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#Barf – how Twitter can reduce the spread of norovirus

#Barf – how Twitter can reduce the spread of norovirus | Social Media and Healthcare |
Spikes in Twitter keywords such as #barf and vomiting can help the Food Standards Agency preempt an outbreak of norovirus.

In fact, @Traddski, there has never been a better time to broadcast your bowel movements on Twitter.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has embarked on a social media listening project that, it hopes, has the potential to predict outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, earlier than ever before.

FSA's social media team sifted through Twitter data from the last norovirus outbreak during the winter of 2012-13, hunting for spikes in certain related key words and phrases being used in tweets. They then compared the frequency of the key words to the number of lab reports of confirmed norovirus cases in the same period.

They found significant correlations between spikes in the number of lab reports and spikes in conversations on Twitter using words and hashtags such as #winterbug, #norovirus, sickness bug, winter virus and vomiting.

What's more, they discovered a set of symptom keywords, such as #barf, #flu, chuck up, puke, retch and upset stomach, which strongly correlated to future lab cases.

"We found that the changes in the number of tweets using symptom keywords predicted the increase in lab reports at the start of the annual peak in human cases," said James Baker, FSA social media manager.

In some cases, spikes in the key words were being shared up to four weeks earlier than Public Health England released confirmed lab reports.

There was a high correlation between tweets using specific keywords and confirmed lab reports. Photograph: Food Standards Agency

The FSA is currently testing how Twitter monitoring can provide early alerts to norovirus. The agency will also be looking into other areas where social media can help public bodies in similar ways.

"There's the potential for us to idenitfy outbreaks of norovirus much earlier than before, giving us the opportunity to proactively share our advice and guidance with those who might be affected, alert other government departments and industry, and perhaps even help to reduce its spread," said Baker.

Tweets describing the colour and consistency of your #barf may be gross, but they helped inform the FSA project which, once it has refined its monitoring model, could prevent tweets like this one:

Of course, there are caveats on how trustworthy the data can be, said Baker. People self-diagnose. Symptom keywords and search terms are broad so "there's always going to be a bit of noise". And early warnings of an outbreak will increase chatter around the subject and might skew the data.

"But what we'd hope is that as this online chatter increases, the subsequent number of cases would plateau or decrease because of an earlier intervention," Baker said.

The FSA also found strong correlation between search terms on Google with lab reports – but during and after an increase in norovirus outbreaks had been reported rather than beforehand.

Google trends were not as good as Twitter as an early alert system, said Baker. Perhaps because people tweet out their feelings, but use search engines to find out more about something already being experienced by friends and family and reported by the media.

So, give thanks to the public-spirited souls who feel the need to spew out details about their spewing on social media – such sharing may serve the greater good.

Andrea Angioloni's curator insight, 13 December 2013, 07:31

Of course, it depends on the level of adoption in the country and the cultural behavior, but this demonstrate that through social listening you can monitor understand and act in a timely manner

Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
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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. 

more...'s curator insight, 31 July, 09:17

health phamacy's curator insight, 17 August, 12:50

Usama Umar's curator insight, 16 September, 08:05
Do you think that only vegetables and fruits The majority of usage guarantees explicit beauty? So remember that it is not necessary that all your problems are solved by meat. Vegetables and fruits are generally used to protect nail-mammals, but despite the use of vegetable and fruit, women are suffering from many diseases. Its main reason is to understand. But it is understood that vegetarians are more healthier, but in reality it is not our everyday use. There are many other items that are harmful to our daily use. Fried items are ' Vegetables 'Minute' Chips 'Acne' etc., which are harmful to health.
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How to Create a Successful Healthcare Marketing Plan: Things you Must Consider - 

How to Create a Successful Healthcare Marketing Plan: Things you Must Consider -  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Marketing is the heart of any organization for its growth including the healthcare industry. Due to technology development, recent statistics proves that 70% of users look up health-related information through online. This proves that, online presence is necessary for all marketers who aim to grow their healthcare business. Let’s go through these top healthcare industry marketing strategies that you must use for your healthcare business to make it successful.

Email Marketing

Everyone in the marketing space knows email marketing is one of the powerful and efficient marketing channels that most of the businesses rely on when it comes to reaching targeted prospects and generating more leads. Email marketing can be used for different objectives based on various needs, especially when marketer’s target industry is healthcare. Scenting email continually is a must and good practice to keep healthcare professionals engage with the business brand. Across various industries, email marketing has achieved UN-measurable success due to its cost-effectiveness and its reach. However, few businesses get mess up with their first email marketing campaign due to lack of experience and understanding. Here are the few important email marketing tips for every marketer who about to start an email campaign for healthcare business.

  • Setting campaign goals

The email campaign without a goal can’t be measured and also can damage your brand. Therefore, healthcare marketers should understand the priority of setting goals for your email campaign by analyzing the requirement of business before getting started.

  • Identify Targeted Audience for your Business

From patients to medical devise manufactures, the healthcare industry has quite a variety of targets when compared to other industries that excite.  Depending on different types of a medical product, service and field specification, every business will have their own target audience. So, before starting an email campaign, marketers should identify and narrow down to whom the service should get reach. Most of the healthcare businesses define their audience based on demographics, geography, and behaviors.

  • Invest your time in building healthcare list

Once your audience is targeted and gets to know, to whom your product or service should get reach, the next thing every marketer need is data. You can build the list with your marketing skills or you can get a list from the trusted healthcare data provider which can be the instant solution and also you should be careful about the accuracy of the list, can avoid spam or incorrect address which will help your campaign to acquire good results.

  • Choose the email type

There are a variety of email campaign be like email newsletter, promotional emails, event invitation and announcement emails that marketers can send to their audience based on business requirements and goals.

  • Structure your Email Campaign

Structuring the campaign is one of the most important parts of email marketing. Structuring an email campaign includes a clear call to action button, images, attractive template design, catchy subject line, and relevant content will take prospects to the business website for further details.

Content Marketing

Almost every marketer knows that content is one of the powerful ways to describe the product or service and make the key prospects to get engaged with the business. Here are the few tips that bring your content alive and make the key prospects to get engage with your business.

  • Listen and Interact with your audience

The purpose of any marketing program is to get the key prospects and convert them into their customers. If you engage with an audience on social media or any other platform through your content, you can get to know the patients who are struggling with medical emergencies and also the customers who unsatisfied with your healthcare service or product that helps you to understand and implement better strategies in business.

  • Document the strategy

Documenting a content marketing strategy is one of the best practices that help you to set a baseline for success. Also, it allows you to share it with the hospital organization and explain the goals of your program.

  • Measure and report

As a marketer, you need to know that “Are people are reading and engaging with your content? “ Also, you need to measure the output of your content “return on investment” by analyzing increased hospitals lookup and booked appointments.

Social Media Marketing

Social media opens many opportunities for healthcare by its massive user engagement and also it allows businesses to built connections share and develop a business relationship with key prospects. Recent research proves that 70% to 75% of US consumers look over the internet for healthcare advice before visiting the hospital. Also, through social media, patients and manufacturers can develop a first impression of the hospital or physician before the meeting.

By engaging your business in the social media platform, a healthcare organization can help revitalize the word of mouth referrals and has the power to eliminate barriers by the lack of communication.

Mobile Marketing

In the healthcare industry, mobile marketing has shown its proven results through SMS, calls and various healthcare-related apps. So, before starting mobile marketing, the healthcare provider will first have to acquire the contact data (phone number) with the patient’s permission. Once marketers get data, they can connect patients through personal messages and can be used for Personal appointments, appointment reminders, and other need for personal communication. Mobile marketing allow marketers to target group of audience by using text blasts for updating health tips, appointment opening and more.

Also, mobile marketing has the ability to conquer b2b in healthcare through social media, emails, text message, etc… As a marketer we should understand 80% of people use their mobile to access the social media and emails. This allows manufacture to share their healthcare product videos and information that helps to find key prospects and make them engage with the business.


Marketing strategies are very important for any industry to run successful business campaigns. Online marketing will be one of the best platforms to increase b2b business customers due to its measurability and accurate targeting. Also, business can increase relevant customer base with less investment.

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Your Doctor Is Instagram Famous. Do Likes Matter in the Exam Room?

When Pamela Ramom awoke from eye surgery in April, she exclaimed, “Oh my god, I’m going to cry.” Ramom had undergone LASIK and was overcome with the result. “I can see everything,” the 24-year-old remembered saying to no one in particular.

Ramom’s surgeon was Dr. Dagny Zhu, an ophthalmologist based outside of Los Angeles who specializes in cornea, cataract, and LASIK surgery. Zhu overheard Ramom and found her comments moving. Zhu asked Ramom if they could take a photo together to commemorate the moment, adding that she wanted to post the image on Instagram. “I thought it was cute that she loves her job so much,” Ramom says.

Ramom agreed and smiled shyly as Zhu sat down beside her, wrapping an arm around her patient. After the picture, Zhu asked for Ramom’s handle. That evening, Zhu posted the photo on Instagram to her 38,000 followers.

“As soon as that happened, I was like, ‘Oh, I really want to share this with others,’” Zhu says. “So I posted it the same day, toward the end of my clinic. I usually don’t do that. I think that’s the only post where I’m with a patient and sharing her experience.”

When Ramom was cleared to look at screens two days after the procedure, she picked up her phone and noticed she had dozens of new follower requests on her private Instagram account. While digging through her notifications, she saw Zhu’s post — where her handle was mentioned — and realized the doctor’s audience was far greater than she assumed. “I had no idea she had so many followers,” Ramom says. “A lot of people can see my post-surgery face.” She says she wasn’t upset by the post, just taken aback by its reach.

Many medical professionals like Zhu are leveraging Instagram as an educational tool and to promote their own practices. Just like Instagram users in industries like beauty, travel, or cooking, some doctors and nurses have achieved influencer status, racking up hundreds of thousands of followers and brand partnership deals in the process.

Despite the staggeringly large follower count of some health care influencers — New York City physician Dr. Mike Varshavski has racked up more than 3 million followers, for example — these medical professionals still see patients on a daily basis. Some doctors say they are on social media to build out their business; others say they do it to fight misinformation spread online. For patients, having an influencer in the exam room can create a unique medical experience. Whether it’s a positive one can depend on personal preference.

“At this point, it’s an honor to still have any of her time. She seems so busy.”

Ryan Dunkle had never DMed with his dentist before becoming a patient of Dr. Joyce Kahng. Dunkle was recommended to Kahng by a friend when he moved to Los Angeles about a year ago. The friend showed him Kahng’s Instagram, which today boasts 15,000 followers. Dunkle, 30, says he was won over by her authenticity. “I love the fact that she’s engaging with her clients,” Dunkle says.

One day Kahng might write about opening a woman-owned practice; another day, she might share her aspirations to start a family. Dunkle says he feels like he can connect with her on a deeper level, both in the exam room and online. They regularly keep in touch between appointments, replying to each other’s Instagram stories or leaving comments on posts. In doing so, Dunkle considers Kahng a friend. Because he’d like this level of closeness with as many medical professionals as possible, Dunkle hasn’t ruled out scouring Instagram for a chiropractor.

Kahng’s down-to-earth strategy is paying off. About 60% to 75% of her new clientele found her via Instagram. “They come in and they’re excited to meet me,” Kahng says. “It’s always fun, because we’re not starting from scratch. They know who I am, and because of that, I am able to relax.”

Kahng says her Instagram presence helps add to her credibility, especially as a young dentist. In the past, she felt she had to put on an uncomfortable air of professionalism to prove her worth. Now her online followership validates the fact that people enjoy learning about her as well as dental health. Kahng makes an effort to reply to every comment and direct message, as long as they’re not “creepy” or requesting medical advice.

Medical influencing comes with its own ethical challenges, including patient privacy and consent when it comes to sharing images, medical advice, and product endorsements. Advisory groups are helping to ease medical professionals into the online world. One nonprofit, the Association for Healthcare Social Media, is in the process of creating online best practices for medical professionals, says the group’s president, Dr. Austin Chiang, director of the endoscopic bariatric program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital who has more than 23,000 followers on Instagram.

“With social media, we have to begin recognizing that this is where patients are spending their time and getting their information,” Chiang says. “We have to think about how we’re acting professionally on there. Are we disclosing our conflicts of interest? How do we properly make it clear to our followers whatever content we put out there is sponsored content?”

Chiang prefers to keep his posts informative and educational, sharing broad tips backed by science in the hopes of debunking health fads, which tend to proliferate online.

A mix of down-to-earth selfie videos and instructional infographics attracted 29-year-old Sohrab Jamshidi to his therapist’s Instagram about a year ago. At the time, she had about 6,000 followers, but over the course of their sessions, her follower count ballooned to more than 620,000. As a result of her burgeoning online popularity, the therapist (whose name Jamshidi declined to reveal) relinquished her Philadelphia office space and now holds virtual sessions with patients via Skype. “At this point, it’s an honor to still have any of her time. She seems so busy,” Jamshidi says.

Jamshidi is supportive of all the opportunities social media has afforded his therapist and says he feels lucky he was able to become a client while she was still accepting new patients. He’s like a fan who listened to a popular band before they were famous. Outside of their sessions being moved to video, social media celebrity hasn’t changed their relationship, Jamshidi says, except for one thing: the encroaching fear that his therapist may outgrow the people she cares for.

“I’m so afraid I’m going to lose her,” he says. “That’s the big thing in the back of my mind.”

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3 Tips to Get Millennials on Board with Preventive Care

3 Tips to Get Millennials on Board with Preventive Care | Social Media and Healthcare |

Annual wellness and other preventive care visits are a cornerstone of effective healthcare. They provide steady revenue — and can even increase revenue — while keeping overall costs down by helping to keep patients healthy and identify health issues early. In fact, one study found that healthcare organizations that focused on wellness visits generated greater primary care visit revenue, saw greater stability of patient assignment and brought in patients who were slightly healthier.

Unfortunately, trends suggest that millennials, who make up nearly 25% of the U.S. population, are less likely to have a primary care doctor and engage in preventive care in traditional ways. So how do you get millennial patients to come in for preventive care visits like flu shots and checkups? For hospitals and health systems that might only see these patients in an urgent care, emergency department (EDor specialty visit, using the right educational approach could be the key, along with offering the right combination of technology and services.

Organizations like the Advisory Board and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggest offering more options like telemedicine and working to engage millennials through technology. But that only works if you can let millennials know that you have what they need.

What are the steps to a millennial-based strategy for getting patients excited about wellness?

Step 1: Use Technology to Educate

Start with your website. Include health articles and a frequently asked questions section so that when patients search for advice, your health system is somewhere they can turn. Consider adding a blog where you can share more tips for getting — and staying — healthy. Better yet, consider videos and graphics on your website and blog, which are more appealing to millennials. And make sure you include information on services like telemedicine and extended hours — along with patient stories and reviews, which the generation values highly.

Health systems should also take advantage of social media. With 95% of millennials on social media, it’s all but certain that your patients are there. Sharing health system-generated content through social media is an incredible way to motivate patients to come in for wellness visits.

Step 2: Use Targeted eNewsletters

Using education targeted specifically to the needs and interests of millennials can make a big difference in the success of a healthcare organization’s newsletter campaign. When these patients do enter the urgent care or ED, get their contact information so that the health system can reach out via text or email. Newsletters should be sent monthly, or at least quarterly, by text or email. Again, consider using video or graphics in the newsletter. When creating a newsletter, remember:

  1. Outline your purpose. Set specific goals for what you want your newsletter to accomplish. Is it to reduce ED visits and increase primary care visits? Then plan for articles designed to help millennials understand the health and cost benefits of having a primary care doctor. In addition, you might want the newsletter to build rapport between the organization and its patients or let them know about upcoming events or new services that appeal to millennials, such as telemedicine.
  2. Be real. No one likes to read a stuffy email — especially not millennials. This is your organization’s chance to show its personality. Millennials are looking to partner and engage. Don’t make staying healthy sound boring. Share stories, give tips or shoot a quick video on the importance of staying ahead of health challenges.
  3. Automate. Through technology, healthcare organizations can access pre-made templates and automatically send the newsletter whenever works best. This helps reduce the time spent working on the outreach campaign.

Step 3: Speak in a Relatable Way

It’s important that healthcare providers and organizations never assume that patients understand what you are saying. Drop the jargon. Millennials don’t like to be talked down to. If you’re not sure if your message is not hitting home with your patients, try testing it on non-medical, millennial friends. Have them review your newsletter. Invite them to the office to check out your posters, pamphlets and videos. Are they boring? Hard to understand? Or maybe just not impactful? Healthcare organizations can also survey patients to see if their efforts are paying off.

Additionally, educational efforts aimed at millennials need to be brief. Millennials are used to getting information in bits and pieces. Focus on two or three key reasons why patients should come in for their wellness visit and leave it at that.

By creating an ongoing strategy focused on the importance of wellness, a healthcare organization’s chances of getting millennials into the office greatly improve. Through the use of a website, social media, email, text messages and newsletters throughout the year, healthcare leaders can be sure that their message will get through.

Jim Higgins is the founder & CEO of Solutionreach. You can follow him on Twitter

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Healthcare Professionals And Social Media: Not A Good Mix - Privacy Protection 

Healthcare Professionals And Social Media: Not A Good Mix - Privacy Protection  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Although privacy issues have been taking over the headlines in recent months, healthcare organizations have been subject to stringent privacy regulations for a number of years. Organizations providing healthcare services are particularly susceptible to issues of unauthorized access and public disclosure of personal health information (“PHI”). More specifically, professionals working in healthcare are required to maintain a high level of confidentiality with respect to their patient’s PHI.


Early this year, Ms. Hamilton, a registered practical nurse (RPN), was involved in a professional disciplines hearing with the College of Nurses of Ontario. The allegations made by the College revolved around comments Ms. Hamilton made with respect to an elderly client at the facility she worked at who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The allegations stemmed from an incident that occurred in December 2016.

On December 2, 2016, the client’s child (Child A) posted a publicly available message on Facebook expressing concerns about the client’s Power of Attorney (“POA”), who was also the client’s child (Child B). The same post also expressed concern about the care that the client was receiving at the facility. Numerous family members commented on this post.

The following day, on December 3, Ms. Hamilton published several comments as direct responses to Child A’s Facebook post. The comments were public and disclosed the client’s PHI including her name, identifying her as a resident at the facility, identifying herself as an RPN and employee of the facility, referring to the client’s POA, and referring to her experiences dealing with the client’s medical conditions.

More specifically, Ms. Hamilton posted:

I’m sorry but there are 2 sides to every story. I happen to work at this facility and there is no way [the Client] or any of our residents are treated as these people speak of. How dare you imply that she is neglected in any way. Our residents receive more care hours than the provincial average in Ontario long term care home. Our staff are the hardest working I’ve seen in any LTC facility I know. I’m disgusted that you would even post this filth and lies on social media. Shame on you!


We don’t have a problem with the POA [Child B]. This is your personal business which you have chosen to hang out to dry on Facebook. I will gladly call you a liar because I spend more time with your mother than you do.

When Child A’s children (the client’s grandchildren) made posts defending Child A, Ms. Hamilton was noted to have made inappropriate and unprofessional comments such as one of the grandchildren having a “bad mouth” and that the client “would be disappointed” in the grandchild for their language. Ms. Hamilton also implied that the grandchild was uneducated regarding her medical condition and had no understanding of their grandmother’s health. She also told the grandchild to “shut up” or “grow up”.

Ms. Hamilton also posted “Oh [grandchild A] I look forward to meeting you the next time you visit your grandmother – I see we have much to discuss”, which the grandchild interpreted to be a threat.

The comments were deleted, but the family members captured them.

In the course of the disciplinary hearing, Ms. Hamilton admitted that it was inappropriate to engage in such dialogue with the client’s family, especially given such a public forum like Facebook. She further acknowledged that she breached the client’s privacy and disclosed her PHI without her consent or authorization.

Professional Standard and the Allegations

In 2004, the College issued a Practice Standard titled Confidentiality and Privacy – Personal Health Information, which was updated in 2009. The standards issued by the College represent the standard of care that is expected of all member of the organization. This particular standard largely reflected the personal health information protections codified in the Personal Health Information Protection Act (“PHIPA”). Some of the standards noted in the Practice Standard included the following provisions:

Maintaining confidentiality of clients’ personal health information with members of the healthcare team, who are also required to maintain confidentiality, including information that is documented or stored electronically…

Not discussing client information with colleagues or the client in public places such as elevators, cafeterias and hallways…

In the Notice of Hearing, dated December 7, 2018, the College made allegations against Ms. Hamilton that she: (1) engaged in an act of professional misconduct; (2) gave information about a patient to a person other than the patient or her authorized representative without the consent of the patient and without being required or allowed to do so by law; and, (3) that she engaged in conduct that would reasonably be regarded by members of the profession as disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional.

Decision and Reasoning

The committee noted that the College bore the onus of proving the allegations on a balance of probabilities based upon clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. The College found that Ms. Hamilton committed the acts of professional misconduct.

The College found that Ms. Hamilton’s conduct showed disregard for private information of clients and inappropriate use of social media. The College further noted that Ms. Hamilton’s conduct was unprofessional as it fell below the standards of nursing with respect to confidentiality and trust. In short, she showed a persistent disregard for her professional obligations. The College further noted that disclosing PHI and breaching the client’s privacy in an open public forum was unacceptable and fell well below the standards of the profession.

The College ordered several penalties including a suspension for three months and further privacy training with a regulatory expert. Training was to focus on a review of professional standards, confidentiality, and privacy regarding PHI. The College found that these penalties achieved the purpose of specific deterrence, general deterrence, and rehabilitation and remediation.

Lessons from this Case

Organizations providing healthcare services to patient are required, by law, to maintain their patient’s PHI confidential. This includes proper cyber security safeguards, physical security safeguards, and policies aimed at ensuring staff are aware of their professional obligations. Organizations should develop policies that can be monitored and, more importantly, enforced on a regular basis. Ongoing staff training aimed at ensuring that staff and healthcare professionals are aware of their legal obligations to their patients are critical in meeting the appropriate standard of care.

This case is a perfect example of the impact social media has on an industry that traditionally does not have any connection to social media. Organizations should consider implementing social media policies to outline the obligations and expectations of their staff, which should be continually reinforced in the workplace. Failure to do so may result in disclosure of patients’ PHI and expose the professional and the organization to regulatory penalties and civil claims.

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Social media advice for those applying to residency

Social media advice for those applying to residency | Social Media and Healthcare |

First-year resident Amanda Ly, DO, is also a blogger who has over 50,000 followers on Instagram. But in the fall of 2017 when she was interviewing for residency spots, the social media influencer put all her accounts on hiatus or made them private.

Though Dr. Ly is careful to keep her social media posts positive and professional, she—like so many medical students going through the rigors of securing a residency—practiced extreme caution with her social media presence because she didn’t want to take the risk of something being misconstrued.

“I was really nervous going into interviews in a competitive specialty and wanted to do everything I could to increase my chances,” says Dr. Ly, who is a general surgery intern in a community hospital in the Detroit area.

Navigating social media can be challenging for those applying for residency. Once you’re a resident, different challenges emerge. Below, program directors and a resident share their social media advice.

Are program directors checking candidates’ social media accounts?

The family medicine program at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis does not check candidates’ social media accounts, says Sarah Cole, DO, its program director.

Sarah Cole, DO

“I know the candidates are more sophisticated users of social media than I am,” Dr. Cole says. “They can hide more than I know to look for. I’m not going to go hunting for that. I really do not get the sense when speaking with other program directors at other institutions that anyone is making a social media review a part of their interview process.”

Mercy Hospital has a long and nuanced social media policy for all its employees. “Essentially it asks co-workers to adhere to HIPAA rules at all times and to be very mindful of anything a co-worker is posting in terms of professionalism,” Dr. Cole says. “I review that policy with incoming residents and the hospital goes over it with them as well. So they hear it twice and they’re expected to adhere to it.”

The program has not had to address any major professionalism infractions in regards to their social media policy with residents.

Tyree Winters, DO

“A lot of the students I mentor have told me they use aliases on social media or that they’ve created privacy blocks because they’re concerned that programs will look at their accounts and find something questionable,” says Tyree Winters, DO, the associate program director of the pediatric residency program at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey. Dr. Winters also does not check residency candidates’ social media accounts.

Beyond social media

Dr. Winters thinks there needs to be more guidance starting in medical school about social media usage. The AOA’s social media guidelines are available here. Students and DOs also need to be mindful of their internet footprint at large, Dr. Winters says.

He advises his residents to conduct an Internet search of themselves. “You’d be surprised what comes up. Make sure that your public view on an Internet search doesn’t include things you don’t want your mother to see,” advises Dr. Winters. “Definitely avoid nudity, profanity and hate speech.”

Dr. Winters follows the social media policies of the hospital’s parent health system, which emphasize avoiding HIPAA violations.

Dr. Ly takes measures on social media to not disclose her location nor the hours she’s working, and she never posts anything even remotely related to a patient. (Amanda Ly, DO photo)

He recalls a case at a hospital he worked where a bad accident had occurred on the freeway and one of the ER nurses on duty posted a picture of the bloody triage bay with no descriptors of the patients. “But there was a huge story about the accident in the news, and so people could put two and two together,” says Dr. Winters. “I tell my residents to practice extreme caution.”

Dr. Ly keeps the details of her work very separate from her Instagram. She takes measures to not disclose her location nor the hours she’s working, and she never posts anything even remotely related to a patient.

Dr. Ly advises others that if they’re questioning whether to post something, they shouldn’t post it.

“Your career is No. 1,” she says. “At the end of the day, you should be willing to quit your social media ASAP if it threatens your career.”

‘Pretty extreme scenario’

The recent case of the Cleveland Clinic resident who lost her position over anti-Semitic remarks she made on social media is a pretty extreme scenario, says Dr. Cole. “If a professional infraction by a resident occurs on social media, it’s typically minor enough that it simply calls for some coaching,” Dr. Cole says. “Most of the time, it’s not going to result in action.”

Dr. Ly admits to making some social media snafus along the way. “I did have some instances where I felt like I might have said too much. I started my Instagram the second year of medical school and at the time, there wasn’t a lot of guidance,” she says. “So there was some trial and error, but I learned.”

The positive side of social media

Despite all the precautions, there are obvious opportunities to be gained from social media.

“It’s a great tool for networking and self-expression,” Dr. Winters says. ”I have a social media account for my Hip Hop with a Doc dance program.”

Dr. Ly says her blog, Coffee and Scrubs, has enhanced her journey in medicine in immeasurable ways.

“My blog has been an awesome way to connect with people and exchange ideas, and it gave me an additional support system that I didn’t think I would get going into it,” says Dr. Ly.

Dr. Cole finds social media a useful tool in connecting with her residents.

“I have intentionally maintained a social media presence because if I don’t, I wouldn’t know half of what is going on in my residents’ lives,” she says. “If they post that they had a busy night last night, for example, I know I probably need to reach out to that resident from a wellness perspective. It helps me keep my finger on the pulse to see how my residents are doing.”

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Is your website attracting new patients?

Is your website attracting new patients? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Your website is one of your most important marketing assets. Patients today are taking control of their health and often research online prior to selecting a new practitioner. Therefore, a professional online presence is crucial.

Where do patients go when looking for a health care provider?

These days the majority of people will search for a new provider online. Getting your website to appear on page one of Google is becoming increasingly important for many practitioners.

A free tool open to all practices, is a Google Business Page, which will display your practice in Google Maps when potential patients are searching for a local provider. If you haven’t already created a page for your practice, make it a priority this week.

Social Media

Another popular place a new patient looks for a provider is Facebook, via recommendations. We regularly see people asking for health practitioner recommendations in local community groups on the site. If you are looking to increase word of mouth referrals then a presence on Facebook will help people to share your details.

What should be included on a good practitioner website?

On-line bookings

Patient needs are changing and increasingly people want instant results. Online bookings make it easy for patients to make appointments when it’s convenient for them, which is often when a practice is closed. Offering patients the convenience of online bookings will help your practice increase bookings and reduce no-shows. Medtech offers a great solution to manage online bookings and send patient reminders. Click here to contact usfor more information.

Clinic hours and contact details

A good website will make the information patients are seeking easy to find. Your website should display practice contact details and clinic hours prominently on every page.

Value proposition

Help potential patients to understand why your practice is different to others and why they should book an appointment with you.

When crafting this message try to address any points that potential patients may be looking for. It could be quality of healthcare, minimal wait times, broad range of services, skilled practitioners etc… Spend time understanding why you are different and also what patients are looking for from a practice.

Practitioner bios

Include a page on your website with details and photographs of every practitioner in your practice, along with their qualifications and any areas of specialty. Be sure to use the area to sell their expertise and resist the urge for it to read like a resume. Write the profile in the same way you would if someone asked you to tell them about the practitioner.

Services list

Provide a list of the services the practice provides. It is also a good idea to remind patients to book longer consultations for those services that require more time.

Urgent care

Include details on your website of after-hours emergency numbers. This information will guide patients to quality health care in an emergency.

Resources area

Many people respond well to receiving advice on a cross section of health-related topics. The information can be shared both social media and via a regular email newsletter that will also contain links back to your website.

When you have a good quality website it’s important to drive traffic back to it, in order to promote your practice and increase bookings.


It’s a good idea to include a page on your website to encourage patients and other health providers to send you referrals. On this page, include details of the types of patients you help, along with case studies that outline how you have helped patients.

Lastly your website should build trust and brand recognition, so it’s crucial that the site is built to the highest standards with quality graphics and copywriting. Your web presence is an important part of your marketing and is an area that is well worth investing in a professional website designer for.

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Getting Social: Physicians Can Counteract Misinformation With an Online Presence |

Getting Social: Physicians Can Counteract Misinformation With an Online Presence | | Social Media and Healthcare |

Austin Chiang, MD, a Harvard-trained gastroenterologist at Jefferson Health/Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, was recently appointed the institution’s first chief medical social media officer.

Karen Bucher/American Medical Association

The 33-year-old Chiang, president of a new nonprofit called the Association for Healthcare Social Media (AHSM), is trying to encourage physicians and other health care professionals at Jefferson and across the country to establish an online presence beyond sharing vacation photos with friends on Facebook.

Physicians need to recognize that patients are getting much of their information about health care via social media, often from unreliable sources trying to sell questionable products, notes Chiang, who is board-certified in internal medicine and obesity medicine. Instead of scoffing at Instagram and Twitter, he says, physicians should regard the social media platforms as tools with which to inform patients and connect with colleagues.

Following his own advice, Chiang, social media chair of the Association of Bariatric Endoscopy, has more than 23 000 followers on Instagram and nearly 6000 on Twitter @AustinChiangMD as well as his own YouTube channel.

Chiang spoke with JAMA about why physicians and other health care professionals need to take advantage of social media and how best to do that. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

JAMA:Why did Jefferson Health create the position of chief medical social media officer and was that done with you in mind?

Dr Chiang:I had a conversation with our CEO, Dr Steve Klasko, who is known for his innovative spirit. I think it's become more important for us to have an online presence as clinicians so that we are directly connecting with the communities we're serving.

JAMA:What are your responsibilities in that role?

Dr Chiang:I'm basically the clinical liaison to the media relations team here. Traditionally, a lot of the social media efforts have been handled by communications, PR [public relations], and marketing experts. When we're discussing health, I think it’s helpful to have a clinical perspective, so my role is to help the clinicians here at Jefferson get engaged online and serve as expert voices in their specialties.

JAMA:You've described yourself as a social media and YouTube junkie. Do you remember how old you were when you discovered these platforms?

Dr Chiang:I grew up in this social media generation. When Facebook launched at the first several colleges, that was my freshman year, and I was quick to jump on it. But even before that, some of the other platforms, whether Myspace or Friendster or some of the blogging websites like Xanga, were all part of my youth.

My own personal professional use dates back about 6 years ago. I had spent a couple weeks at ABC News, wanting to learn how the general public receives their medical information through the media and how journal publications are vetted by networks like ABC before making their way onto the evening news. They were hosting a weekly Twitter chat on specific health topics, and that's how I saw that social media could be used productively in health. That's when I made a conscious effort to start live-tweeting at medical conferences to build a social media presence for my division when I was training.

JAMA:Why did you create the VerifyHealthcare hashtag on Instagram and Twitter?

Dr Chiang:It's important to point out that the influencer culture was largely born out of Instagram. There were a lot of fashion and fitness influencers, and we really have seen a huge surge in health professionals getting onto Instagram over the past year or two. It's a very visual platform, and there have been instances where several of us have noticed specific individuals who've misrepresented themselves. There were students who were saying that they were physicians, and there were other professionals who weren't physicians or weren't nurses but saying that they were.

The VerifyHealthcare campaign highlighted the fact that there were these individuals who were misrepresenting themselves and their credentials. We wanted to encourage everyone to disclose their training and credentials and encourage followers to double- and triple-check who they were trusting online. That really took off.

JAMA:Some of the medical misinformation on social media comes from physicians who tweet or blog about therapies that aren't evidence-based, at least not yet. Does that concern you, and how can you counteract that?

Dr Chiang:Just because someone is a physician or just because someone is board-certified doesn't mean that they're disseminating accurate information. Colleagues have to check each other online, and a lot of that is happening on Twitter. But there are also ways that we could improve how we cite medical literature and raise awareness of patients and the general public on how to assess and appraise the sources of information.

JAMA:The VerifyHealthcare hashtag led to the creation of the AHSM. Describe the organization and what you hope to accomplish as its president.

Dr Chiang:This is a nascent organization, founded by 15 of us who are very active, especially on Instagram. It's mainly a board of physicians, although we have since incorporated an advisory council of other professionals, including nurse practitioners and a psychotherapist. It's an opportunity for everyone who wants to get involved early to take on leadership roles—not just physicians, but also trainees as well, so med students are welcome.

We created this because we noticed that there were clearly a lot of questions about how to go about using social media in an effective way to reach greater audiences while also being responsible about what we're putting out there.

There have been organizations focused on health communications professionals but not for clinicians using social media. If we're going to encourage health professionals to get online, we should have a central resource. We should also have best practices, which we are trying to define through this organization.

In having an organized effort like this that's nonprofit, that's multispecialty, that's all-inclusive, we can partner with other academic institutions, medical societies, and industry to make sure that we are doing things as responsibly as possible and to boost the value of social media. Currently, we are all incentivized to contribute to traditional forms of academic productivity, like journal publications, but we really should also be rewarded for our contributions to health journalism and social media because this is a lot of where patients are getting their medical knowledge these days.

JAMA:Do you think all physicians should have some sort of social media presence, and, if so, why?

Dr Chiang:Yes, but with an understanding of the caveats and the pitfalls and the commitment it takes to maintain a consistent presence. An inactive social media presence might not look as great as having no presence at all. I think that there are various benefits for physicians in addition to education and putting our voice out there. It's also a way to build a practice, to recruit patients for clinical trials, to dispel any sort of misconceptions about a field.

Also, every major journal and major society is present on social media, and getting those updates in real time is very helpful. I personally don't wait to flip to the table of contents when a journal shows up in my mailbox. If something is disseminated on social media, I get those alerts right away. Having a digital presence and shaping that ourselves is important because our patients will be going on Google and looking us up. Otherwise, our narrative would be written by other people. We have to go about doing this in an effective way so that we can actually reach [broader] audiences and not just our friends.

JAMA:What do you tell physicians who say they have no time for social media?

Dr Chiang:A lot of us already are using social media personally. For me, rather than spending that time aimlessly scrolling, I felt that it could be put to more productive use. It's helped in my learning, in networking with other colleagues, in research opportunities. There would not have been any other way for a group of multispecialty physicians spread across the country to come together in a very short amount of time and form a nonprofit organization.

JAMA:For newbies who want to stick their toe into the waters of medical social media, what platform should they try first and why?

Dr Chiang:I would recommend starting with Twitter because that's where most academic discussion is happening and where you are probably more readily reaching your colleagues and able to communicate with them and develop those networks. Also, it's where most journals and societies have a social media presence.

That said, it also depends on your field. There are certain fields out there that have been very used to being visual with their presentations, like dermatology and plastic surgery; they've been using Instagram for much longer. Instagram and other platforms, like YouTube, may be more general public and patient facing.

JAMA:What are some of the more common mistakes physicians make on social media?

Dr Chiang:I think the number 1 concern that I am asked about is patient confidentiality and potential violations of HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]. It's not as simple as posting a patient's photo or posting their name or other obvious identifiers. It can also come with describing a certain procedure or describing a case, something that, if I were a patient's family member and came across on a social media post, could easily identify someone. I am also very careful about mentioning whether I'm tired or sick or how I feel a certain day because I think that may be misconstrued.

Virtual contact and communication on social media are sometimes thought to be in isolation and only online, but these are real connections that we're making and real networks. Any interaction should still be respectful and treated as though it was a real-life, in-person conversation.

JAMA:Have you encountered backlash from physicians who don't see the value of medical social media, other than as a marketing tool?

Dr Chiang:I've definitely seen backlash in terms of folks who are supervising trainees and concerned about the liability of their trainees using social media. But I will say that my early involvement in social media, in my field specifically, has led to so many opportunities, including the opportunity of this role at Jefferson. Every institution should have a similar position, so we need more clinicians involved.

If our goal is to impact our patient outcomes and public health, we need to really meet the patients where they're getting their information. And with Instagram and the influencer phenomenon, there are a lot of gray areas that we're trying to better define. Our patients are seeing a lot of sponsored content, and they're seeing products being promoted by medical professionals. These patients are going to show up in our clinics, and there may be real clinical impact when it comes to how we practice medicine.

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How to Use Marketing Tips to Build a Health Care Practice?

How to Use Marketing Tips to Build a Health Care Practice? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Healthcare is always changing and evolving as the years go by as medical professionals discover more information and create new things. Patients are also evolving and it is medical companies and facilities’ duty to adapt and grow to fit the needs of their patients. Healthcare organizations often need more patients than they currently have and want to target more possible patients. It’s important to find the appropriate ways to reach your desired audience if you want to see an increase.

Physician positions are available and always in demand and can lead to more rewards like owning your own practice. Physicians that own their own practice may find that getting new patients is one of their challenges. When you own your own practice you must have certain marketing methods implemented to create exposure for your business. A private practice is just like a business so you have to treat it as such. Although many marketing methods work for all business types, you still want to focus on the ones that will benefit your practice.

1. Create A Website

To increase your exposure and make it easier for people to see your practice, you want to have a website. Everything is online these days and you must be able to adapt to how the world changes and how patients’ needs change. Every business needs a website. People enjoy the convenience of their phones and if they aren’t able to access your business online it becomes a hassle and patients won’t look at your establishment as timely.

You can easily use online services that will help you build your website and guide you through the process of registering a domain, designing your web page, and uploading content.

2. Start A Blog

Blogs are more important than you think when it comes to getting new patients to see you. Having a reliable blog on your website will instill trust between you and your patients. You want to be able to connect and share information with your patients and that can be done through a blog. Having a blog allows you to build credibility and trust with more than just your patients.

Content marketing is a big deal when it comes to marketing methods. You want to utilize words to your advantage and put out educational information for your readers. You want to show your personality and build the brand of your practice through content.

3. Connect on Social Media

Keep up with your social accounts and if you don’t have any, you should create one now for your business. Everything and everyone is constantly online and there is a demand for easy access to businesses. Post content on your social account to engage with your current and future patients. This is important in building a relationship with your patients outside the office. Utilize all social media to your advantage. There are many and the most popular ones are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

Provide educational and informational content but try not to remain too serious. Social media is a great place to connect with younger crowds. Try to remember to stay consistent as well. You won’t see results without it.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is another way to get people to your business. This method is an older one and is still as effective. Most people think that emails are no longer important or even checked when it comes to business marketing. This is false due to the fact that it actually helps your patients remember you and depend on you. Email marketing is more beneficial Newsletters are great ways to get patients to remain loyal to your practice. It also can bring in new ones that have taken interest in your practice.

Keeping up with your emails and sending out information increases the traffic to your other marketing outlets. Social media and your website can be linked in your email giving your patients easy access to your social accounts and your information.

5. Invite Patient Reviews

Allow patients to review you and your work to give testimony to how well your practice is. This is important because you want others to see what you do and how well you do it to bring in more patients. Both your patients and the doctors that refer you are a part of your marketing team. Utilize them to your capabilities.

What other people say about your business matters and while you want to know how your patients feel, other outsiders do too. You can even display these on your website to allow for even more trust between you and your current and prospective patients. This will also help you improve in areas you need to better your practice and build credibility.

6. Utilize SEO Marketing

SEO marketing is a great way to get seen online. You have a website up and running but it’s pointless because you are getting no traffic. SEO stands for search engine optimization and takes place to improve the presence of your health practice online. When you search the web for information, you want them to go to you.

Localizing your webpage can be beneficial when it comes to people finding you online. The main goal is to direct more traffic toward your website and to do that you have to make an effort to improve your place on the web.

7. Offer Incentives

Incentives are always a good way to get new patients in the door. Many practices have caught on to this marketing method and have decided to start patient referral programs. These are beneficial for both the patient and the business. Some practices enjoy handing out cards for their patients to give out to their friends and family. There is usually a small reward for doing this. Regardless of the size of the reward, you will benefit from offering your patients something for giving you the exposure you need.

8. Use Paid Advertising

We all know that it easy to get information quickly online and many people run to the search engines to find the things they need. When you pay or your ads on search engines it places you at the top of the page when someone does a search relevant to your key terms. You can compare this method to SEO marketing as they both focus on search engine presence yet SEO doesn’t offer results as fast.

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How to Do Social Media the Right Way: Dental Edition

How to Do Social Media the Right Way: Dental Edition | Social Media and Healthcare |

How strong is your dental practice’s social media game? Would you give yourself an A – or are you just scraping by with a passing grade?

Regardless of your answer, there’s probably room for improvement. Even if you’re on top of things, you might be missing opportunities to make the most of your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts.

It’s not enough to set up accounts and write an occasional Facebook update or Tweet. Your patients’ perception of you is directly impacted by what you do on social media. That means engaging with your audience regularly and providing them with the kind of useful information they need.

In this guide, we’ll talk about why it’s important to up your social media game and give you advice about how to do it. Then, we’ll share some of our best, most engaging social media ideas for dental practices.

Which Social Media Sites to Use (and How to Use Them)

Let’s start by talking about why social media should be part of your dental marketing strategy and which sites you should be using.

Social media marketing can do two important things:

  • It can help you attract new patients; and
  • It can help you build loyalty among your existing patients.

It costs far more to attract a new patient than it does to keep an existing one. So, it makes sense to focus on marketing strategies that will help you show your patients that you care about them and want to engage with them online.

There are lots of social media sites to choose from, but there are four we recommend you use to grow your dental practice.

  • Facebook has 2.23 billion active monthly users. It’s still the largest social media site. In fact, it’s the third most-visited website in the world. It’s ideal for marketing because you can post written, visual, and video content in any combination – and without the character limitations that exist on other social media sites.
  • Twitter is smaller with just 326 million monthly users. It’s best for sending out links to longer content and making quick contact.
  • LinkedIn is mostly for business-to-business marketing. It has 590 million active monthly users. It’s best for long-form content, connecting with local businesses, and soliciting referrals.
  • Instagram is by far the fastest-growing social media site. It has more than a billion monthly users, more than 500 million of whom log in daily.

Here are four weekly activities to help you grow your social media following and solidify your marketing strategy.

#1: Maintain A Regular Presence

The first step is to designate a point person to manage your social media activity. You’ll need to provide guidance about the types of content to post and what you expect in terms of the tone of your posts.

Keep in mind that consumers expect quick responses on social media. According to Sprout Social, 45% of consumers prefer to get customer service on social media over other forms of contact. They expect responses quickly, too. 80% expect a response in less than 24 hours and 50% of consumers say they’d switch brands if they got an unsatisfactory response to a social media inquiry.

You can start by sharing your blog posts. If you don’t have a blog, we would highly encourage you to start one.

Regarding the content itself:

  • Actively engage with your audience. Engage with your audience regularly. You'll want to reply to everyone and like their comments and mentions when appropriate. People will appreciate it if you thank them.
  • Tweet content that is interesting and relevant to patients. This includes content that may not directly relate to your dental practice but may be related to oral health in general.
  • Keep your posts on LinkedIn more on the professional side. Remember, LinkedIn is a business/professional site. You will want to post your blog posts here but save the cute memes and videos for Facebook or Instagram.
  • Create social media content that elicits engagement. Over time, you’ll get a knack for what works and what doesn’t.
  • Provide links to your website and/or Facebook page. Cross-marketing between Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will help you grow followers in each of these venues.
  • Post content that is helpful and informative. Check out the profiles of your competitors and other dentists in general. Your followers will appreciate it when you share actionable content.
  • Post information about staff accomplishments. If one of your dental hygienists achieves a new certification, create a post congratulating them.
  • Post real life content. Post pictures of your employees or holiday decorations. If one of your staff is getting married, you can post about that as well.
  • Especially on Facebook and Twitter, make some of your content lively and fun. You want to show your audience that dentists and their employees are real people too.
  • Monitor your newsfeeds for stories that relate to the field of dentistry. It’s good to have a mix of posts about dentistry, including things that are informative, funny or heartwarming.
  • Establish your unique personality. You want your audience to relate to you. Maintain a consistent voice and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

Ultimately, the content you post reflects directly on you and your practice.

#2: Utilize Social Media Advocacy

Social media advocacy means getting your whole team in on the action. It’s best to encourage your team to get involved by liking and commenting on your posts and sharing them with their followers. While you may only have 2,000 followers on social media, when you combine that with a staff of 10 you will instantly expand your presence by an order of magnitude.

Here are some pointers for creating staff guidelines for social media advocacy. We got these from IBM’s crowd-sourced guidelines.

  • You are personally responsible for what you publish.
  • Know the business conduct guidelines.
  • Don’t disclose proprietary information.
  • Don’t cite clients and partners without permission.
  • Respect your audience.
  • Respect others’ opinions.
  • Add value.

It’s important to have a policy that requires employees to check in with you or your point person before responding to any negative comments or complaints.

#3: Plan Your Posts Ahead of Time

The things you post – meaning, the content you create – should be planned ahead of time. You won’t be able to plan everything. You’ll need to respond to patient comments or questions as they occur.

We strongly recommend planning your activity with your point person. You can review the content together, evaluate the mix of material, and come up with a schedule that’s ideal for helping you reach your marketing goals.

Planning your delivery could involve using a tool such as Hootsuite. This is a tool that lets you create content to be posted on the social media networks at some future time and date. This allows your content manager to pre-load the content and have it show up on schedule, freeing them up during the day from this task (when they may be busy with other duties). Of course, they’ll still need to monitor comments and mentions throughout the day.

It’s also important to know the best times of day to post content. According to Sprout Social, here are the best times to post:

  • For Facebook, Wednesday is the best day for posting. The ideal times are between 11 AM and 1 PM in general, and between 9 and 10 for healthcare. On weekdays, you’re best off posting between 9 AM and 3 PM. Engagement is lower on the weekends than during the week and worst on Sundays.
  • Instagram is similar. The best day is Wednesday, and the best times are during business hours. Engagement is lower at night and on the weekends. The best time for healthcare posting is Tuesday mornings at 8 AM.
  • The best times to Tweet are on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 AM. Overall, Tuesday and Wednesdays are the best days, with engagement lower on nights and weekends. Monday at 2 PM, Wednesday from 10 AM t0 2 PM, and Friday at 8 AM are particularly good times to post about healthcare.
  • Finally, for LinkedIn, the best day is Wednesday and the best times are between 9 and 10 AM or at about 12 PM. Sprout Social did not have information about healthcare posting on LinkedIn, but because of its business orientation, it’s safe to assume that it’s best to post on weekdays.

Engagement rates will be higher during these times. Again, Hootsuite will help you plan and execute posting during the best times.

#4: Keep A Checklist of Weekly Activities

Make a checklist of weekly activities to include in your social media campaign. Here are some ideas:

  • Check your statistics. Tally up how many likes, comments and shares you have each week. Facebook has excellent built-in tools for this that will show you trends. That will be helpful in evaluating your strategies.
  • Create and monitor weekly goals. These could be goals for content posting as well as new connections or engagement. You want to have regular content posted without flooding your audience.
  • Hold a strategy session. You may do this with a few key players or during a weekly staff lunch meeting. Bouncing ideas around with your key players will help you keep a continual flow of fresh content.
  • Follow those who follow you. Sometimes when you don’t follow back, people will unfollow you after a while. Remember, this is “social” media! You will want to further establish the connection when you receive new followers. You can also thank them for the follow or like on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Actively seek out new connections. Establish weekly goals for this, too. All 4 social media sites will facilitate this activity by searching your email list for your existing contacts.
  • Progressively follow as many dentistry-related accounts as you can find. That includes other offices, trade associations, bloggers, and dental product manufacturers. You can retweet or share their content and glean ideas from them. (Don’t share content from your competitors, though!)
  • Keywords, site links, and compelling content are the key ingredients of a successful tweet. You only have 280 characters on Twitter. Make them count!
  • Update your social media ads. This may not be a weekly item, but you will want to do it occasionally. It’s another great example of creating fresh content. You should also test each element of your ad to improve your ROI.
  • Engage with influencers. Actively engage with influencers in your area and profession. For example, if you have a key supplier that is well known, mention them in a Tweet or retweet their content.

Performing these four weekly tasks will help you maintain your social following and attract new followers.


Ideas for Engaging Social Media Content for Dentists

Now, we want to share some ideas to help you create compelling and engaging social media content on the four sites we’ve discussed: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. We’ve broken it down by site to make it easy for you to implement what we discuss.

Facebook Posting Ideas for Dentists

Let’s start with Facebook. Remember, you can share text, photos, videos, and infographics – or even do a combination. Here are some ideas to try.

  • Do a live “Ask Me Anything” Q & A where you or one of your dental hygienists responds to questions in real time. Facebook Live videos can later be posted to your page for people who missed them.
  • Smile-related posts are great for dentists. For example, you could create a “Tag a Friend” post where you ask your followers to tag the friend who has the best smile, or the one who makes them smile the most.
  • Share reviews and include a link to your Yelp page so people who see your post can write their own reviews.
  • Find relevant posts on your news feed and share them. If you do this, make sure to include your own commentary instead of just sharing what you found. For example, if you post an article with 10 dental hygiene tips, make sure to mention your favorite one – or add one you think the original article missed.
  • Post staff profiles. People like to know who’ll be working on their teeth. Sharing a photo, a brief bio, and maybe a few fun facts will help people feel comfortable coming to your practice.

Facebook is easily the most versatile social media site. Don’t be afraid to take chances!

Twitter Posting Ideas for Dentists

Now, let’s talk about Twitter. The recent increase to 280 characters makes Tweeting more versatile than it was before. Here are some ideas for your Twitter posts.

  • Tweet out an interest fact about dentistry or dental hygiene. This is a great way to get some engagement – people love to respond when they’re surprised by something they didn’t know.
  • Take advantage of popular community events like Throwback Thursday (use the hashtag #TBT) and post a picture of yourself graduating from dental school or a picture from the grand opening of your practice.
  • Create a poll to ask your followers about an issue that’s relevant to your practice. It takes seconds for people to respond and you can collect valuable information.
  • Tweet a link to your latest blog post and include a visual representation of a great pull quote to get people to click the link.
  • Create a hashtag and ask people to share their best or funniest experience with dentists.

Keep in mind that Twitter engagement is quick and if you miss people, they’re unlikely to catch up with your Tweet after the fact. Tracking your posts’ performance can help you figure out the best times to be active on Twitter.

LinkedIn Posting Ideas for Dentists

As we said before, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B marketing and can help you get referrals and build local relationships. Here are some ideas for your LinkedIn posts.

  • Create an in-depth post especially for LinkedIn where you expand on an issue covered in a blog post. For example, you might do a post about your experiences dealing with insurance and how your practice can help patients navigate their coverage with ease.
  • Join groups and share your content to them. Sharing something about dental industry trends or a new treatment you’re offering can help you connect with people.
  • Create a post about your referral program and ask your LinkedIn connections if they’d like to participate – or if they know anybody who would like to participate.
  • Film a video explaining a service you provide and showing before and after results.
  • Promote the content on your website. It’s easy to create a LinkedIn post that will drive traffic to your blog or help you build your mailing list.

LinkedIn posts should always have a professional tone and be geared toward adult professionals. Remember, this isn’t the place for funny memes and videos. Be consistent to your brand but don’t forget what’s appropriate for LinkedIn.

Instagram Posting Ideas for Dentists

Finally, let’s talk about Instagram. As you know, Instagram is primarily for visual content, including photographs and short videos. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Create an Instagram Story for your practice. Some ideas are to give a virtual tour of your office, introduce your staff, or explain a procedure you perform. Remember, Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours. Creating one is a good way to encourage your followers to check out your content quickly.
  • Use between 3-5 hashtags in every post. It’s a good idea to include a locational hashtag with the name of your city or neighborhood. You can also create event-specific hashtags to encourage people to share their photos with you.
  • Post before and after pictures. These are especially good for highlighting cosmetic procedures like whitening and orthodontia.
  • Encourage your followers to share photos of their whitened teeth or bright smiles – you could even make it a weekly event, like Smile Saturday.
  • Create an infographic showing an ideal day of dental hygiene. There are online tools you can use to create infographics, or you can hire a professional designer to help you.
The ideas we’ve shared here are just the beginning. We encourage you to get creative! Ask for ideas from your staff and patients. Follow your competitors and “steal” their best ideas. The sky’s the limit!


Social media posting is a must for dentists. Provided you post regularly and put some effort toward creating engaging and relevant posts for your followers, it can help you attract new followers, build patient loyalty, and grow your practice.

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Social Media Marketing: What Do Prospective Patients Want to See? - 

Social Media Marketing: What Do Prospective Patients Want to See? -  | Social Media and Healthcare |


Presently, access to platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ is near ubiquitous, providing an audience of almost 3 billion people. Society is dramatically changing, which marks the evolution of marketing strategies by plastic surgeons and aesthetic doctors alike. This unknown territory provides excellent opportunities, but many pitfalls as well, still leading to uncertainty in the most effective manner to promote ones practice/services.


We designed a social experiment using Instagram to give guidance for efficient self-promoting.


An Instagram account called "doctor.aesthetics" was created. Content was produced and categorized in four groups: Aesthetics, Private Life, Disease, and Science. No bots or other Instagram-based promotion were utilized. Every post was evaluated regarding likes, comments, clicks, new followers, impressions, and savings.


After 5 months and 37 posts, 10.5k people followed the account. Scientific posts were excluded from the analysis due to a low response rate. A significantly enhanced number of likes for private postings was found. Additionally, private posts led to most clicks and new followers, while aesthetic posts were saved by most people.


To benefit the most from social media advertising, it is required to give insight into private life. While aesthetic and disease postings showed similar response rate, scientific posts fail in attracting people.

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The perfect digital marketing strategy for doctors

The perfect digital marketing strategy for doctors | Social Media and Healthcare |

Advertising and marketing for your medical skill and practice are a very difficult, confusing and let’s admit it a complicated task. From one side you have ethics, rules, and regulations and on the other side, you have all the misconceptions and wrong medical information that is spreading everywhere across the web.

I believe that it’s the care provider role now to be more present online and to assume their responsibilities as the trusted healthcare information source on the internet!  This is how they can save more patients and fulfill their mission in this new information era.

I would rather say that doctors, surgeons, and care providers should consider this as an opportunity to reach more patients and improve their awareness about diseases and health issues!

To help you canalize your effort and prioritize your investment in term of digital marketing, I grouped 9 gradual marketing strategies that you should explore to boost your online reach and optimize your marketing


1- A personal brand:

Personal branding for individual doctors is a useful and effective extension of the differentiating brand message of a medical practice or organization. It is a means to control and direct what is unique and relevant about who you are, and thus guide how the audience perceives your professional reputation.
In addition, personal branding can…

Spotlight distinctive strengths and capabilities;
Establish credentials and credibility;
Inspire champions and influencers;
Extend visibility and public awareness;
Increase patient demand and allegiance;
Engender stronger patient compliance;
Increase professional referral confidence and frequency;
Enhance personal and professional satisfaction.

Imagine you buying a stethoscope, would you rather choose a Littmann or cheaply made in China? Which kind of doctor do you want to be? Give your practice the right image!

Get in touch now so I can brand you!

 2- Well-designed medical website:

Today more than ever, potential patients are searching on the web for local physicians and healthcare services. 90% of patients start their doctor selection by an online search, and guess what happens when they don’t find you, they will visit the one that they found!

Improving your patient’s experience on your website will significantly increase patient leads and retention.

Your website design should have customized features, fast page speed, be mobile friendly, and interactive.

Most searches are done via mobile or tablet devices, so having a fully responsive medical website design is crucial.

Make sure your website design includes flexible images and website structures that allow them to navigate in different pages with ease.

The practice website should be built for all platforms, so you capture the maximum number of website visitors and not just limited to desktop searches.

Page speed can be the #1 reason for a high bounce rate for your medical website as people attention span is dropping and the voice search is gaining momentum.

Your website also is your first touch point with the patient, if it’s slow and difficult to navigate it will give a first negative experience that will affect his selection decision.

A negative experience makes users more likely to leave your website to go to a better one. It is critical to evaluate and put a plan together to improve website page speed to lower bounce rates and increase lead conversion.

Be very clear on the services and procedures you offer on your home pages so the patient gets straight to what he is looking for, as your credential and certifications are crucial for sure but at a later stage!

When patients are visiting your practice website, they should find all your services and treatments easily if your medical practice offers a wide variety of services down select to the main procedures and services that you want to feature.

When deciding on what treatments to promote, think of your ideal audience, key differentiators, and high revenue procedures.

Lead forms improve website conversion rates and drive new leads for medical or dental practice.

Your medical website needs to be built with proper medical SEO and keywords, so it drives free organic traffic with a long-term return.

To stay competitive and show up in search results, your website design needs to have all the essential keywords and proper SEO structure.

A top performing website will have a solid SEO and keywords at the foundation of the website design.

A medical SEO expert will spend their time building out each page of your practice website and do competitive keyword research to make sure your site is on top in local search results.


Check my medical website offers now!


3- Social media marketing for medical practice

Some doctors are social media superstars. We’ve all seen them: they may host television shows or serve as frequent commentators on healthcare matters, making them a go-to source as a social media influencer. Some even use YouTube or Instagram to showcase procedures that fascinate the general public (but we can’t all be Dr. Pimple Popper).

For the rest of us, social media for doctors can be a bit of a mystery. You may just post occasionally on your platform of choice and hope for the best, or you may not have a social media presence at all. There are all sorts of misconceptions out there about the importance of social media for doctors and how it should be used, so let’s clear a few things up.

In a perfect world doctors do a wonderful job and their work will speak for them, but the healthcare market is in a constant change, an missing up on being out there to talk about yourself, some other people with good social media reach may be there to talk about you in the wrong way! So, the only way for the good to overshine the bad, you need to have a consistent online presence to talk about your services and preserve your reputation.

I want to highlight here a very important fact about boosting your social media posts!

Facebook offers some really useful tools as part of their business feature, allowing you to spend money to boost or promote a post so it reaches a wider target audience in your area.

It seems easy enough, in theory, and the button is built into the Facebook platform. In practice, though, you miss out when you use this feature without any planning in advance. Facebook advertising can reach a wide range of people in your area who may be searching for your specialty. It doesn’t just go out to friends and fans, but to “lookalike audiences” that may be interested in your practice because they’re similar to those who already like it.

Or, your ads can reach the wrong people at the wrong time, people located nearby but with zero interest in your services. It’s wasted money and wasted time,  and could even turn some people away. Social media for doctors requires strategy, which may mean hiring somebody to do the job for you.


As a summary social media marketing for medical practices must be:

  • Consistent and organized
  • Optimized properly
  • Interactive
  • Regular Posting
  • Contain unique images and content for your practice
  • Create consistent brand continuity
  • Share content that drives patients to your website
  • Plan your paid campaign to optimize your invested money


You get in touch today, so I can help you with your social media campaigns!

4- Local listing for your practice:


Local business listings have a significant impact on local SEO as part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

Your business listings are the business contact information that displays when patients search for you online in other websites, directories and review boards. It’s important to claim, verify, and optimize your business listings across all platforms. (Read more on how to list your practice with google)

The more directories and reviews sites that contain the same business information gives Google additional confidence to return your information over a competitor’s practice.

Popular business listings platforms are Google, Yelp, and Facebook, but there are multiple smaller listing sites that are important to your reputation.

Google indexes all the listing sites to better collect the information for your medical or dental practice, and uniform listings will ensure higher local search engine optimization.

After your business listings are claimed and updated, it is essential to continually monitor them for duplicated or errors that can arise.


5- Medical content strategy for doctors:

Creating healthcare marketing content for your blog, website and online presence require more than quantity as 9 out of 10 good content may not be driving any result. You also need measures of quality, credibility, and engagement in the formula to:

  • Attract and retain the target audience
  • Enhance SEO and results in good ranking
  • Establish and grow relationships
  • Inspire digital influencers
  • Present content worth sharing
  • Stay top-of-mind with prospective patients


6- Email marketing – Streamline New Patient Communication

Stay in front of your patients and website visitors with email marketing! Email as part of your medical marketing strategy is a great way to retarget patients or reach new patients that have expressed interest in a procedure or treatment.

Utilize email marketing to create touch points with your practice website visitors and share new promotions, specials, blog posts, and the latest practice news. Grow your practice patient email list by encouraging website visitors to sign up for a newsletter.

A newsletter will help you share monthly content about your medical practice and keep your practice in front of mind for patients.


7- Reviews Generation

Patient reviews are one of the top 3 most important local SEO factors when it comes to local search rankings. Studies have shown that 68% of potential patients form an opinion about your medical practice and it’s physicians with as little as five reviews.

What does this mean? Patient reviews are an essential way to convert potential patients and a huge reflection of your medical practice reputation.

When it comes to medical marketing strategies generating positive patient reviews needs to be at the top of the list!

The best healthcare marketing agencies will work with your team to generate positive, HIPAA compliant patient reviews and streamline the process.


9- Before & After for Cosmetic & Aesthetics Procedures

Sharing high quality before and after pictures of actual patient results can be one of the single most important medical marketing strategies, a practice that provides aesthetics services can do.

medical marketing agency before and after-2

When it comes to cosmetic surgery and aesthetic marketing before and after photos are an absolute must in the healthcare marketing strategy.

Develop a large before and after gallery showcasing multiple examples of successful patient’s before and after for various surgical procedures and age ranges.

If your medical specialty is not cosmetic based, consider working with a patient that is willing to share their treatment journey as a case study for your practice.

Many potential patients are continually seeking the best treatments for medical conditions and improving their quality of life.

Sharing successful patient stories and educating the online visitors of your experience and expertise will turn online visitors into real patients.

This can be a highly successful part of your medical marketing strategy if done correctly.


10- Physician Liaison Marketing Program

Physician referrals can be the lifeline of medical practice, so developing a physician outreach-marketing program is essential for sustaining strong doctor referral relationships.

A successful healthcare marketing strategy will center efforts on expanding your healthcare network and increasing patient growth.

Physician liaison marketing is hiring a representative for your practice to meet with local referring doctors and medical practices to increase patient referrals for the practice.

As the physician relations representative, they extend the bridge of communication between referring doctors and medical practice.

Physician liaison marketing results in a significant increase in patient referrals and overall practice growth.

Physician liaison marketing is especially an excellent fit for surgeons and specialty medical practices because their patient base is majority referrals from general practitioners.

Other medical and dental practices can significantly benefit from having a physician relations manager to help grow their healthcare network and meet with local physicians.

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Doctors and Social Media: A Response by Daniel Sokol •

Doctors and Social Media: A Response by Daniel Sokol • | Social Media and Healthcare |

On June 10th, 2019, Stat published a short article of mine entitled ‘Doctors: use social media with restraint’.  Within hours, criticisms flooded in.

Shortly before the Stat publication, I had been invited to deliver a lecture on Sir William Osler.  I took this opportunity to re-read Osler’s essays and came to the conclusion that, were he magically revived, Osler would be horrified by the exhibitionism, braggadocio and inter-specialty mud-slinging of some doctors on Twitter.

In the Stat piece, I described the ‘descent [of doctors] onto the bustling crowds of social media’ and the fact that ‘doctors, who hitherto got things off their chests in private, now bellow their discontent to the world.’  I suggested that, as well as benefits, there may be risks associated with this and that doctors on social media ‘must ask themselves whether the benefits of this candor outweigh the possible harms to their own reputation and to the image of the profession as a whole.’

The response from the medical community was immediate.

Some resorted to insults, saying “eff this” and calling me an idiot.

Some misread the article and assumed I was calling for a total ban on social media for doctors.  The title of the piece was accurate: ‘use social media with restraint’.  Social media can be a force for good.  Doctors can correct falsehoods and advocate for change.  They can shed light on the practise of medicine, flaws in the system, and practical implications of policies.  They can reach people that do not read articles in newspapers or journals.  They can direct people to reliable sources of information and engage them in public health discussions. They can create professional networks, support each other and inspire others.



Some doctors questioned whether I was qualified to make such comments as a non-doctor: “the best part is that the author is – wait for it – a lawyer”.  I am not a medical doctor but I have studied doctors and bioethics for many years, taught ethics in medical schools and hospitals, and then sued and defended doctors (and medical students) for many more. In any event, I fail to see why only a doctor can opine on the appropriate use of social media by doctors.

Some assumed that I believed doctors who suffer from mental health problems should just ‘stay silent’.  Nothing could be further from the truth: they should seek help, like anyone else, but whether they should tell the world on Twitter about their drug addiction, depression, or any other condition is more contentious.

Dr. Dana Corriel, in a recent blog post on this website, commented:




I do not share her optimism.  My own experience is that there are many doctors in the Twittersphere – however academically gifted they may be – who use Twitter in a way that does the profession and their reputation no favours.  Only today one doctor tweeted: “So much negativity toward interns today on #SoMeDocs”.  Surely such negativity can be harmful to these new doctors, and to the public’s perception of them.

The danger of Twitter’s informality is the gradual, imperceptible erosion of one’s social filter. I doubt the doctors who said “eff this” and “idiot” would have spoken in this way in a conference.  The consequences of an eroded social filter can be serious for doctors, lawyers, pilots and other such professions, and no doubt some do get into trouble for ill-judged posts or tweets.


The #danger of Twitter’s informality is the gradual, imperceptible erosion of one’s social filter. I doubt the doctors who said “eff this” and “idiot” would have spoken in this way in a #conference.CLICK TO TWEET


The Stat article was not written out of hate or contempt for the medical profession but out of a profound admiration for it. Some doctors wondered why doctors should be held to a different standard to anyone else.  After all, they observed, doctors are human. In ‘Tough Choices: Stories from the Front Line of Medical Ethics’, I asked whether being a doctor was ‘just a job’.  My answer:

Being a doctor is not ‘just a job’, or at least it should not be.  It possesses a moral dimension not found in nearly all other jobs.  Hence why there is no Professor in Baking Ethics, or Painting and Decorating Ethics, or Hairdressing Ethics, and why [Richard] Selzer was so incensed when he saw the medical graduates making light of the [Hippocratic] oath.  In the Hippocratic oath, the doctors swore by ‘Apollo, Asclepius, Hygeia, Panacea and by all the gods and goddesses’.  In the secular version, doctors ‘solemnly’ pledge.  The purpose?  To acknowledge the privilege, importance and dignity of treating a fellow human being in need.’



In the public sphere that is social media, doctors cannot conduct themselves in the same manner as anyone else.  This is because they are doctors.  They must act with dignity and respect and avoid damaging the hard-earned reputation of the medical profession.  It may be common sense but, as Voltaire allegedly said, ‘common sense is not so common’. The need for medical associations and regulators to issue guidance on doctors’ use of social media also suggests that the matter is not self-evident.

Elizabeth R Goff's curator insight, 5 August, 09:21
Sociallyin has dedicated team to create and execute unique social media strategy for YOUR BRAND. Call today at (205) 547-0514 and start building brand awareness.
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Avoiding Common HIPAA Violations with CC&C

Avoiding Common HIPAA Violations with CC&C | Social Media and Healthcare |

Consider the hundreds (no, thousands) of digital communications a clinical team makes all day, every day—between nurses, physicians, radiologists, pharmacists: The list goes on and on.

Quality healthcare relies on those interactions being accurate and fast. But it also relies on them being secure to safeguard protected health information. After all, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires it.

Not abiding by HIPAA brings steep consequences, with penalties up to $250,000 per violation of “willful neglect,” according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

These penalties can add up: Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center recently made headlines for a $4.3 million penalty incurred after three data breaches involving lost or stolen devices.

HIPAA Violations With Personal Smartphones

Of course, organizations don’t intend to make such violations. But they happen despite even the best intentions. And if anyone on your staff uses a personal device to transmit patient data, even just once, they may be making the same mistake.

After all, the temptation to pull out a personal phone and text another care team member might be higher than you think: According to a survey reported by the American Nurses Association, 67 percent of hospitals acknowledged that their nurses used their own smartphones to collaborate at work. It makes sense—texting enables rapid communication when every minute matters, and it’s often one of the best ways for nurses to reach physicians.

But beyond the obvious problems with texting on personal devices—like distractions or infection risk—this workaround can invite HIPAA missteps by putting confidential patient data in a very vulnerable place.

Considering that cyber attacks on mobile devices are on the rise and that even seemingly harmless communications can expose protected information, the problem has the potential to get more serious with every text.

The Workarounds (and Why They Don’t Work)

Some care team members may (mistakenly) think they’re in the clear if they remove patient identifiers from the text. Someone might say, for example, “Order blood for room 322.” However, the room number is itself a patient identifier—and a potential HIPAA violation.

To be on the safe side, maybe they decide they’ll strip out even more details: “I need a medication order for your 3 p.m. hysterectomy.”

That won’t work either: Even that nondescript text poses trouble, since it runs the risk of medical errors from vague information. For all their efforts to protect information, care team members might be setting each other up to mistakenly identify patients, with devastating consequences.

And all of that assumes everything else goes right. What if the device gets lost or stolen, as with MD Anderson? Or perhaps the text is accidentally sent to the wrong person? A hospital in Maine recently came under fire for accidentally sending a list of 300 patient names to a local newspaper editor.

Such mishaps can mean those communications get exposed to those who shouldn’t see them, or are otherwise up for the taking by anyone at anytime. Whether made by doctors, nurses, entire teams or just one person, a single mistake by anyone on your staff can put your whole organization at risk.

Leveraging a Secure Solution

For starters, clinical staff—all staff, for that matter—need 21st-century tools to do their job.

Mobile Heartbeat’s MH-CURE® Platform, for example, enables secure, specific communication without the need to remove patient identifiers. If they need a consult, they can say so with a direct message that pulls information from the EHR (thanks to the Patient Pick feature) and goes straight to the intended recipient—instead of blasting it to anyone and everyone.

By the way, your staff will know it’s the intended recipient because the platform displays each patient’s dynamic care team, in real time. Because, after all, inherent in HIPAA compliance is exchanging necessary but limited info with only those who need to see it. MH-CURE helps you do that.

And if the device gets lost or stolen, no worries: Our platform is passcode-protected and requires hospital credentials, and you can remotely remove access to reduce the chances of a breach.

Breaking Bad Habits, for Good

Yes, bad habits are hard to break—and even harder to break for good. Even the smallest things, like leaving discharge instructions on the printer or throwing a patient wristband in the garbage, can pose big trouble. Make sure your clinical staff doesn’t forget that texts can, too.

For hospitals, HIPAA violations can yield hefty fines and embarrassing blunders. For clinical staff, they can spell lost jobs. That’s incentive enough to prioritize the issue and fix it.

By investing in the right technology, you can sidestep those tendencies, curb the risks and reap the benefits of a HIPAA-compliant, worry-free tool for instant communication. We’re proud that MH-CURE helps clinical teams do just that.

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Top 5 Pharma Marketing Trends for 2019

Top 5 Pharma Marketing Trends for 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

Pharmaceutical executives are targeting exponential growth in 2019. Acquisition of third-party companies will continue at pace and the innovation of medicines will increase.

Such bloated ambitions mean marketing departments throughout the pharmaceutical industry need to find solutions that convince customers to trust and purchase their treatments. And that’s not an easy task when there is a question mark over the effectiveness of pharmaceutical products.

Today’s consumers want content that is informative and educational. However, explaining how medicine works is complex and Pharma advertising is fraught with legal and regularity conditions.

However, new trends in the industry reveal sassy marketers have developed solutions by embracing omnichannel platforms and digital technologies that enable healthcare facilities to take a patient-centric approach.

Critical Information in Real-Time

Machine learning plays a major role in Pharma advertising. Physicians want advanced datasets that can collect and deliver critical information in real-time.

Marketers are using the development of AI and machine automation to convince patients they will be provided with adequate information. Chatbots are making an increasing appearance, but healthcare facilities have to guard against replacing humans with technology.

Sourcing a Bigger Picture

The Internet of Things (IoT) has already penetrated a number of key industries and has the potential to revolutionize Pharma marketing. With data accessible within IoT medical devices, medical companies can learn about the individual needs of their patients and get an overview of the broader community.

The latest medical technologies have already proven they can provide critical data. Marketers can use this information to personalize messages to relevant parties and cut through the noise of rival companies.

Due to the profit potential and the usefulness of IoT devices, stakeholders are prepared to invest in advanced medical technologies, and technology companies have been quick to oblige.

High-Value Social Content

Social media platforms are a great channel for pharmaceutical companies to reach potential customers and deepen relationships with existing patients. However, because Pharma companies are regulated on social media and cannot simply chime into a conversation, it’s difficult for marketers to engage other users.

The response in 2019 has been to reduce the amount of content they publish and produce high-value quality content instead. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have been receiving higher levels of engagement but putting less effort into social media activity.

Medical Influencers

Influencer marketing is gaining traction across numerous industries. Celebrities and micro-influencers with huge followings help to build trust between consumers and companies.

The growing trend among marketers is to identify influencers that are being treated for a specific medical condition. Celgene is using Louise Roe, for example. The influencer is “sponsored” to talk about her illness.

By working with patients as brand ambassadors, other patients have a network of fellow sufferers that can act as a support group and a community that shares information. People are more open to sharing their stories with people they know will understand their problem.

Electronic Health Records

A few years ago, it was pointed out that pharmaceutical companies were not taking advantage of electronic health records. This year, a rise in the number of industry marketers adopting electronic health records (EHR) campaigns suggests the tide has turned.

CMI reports that EHR has “skyrocketed up to 80% in the past 6 years and continues to grow.” The application has enabled physicians to improve workflow, interact with patients more often and streamline clinical and administrative tasks.

EHR is not strictly advertising. However, adopting the approach in a focused campaign enables medical firms to better engage and educate their patients. In turn, the information physicians are able to provide nurtures trust and increases sales.

With the Pharma industry needing to tackle trust issues, digital technologies have given them a platform where they can reach patients in real-time with valuable information. When people want medical help, they want immediate access to information they can trust.

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Digitally Disconnected: When Social Media Doesn’t Feel Social - 

Digitally Disconnected: When Social Media Doesn’t Feel Social -  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” 

Yet, when it comes to social media, we often find ourselves comparing our lives, jobs, families, vacations, and bodies to everybody else’s perfect posts. Or, we get caught up in polarizing politics, letting ourselves get sucked into the latest controversial content. While many of us mindlessly scroll through our feeds to unwind or disconnect from the day, we may be causing more disconnection and dissatisfaction than we realize. 

The average internet user in America spends more than 2 hours a day on a social networking platform—that’s five and a half years online over a lifetime. Meanwhile, several studies have discovered that too much time online can cause depression, higher levels of stressattention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)risky decision making, problems with mental functioningparanoia, and loneliness

Even the rich and famous are impacted negatively by excessive social media consumption. Recently, “Game of Thrones” stars Maisie Williams and her onscreen sister costar Sophie Turner, better known as Arya and Sansa Stark, both attributed social media to their battles with depression, poor self-esteem and, for Turner, thoughts of suicide. These Hollywood starlets are not alone:

  • An American Psychological Association report found that rates of depression, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts and actions have risen by 63 percent in adults age 26 and younger, with some of the highest increases among women.
  • psychology professor at San Diego State University discovered that teens who spend five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely to have at least one risk factor for suicide, compared to teens who spent only one hour a day online. This risk increases with only two or more hours spent online.
  • The growing mental health problems associated with social media led to the creation of a new clinical term, “Facebook Depression” to describe depression that develops when teens and preteens spend time on social media sites before exhibiting the classic symptoms of depression.

Before you delete all your social media profiles, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggestssocial media can offer effective distraction, humor, connection to peers, and a wide social network. Plus, increasingly, organizations are offering support services, including depression and suicide intervention services, through social media channels. 

Here are ways you can manage social media to encourage connection and reduce potential negative impacts on your mental health: 

  1. LIMIT YOUR TIME: A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that when participants limited their social media use to 30 minutes a day, they felt significantly better after the three-week study period, reporting reduced depression and loneliness. If you have heightened FOMO, check out these strategies to take back control of your life.
  2. BUILD A COMMUNITY: Social media is a great outlet for identifying like-minded individuals. Find events or groups online and connect with them in person. One NIH study showed that when cancer patients used social media for social and emotional support, patients were less likely to suffer from depression than their non-social media user counterparts. 
  3. GET HELPNAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, recommends ways to find treatments, share your feelings, or get support online and through social media, while at the same time, being aware of your triggers and getting help if you start experiencing negative thoughts.  
  4. CONSCIOUSLY FILTER: Unfollow or block negative people. Instead, follow your favorite sport or nonprofit, check out inspirational quotes, DIY hobbies and videos of cute baby animals. Learn to recognize content that negatively impacts how you think and feel. And don’t let body-shaming or click-baiting (false advertising) turn your emotions against you to convince you to buy something. Never before in history has the age-old admonition of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) been more relevant.

The problem isn’t social media. It’s when digital interactions replace face-to-face encounterswith peers that social anxieties and isolation increase. Social media and our always-on technology enable us to connect like never before. Let’s use that for good, while also remembering to be social outside social media: volunteer, exercise, schedule coffee or lunch with a friend, and get involved in sports, hobbies, and other in-person community activities. 

— Published on July 30, 2019

health phamacy's curator insight, 17 August, 12:52

ashley romay's curator insight, 8 September, 20:58
This article is about social media, and how it "doesn't feel social". Many people especially teens and young adults start to compare themselves and their life to others post on social media. Not only are people judging themselves and diminishing their own self esteem, they are also spending an extensive amount of time online. Studies show that the average internet user in America "spends more than 2 hours a day on a social network platform". Studies are showing that too much time on these social platforms can cause "depression, higher levels of stress, ADHD, and loneliness". I believe this article is reliable because we see these effects of social media happening in our everyday lives. Many people are on these social networking platforms to feel included when in reality they little by little are deteriorating their own mental health and stability. 
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Under $5B FTC Settlement, Facebook Must Disclose Health Data Use

Under $5B FTC Settlement, Facebook Must Disclose Health Data Use | Social Media and Healthcare |

The Federal Trade Commission announced a $5 billion settlement with Facebook last week, over charges the social media platform deceived users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal data. The settlement contains requirements for how Facebook controls and notifies users about its data use.

If approved by a federal judge, the settlement will resolve the massive FTC investigation into how Facebook both mishandled communications to its users and the loss of a mass amount of personal data.

Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of reports that shed light on the social media giant’s privacy practices, including several involving personal health information. A complaint to FTC in December accused Facebook of misleading its users about the privacy practices of “closed health groups.”

Advocates argued the platform “deceptively solicited” patients to use the “Groups” function of Facebook to share their personal health information. They argued the company failed to protect the data uploaded in these groups, which potentially exposed the information to the public.

Meanwhile, a JAMA report showed that mental health apps may be sharing data with third-party apps like Facebook without explicit consent.

READ MORE: Senator Demands Facebook Explain New Group Privacy Features


According to the notice, the yearlong FTC investigation has led the Department of Justice to file a complaint on behalf of FTC with similar allegations: that “Facebook repeatedly used deceptive disclosures and settings to undermine users’ privacy preferences in violation of its 2012 FTC order.”

“These tactics allowed the company to share users’ personal information with third-party apps that were downloaded by the user’s Facebook ‘friends,’” FTC officials explained.

What’s more, the investigation alleged that most users were unaware Facebook was sharing that information and did not take necessary steps of opt-out of the process. FTC officials also claimed the social media giant did not take necessary steps to deal with apps that were knowingly violating Facebook’s policies.

Under the 20-year settlement order, FTC will impose new restrictions onto the platform’s business operations, while establishing multiple compliance channels. The goal will be to create greater transparency into Facebook’s decision-making policies and hold Facebook accountable.

Part of that accountability will be reports for new or modified services that involve user data, including health information and biometrics. Facebook must outline the type of data to be collected, how it will be used, retained, or shared, while providing users with how they can consent to the collection of their covered data.

READ MORE: Facebook Launches New Privacy Features for Health Groups, Topics


Facebook must also share any risks to the privacy, confidentiality, or integrity to the covered data and whether it will apply new safeguards to control those risks.

The platform will also be required to restructure its privacy approach from the board-level down and create strong mechanisms to ensure Facebook executives are held accountable for privacy decisions. Those decisions will also be subjected to meaningful oversight.

Further, the order will establish an independent privacy committee of Facebook’s Board of Directors, “removing unfettered control by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy.”

The new compliance teams will be mandated to provide the FTC with quarterly certifications that show the company is compliance with the privacy program mandated by the order, in addition to an annual compliance report. Decisions around users’ privacy must also be documented, in addition to the compliance team reporting breaches involving 500 or more users to the FTC within 30 days of discovery.

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.”

READ MORE: New York Governor to Investigate Facebook Health Data Practices


The $5 billion penalty is the largest ever imposed on a company for violating consumers’ privacy, at nearly 20 times greater than any previous government settlement. FTC officials voted three to two to pass the resolution with two Democrats dissenting as they felt the settlement did not go far enough.

“Failing to hold them accountable only encourages other officers to be similarly neglectful in discharging their legal obligations,” Commissioners Rohit Chopra wrote. “In my view, it is appropriate to charge officers and directors personally when there is reason to believe that they have meaningfully participated in unlawful conduct, or negligently turned a blind eye toward their subordinates doing the same.”

Other industry stakeholders agreed, with the privacy advocate group EPIC filing a lawsuit on Friday to intervene in the FTC settlement, calling the settlement “neither procedurally or substantively fair.” Further, they argued it doesn’t contain adequate provisions to ensure consumer privacy and argued it’s “clearly not in the public interest.”

In the past, healthcare stakeholders have argued that social media platforms need transparent, privacy policies for healthcare data, which came in direct response to the Facebook scandal. The Department of Health and Human Services recently reiterated that third-party apps aren’t subject to HIPAA. However, when a patient requests the use of an outside app to share data, providers should outline known privacy risks.

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Never Thought Social Media And Healthcare Would Co-Exist?

Welive in the Informational era. So while you weigh your options regarding medical tourism, back your decisions with concrete social media evidence.

For the longest time, technological advancements and medical progress have gone ahead, hand in hand. However, over the last couple of years, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds.

There practically is no measure of how far-reaching the impact of technology really is. Various domains are figuring out ways to be able to harness the immense potential technology offers, one such domain being medicine.

The rapid penetration of social media in healthcare decision making

Technology has advanced in all directions, and one obvious by-product of it is social networking. One would have never imagined that someday social networking and medicine may show prospects of a beneficial integration.

Social media has done more than just bring the world closer; it has made medical assistance readily available. Doctors and medical professionals can now interact with each other from all corners of the earth, without a hiccup.

The usage of proper social media has also helped in propagating the reputation either of an individual healthcare professional or of an entire institution itself.

Hospitals are now incredibly approachable as they provide websites and social media accounts to advertise the various services they offer and they are getting incredibly smart too. They have chatbots installed on their websites so that no query ever goes unanswered.

And though there are many ways in which social media can be integrated with medicine, far too many institutions worldwide actually stand unaware of it. That is why many patients don’t even know what medical tourism is, or why is it so popular among those who do.

How Can Social Media Help?

There are various factors that lead to the popularity of social media in healthcare. And we will try to unearth the most crucial ones of those methodically.

  1. Help spread information

This is not called the Information Age for nothing. With information so readily available, fooling or scamming someone has gotten difficult. Everyone has equal access to verifiable information. 

You may also encounter fake news over the internet. However, if you simply apply basic methods of verifying information, you would not be on the wayward path too long.

2. Helps contain a crisis situation

Sometimes a certain calamity strikes and it is the pandemonium created later that adds to the ruckus. Medical facilities are not able to touch every corner simply because people are running helter-skelter in search of solutions, in places where they are most definitely to not find any. 

With social media, there is a chance of creating awareness and managing the crisis in a much better manner. A prime example of this would be when the Typhoon Mangkhut was to hit the Philippines on September 2018, the World Health Organisation turned to its social media handles. They posted out various infographics about how they can stay safe both during and after the calamity.

3. Easier to monitor public health on a large scale

In the last few years, it has been relatively easier to tackle flu. And that is because the moment someone is disease-stricken, people happen to post about it. This “show-off” culture actually helps data analysts to run algorithms to actually find disease patterns, thereby estimating accurately an epidemic breakout. 

Corrective measures are immediately implemented and the disease can be contained, and gradually treated.

Owing to these reasons, the popularity of social media and its applications in healthcare are fast-growing. With informational transmission at breakneck speed, people are now aware of where treatments are being conducted at really affordable prices. This creates legitimate incentives for medical tourism.

Finding medical assistance is now a click away

Being in a medical emergency is the worst time to start looking out for medical assistance. That is the time when your judgement is clouded and getting to see a doctor tend to the emergency becomes the end goal.

You fail to look at the reputation of the medical help, the price involved, and the qualification and the experience on the person attending to the medical emergency.

When you integrate social media to healthcare, you have better access to resources, including a thorough background of medical assistance provided. All information is laid systematically, and you can also get in touch with the doctor, book an appointment, get consultation via video calling, etc.

There are apps like Practo and MFine that help you get in touch with the doctor, without losing out on time. All your medical emergencies are attended within the stipulated time so that your condition does not worsen due to lack of medical attention.

The quality of the medical facility and doctors are no longer secrets

The quality of service is no longer a secret. If you run an organisation, its reputation is reflected in public domains and forums, where people leave crucial feedback. If your healthcare facility has not provided satisfying medical attention, you might as well brace yourself for a slurry of negative feedback.

If you are on the other side of the fence and are wondering who you can reach out to, in the face of a medical emergency, then the feedback you may find about the medical facility may help you make a crucial decision.

The quality of a medical facility is actually a question of life and death, and if the wrong calls are made, the outcome may not be all that favourable.

These days, doctors and health care facilities are reaching out to people and practically going the extra mile to make the patient know that all that could be done was done. This is done to maintain the reputation of the institute or service, which is nowadays the criterion on which more people make up their choice.

Get ready for your trip

Once you have correctly estimated the service you are opting for, then comes taking the plunge. You pack your bags right and go on a journey of healing. Only this time, it means literal healing because you are on a medical trip. When you are on a medical trip, you will be availing huge benefits of medical tourism.

Make sure you pack all your diagnosis, whatever paperwork you may have, reports, and necessary medication you may need to pack to battle conditions where you may land. Don’t forget to take your shots on time, like for example, if you are landing anywhere in Africa, getting malaria medication is essential. You would definitely not want to land in a place with two diseases instead of one.

Risks that come with Medical tourism

Not everything about medical tourism is flowery as it may seem. At the end of the day, all your research and estimation depends upon something you read on the internet. That could be very different from what the reality has to offer.

Possible risk factors of Medical tourism

1. Substandard quality of medical treatment

2. The staff that attends your medical needs

3. The overall quality of the facility holds the possibility of not meeting your expectations

4. The difference in cuisine and the language barrier may also be a problem.

To summarize

Medical tourism, by all means, is a revolution in the healthcare sector. With it, you are basically exploring options and getting treated at less than half the price you would otherwise pay in a developed nation.

The availability of skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in these cost-effective nations is an added impetus to give medical tourism a serious thought for world-class treatment options.

In the digital era, nothing is impossible. Check your options thoroughly, and make the right call which may benefit your health in the long run.

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Ask an expert: How should I deal with negative comments about our practice on social media?

Ask an expert: How should I deal with negative comments about our practice on social media? | Social Media and Healthcare |

When used correctly, social media can be an invaluable resource for the surgery. However, its downside is that it gives patients a quick, easy and public platform to voice their frustrations.
When this happens, it is important to address the patients’ issues, being as open and honest as possible. A lot of the time patients will be grateful that you have read their comment and taken the time to respond to them. If a patient is sharing personal details, remove the post and ask them to contact you in a more appropriate manner.
Another essential for managing social media comments is to monitor community pages as these pages can be a haven for negative comments. Finding these posts as they are published can stop a multitude of additional comments being made.
If this doesn’t work, most community pages have rules in place to stop hate being spread. Don’t be afraid of contacting the admin of a page and getting a negative post removed or the comments disabled.
If you are finding a lot of your feedback is about similar issues or struggle to find time to reply, create some stock responses.  These stock responses will allow you to send a detailed response even when you are short of time.
Finally, take on board the comments, learn from them and don’t hesitate to share your positive feedback.
Marc Schmid, director, Redmoor Health
My first piece of advice for this is don’t just delete without considering the nature of the comment.
While negative feedback can be difficult to accept, there may be an underlining issue which the patient is unhappy about. In fact, it may be something you are dealing with already so a simple explanation can offset similar criticism from others.
However, if the comment is offensive or personal, then you are perfectly entitled to remove it immediately. If it is a complaint you feel should be made through proper channels then simply message them privately to that effect and then remove it.
Practices need to remember – if you have no official Facebook page that you manage, it is likely you already have an unofficial one created when patients ‘check in’ to Facebook from the waiting room. These unofficial pages are more often than not negative and you will struggle to remove the comments as you don’t own the page.
The fear of receiving negative feedback can often put practices off from using social media, which is a shame. The benefits of using it to send out health promotion messages or business continuity messages if the phones are down far outweigh the odd negative comment.
Liz Price, senior risk adviser, Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS)
Not all negative social media comments warrant a response. Carefully assessing the extent and seriousness of the issue is crucial.
Before acting, the practice should first consider:

  1. Where are the comments being posted?
  2. What is the nature of the comments?

No one enjoys being the subject of negative comments but the worst thing you can do is to fire off an angry, ill-thought out response, especially on a public forum. This will not only very likely escalate the situation, it also risks breaching patient confidentiality – something that can have serious contractual, legal and/or regulatory consequences.
Remember that, while the patient has every right to openly discuss the details of their care, GPs and the practice team are bound by a duty of confidentiality.
Assuming the negative comments are posted on a patient’s personal social media site, it is often better to ‘publicly’ do nothing. In our experience, the trail of comments will stop if not fuelled and may even be countered by positive comments from satisfied patients.
When considering the nature of the comments themselves, try to take an objective view.
Comments on social media are often worded poorly and remarks about individuals involved in the patient’s care can cause personal offence. However, when you look past the style of language, could the patient have valid concerns?
If so, it may be beneficial to contact the patient directly and (gently) invite them to discuss their concerns more fully in a more appropriate way, perhaps in the practice face-to-face or by phone.
In extreme cases, you could consider contacting Facebook, Twitter etc to ask for a post to be removed from their site, but this is only likely to be successful for comments that are substantially inaccurate and could be considered defamatory/libellous.
It can be incredibly hard to undo your actions online, so contact your medical defence organisation for advice promptly – before the situation escalates.

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Why Advocacy and Social Media Outreach Works

Why Advocacy and Social Media Outreach Works | Social Media and Healthcare |

Advocacy works. Just ask Steve Hoffart, PharmD, President of Magnolia Pharmacy in Magnolia, TX. Hoffart was one of several pharmacists who worked with the Texas legislature to remove pharmacist gag clauses in PBM contracts. He went national in 2017 in television news interviews, describing the negative impact of gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from informing patients of potentially cheaper alternatives.


“Television news gave us another platform to tell our story,” Hoffart said during a panel discussion on advocacy and social engagement during the ThoughtSpot 2019 general session.

“You work so hard every day to protect your patients. You need to tell anyone who will listen what you do and why. That’s what advocacy is all about and that’s why it works. You are telling your story and educating.”

Federal legislation banning pharmacist gag clauses was signed into law in 2018.

One of pharmacy’s biggest problems is that no one really knows what pharmacists do except other pharmacists,” added John Hickman, RPh, President of Dyer Drug Store in Farmersville, TX. Patients, legislators, payers, policymakers, prescribers, and other decision makers hear endless stories of pharmacy. But those stories most often come from PBMs, drug manufacturers, chain and big-box retailers along with other players with active lobbying and public relations operations.

“Don’t let other stakeholders tell the story for you,” Hickman said. “Tell your own story and tell it straight from your heart. That kind of approach works so well.”

Hickman said he was inspired to act at a pharmacy meeting six years ago. Attendees complained endlessly about PBMs, contracts, pricing, and other familiar issues. The third-generation pharmacist decided that instead of complaining, it was time to act for a change.

He began working with pharmacist groups to testify on independent pharmacy issues.  At the state level, he became a vocal spokesperson for independent pharmacy, where he was meeting regularly with legislators and their staff, and contributing to campaigns. Hickman invites legislators to visit his store to see the realities of pharmacy for themselves.

“Everyone in this room can make those same changes,” Hickman said. “We’ve been at it for a while and it’s making a difference. When I go into a legislator’s office now, they know what a PBM is and what they do. They know what retroactive fees are and why they are so tough on independent pharmacies. I don’t know if these fees will go away, but we will continue to educate. If you don’t educate and advocate, there won’t be any change.”

Hoffart, like many successful Good Neighbor pharmacies, tells his story on Facebook and Instagram as well as in legislative hearings and on national news.

“I didn’t really have a choice,” he said. “One of my kids was working in the store and complained that we didn’t have an Instagram account. He told me that if people can’t see you, they can’t come to the pharmacy. And he was right. If we don’t all get out there and tell our stories, we don’t have a future.”

Prescribers are another group ripe for education and primed to learn more about the value that independent community pharmacy can provide.

“They (prescribers) know you on the phone, but they don’t know you in person,” explained Amy Galloway, RPh, owner of Brasstown Professional Pharmacy in Blairsville, GA; and co-owner, Southern Drug Company, Blue Ridge, GA.

“And they don’t know what you can do besides filling prescriptions. It’s up to each of us to talk with prescribers in our own communities to let them know how we can help improve care and outcomes for their patients.”Galloway schedules short visits, as little as five or ten minutes, with local prescribers. Prescribers are just as swamped as pharmacists, she cautioned, so visits should be brief and to the point about precisely how you can support and magnify their efforts.

Her two stores have busy compounding operations, so she focuses on how it can help make pharmaceutical therapy easier and more effective by tailoring the product to specific patient needs.

“Most prescribers aren’t familiar with compounding and are willing to learn,” Galloway said. “They need to learn that you care for and about their patients. It makes all the difference when they realize you are there for them and for their patients.”

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Study Looks at Feasibility of Using Facebook as an Intervention Tool for Cardiac Rehab Patients –

Study Looks at Feasibility of Using Facebook as an Intervention Tool for Cardiac Rehab Patients – | Social Media and Healthcare |

Lee Anne Siegmund, PhD, RN, ACSM-CEP, a nurse scientist at Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Nursing Research and Innovation, has developed an interest in the use of social media in research. “That’s the direction we are going in,” says Siegmund. “In the future, researchers will have to incorporate all kinds of modern technology, including social media.”

Siegmund has written two articles on the topic, the first, “Social Media: The Next Research Frontier,” in the journal Clinical Nurse Specialist® in 2018 and the second, “Like Us on Facebook: Nursing in a World of Social Media,” to be published in September in the Journal of Radiology Nursing. In her most recent research project, she conducted a feasibility study using a social media intervention for cardiac rehabilitation adherence.

Background and study methods

Prior to working as a nurse scientist, Siegmund was an exercise physiologist in cardiac rehabilitation. She experienced first-hand the issues with low patient adherence, attendance or engagement in rehab. This influenced her decision to launch the study.

“Patients talk about barriers related to transportation, time and convenience. But we also know that peer support is an important aspect in adherence,” says Siegmund. “I wanted to determine the feasibility of using Facebook as an intervention to affect change in motivation and self-determination for exercise and adherence for cardiac rehab.”

Siegmund recruited cardiac rehabilitation participants by phone, then randomly assigned them to the Facebook group or the comparison group. She created a private Facebook group and an intervention for participants in that group that included supportive, educational and motivational posts on the Facebook site. She also encouraged peer interaction.

All participants completed two questionnaires at intake and exit, after 12 weeks of cardiac rehab: Psychological Needs Satisfaction in Exercise and Behavioral Regulations in Exercise. In addition, Siegmund added eight questions to the exit interview related to how often the participants logged in to Facebook and what the perceived benefits were for the Facebook group.

Results and conclusions

Siegmund screened 522 patients for eligibility and was able to contact 210 cardiac rehabilitation patients to participate. A total of 48 adults were assigned to either the Facebook group or a comparison group who received educational emails. In total, 12 (5 Facebook group and 7 comparison group) completed intake and exit questionnaires and participated in the intervention. The results for those who participated in the Facebook intervention were as follows:

  • Participants logged into the Facebook page an average of 1 time per week.
  • There were 15 “likes” of posts per person over 12 weeks of rehabilitation.
  • There were 21 comments in the group.
  • Average Likert scores on post-intervention questions was high for: “Did you feel supported?” “Did you feel in touch with providers?” and “Do you feel healthier?”
  • The post-intervention question, “Did you chat with others?” scored in the low range.

“The activity in the Facebook group was lower than I wanted, although the experiences of the small group were very positive,” says Siegmund. “Participants felt supported and in touch with their providers as a result of the intervention.” Siegmund speculated that low activity may have been because the questionnaires were too burdensome. In addition, the study enrollment and data collection periods coincided with controversy over Facebook and privacy issues that made national news, which may have limited participant confidence in being in an unknown Facebook group.

The current study was not feasible as designed. Siegmund adds that future research could include the addition of interactive posts or Facebook Live, as well as recruitment by Facebook rather than phone to draw more participants.

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The Challenges and Benefits of using Social Media as a Healthcare Provider – 

The Challenges and Benefits of using Social Media as a Healthcare Provider –  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Advantage 1: Creating a Community

During a time where everybody is associated carefully, a social media marketing keeps patients keen on your item, service, and company. One of the key advantages related with a social media nearness is making an online network, where you can add to discussions with customers, patients, forthcoming patients, providers, different associations, and the therapeutic network on the loose.

Patients can learn significant data about your items and services and can pose inquiries identified with your association or specialized topic. You are given a chance to make significant new associations and advance your aptitudes.

Social media enables you to share an assortment of substance, including instructive data, company updates, and industry news – which is extraordinary! Social media likewise enables you to give patients and customers an in the background look at your association. By sharing fun photographs, and taking part in neighborly yet proficient lingo, you can seem amicable – enabling you to interface with your group of spectators genuinely.

Social insurance suppliers are likewise ready to join online networks where they can network with partners, and examine industry news, tolerant consideration, and instruction – all while advancing their association. Sounds truly extraordinary, isn’t that right? Did you know that in 2014, there were more than 2 million specialists and medical caretakers on LinkedIn – and this number keeps on developing!

By joining important LinkedIn gatherings –, for example, Medical Doctor Network, interfacing with experts, and taking an interest in dialogs, you can use your skill to advance your company.

The Challenge: Remaining HIPAA Compliant

Social media is an extraordinary advertising instrument for human services suppliers, enabling them to impart an abundance of profitable data to patients. Nonetheless, social insurance suppliers are required to remain HIPAA consistent – and neglecting to do as such can prompt huge fines and punishments. At any rate, medicinal services suppliers need to guarantee that they:

1. Try not to share any photos or recognizable data without a patient’s composed assent
2. Try not to share situational subtleties, or uncovering references about a patient

It is basic that any human services supplier utilizing social media makes a social media strategy for their association, and trains workers and staff individuals on the best way to, and how not to, utilize social media.
A social media approach for medicinal services suppliers should control workers on the most proficient method to talk commonly about conditions and medications, and how to routinely screen the social media records being utilized. Our devoted advertising group can enable you to make a special arrangement of social media strategies that will ensure your association, staff, patients, and customers. Find out additional!

Advantage 2 – Sharing Valuable Information

At the point when the medicinal services industry adequately utilizes social media, the open is given simpler access to restorative ability in a structure that is regularly more present and succinct than is accessible through increasingly conventional structures. In the United States, 8 of every ten web clients look for wellbeing data on the web – and 74% of these people utilize social media!

As a medicinal service proficient, you can offer yourself as a channel to your supporters. By posting proof-based therapeutic data through social media, you’re decidedly adding to the inventory of data accessible to your patients and customers.

The Challenge: Remaining Credible and Professional

Like being dynamic in any open scene, social media can possibly positively affect your notoriety, just as a negative one. As the social media group of spectators is worldwide, this outcome can be amplified.
Make certain to behave as you would in any open scene; address what you know, and connect with when and where suitable. Little missteps, for example, an inappropriately spelled word, or poor language structure can cause your association to seem less trustworthy and proficient.

Social media is quick-paced, and fun; in any case, it ought to be treated as genuinely as other promoting activities. Making a social media strategy prior to starting to utilize your records will help guarantee you have a dependable manual to pursue and help to limit the odds of expert bungles.

Advantage 3 – Organizational Promotion

Social media enables you to contact a wide group of spectators – including numerous potential patients or customers. When you share data on social media, it achieves something other than the people who like or pursue your profile.

With the snap of a catch, you can incredibly expand your company’s permeability, advertise items or services, and give customer service and backing. Not exclusively are medicinal services suppliers ready to contact a wide group of spectators with social media, whenever utilized accurately, they are likewise capable create an extraordinary rate of return.

In 2015 alone, Facebook impacted 53% of buyers on the web and disconnected buys, and by and large, 71% of purchasers who had a decent involvement with a company on social media were probably going to prescribe that company to other people! Two explicit territories that extraordinarily increment brand presentation, social media company surveys, and social media advertising, are sketched out beneath.

Advantage 4 – Company Reviews

Not exclusively can medicinal services suppliers utilize social media to impart dependable data to present and imminent patients, yet they can likewise increase significant criticism through social media audits. People looking for wellbeing related data online regularly read a medicinal services supplier’s audits before taking a gander at the substance on their social media profiles; indeed, a study demonstrated that 42% of customers had utilized social media to get to wellbeing related shopper surveys! Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer showed that as buyer trust proceeds to incredibly decrease, peers have turned out to be more significant than some other wellspring of data.
Individuals trust other individuals, and having dependable surveys on your social media channels permits your medicinal services company to stand out from contenders.

The Challenge – Negative Reviews

Sparkling Facebook surveys can truly reinforce the picture of your medicinal services company – yet what happens when the audits you get are negative? In the event that a potential customer sees your social media profile, and sees a bunch of astoundingly negative surveys that have not been tended to, they are probably not going to think about acquiring your items or services. While we trust you are not accepting a wealth of negative audits, even well-adored organizations get one now and again.

On the off chance that you get an audit that is to some degree negative, it is ideal to expertly answer to the survey, tending to any of the worries that were recognized. In the event that you get an uncommonly negative audit, it is ideal for shrouding the survey (with the goal that different people don’t see it) and secretly message the person who left it.  From that point, you can remove the exchange from the open social space by starting an email or a telephone call to address their worries. Regardless of how you handle a negative survey, it is constantly essential to stay proficient!

Advantage 5 – Advertising

You can take having an extraordinary nearness on social media above and beyond by using social media advertising. Social media advertising is a powerful instrument for human services organizations to expand presentation; however, to drive transformations to their sites and eventually create deals.

There are in excess of 3 million organizations advertising on Facebook alone – and it’s a well-known fact why. You can choose target spectators (in light of geographic and psychographic data) to guide your ads to, and give clear call-to-activities. Advertisements are successful for both B2B and B2C social insurance suppliers and can be utilized to target customers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and the sky is the limit from there!

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Click, Like, Retweet: The Role of Social Media In Maintaining Healthcare Reputation –

Click, Like, Retweet: The Role of Social Media In Maintaining Healthcare Reputation – | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has an increasingly important role to play in maintaining an organization’s reputation and image. Not only are patients seeking health information online, but many also say their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical treatment is influenced by social media.

Patients are also using social media to vocalize how they feel about their doctors, drugs, treatment plans, insurance, and medical devices. Don’t think if you are not on social media, patients aren’t discussing your organization. You can’t opt-out of reputation management – whether you have a social media presence or not, a patient who has a bad experience with your organization is only one tweet or Facebook post away from sharing it with the world.

Be Proactive in Managing Your Online Reputation

It is far better to take control of your reputation by responding to these conversations yourself and correcting any misinformation or misperceptions. Responding in real-time strengthens public perception that your focus is firmly on patient satisfaction.

Remember that everything you do online – every blog post, every tweet, every conversation – is a reflection of your brand. A successful social media presence hinges on the trust between you and your followers. Becoming a trusted source of health information for your patients and proactively developing a strong, consistent, and credible image online will increase patient trust and confidence in your organization.

Social Media Is An Essential Component of Healthcare Marketing

Realising social media’s potential in healthcare requires an organizational culture that values social media as central to its overall strategy. Social media should be viewed not as an add-on, but as an essential component of healthcare marketing. Unlike traditional marketing practices that have stayed constant for decades, social media is still a relatively new marketing channel with new networks, updates, and features constantly emerging. Marketing departments need to invest more of their budget in platforms and resources that takes full advantage of the opportunities presented by social media.

Create A Winning Strategy

The best social media accounts are precisely targeted, updated frequently, and foster an ongoing dialogue with followers. that’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place at the outset and monitor, measure, and adjust your progress as you go.

Start by optimizing your website – think of it as your home-base to which you will be directing your social media followers to find relevant and engaging information. With more people accessing the Internet via mobile devices, make sure your site is optimized for mobile viewing. to increase the likelihood that your website will be placed at the top of google search results, thereby earning you trust with your audience, consider adding a blog to your site. A blog serves to proactively show your patients that you are a trusted source of healthcare information.

Next, put a content promotion plan in place. In today’s noisy social media world, you need to amplify your content to be heard. Make it easy for people to share your site’s content on social media by incorporating social share icons prominently throughout your website.

Create lots of visual content such as infographics and videos and encourage people to share these on social media. Post updates about your hospital’s accomplishments, showcasing ground-breaking surgeries, cutting-edge research, and the work of high- profile staff members. Cross-promote each piece of content you create but do not copy and paste the same post on each platform—format each of them to meet the requirements of the specific platforms.

At the end of each week, take time to monitor and measure the impact of your social media activity. Monitor your engagement rates and pages views to see which channels get the most attention and measure the return on investment for paid ads and social media promotions.

Wrapping Up

Social media’s influence has still not reached its peak; it will continue to disrupt healthcare in ways we are only beginning to understand. It is equally important nowadays for healthcare organizations to communicate with patients online as it is through more traditional offline channels. Knowing how to leverage this opportunity is an essential skill for the modern healthcare organization. I like to use a quote from Erik Qualman: “We do not have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is – how well we do it”.


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15 ideas to increase healthcare social media reach

15 ideas to increase healthcare social media reach | Social Media and Healthcare |

Some 72 percent of U.S. adults use social media, according to the Pew Research Center. Given these numbers, it’s almost inevitable that the majority of your target patient base has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another popular social media site.

Of course, reaching your patient base on social media isn’t always easy. In fact, growing an audience is one of the most common challenges of social media marketing, according to Buffer

If you’re having trouble generating a sizeable following for your healthcare social media profiles, try these tips to increase your reach.

1. Create a presence on the most popular networks

Different people prefer different social media platforms. For example, 69 percent of people use Facebook, 37 percent are on Instagram, and 22 percent have a Twitter account, according to Pew Research Center.

Diversifying your healthcare social media presence is important because your patients don’t all use the same networks. Focusing exclusively on one platform will cause you to miss out.

Podcast: Social media best practices for doctors

2. Complete your profile

Optimizing your profile is crucial for social media marketing success because it helps patients find you. Choose a recognizable username — i.e. Dr. Mike or Dr. Pimple Popper — write a biography that shares a bit about you personally and professionally, and include a link to your practice website. This will provide a thorough introduction to new patients and ensure existing ones know the account is yours.

3. Set goals for your healthcare social media

Decide exactly what you want from your social media presence. This will allow you to create goals that help your practice move forward.

For example, you might strive to get a certain number of referrals from social media each month or garner a specific amount of shares. This will help ensure you’re not aimlessly posting content.

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

4. Follow the right people

Part of gaining a following is showing an interest in others. Extend your reach by following users relevant to your practice — i.e. medical associations, your peers, and people in your local area. Many people will return the follow but, at the very least, they’ll likely check out your profile to learn more about their new follower.

Look: 5 doctors who are killing it on social media right now

5. Decide who’s in charge

Managing multiple social media accounts is a big job. Busy healthcare providers don’t have time to be effective in this role, so they should delegate it to an employee or outside agency.

Having someone else oversee your social media accounts ensures they’ll receive the attention they deserve. Provide your employee with the time and resources to really become a resident social media expert.

6. Join the conversation

In life and social media, no one wants to be around someone whose favorite topic of conversation is themselves. Avoid falling into this trap by showing an interest in others. Engage with other users by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. Your attention will flatter them, and they’ll be more than happy to return the favor.

Also see: 5 ideas to take your social media to the next level

7. Know when to automate

All social media posts do not have to be sent in real time. Automating pre-approved content saves time and makes it easy to post outside office hours, without hindering anyone’s work-life balance.

Do note, one thing that should never be automated is your replies to comments left on your post. This always requires a human touch — even if it means a reply isn’t instantaneous.

8. Respond to comments quickly

Most people (76 percent) expect businesses to reply to comments on social media, according to Clutch. When you respond also matters, as 83 percent want to hear from you within a day or less. 

Fast replies make patients feel valued. Make sure your profiles are monitored frequently, so no engagement opportunities slip through the cracks.

Check out: How to engage on social media with HIPAA in mind

9. Focus on quality content

If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t join the conversation. Posting content just for the sake of doing so won’t extend your reach.

Curate content designed to engage and inspire your target patient base. Putting thought into the process will take more time, but it will generate more attention.

10. Post often

There’s no hard and fast rule about how frequently you should post for social media in healthcare. However, users’ feeds are flooded with posts from their followers, so you want to share content often to ensure it doesn’t get buried.

Try to aim for one post per weekday on every platform, except Twitter. Sharing more is better on Twitter, according to HubSpot, so tweet several times per day if possible.

11. Promote your pages

Properly maintaining a social media account is hard work, so make sure people know you’re out there. Include icons linking to your social sites on your website and in your email signature. Alternately, you can feature feeds to your social media accounts on your homepage. If you make it easy for them, patients are more likely to follow you.

12. Use hashtags

There are two different types of hashtags and they’re equally useful. First, patients can click on all unique hashtags you’ve created — i.e. #AdviceFromDrSmith — and quickly locate all content you’ve posted containing it.

Second, you can capitalize on trending healthcare social media hashtags by including them on relevant posts. Anyone following the hashtag will see your posts, putting you on their radar.

13. Take advantage of sponsored content

Your patients are on social media, so using these platforms to get in front of them makes sense. Presented in the form of an engaging article or video, social media sponsored content is a type of native advertising.

It’s not actually an ad, but posts are marked “sponsored” or “promoted” for full transparency. This designation allows you to highlight a specific product or service and include a call to action, encouraging patients to reach out.

14. Analyze your stats

All types of content won’t interest your patient base. Determine what appeals most — and least — by carefully examining the statistics attached to each post.

Most platforms have insights tools and there are also plenty of other free and paid options. As an added bonus, you might determine optimal days and times to post, so you can reach your patient base when they’re most active.

15. Cross-promote with relevant brands

Get your name out there by teaming up with brands you trust. For example, if you’re a dermatologist, you might take over the Twitter account of a company that makes a product you recommend to patients and answer questions from their followers for an hour. This allows you to highlight your expertise while tapping into an entirely new — and potentially much larger —  follower base.

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Health regulator in public consultation to revamp patient engagement |

Health regulator in public consultation to revamp patient engagement | | Social Media and Healthcare |

In a document launching the consultation on how to best engage patients and the public, the MHRA stated: "The responses will help inform the MHRA’s future engagement with patients and the public."

The move is aimed at helping the MHRA "adopt a more systematic approach to listening to and involving patients" and ensure "that the patient voice is more clearly heard when safety issues, concerning medicines or medical devices, are identified and in the licensing of new medicines".

In addition, it will look at how patients and the public would like the MHRA to communicate with them, as well as how they can raise concerns with the regulator.


Launching today! Take part in our consultation and let us know how we can best engage with patients and the public  #PatientEngagement #PublicEngagement

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Patients, healthcare professionals, carers and patient group representatives are the target audiences of the new consultation, which closes on Monday 7 October 2019.

The MHRA is planning to do more to "communicate about who we are and the results of our work," as part of its aim to "increase public awareness and understanding of the work that we do", according to the consultation document.

Digital options

Currently, the regulator relies on its website, media coverage and social media for the bulk of its communication with patients and the public. 

Direct engagement is through public meetings of the MHRA board, as well as the regulator attending conferences and events, and via the MHRA’s Patient Group Consultative Forum which has more than 100 members.

In the future, the MHRA is considering doing more digitally led comms, depending on the outcome of the consultation. These could range from regular email bulletins/infographics, webcasts of relevant public meetings, and YouTube videos explaining the agency’s work, to podcasts explaining specific aspects of its work.

"We want to do more to involve patients and the public in our work, including early in the regulatory decision-making process," the consultation document states.

Dr Ian Hudson, chief executive, MHRA, said: "It is important that the MHRA continues to evaluate and improve how we can best communicate and engage with patients and the public."

And Rachel Bosworth, director of communications, MHRA, commented: "We recognise the need for a step-change in our approach to engaging with and involving patients in the MHRA’s work."

She added: "The responses to the consultation will inform this work and help us to identify what our priorities should be for patient engagement and involvement in the future."

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Social Media and Medical Misinformation

Social Media and Medical Misinformation | Social Media and Healthcare |

In an essay in  Nature, Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, wrote: “The deluge of conflicting information, misinformation and manipulated information on social media should be recognized as a global public-health threat.”

You might not be thinking of it that way, but a recent study found that one third of U.S. consumers use social media as a source of healthcare information. 90% of the youngest consumers trust health information shared by their network.

Another study reported that 83% of Americans in general are concerned about whether that health info in social media is trustworthy, and 38% admit that they have no idea whether such information can be trusted or not.

A study of individuals identified as influencers found that they started their search for health care information at Facebook, and trusted social media more than Pharma websites. While influencers are a small proportion of patients, they are unusually popular and influential, so their choice of information sources is likely to affect the kind of information other patients see. 

This smattering of statistics is turning up the same results as plenty more sources: Americans often use social media as a source of health info, and they can’t tell whether to trust it or not.

Studies on health misinformation in social media

round up of research on the question looked at a set of experiments conducted with a special social media set up for information on the Zika virus. Subjects were asked to read a Facebook or Twitter conversation created for the experiments, and then to answer questions about Zika. 

The students probably saw this as a reading comprehension or critical thinking test, but the point was actually to see what kinds of comments are most effective in combating misinformation. 

The elements of the experiment:

  • Three pages of typical social media conversation about Zika
  • For the experimental group, an anonymous posting of an article (created for the experiment) saying that Zika was “caused by genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil”
  • A choice of replies in which two individuals debunked the story, with or without sources 
  • For another experiment group, two responses apparently from Facebook were posted, debunking the story with posts from the Centers for Disease Control and Snopes
  • A false information feed on Twitter, with debunking responses from individuals and apparently from the CDC

In general, responses with sources were the most likely to influence students to disbelieve the false story. Posts thought to be from the CDC or Facebook were the most convincing, followed by anonymous Facebook posts, with tweets trailing behind, and then the posts without sources. The number of responses was less important than the sources.

Students who already believed that Zika was caused by genetically modified mosquitoes were more likely to believe the false information.

Implications for medical practice websites

One important takeaway from this series of experiments is that people believe what they read on Facebook or Twitter. These students were in a carefully constructed experience, so they did not have the option of checking the facts. However, we know that most users don’t check their facts before sharing stories. Mostdon’t even read the articles they share. They share the headline.

The good news is that a trusted source can keep people from believing false information.

You are a trusted source for your patients. Your accurate, accessible information helps them not only to be better informed, but also to avoid the frustration of getting information from a source they don’t feel sure about. Consumers who can’t tell whether they should believe what they read on Facebook aren’t having a good experience on Facebook.

Helpful, accurate information at your practice blog and your social media platforms is a valuable service for your patients, your prospective patients, and social media users in general.

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