Full article: What Makes for a Marketing-Based Website?

#5. One Design Trick that Really Works

Here it is: in this blog, we give away one of our biggest design secrets. In 2018, most of your prospective patients are searching for healthcare options on their smartphones. With the rise of mobile devices, web design has changed to adapt to the way people use their phones. And the “long-scroll” secret is one of the best adaptations we’ve seen. Get the scoop in the blog below.

Full article: The Long-Scroll Secret for Website Design

#6. Your Copywriting Can Cost You Patients (and More)

Healthcare website design is about a lot more than imagery. An eye-catching headline can keep a prospective patient on your website for longer. But a headline that falls flat can cost you patients. Even worse, poor copywriting choices or misleading copy could get you into some legal trouble, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Full article: Don’t Let Your Copywriting Cost You

#7. Include Doctor Reviews

Patients can leave doctor reviews on multiple off-site locations. You have little or no control over the types of reviews displayed on these sites, but you can have a system for leaving qualified reviews on your own website. Automated systems are available (through agencies like Healthcare Success) to manage your online reviews without much extra effort for your staff. See why doctor reviews are so important to your practice or hospital website in the guide below.

Full article: 5 Ways Online Doctor Reviews Can Help Your Practice

#8. Keep On-Page SEO in Mind

A good website design incorporates elements that help your healthcare website rank higher in the search engines. This is called search engine optimization, or SEO, and there’s an art and science to it that requires a lot more effort than you may realize. It’s about more than using the right keywords—get all the info in the link below.

Full article: SEO Tips For Organizations That Want to Get Bigger and Better

#9. Keep Your Website Patient-Centric

When it comes to your healthcare website design, patient behavior and expectations should always come first. Sometimes, doctors write or design websites with their own preferences in mind. But always remember: you are not the patient. We compiled some best practices to design your website for your patients in a recent blog.

Full article: 10 Best Practices to Create a Patient-Centric Website

#10. Don’t Skip the “Small” Stuff

Finally, the details matter when it comes to delivering patients from your healthcare website design. Don’t skip the “small” stuff. Something as seemingly small as a phone number on a single page, a missing form, or a misworded page can send patients to your competitors. If any of these things are missing from your website, it’s time to reevaluate your design.

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How to Stay On Top of Digital Marketing for Dentists

How to Stay On Top of Digital Marketing for Dentists | Social Media and Healthcare |

In recent years, dental practices have become more like businesses than ever before. While in the past, many dentists did not think there was a need for them to market their services, these days, stiff competition has changed all of this. Just like any other business in a competitive industry, it is important to stay on top of your game when it comes to marketing your dental practice. The solution is digital marketing for dentists, which is a simple, convenient, and cost-effective method of marketing your practice and your services both in the local area and beyond.

Digital marketing for dentists has become vital in today’s digital age. Many people who are looking for dental services now go online to find a suitable practice or dentist for their treatment. By making sure you make the most of digital marketing for dentists, you can ensure people within your area come across your details. This means you can compete more effectively with other dental practices in the area and, if you do a good job in marketing, you can attract new patients to your practice rather than them going elsewhere.

What is Digital Marketing for Dentists?

Digital marketing for dentists involves marketing the practice and the services you offer via online channels. Some channels commonly used in the process of digital marketing for dentists including social media platforms, email marketing, and blogs.

Is There a Need for Digital Marketing for Dentists?

In today’s digital era, there is definitely a need for digital marketing for dentists. In fact, digital marketing for many businesses has become essential these days as otherwise, you will be left behind in what has become an increasingly digital world. This is why it is important for all dental practices to consider the various digital channels available to them to advertise and market the practice and the services offered.

How to Benefit from Digital Marketing

So, how can you enjoy the benefits of digital marketing for dentists if you want to run a successful and popular practice? Well, there are many ways to do digital dental marketing, but to realize the benefits of digital marketing for dentists, you need to ensure you stay on top of the process.

Fortunately, digital marketing methods are not as complicated or time-consuming as many other types of marketing methods, which makes it easier for you to stay on top of things. You can also get expert help for marketing specifically for dentists, which makes it even easier to create an effective digital marketing campaign.

Using Experts for Your Marketing Services

Staying on top of your digital marketing can be difficult when you have limited time or are struggling with resources. However, by making sure you have experts on hand, it is much easier to get started with digital marketing for dentists. By finding a provider that has plenty of experience in digital marketing for medical practices, such as Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, things will be even more straightforward and smooth-running as you will have skilled experts on hand with experience within your specific industry.

So, how can experts help you stay on top of digital marketing for dentists? Well, digital marketing is a specialist skill, and those that have the experience and knowledge to implement it properly can make a big difference to your practice. We all know digital marketing is far more cost-effective and convenient than many other forms of marketing. However, you still need to ensure you develop the right digital marketing strategy if you want to see real results. For those with little or no experience in implementing digital marketing methods, developing the right strategy can be difficult.

Also, if you run your own dental practice, chances are that you are very busy with patients, so finding the time to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy can be a challenge. Your priority has to be your patients, but you need to operate as a business and raise awareness about your practice and services. The best way in which you can do this is to focus on your patients and dental work while the experts deal with the digital marketing side of things on your behalf.

Staying On Top of Your Digital Marketing

Once the right digital marketing strategy is developed and implemented, it should be simple and straightforward to stay on top of your digital marketing. Simple tasks such as regular blog posts added to your website and using social media platforms to share information or links to posts can prove hugely helpful.

One thing you have to remember no matter what industry you are in is the importance of keeping up with your digital marketing. It is not enough to just go through the initial stages and implement your digital marketing campaign. You must stay on top of things, and the easiest way to do this is to check in on it regularly.

For instance, if you are using social media as part of your digital marketing for dentists, don’t just go on every few weeks and hope that this will be enough. You need to be going onto the platforms frequently as your regular presence will help to instill trust amongst your followers and audiences. In addition, people will lose interest in your posts if you only appear every so often.

Fortunately, you have the benefit of using a method that is not hugely time-consuming when you opt for digital marketing, so you don’t have to put aside huge amounts of time to deal with your marketing. In fact, depending on the team you have at your practice, you could allocate the duty of staying on top of digital marketing and updates to a specific member of your team. This will save any confusion or duplication in your marketing campaign and means that a specific person will have the time and resources to keep up with this vital area of marketing.

What are the Main Benefits?

By making sure you stay on top of your digital marketing campaign, you can enjoy several key benefits, such as:

Building a Rapport with Your Audience

Using digital marketing methods such as social media platforms in the right way means you can more easily build rapport with your audience. By doing this, you instill trust and confidence, so people are more likely to turn to you for dental services and treatments because they are already familiar with you.

Raising Awareness

One of the key points of any digital marketing campaign is to raise the awareness of your business and the services you offer. Digital marketing for dentists makes this process far easier, faster, and more affordable than most other methods, and it means you can let people know how you can help them with their dental health and oral care without having to worry about using other time-consuming, costly methods.

A Cost-Effective Solution

This method of marketing provides a cost-effective solution for dental practices and all other businesses. It means you need fewer resources. You also invest less of your time, which also equates to a greater cost savings for your business.

Extending Your Reach

For dental practices, the aim of digital marketing campaigns can vary. For instance, some dental practices may want to focus on attracting only residents that live in the area, while others may want to attract people on a national level because they offer innovative treatments that are not widely available at most dental practices. When you use digital marketing, you can more easily extend your reach beyond your local area, making it easier to reach out to people from all over the country.

Promoting Special Deals

Dental practices often have special offers and deals on various treatments, such as cosmetic procedures, but there is little point in running these promotions if people are not aware of them. With the right digital marketing strategies, you can be confident that the public knows about the promotions and special deals you are offering.

Driving Traffic to Your Site

Digital marketing is great for driving traffic to your website. For example, if you post a new blog on your site, you can add a link to the blog on social media with a message that will encourage your followers to click on the link to your site to access the post. From there, your followers may even decide to share or forward your links to their own social media circles and drive even more traffic to your site!

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Digital patients: myth and reality | 

Digital patients: myth and reality |  | Social Media and Healthcare |

With the NHS set to further embrace digital technology to improve the delivery of health care, engaging patients in using technology will be critical. An NHS app is going to be launched later this year, but will anyone use it? And equally importantly, could rolling out new digital health services improve access and care for younger and healthier patients, but leave vulnerable, less healthy and older patients behind?

In this blog, we draw on a number of recent national surveys (see the ‘About the data’ section) and look at common claims about access and use of technology – and who might be excluded if there is a wholesale move to digital health services. 

“Older people don’t use technology”

Younger people use more of the internet, but the variation between age groups is reducing, except for people aged over 75 (see chart). In the first quarter of this year, only 38% of women and 51% of men aged 75 and over had used the internet in the previous three months – and the gap relative to young people is growing. 


But the relationship between age and digital experience is not straightforward when it comes to health. The youngest age group are not the highest users of online health information, or the most likely to book an online appointment.

In primary care, awareness of online services, such as the ability to book an appointment or order repeat prescriptions, is highest in the 65-74 age group, with nearly half of people aware of these services. And over a fifth of people in this group order repeat prescriptions online – the group most likely to do so. So those in this age group are catching up.

“Digital services are less accessible to people with complex health needs”

Overall internet use is lower among people who are disabled – defined as a “long-standing illness, disability or impairment which causes substantial difficulty with day-to-day activities” – and is particularly the case among older people. However, the gap is greater for some activities than others (see next chart).  

For activities where use has plateaued or declined, such as emails, internet banking and social networking, the gap between disabled and non-disabled people is reducing. The gap has grown for finding information about goods and services, and for using official websites. For both groups there has been a decline in booking online appointments. 

The gap has also narrowed for social networking, which perhaps reflects the value of social networks and peer support for people with long-term conditions.

Awareness and use of online primary care services by people with long-term conditions are generally similar or higher, depending on the condition, than for people without long-term conditions. There is good evidence that technology can be empowering for patients with some long-term conditions.

But there are important exceptions, such as people with learning disabilities, dementia or sight impairment, for whom both awareness and use of online services are lower.


“Socially excluded people are also digitally excluded”

Health literacy – the ability to use and navigate health and social care information and services – is known to be linked to social circumstances, and impacts on use of health services and patient outcomes. There has also been concern raised about the impact of social circumstances on digital engagement.

Differences in internet use between social grades – a classification system based on occupation – shows that internet use among younger people is similar across different grades, but the gap widens with age.

91% of men and 85% of women over 65 in managerial and professional occupations use the internet. But for semi-skilled and unskilled workers, and households relying on benefits, only 51% of men and 50% of women over 65 do so. People in higher social grades are also much more willing to use a video consultation with their GP (see chart).

Willingness to have a video consultation relative to social grade05/09/2018


% willing to have a video consultationABC1C2DEMinor ailmentOngoing problem orconditionImmediate or emergencymedical needNone of these020406080© Nuffield Trust


Grades defined as: AB - high managerial, administrative or professional; intermediate managerial, administrative or professional; C1 - supervisory, clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional; C2 - skilled manual workers; DE - semi and unskilled manual workers; state pensioners, casual or lowest grade workers, unemployed with state benefits only


IPSOS poll for the Nuffield Trust, King’s Fund, Health Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies (2018)

People who are economically inactive, such as carers, are less likely to be internet users, but rates of internet use are similar between people who are employed (98%) and those who are not (97%).

“Ethnic groups are digitally excluded”

The gap between ethnic groups in internet use has narrowed over time (see chart). Among younger age groups, internet use is similar between different ethnic groups, but non-white groups have lower rates of use for people over 65. However, the overall use of the internet is now lowest among white people, which reflects the older average age of this group.  


“Internet access is worse in rural areas”

While there are undoubtedly variations in the infrastructure for internet access between urban and rural areas, this is not the whole story (see the next image). Portsmouth has the lowest estimated level of internet use in England, with areas in Nottingham, south Yorkshire and Manchester also having low rates of internet access.   

Lower rates of internet use reflect disparate factors – poor infrastructure and higher proportions of older people in rural areas, but higher deprivation in urban areas.


Myth and reality?

Internet use overall has plateaued, and many previously less active users of the internet are catching up quickly.

However, those likely to continue to have low digital access are people over 75, carers, those over 55 in lower social grades, and people with dementia, stroke and learning disabilities.  

As health and care services increasingly look to digital routes to provide information and services, it is likely that a combination of strategies will be needed to ensure these groups are not further disadvantaged. While initiatives to improve digital skills have been effective, there are significant difficulties in getting and keeping patients engaged in digital services. Non-digital methods of access are likely to be needed for the foreseeable future, otherwise those at greatest risk will be excluded. 

Local variations in internet use are striking – the proportion of people who have either stopped using it or never use it is twice as high in Northern Ireland as in London, and there is a six-fold variation between local areas in England. Given the increasing dependence on digital means for delivering services, it is perhaps time to regard low internet use as a measure of inequality. 

In future blogs we will consider the implications for patients and services, and look at opportunities for the NHS to engage patients and service users in digital services.

About the data

This blog uses data from the ONS internet users survey, and the ONS internet access (households and individuals) survey, including more detailed analysis of ethnic group and age. Awareness and use of online services in primary care was obtained from the 2018 GP Patient Survey, using the analysis toolto create cross-tabulations by age group and long-term conditions of questions on awareness of online services (Q4) and use of online services in the last 12 months (Q5). 

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Functional Medicine Practices: Rock Your Online Reputation with Social Media! 

Functional Medicine Practices: Rock Your Online Reputation with Social Media!  | Social Media and Healthcare |

nce upon a time, reputation management was the sole responsibility of corporate PR departments. We sat back and watched as news outlets reported on scandals and company representatives spoke before press conferences. But before we knew it, the digital age hit and leveled the playing field for everyone. Today, anyone can “report” on what a large company or small practice is doing through social media. The digital age has made it more imperative than ever for industries of all kinds to become involved in “online” reputation management.

Online reputation management is proactively influencing how your patients perceive your practice by influencing the information they find online. Whether you realize it or not, people are talking about your practice, and not becoming involved is almost worse than doing so and not being perfect at it right away. That in mind, it is important that you have a plan. You must be ready to face the feedback you are receiving. Today we are going to talk about what a functional medicine practice can do to rock their online reputation using social media!

Stats to Consider

In case you are not already convinced that online reputation management is important, here are a few stats to consider. According to BrightLocal,

97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day

85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

49% of consumers need at least a four-star online rating before they choose to use a business

Stats like these make it evident that people are creating perceptions of what they believe about businesses (and practices) by the information they find online, first! So what can you do to influence this information?

You Can Do This!

By creating your own content for your functional medicine practice, encouraging positive feedback from your patients, and effectively managing negative feedback, you can outshine information that is creating a negative or neutral reputation for your practice! There are four online platforms through which you can do this, following the PESO model:

  1. Paid Media – Pay-per-click advertising such as Facebook or Google advertising
  2. Earned Media – Free advertising you receive as other practices and industry affiliates talk about you online
  3. Social Media – Where we will be focusing our attention in this blog
  4. Owned Properties – Your practice website, blog, etc. (any online space that you own and from which you can publish content)

On any one of these platforms, you can use an online reputation management strategy to push negative or neutral information down the page. We will be focusing on how to develop an online reputation management strategy for social media!

Have a Plan

1. Find Your Reputation

What is your practice’s current reputation, offline? This is a good place to start. Ask around and see what perceptions your fellow professionals, patients, and industry affiliates have about your practice. Does this match what you want your reputation to be? Now take a look online. If you already have social media, peruse your accounts and see what people are saying about your practice. Take a look at your competitors while you are at it and see what reputations they have created for themselves. Next, plan a meeting with your staff and discuss these things as well as what you as a team would like your unique reputation to be. Maybe you want to be seen as high-tech, genuinely caring, or scientifically-grounded. One company that has succeeded at creating a strong online reputation is Wendy’s, most famous for its snarkiness on Twitter. We do not recommend this tactic for most people, but it is an excellent example of the power of a reputation.

2. Draft a Policy

Now that you have your reputation nailed-down, create a policy for your staff to protect it. In your policy document, outline appropriate and inappropriate topics and/or a post-approval process if you are not comfortable with giving your staff free reign to post and comment on your social media accounts. Establish important ground rules like “never publish sensitive patient or practice information.” Unfortunately, HIPAA was enacted before social media existed, so there are no specific guidelines. However, many have written helpful articles on HIPAA and social media. Use your policy document to set the tone of social media professionalism for your staff. Be sure to include that your practice reserves the right to edit or delete any content that could be harmful to your reputation.

3. Create Your Strategy

At Beacon, we often start our work on an account by developing a digital marketing strategy and editorial calendar for our clients. This includes the topics or services we are going to focus on, important themes, keywords, and elements of voice, as well as the platforms and media types we will be using. Our goal is to have a foundational document that we can always go back to for direction to keep our mind on the reputation we are establishing. The document also includes a schedule of what types of posts we will publish at what times and should include the person responsible for responding to comments. It is important to publish content regularly, as in, 3-4 times per week if you want to maintain your reputation. If you are at a loss for what kind of content to publish, take a look at your competitors and what is working for them (only do not copy their tactics, learn from them). Facebook Insights has a great tool called “Pages to Watch” that will help you discover which competitors you should be watching:

In your strategy, include the types of posts that encourage your followers to engage positively, such as questions, quizzes, and calls-to-action, like, “Have you recently had an appointment with us? We’d love to know what you think about our care. Review us now at the link below!” Also, include posts that highlight the positive things about your practice. The reason you are publishing content is to proactively create a positive perception about your practice that pushes any negative perceptions that your patients may have out the door!

Finally, you may want to include some important reminders for online reputation management in your strategy, especially if you will be having your staff do the publishing. For example, remind staff to “pause before they post” and check for grammatical errors as well as topics to avoid. The last thing you want is for your reputation to be tainted by something as simple and easy to fix as a grammatical error. Read and re-read our posts. We use Grammarly at Beacon and it is an especially helpful tool for catching these errors. As for topics to avoid, not only should your staff be thinking about no-no topics for your practice, but current trends, news, and cultural perceptions that could cause something they say to be misconstrued. For example, we were writing a post about visiting a particular national park last week until we saw the news that there had just been an accident at that location. Run your post by your fellow professionals, especially if you are unsure. In fact, if you are unsure, it is probably best that you do not publish the post at all and come up with something different. We know that it is a hassle, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Engage with Followers

A significant part of online reputation management on social media is responding to the people who engage with your content! This shows that you are active, listening, and credible. Social media is not unlike any other sphere for social communication. Imagine if you never answered emails, phone calls, were never in office when people came to visit, or only talked about yourself in conversation. What would that do to your reputation? On social media, 32% of followers expect a response within 30 minutes and 42% within 60 minutes. Have a plan to check your practice’s social media platforms throughout the day and respond to comments and messages as they come. In your response, be as friendly, transparent, and as human as possible. Avoid canned, robotic responses, even to negative comments.

5. Optimize Your Profiles

Have you ever visited a social media account and felt like, “Wow, this practice really has their act together.” It is actually surprisingly easy to achieve this reputation for your practice! Take a look at your social media profiles and make sure you have all of the important pieces in place, the profile picture, cover photo, about, bio, description–Fill in all of the gaps. Make sure all of these pieces are consistent, using your colors, logo, fonts, imagery, and voice. Practices look credible and trustworthy when “everything is in its place.” As an example, take a look at the profile picture and cover photo of one of the social media accounts we manage below. Although we are currently running a particular campaign for this client, everything is consistently branded:

We recently wrote a blog on how to optimize your Instagram profile. Take a look if you would like to learn more about this topic.

6. Monitor and Adapt

After everything is in place and your strategy is up and running, it is important that you track the effectiveness of your plan. It is now standard practice for just about every social media platform to provide some form of data analytics. Monitor these analytics and adapt where necessary. See what your audience likes and does not like and continue to refine your ideas about how to effectively manage your online reputation on social media. Although there is a lot of science to social media, it is also an art. Be flexible and willing to change your tactics for your audience if you need to.

Tools for Monitoring

There are a couple tools you can be using to monitor your online reputation in addition to the tools available on your social media platforms. You can setup Google Alerts to tell you when anyone is publishing content about your business, your competitors, or your industry. This is important for finding social media platforms where people are talking about you and you should establish a presence. Social media management tools like Hootsuite allow you to view posts, comments, and messages that mention you or use keywords or hashtags pertaining to your practice on all of your platforms, all in one dashboard. These tools can help you never miss a message.

A lot of groups have done great things for their online reputation by responding to posts in which their followers mention the name of their group, but do not tag them. When followers do not tag you, they do not necessarily anticipate your response. You can look really on top of the ball by responding to these, making your followers feel like, “Wow, they were listening!” Responding to mentions turns around negative feedback and rewards positive feedback, reinforcing this behavior.

A Note on the Negative (Reviews, Posts, Comments, etc.)

Negative feedback is something no one wants to deal with, but how you handle the negative speaks volumes for the reputation of your functional medicine practice! After years of working in the social media space, we have learned a few things about how to respond to negative reviews, posts, and comments. Here are some pieces of advice:

  • Don’t take it personally. This can be particularly difficult for people who genuinely care about what they are doing. We get it. That said, a lot of people don’t realize that they are talking to people behind-the-scenes when they talk to social media accounts. They are angry with their situation and your practice is the face they have chosen to blast with their woes.
  • Use the 20-minute rule. If you are becoming angry or upset, pause and take a breather so that you can respond instead of reacting. Be the bigger person and keep your practice’s reputation intact!
  • It’s okay to hide, delete, and report. In some cases, especially where vulgarities and disparaging language is being used or the commenter is being irrelevant and ridiculous, you should absolutely hide that comment from your wall and possibly report it. Use your best judgment.
  • Be willing to improve. If the negative feedback being given touches on the truth and is a real service issue that you need to take care of, be willing to make changes to your practice and demonstrate that you are taking feedback to heart on social media! This will do powerful things for your reputation and possibly win the commenter over as a follower for life!
  • Focus on the positive. Be kind and friendly and look for opportunities to turn negative feedback into a positive interaction. We recently had the opportunity to do this with one of our clients in the example below.

Due to the advent of the digital age and social media, reputation management has moved online and is open to everyone. It is now more important than ever for all industries, including functional medicine, to participate in online reputation management! By having a plan that is firmly rooted in policy and strategy documents and backed by a firm understanding of social media, functional medicine practices can rise to the occasion and rock their online reputation. If you are a functional medicine practice and would like to work with an expert partner on your social media, give us a call! We have years of experience working in the field of health and wellness that we would love to share with you and your practice.

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How Hospitals can Counteract Inaccurate Crowdsourced Ratings | 

How Hospitals can Counteract Inaccurate Crowdsourced Ratings |  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Crowdsourced ratings of the "best overall" hospitals produce scores similar to Hospital Compare's ratings, but crowdsourced ratings are less reliable as indicators of clinical quality and patient safety, recent research shows.


The research, which was published in the journal Health Services Research, examined hospital ratings on Facebook, Google Reviews, and Yelp. The findings show crowdsourced ratings reflect patient experience rather than other factors.


"For the most part, what we found is that the social media scores tell us about patient experience, but they don't tell us about the best and worst hospitals on the basis of clinical quality or patient safety," the lead author of the research, Victoria Perez, PhD, told HealthLeaders last week.





The study has significant implications for how patients should view crowdsource ratings, said Perez, who is an assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington. "We wish that people would understand that even if hospitals are not scoring well on Facebook in user reviews, they could have excellent clinical scores."



If a hospital has generated negative reviews on a crowdsourcing site, there are ways to counteract the negative publicity, Perez said. "Hospitals can advertise that they score well on Hospital Compare and establish marketing strategies to respond to social media scores."


Hospital leaders also need to be aware that crowdsourcing scores are based largely on patient experience, she said.


"If hospitals are worried that patients are just looking at social media scores, they need to realize the scores reflect patient experience rather than clinical quality and patient safety. Other than advertising they don't have a lot of control over this. The options are marketing and engaging on the social media platform."



There are ways to shift the online focus of patients toward clinical quality and patient safety, Perez said.


"Hospitals can share Hospital Compare clinical quality and patient safety scores on their homepage, on their Facebook page, and on Twitter. Many hospitals have a social media presence, so they can definitely share clinical quality and patient safety information, and they can encourage patients to look at Hospital Compare."



The research, which examined data from nearly 3,000 acute care hospitals, has several key findings:

  • For best-ranked hospitals on the crowdsourcing sites, 50% to 60% were ranked best in Hospital Compare's overall rating.
  • For best-ranked hospitals on the crowdsourcing sites, 20% ranked worst in Hospital Compares overall rating.
  • For clinical quality and patient safety, hospitals ranked best on crowdsourced sites were only ranked best on Hospital Compare about 30% of the time.


Perez said Hospital Compare, which combines as many as 57 metrics for patient experience and clinical quality, was used to gauge the accuracy of the crowdsourcing sites for several reasons.


"The clinical quality and patient safety measures are based on Medicare claims data, which means there is a lot of information about patients and they can do risk adjustment," she said of Hospital Compare.


Risk adjustment is crucial when comparing hospitals, Perez said. "Rather than being concerned that some hospitals are treating a sicker pool of patients and have worse outcomes as a result, the Hospital Compare data can be adjusted for the health of the patient mix."


The crowdsourcing sites are more prone to bias, she said. "A concern when you look at social media is that people only write reviews when they have really good or really bad patient outcomes."

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Are You on the Right Platform? A Conjoint Analysis of Social Media Preferences in Aesthetic Surgery Patients |

Are You on the Right Platform? A Conjoint Analysis of Social Media Preferences in Aesthetic Surgery Patients | | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has become an indispensable tool for patients to learn about aesthetic surgery. Currently, procedure-specific patient preferences for social media platforms and content are unknown.


To evaluate social media preferences of patients seeking aesthetic surgery.


We utilized a choice-based conjoint analysis survey to analyze the preferences of patients seeking three common aesthetic procedures - breast augmentation (BA), facial rejuvenation (FR) and combined breast/abdominal surgery (BAB). Participants were asked to choose among social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube), information extent (basic, moderate, comprehensive), delivery mechanism (pre-recorded video, live-video, photographs, text description), messenger (surgeon, nurse/clinic staff, patient) and option for interactivity (Yes/No). The survey was administered using an Internet crowdsourcing service (Amazon Mechanical Turk©).


A total of 647 participants were recruited: 201 in BA, 255 in FR and 191 in BAB. Amongst attributes surveyed, participants in all three groups (BA, FR, BAB) valued social media platform as the most important (30.9%, 33.1%, 31.4%), followed by information extent (23.1%, 22.9%, 21.6%), delivery mechanism (18.9%, 17.4%, 18%), messenger (16%, 17%, 17.2%) and interactivity (11.1%, 9.8%, 11.8%). Within these attributes, Facebook ranked as the preferred platform, with comprehensive information extent, live-video as the delivery mechanism and surgeon as the messenger as most preferred.


The choice of social media platform is the most important factor for patients, with a preference for comprehensive information delivered by the surgeon via live-video on Facebook. Our study elucidates social media usage in common aesthetic populations, which can help improve aesthetic patient outreach.

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Integrated print/digital campaigns could be what the doctor ordered for pharma marketers


Pharma marketers, like marketers in just about every industry, are pouring more and more of their dollars into digital channels.

A small but growing number are even eyeing new technologies like AR and VR to engage consumers, but according to a new report by CMI/Compas, marketers might not want to ditch traditional channels when it comes to physician engagement.

“While there are always new opportunities in the digital space, there are still plenty of people out there who are still highly valuing print, still highly valuing direct mail,” Kyle Cooper, the associate director of media at CMI/Compas, told Fierce Pharma.

How much do physicians value print? One study incorporated into CMI/Compas’ report found that 66% of healthcare professionals said print journals were important for staying abreast of new medical developments, making them the third-most important medium.

CMI/Compas believes that print’s staying power might ironically be a result of the sea of digital resources physicians and other healthcare professionals have access to. Because print publications, including journals, have traditionally been seen as reputable, trusted sources of information, members of the medical community still seek them out, meaning they can, if used correctly, offer pharma marketers the ability to cut through the digital clutter.

That’s an especially big deal for pharma marketers given that physicians are increasingly elusive.

Interestingly, CMI/Compas found that the appeal of print exists across generations. According to CMI/Compas’ Cooper, millennial physicians, for instance, peruse print just as much as Gen X physicians.

Millennial physicians peruse print as much as Gen X

How pharma marketers can maximize the print opportunity


To make the most of print campaigns, pharma marketers need to do a number of things.

Target the right publications and deliver the right messages

The need to target the right channels – in this case print publications – and deliver messaging relevant to the target audience is just as critical in the print realm as it is in the digital realm.

This said, while bigger is often better online, that apparently isn’t the case in print. Specifically, CMI/Compas found that when larger ads were used across journal ads with eight different target audiences, prices shot up but gains didn’t. As a result, it suggests that pharma marketers consider running smaller ads at higher frequencies.

Integrate digital

There’s no reason pharma marketers should treat print campaigns as being separate from their digital campaigns. In fact, in many if not most cases, they’ll want to do the opposite by using print campaigns to support broader campaigns in other channels, including digital.

For example, print ads can drive traffic to digital properties on which pharma marketers can make calls to action, such as submitting a form to access additional content. To track the performance of print ads and ensure accurate attribution, pharma marketers should ensure that their print ads use custom campaign-specific URLs.

Focus on what physicians want

In trying to leverage print ads to drive physicians to digital channels in which they can be further engaged, pharma marketers need to ensure that they have a good understanding of what physicians want.

While pharma’s reputation, even among physicians, has taken a hit in recent years, physicians have expressed an interest in content produced and distributed by pharma. Specifically, physicians have indicated that they are interested in efficacy and outcome data, as well as clinical guidelines. Unfortunately, according to Deloitte, many pharma companies are failing to take advantage of this.

Integrated print-digital campaigns give pharma marketers the perfect opportunity to change that.

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FDA Taps Social Media to Identify and Assess Emerging Drug Abuse Threats

FDA Taps Social Media to Identify and Assess Emerging Drug Abuse Threats | Social Media and Healthcare |

As the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tackles the opioid crisis head on, one of the organization's goals is to identify emerging trends of drug abuse and intervene more quickly. A perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the tools the agency will use to evaluate these shifting patterns of substance abuse and reduce public risk. 

The agency continues to battle the nation's opioid problem even as it looks to detect and prevent the next threat. Douglas C. Throckmorton, MD; Scott Gottlieb, MD; and Janet Woodcock, MD, all of the FDA, noted that the agency is committed to using a multifaceted approach of pharmacovigilance that allows it to intercede proactively and effectively to anticipate changes in drug abuse.



For instance, use of gabapentinoids tripled between 2002 and 2015, raising concerns about possible abuse. To determine why usage patterns are shifting, the FDA turned to social media, tracking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and forums to monitor for conversations about opioids and other substances. Sources include online forums that deal with drug abuse, such as and This surveillance revealed a shift between 2013 and 2017, from discussions about the legitimate use of gabapentinoids to discussions on the misuse and abuse of these drugs.

The agency is also investigating healthcare databases to determine the adverse consequences of using gabapentinoids in combination with opioids or benzodiazepines, which include respiratory depression. Data indicate that more than half of patients receive a gabapentinoid along with an opioid analgesic.




Another example of change in drug use is the emergence of kratom, which is available online and in stores specializing in tobacco and marijuana paraphernalia. Calls to poison control centers regarding kratom exposure have increased 10-fold since 2010. As a result, the FDA investigated kratom and found that it contains compounds that have opioid properties. Injuries and deaths have been associated with kratom use.

Changes have also been identified in the use of loperamide, a common over-the-counter opioid product. Loperamide is an effective treatment for diarrhea, but social network data indicate that some individuals have begun using loperamide at very high doses to manage opioid withdrawal or achieve a high. The FDA announced in 2016 that serious heart problems and death can occur in those taking high doses of this drug. The agency has begun working with manufacturers and distributors to limit the amount of drug packaged per sales unit.

The FDA has invested in developing new resources to combat drug misuse and continues to access and mine social media for epidemiologic data that may help it to identify the next wave of drug abuse.


Throckmorton DC, Gottlieb S, Woodcock J. The FDA and the next wave of drug abuse—proactive pharmacovigilanceN Engl J Med. 2018;379:205-207.

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