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How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues

How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues | Social Media and Healthcare |

A new study led by Jenine K. Harris, PhD, examined the use of the hashtag #childhoodobesity in tweets to track Twitter conversations about the issue of overweight kids.

The study noted that conversations involving childhood obesity on Twitter don't often include comments from representatives of government and public health organizations that likely have evidence relating to how best to approach this issue. The authors think maybe they should.

Twitter use is growing nationwide. In its 2014 Twitter update, the Pew Research Center found that Twitter is used more by those in lower-income groups, which traditionally are more difficult to reach with health information.

While younger Americans also are more likely to use Twitter, it is used equally across education groups and is used more by non-white Americans than whites.

This, Harris said, is one of the reasons Twitter is an avenue that the academic and government sources with accurate health information should consider taking advantage of in order to reach a wide variety of people.

"I think public health so far doesn't have a great game plan for using social media, we're still laying the foundation for that," she said. "We're still learning what works.

"Public health communities, politicians, and government sources -- people who really know what works -- should join in the conversation. Then we might be able to make an impact," she said.

more at

askdrmaxwell's curator insight, July 14, 2014 6:09 PM

Do you use social media for your health questions and research? 

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

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
Nice post
Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
#Formdox integrates perfectly with several #functionalities for the monitoring
cctopbuilders's comment, April 26, 6:01 AM
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6 Healthcare Marketing Ideas to Cure Your Social Media Woes

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


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

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

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

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

Healthcare & Social Media: The Benefits of Marketing

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

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


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

Healthcare marketing can also:

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

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


1. Make Wellness a Lot More Fun

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

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

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

Firelands Hospital@FRMC_Hospital

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



2. Go Viral by Appealing to Community Values

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

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

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

Brave The Shave@Brave_The_Shave

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



3. Be a Source of Helpful Information

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

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

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

4. Embrace the Infographic

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

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

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

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

5. Use Employee Advocates to Build Relationships

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

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

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


6. Empower Your Patients to Market for You

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

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

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

Abrams Eye Institute@abramseyeLV

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



Combining Healthcare & Social Media

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

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

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Containing health myths in the age of viral misinformation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Telemedicine and social media intersect to advance population health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Medical Practice

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

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


Build a Website for Your Practice

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


Engage Your Patients with Email Marketing

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


Don’t Forget About Direct Mail!

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


Market Your Practice on Facebook

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


Build Your Online Reputation


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


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


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Digital RD 4 Ways To Maximize Patient Engagement In Clinical Trials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transforming the future of clinical trials

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

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

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Bring your pharma brand to life with Facebook Live

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

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

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


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

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

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

Educate, empathize and connect with key audiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why live videos make sense

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

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

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

What to take into consideration

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

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

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

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

Photo: Martin Barraud, Getty Images

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The Benefits of Social Media for Doctors

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

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

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

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

Interaction with Patients

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

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

Network with Other Professionals

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

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

Share Your Knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consumed by humans

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

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

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

All about people

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

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

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

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

It's how people want to find you

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

  • Patient reviews
  • Physician resumes and certifications
  • Published articles

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

Reputation management

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

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

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

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

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

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The Challenges of Sharing My Disease on Social Media 

The Challenges of Sharing My Disease on Social Media  | Social Media and Healthcare |

The other day, I opened my favorite social media app, Instagram, and started clicking through people's Instagram “stories.” I came across one girl who was posting pictures from the hospital complaining about how sick she was. As a reflex, I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking to myself, “Wow, this chick is thirsty for attention.”


Then, I stopped and thought about the time I was in the hospital two years ago and posted a picture of the flowers my boyfriend at the time had sent to me in my hospital room.

Why did I post that? Sure, I had wanted people to see I had a great, supportive boyfriend. But, deep down, I definitely wanted people to know I was sick and being hospitalized. I don't think I necessarily wanted them to feel bad for me, but I certainly wanted people to be aware of what was happening and -- maybe -- reach out to me.

Being hospitalized is extremely isolating, especially for people with CF, who are quarantined to their rooms to minimize the spread of bacterial infections between patients.


Balancing this isolation and sickness with trying to have a normal, everyday life is extremely challenging.

On the one hand, having an invisible disease has its perks because people don't necessarily have to know you're sick unless you tell them. But on the other hand, it also means that you have to figure out how to actually tell them at some point, which can be tricky. Is there an elegant way to tell people, “Hi, I know I was at happy hour the other day and seemed totally fine and normal, but I've slowly been getting sicker and sicker and today I woke up running a fever and couldn't breathe so now I'm in the hospital and lonely and need you to reach out to me and understand?”

If there is, I certainly haven't mastered it yet.

So yes, when I'm sick I want attention -- but the good kind of attention, not the bad -- and there is a very fine line between the two. I want people to ask me how I'm feeling, but I don't want them to feel like they can't invite me out anymore because I have this disease.

I want people to care and be concerned, but not to comment on every cough attack I have or feel like my CF is the only thing I want to talk about. I want my co-workers to understand why I might be struggling to meet some deadlines this week, but not to think I'm less capable or my skills are compromised because I have this disease. I want them to see that I work harder because I have this disease, not the other way around.

So, next time you see someone posting on social media about being sick or sharing pictures of IV lines from inside the hospital, I hope that instead of rolling your eyes (like I'm guilty of doing), you try and put yourself in their shoes. Try and think about what they're really saying with their posts and what they really want out of it. Maybe they do want attention; is that so bad?

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New Facebook app provides much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer's patients

New Facebook app provides much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer's patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Researchers at IUPUI have developed a Facebook app that, a study shows, offers a way to provide much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease.

The study, "Friendsourcing Peer Support for Alzheimer's Caregivers Using Facebook Social Media," states that there is a significant opportunity to help improve caregiver stress, burden and support through online peer support interventions.

The app was developed as part of an investigation of a peer support group intervention in which emotional and informational issues that arose in the support group were pushed to the caregiver's Facebook friends as questions.

The Facebook friends then had the opportunity to enlist as a member of a support network by answering the support group questions. Researchers said that when those emotional and informational questions were answered, the caregivers experienced a feeling of increased support.

The study is believed to be the first to examine the use of friendsourcing -- a variant of crowdsourcing -- for the delivery of online support to Alzheimer's caregivers.

"Given the recent problems of social media, our study provides evidence of the social good that can be obtained with social media using telehealth innovations like friendsourcing, which we developed for supporting Alzheimer's caregiving," said David Wilkerson, an assistant professor in the IU School of Social Work and a member of the Facebook app research team.

In the U.S., more than 15 million informal caregivers provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's disease. Providing such care comes with its own risks: Studies have shown that caregivers have higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia and cardiovascular disease.

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The Blurry Line of "Friending" Your Doctor - UnityPoint Health

The Blurry Line of "Friending" Your Doctor - UnityPoint Health | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with just about anyone — distant relatives, neighbors, childhood friends and people we may not even know but share similar interests or experiences with. 

But what’s the protocol when sending a friend request or message to your doctor or nurse over social media?

Should I Friend My Doctor or Nurse?

For most people, a friend request is simply a gesture of wanting to know more about a member of their care team outside of the exam room. Some may also view it as an opportunity to keep their doctor or nurse posted on any health issues they might be having between visits. Because of the number of UnityPoint Health locations in small to mid-size communities, many patients are already connected to members of their care team online and through social activities.  

Whether you see your doctor or nurse outside the office, on the sidelines of the soccer field or just on social media, it can be tricky to know when it’s appropriate to engage in conversations about you or your family member’s health. Most organizations, including The American Medical Association and American Colleges of Physicians, recommend medical professionals don’t engage with patients on social platforms.

Why Doesn’t My Doctor Approve My Friend Request?

It’s a UnityPoint Health policy, too, that doctors and nurses don’t discuss health issues with patients on social media or outside of work — and for good reason. If your provider were to engage in a discussion with you about your personal health information on social media, he or she would be violating the law. It’s also risky for doctors to provide medical advice on social media because of state licensing laws based on where a person resides.

Pediatrician Andrea White, MD, UnityPoint Health, says most medical professionals do want to be more accessible to their patients, but it all comes down to safety.

“If I see a parent at the food stands during our kids’ game, and they ask me a health question about their child who is a patient of mine, it makes what seems like a simple conversation hard to navigate,” Dr. White says. “I could forget to note the issue in the child’s chart, or not be able to recall which medications the child is on, etc. I want to have those important details in front of me before giving medical advice.”

How Can I Safely Connect With My Doctor?

Luckily, there’s a way to take those questions offline and off the field, without having to make an appointment or phone call. UnityPoint Health offers MyUnityPoint, a patient portal, which allows you to securely and privately message your care team for non-emergent issues and manage your health information.

You can also use MyUnityPoint to:

  • Check test results
  • Schedule appointments online
  • Pay your bills
  • Use eCheck-in to reduce the time it takes to register in the office
  • Use Fast Pass to be notified if an earlier appointment becomes available

UnityPoint Health Insiders give advice on improving our patient portal. Join today to voice your opinions.

The portal is HIPAA compliant as well, meaning your patient health information is secure and protected. Conversations outside the clinic, on Facebook and other popular social media platforms are not.

If it’s a question that can wait, it’s always best to use the patient portal or call during regular business hours. Dr. White says she and her staff respond to patients within 24 hours, and it can replace playing phone tag while you’re busy at work or home.

If you’re experiencing a health issue that needs immediate attention, depending on the severity, you can always call the UnityPoint Health after hours line, see a provider in the comfort of your home through Virtual Care, get checked out at a UnityPoint Health emergency room or at any of our urgent care locations. 

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10 Eye-Opening Dental Marketing Insights From the 2018 Dental Digital Marketing Conference

10 Eye-Opening Dental Marketing Insights From the 2018 Dental Digital Marketing Conference | Social Media and Healthcare |

This year’s Dental Digital Marketing Conference in Las Vegas was packed with world-class marketing training specifically for dental practices! The conference featured over 20 speakers — renowned social media and SEO experts, marketing gurus, practice consultants and dental practitioners — all bringing their very best material to help practices grow.

We gave speakers the challenge of distilling their strategies down to the most useful, actionable messages they could — and the results were truly enlightening. Check out these 10 excerpts from DDMC speakers and think about how to apply them in your practice!

Jack Hadley: “Turning Patients Into Advocates”

Mark W. Schaefer: “The End of Mass Advertising”

Korbin Wake: “Tell Patients What You Do”

Tracy Driver: “Your Practice Can Go Viral”

Brian Harris, DDS: “Personal Brand Drives Revenue”

Steven Anderson: “Train Your Team to Ask”

Alex Nozdrin: “Be Persistent in Patient Recall”

Mike Buckner: “Show Patients How Much You Care”

Minal Sampat, RDH: “Reach Out in Your Community”

Colin Kartchner: “Your Practice Needs Video Content. Period.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Should you be on Facebook?

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


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

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

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

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

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

Should you be on Instagram?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Should you be on Twitter?

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


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

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

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

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

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

Should you be on Pinterest?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Should you be on LinkedIn?

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

Which platforms can bring you the most business?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting patients where they are

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

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

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

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

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

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Have You Googled Yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Does Visual Marketing Work?

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Visual Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Visual Content

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

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

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

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

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

Final Word

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

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

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Pros and cons of using social media in healthcare marketing

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

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

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


Recruitment Strategies

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Surprise video tweet:

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


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

Anthem invite tweet:

About Saint Clare’s Health

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

About the New Jersey Devils

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

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Closing Pharma’s Digital Divide 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still need to catch up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Multichannel campaign management

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

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

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

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

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

Social media maturity

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

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

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

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

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

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Social Media and Professional Impact - Academic Physicians

I discuss the ways that Academic physicians can get value from Social Media to advance their professional career. My personal experience in developing a socia…
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Leveraging Social Media to Boost Online Reputation in Health Tourism

Leveraging Social Media to Boost Online Reputation in Health Tourism | Social Media and Healthcare |

In 2015, a London couple – Cillian Nemas, 60, and Robert Nemas, 67 were in search of centers of excellence for eye surgery in India. One challenge they met was the dearth of direct channels through which Indian hospitals could be assessed and evaluated for their quality and success rates of medical procedures.

The couple turned to the internet, tracking down several hospitals in Hyderabad until they found Maxivision Super-specialty Eye Hospitals as the perfect center to undergo an optiwave refractive analysis laser cataract surgery. Not only was the procedure successful, the couple saved an extra £4000 by having it done in India. Robert noted that the poor social media presence of many Indian hospitals reduced their visibility and in turn the number of international patients from the UK, for instance.

This emphasizes the value of social media to healthcare tourist destinations. Social media plays an integral role in brand marketing and online reputation building which, in turn, is critical to maintaining international clientele and patient volume.

Technology has begun to sweep through healthcare revolutionizing it as we know it. Patients are beginning to seek answers to their health questions on their mobile devices. Pew National survey of 2014 revealed that no fewer than 72 percent of Americans search online for health information and one of every four of them read about someone else’s experience with a similar condition they have.

In the past, online reputation never mattered to physicians and healthcare providers but given the recent paradigm shift created by digitalized healthcare, online reputation of these providers have become a priority.

Stakeholders in medical tourism are starting to employ the social media market to its full potential. Traditional means of brand marketing are giving way for tech-enhanced methods, using social media platforms to build strong online reputations to expand international patient reach.

Recent findings have revealed that international patient departments and healthcare providers are starting to see the benefits of building a strong online reputation by harnessing the opportunities on social media. This trend is expected to experience a huge rise as health tourism market becomes more competitive.

As individuals become more social media-friendly, they share their personal opinions about certain organizations, including healthcare providers, and medical travelers tend to rely on these anecdotes than details obtained from the social media pages of the provider or by contacting the provider.

Role of Social Media in Promoting Online Reputation

Social media can make or break the online reputation of a health tourist site. A poor review by a user would only leave a negative impression and a drop in interest for such a healthcare provider. Therefore, providers are required to maintain high standards of quality and professionalism if they must reap the benefits of the social media factor.

Dr. Kevin Pho, a leading social media voice and past speaker at the Medical Tourism Congress noted a few ways in which social media promotes healthcare providers and their online reputation, as well as healthcare delivery in general.

Improve Accessibility

This remains a crucial marketing element for stakeholders in the health tourism industry. Health tourist destinations are only as successful as their brand visibility and how accessible they are to patients.

Patients get to read tweets or Facebook posts, for instance, and get engaged by the health information posted. These platforms are strong influencers in the decision-making process of medical tourists. In the case of Robert and Cillian Nemas, visibility made the difference, setting Maxivision Eye Hospitals apart from the rest.

Proactive Online Brand and Reputation

Social media creates an avenue for external brand ambassadors – the customers – to communicate, in their words, what a provider’s brand stands for. Healthcare providers could engage patients for whom they have provided healthcare treatment in the past. Furthermore, social media provides an avenue for providers to display their areas of competences, innovations, contributions to health care, cutting-edge technological advances, and success stories.

Dr. Pho, in his speech, described the features of a proactive social media platform as one in which patient reviews and provider ranking are expressed and appropriate feedback is given to negative reviews to keep the provider’s online reputation intact.

Interaction with Patients

It isn’t unusual for patients to search online for information regarding symptoms, the kind of treatment required, as well as prevention for a number of common conditions. Healthcare providers can use social media platforms as an avenue to educate patients through articles, blog posts, and podcasts, thereby connecting with the patients on a personal and emotional level.

Additionally, providers can, via social media, provide patients with information regarding treatment best practices, updates on treatment protocols, and preventive measures against certain diseases. Some providers post live procedures on their social media pages to give viewers firsthand knowledge of the steps required in performing a surgical procedure.

This also serves as a learning model for medical students and other healthcare professionals who may improve their skills by watching such videos

Connecting with patients on this level creates a bond which not only serves a benefit of high patient volume to the provider but ensures that patients maintain a high quality of health in and out of the hospital.

Offer Perspectives on Breaking News

Healthcare reform, for instance, is a trending topic in the health sector and it affects employers, employees, and even retirees. Part of building a strong online reputation is providing useful perspectives to such news articles as it concerns the patient. Social media should serve as an avenue for dialogue and interactions on topical issues concerning health with these discussions centered on helping patients make informed choices concerning their health.

Another vital role of social media in health tourism is creating a bridge between medical tourists and the healthcare providers. International patient departments can create social media contacts through which prospective medical travelers can access details regarding treatment in the tourist destination. In addition, a well-trained customer service team, as the internal brand ambassadors, should be in place to respond to inquiries and give patients a good impression up front.

Social media is indeed one tool that, if tapped, would lead to an immense growth of the medical tourism industry. With the platform bringing patients and providers across different geographical locations in one place, it serves as a strong channel for creating a solid online reputation and expressing one’s brand to a largeaudience.

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Significant social media trends for 2018 for Pharma

Social Media is the most dynamic digital marketing channel that keeps evolving on macro and micro levels. Be it the advent of AR/VR or data security on Faceboo…
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Evaluation of Self-reported Patient Experiences: Insights from Digital Patient Communities in Psoriatic Arthritis

Evaluation of Self-reported Patient Experiences: Insights from Digital Patient Communities in Psoriatic Arthritis | Social Media and Healthcare |

Objective. To evaluate the types of experiences and treatment access challenges of patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) using self-reported online narratives.

Methods. English-language patient narratives reported between January 2010 and May 2016 were collected from 31 online sources (general health social networking sites, disease-focused patient forums, treatment reviews, general health forums, mainstream social media sites) for analysis of functional impairment and 40 online sources for assessment of barriers to treatment. Using natural language processing and manual curation, patient-reported experiences were categorized into 6 high-level concepts of functional impairment [social, physical, emotional, cognitive, role activity (SPEC-R), and general] and 6 categories to determine barriers to treatment access (coverage ineligibility, out-of-pocket cost, issues with assistance programs, clinical ineligibility, formulary placement/sequence, doctor guidance). The SPEC-R categorization was also applied to 3 validated PsA patient-reported outcome (PRO) instruments to evaluate their capacity to collect lower-level subconcepts extracted from patient narratives.

Results. Of 15,390 narratives collected from 3139 patients with PsA for exploratory analysis, physical concepts were the most common (81.5%), followed by emotional (50.7%), cognitive (20.0%), role activity (8.1%), and social (5.6%) concepts. Cognitive impairments and disease burden on family and parenting were not recorded by PsA PRO instruments. The most commonly cited barriers to treatment were coverage ineligibility (51.6%) and high out-of-pocket expenses (31.7%).

Conclusion. Patients often discussed physical and emotional implications of PsA in online platforms; some commonly used PRO instruments in PsA may not identify cognitive issues or parenting/family burden. Nearly one-third of patients with PsA reported access barriers to treatment.

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What is the real value of digital pharma marketing?

This position paper focuses on the evolution of pharma marketing in the context of the expansion of digital channels
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