Social Media and Healthcare
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10 lessons learned from a hospital’s dual digital debuts

10 lessons learned from a hospital’s dual digital debuts | Social Media and Healthcare |

We addressed work flow, fun stories and far-flung teams.

We’ve learned what a fecal transplant is and how much people want to read about it as well.

Our team at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego developed Sharp Health News and a customer and media engagement center in less than a year. Now, we reflect on 10 takeaways that other communicators might consider when taking on such projects:

1. Get buy-in from the top. Unless your project is an institutional priority, it might be difficult to garner consensus from even your most supportive peers. From the beginning, our executives saw the value of a newsroom and engagement center, and they continue to encourage participation from staff members who write stories and rotate in and out of monthly shifts in the engagement center.

2. Big projects bring far-flung teams closer together. Located in seven hospitals, two medical groups, a health plan and a corporate office, our teams don’t always have opportunities to work together. The collaboration required to staff our newsroom and engagement center not only brought our teams closer, but it encouraged even non-digital staff to think about online content and social media strategy. 

3. Show, don't tell. A recent survey from Isebox found that 54 percent of surveyed journalists complained that PR newsrooms lack images and video. We have learned that original photography,infographics and video drive users to our content, keep them on the site and entice them to share our material. In our engagement center, we track these successes—and act on them—in real time.

4. Make your content easy to access. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no one wakes up wondering what fascinating content you’ve posted to your newsroom home page that day. Your stories must be where your readers are: in their email inbox, on their social networks (33 percent of our traffic) or on your corporate intranet (32 percent). We placed a link to Sharp Health News in our main site navigation, making it accessible from every page. 

5. Go with the (work) flow. Since last September, we have produced more than 400 newsroom stories and logged hundreds of hours in the engagement center. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you haven't developed processes and procedures, nor documented team roles and responsibilities.Trello and Basecamp have been exceptional resources for us. 

6. Everyone has a story. It’s cliché, but amazing things happen every day in hospitals and health systems. In the past six months, we’ve had two ICU weddings and countless “Sharp Experience” moments that we’ve identified through social media engagement. These stories have been shared with local journalists and our community through our newsroom and social media

7. Know what you want your audience to do. Whether you want readers to share a story on social media, watch a video or sign up for a class, make it clear and make it easy. Website conversions aren’t always the end game, though. We’re happy to raise our profile in the community and participate in and lead conversations about health and wellness topics. 

8. Use the news cycle to your advantage. In our engagement center, we follow and track what local reporters and producers are covering—and where their personal interests lie. We connect with them online, via email or with a phone call for a personal follow-up. 

9. Employees are no different from customers. Our analytics show that workers are less interested in reading stories about their peers than they are about the everyday health and wellness tips we’re sharing with the outside world.

10. Don’t fear the fun. Working toward our first full year has required patience and flexibility, but it’s also been an awful lot of fun. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of what you think a hospital “voice” should sound like. If you’d click on that snappy headline, your audience probably will, too.        

Jennifer Balanky is the manager of digital content for Sharp HealthCare. Pam Hardy is managing editor of Sharp Health News.

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

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

MARGARITA's curator insight, December 31, 2015 5:15 PM

Support our people

United Home Healthcare's curator insight, June 12, 2017 12:29 PM
Being active on Social media can really help your company.
rob halkes's curator insight, September 15, 2017 6:04 AM

You might think that after 10+ years, social media for healthcare is a self evident activity,! Nothing is less true, however ;-) But here's a checklist you need if you still need to sign up ;-) 


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How to make health apps valuable for physicians and patients

How to make health apps valuable for physicians and patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Few physicians recommend mobile health apps to patients. The main reasons, observers and doctors say, are lack of time, lack of information about which apps are reliable, concerns about liability and insufficient evidence that apps improve health. 

A 2015 survey by Manhattan Research estimated that one third of doctors recommended wellness apps to their patients, and half of those physicians simply advised patients to shop in app stores. The proportion of doctors who do so hasn’t changed much in the past few years, says Brian Clancy, a spokesman for IMS Health, which rates apps and provides a mechanism for physicians to recommend them.


HOT TOPIC: It's a mistake if you aren't on social media


Medhavi Jogi, MD, a Houston endocrinologist, has cut back on his app suggestions. For patient education, Jogi says, “The handout is way cheaper and uses less of my staff time, and I can put the link on my website.” 

Other physicians say that mobile apps have benefited some of their patients. For example, Jeffrey Livingston, MD, a Dallas-based OB/GYN, praises a fitness app that he says has helped some patients lose weight. Meanwhile, some healthcare systems and academic medical centers continue to push the use of the technology with their own app stores and, in some cases, internally developed apps. 

But even if physicians aren’t convinced that mobile health (mHealth) apps are worthwhile, many of their patients are. Fifty-eight percent of mobile phone users have downloaded at least one mHealth app, and 41% have downloaded more than five apps, according to a 2015 survey by researchers at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. The vast majority of these consumers use the apps to track their exercise and diet, lose weight and/or to learn exercises.


Choosing the right apps

The volume of mHealth apps on the market poses a serious obstacle to any physician who wishes to recommend them, notes Jogi. 

According to IMS Health, in 2015 there were 165,000 mHealth apps available in app stores. Over 50% of these apps have a narrow functionality that limits their use in healthcare, and two-thirds of the apps merely provide information about medical conditions. That still leaves tens of thousands of apps for doctors to comb through.


MORE: Physicians need immediate relief from the data disconnect


Moreover, physicians have little to guide them in their search. There aren’t any good services for rating mHealth apps, says Paul Krebs, Ph.D., an mHealth app researcher, an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at NYU School of Medicine and a clinical psychologist at the VA New York Harbor. 

Clancy says IMS Health’s reviews are  more accurate than those in the app stores or those of other app rating services such as SocialWellth and HealthTap. IMS’ reviews are based on the “actual app rating and recommendation behaviors of thousands of physicians that use our product, as well as the app download and retention behaviors of the patients that have been recommended apps by our users,” he said. 

One reason for the lack of mHealth app studies is that developers aren’t required to show that their apps are safe and effective unless they’re applying to the FDA for approval. The FDA requires clearance only for apps that act as a medical device or work with a medical device. Most mHealth apps don’t do either, and the FDA has approved only 219 apps to date, according to a department spokesman.

Krebs, who has studied consumer use of these programs. estimates that fewer than 5% of mHealth apps provide medical advice to consumers, Adam Powell, Ph.D., president of the Payer+Provider Syndicate in Boston and an expert on the adoption of new technology, warns that physicians should be cautious about recommending educational apps, which might be providing information that isn’t evidence-based. 

If doctors do recommend an app, it should be one they have used themselves, Krebs says. That’s what both Jogi and Livingston have done; in fact, Livingston uses the fitness app he recommends to patients to manage his own weight.


Lessons learned

Ashish Atreja, MD, chief innovation and engagement officer and a practicing gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, says some of his patients have benefitted from using mHealth apps.

One patient, who had idiopathic GERD, used an app Atreja had suggested to document her quality of life. “Her GI symptoms were controlled, but her anxiety was through the roof,” he recalls. As a result of using the app, she recognized that her symptoms were related to anxiety, and Atreja referred her to a behavioral health specialist.

Atreja and his colleagues also have recommended apps to help patients track their responses to medications. “For the patients whose GI symptoms are not controlled, we are able to see the pattern, and we are able to more proactively step up the medication, instead of waiting for them to come back in three to six months,” he says.

Scher also has had some success. The apps he most frequently prescribes are related to nutrition and blood pressure tracking. He advises physicians to start with wellness apps, because “it’s a simpler way for people to get involved in their own health.” 

Doctors should establish a trust relationship with a patient before asking them to download an app, he adds. “If you don’t establish that relationship and just say ‘use this app,’ it’s like saying, ‘take two aspirins and see me in the morning.’”


FURTHER READING: Physicians leaving the profession over EHRs


Krebs notes that tracking diet or exercise or symptoms with an app “doesn’t necessarily” lead to behavior change. However, as a VA psychologist, he has recommended apps to a few younger patients to help keep track of their thoughts and moods. 

Even if a doctor can get patients to download apps, there’s no guarantee that they will use them or stick with them. Krebs has studied the use of a weight-loss app, for example, and found that when patients set their weight-loss goals too high, they tended to drop out of the program. On average, he says, patients kept using the app for 17 days.

“Patients have to desire to self-manage,” Scher notes. “I’ve had patients monitor their blood pressure using an app for up to two weeks, and I get a 100% response rate. You have to start small and keep patients engaged. Ninety-five percent of apps that are downloaded are never looked at or used only once. So you have to start with something that will keep patients coming back. ”


Lessons learned

Ashish Atreja, MD, chief innovation and engagement officer and a practicing gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, says some of his patients have benefitted from using mHealth apps.

One patient, who had idiopathic GERD, used an app Atreja had suggested to document her quality of life. “Her GI symptoms were controlled, but her anxiety was through the roof,” he recalls. As a result of using the app, she recognized that her symptoms were related to anxiety, and Atreja referred her to a behavioral health specialist.

Atreja and his colleagues also have recommended apps to help patients track their responses to medications. “For the patients whose GI symptoms are not controlled, we are able to see the pattern, and we are able to more proactively step up the medication, instead of waiting for them to come back in three to six months,” he says.

Scher also has had some success. The apps he most frequently prescribes are related to nutrition and blood pressure tracking. He advises physicians to start with wellness apps, because “it’s a simpler way for people to get involved in their own health.” 

Doctors should establish a trust relationship with a patient before asking them to download an app, he adds. “If you don’t establish that relationship and just say ‘use this app,’ it’s like saying, ‘take two aspirins and see me in the morning.’”


FURTHER READING: Physicians leaving the profession over EHRs


Krebs notes that tracking diet or exercise or symptoms with an app “doesn’t necessarily” lead to behavior change. However, as a VA psychologist, he has recommended apps to a few younger patients to help keep track of their thoughts and moods. 

Even if a doctor can get patients to download apps, there’s no guarantee that they will use them or stick with them. Krebs has studied the use of a weight-loss app, for example, and found that when patients set their weight-loss goals too high, they tended to drop out of the program. On average, he says, patients kept using the app for 17 days.

“Patients have to desire to self-manage,” Scher notes. “I’ve had patients monitor their blood pressure using an app for up to two weeks, and I get a 100% response rate. You have to start small and keep patients engaged. Ninety-five percent of apps that are downloaded are never looked at or used only once. So you have to start with something that will keep patients coming back. ”

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Flu season 2018: How to use your healthcare website to help combat it - 

Flu season 2018: How to use your healthcare website to help combat it -  | Social Media and Healthcare |

f you’re like most healthcare providers, you’re seeing more and more patients coming down with the flu. Because of the severity of this flu season and the number of widely publicized child deaths, it’s important for healthcare providers to help disseminate reliable information to patients.

4 things to share far and wide

By sharing information and health advice, you can help combat both the spread of the flu and patient anxiety stemming from news reports. Here’s the kind of information you can share with patients and the public on your website and other platforms:

  1. Information about the flu in your area.

  2. Where people can get vaccinated.

  3. The warning signs of flu.

  4. Flu prevention strategies.

Before we dip into the details, let’s put this year’s flu season in perspective.

Is this flu season really worse than others?

This year, the most prevalent type of flu circulating is the H3N2 virus, which tends to be more severe and cause more serious illness and complications than other types of viruses. Already 53 children have died because of it.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that there could be more than 710,000 hospitalizations by the end of this flu season.

This year has had the highest rate of flu hospitalizations since the CDC began tracking this data in 2010. This is also the first year flu is affecting every state in the continental U.S. at the same time, putting a strain on health resources throughout the country. This season is on track to surpass last year’s flu season, and lives literally hang in the balance.

The 2018 flu season has had more flu hospitalizations than any year since 2010.
Photo: National Institutes of Health (NIH) Flickr via Compfight cc

With H3N2 already representing 89 percent of all diagnosed and sub-typed flu cases, helping your community understand the facts about flu prevention and treatment is critical.

What’s the best way to get the word out? Since the vast majority of people look online for information, the web is the obvious place. Sharing information about treatment and prevention strategies as widely as possible is critical for the health of your community. It can also serve as an opportunity to educate your community about your healthcare practice, establishing it as an authoritative source of health information.

1. Information about the flu in your area

On your website, as a blog post or as an article on the front page, you can share updates about the flu in your area.

The CDC publishes weekly updates, including links to the spread of flu in every U.S. state.

Use these updates to keep your community informed. This can help people understand the spread of flu locally and take appropriate measures.

I also recommend that you share links to the information you publish on your social media feeds, including Facebook and Twitter, and encourage staff and patients alike to help spread this information out through their own social networks. In fact, you can make it easy for them by adding share buttons to your posts.

2. Where people can get vaccinated

While the flu vaccine this year is less effective against H3N2 viruses, in part because of how the vaccines are produced, vaccination can still help prevent spread of the other flu virus variants, and help build “herd immunity.”

Make it easy for people to get help by sharing a list of local vaccination sites.
Photo: Flickr via Compfight cc

With the overwhelming number of cases being seen by hospitals, any flu prevention can help. Letting people know where they can get free or low-cost vaccinations helps encourage them to take action to protect themselves. The CDC has a great tool to help locate vaccination sites in your area that you can share. By posting this information prominently on your website, sharing it through email newsletters and through social media, you can help encourage your entire community to take an active role in controlling spread of flu in your area.

3. The warning signs of flu

Because of the harsh winter weather in many parts of the country, people are spending more time inside, which can lead to the spread of both colds and flu. But what most people don’t immediately recognize is the difference between a cold and flu, or know that if flu is diagnosed and treated within 48 hours of onset, complications can be reduced by taking antiviral medication. The three most common antivirals are currently effective against this year’s flu strains, so rapid diagnosis and treatment is important.

Sharing information and checklists to help differentiate the flu from a cold, like the information provided on the Mayo Clinic’s website will help educate your patients and community. Hopefully this will lead to more rapid treatment of flu, and also reduce the spread in turn.

4. Flu prevention strategies

According to the CDC, the incubation period for the flu is between one and four days, and is infectious to other people for a day or so before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means it’s easy to spread the flu before a patient feels ill, and there’s a greater chance to others from just being out in public.

Share healthcare tips and checklists from the CDC and websites like Healthline.

You can share this information on your website, through social channels and through email and text alerts. I’ve also seen some providers create a quick downloadable PDF or Word document with flu prevention strategies and reminders they can give to patients they see in their practice. You can create a simple, attractive checklist with free tools like Canva.

Information is the antidote the the worst flu season since 2010.
Photo: Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Checklists that can be easily posted on a bulletin board or refrigerator help remind people daily of flu prevention tips. I recommend including information about your website and practice (including your phone number) at the bottom to help you remain top-of-mind with your patients while also helping them stay well.

Spread information this flu season

Trustworthy and actionable information shared as widely as possible is the key to preventing further spread of the flu — and can even help save lives. Using your website, social media channels and email to educate others will help alleviate the strain flu is placing on healthcare resources and providers in your community. It will also show your community you are a trusted reliable resource — and that’s a benefit everyone can appreciate.

Image by: the ripped bystander Flickr via Compfight

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Posting with Caution: The DO’s and DON’Ts of Social Media and HIPAA Compliance | Healthcare Compliance Pro

Posting with Caution: The DO’s and DON’Ts of Social Media and HIPAA Compliance | Healthcare Compliance Pro | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is used by 74% of Internet users and 80% of people using social media actually use it to research doctors, hospitals, and medical news and information. Social Media can be an extremely powerful tool for communicating general healthcare information to the public, creating professional connections, and sharing experiences. However, sharing too much information on social media platforms can have devastating effects on both healthcare organizations and employees if patient-specific information is shared. With over 800 million people on social networks and professional blogs, it is not surprising that HIPAA violations are on the rise and are raising major concerns among medical practices.

If healthcare employees were better educated on potentially hazardous mistakes while using social media and medical blogs, HIPAA violations could be avoided all together. In order to better understand how social media, HIPAA violations and compliance in your medical practice should be handled, we have put together a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media and HIPAA Compliance.

DO: Understand what is considered a HIPAA violation on social networks.

Under HIPAA, a breach or violation is an impermissible use or disclosure under the Privacy Rule that compromises the security or privacy of the protected health information (PHI).

Common examples of social media HIPAA violations include:

  • Posting verbal “gossip” about a patient to unauthorized individuals, even if the name is not disclosed.
  • Sharing of photographs, or any form of PHI without written consent from a patient.
  • A mistaken belief that posts are private or have been deleted when they are still visible to the public.
  • Sharing of seemingly innocent comments or pictures, such as a workplace lunch which happens to have visible patient files underneath.

DON’T: Post anything you wouldn’t say in an elevator or coffee shop.

As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say your comment in public, then don’t put it on social media. If there is any doubt at all about a certain post, picture or comment then check with your compliance officer or even a colleague before publishing.

DO:  Thoroughly train employees on your organization’s HIPAA Privacy and HIPAA Security policies and procedures at the time of hire and at least annually thereafter.  Your organization’s social media policy should be integrated into these policies and procedures.

  • One of the best ways to avoid legal pitfalls with social media HIPAA violations is to have a clear, widely distributed company policy on the use of social networking sites during working and non-working hours.
  • Consider extending your existing polices on HIPAA compliance relating to social media networks.

Healthcare Compliance Pros has created a sample Social Media policy that can be customized based on your organization’s specific social media guidelines.

In addition, Healthcare Compliance Pros’ HIPAA Security Training includes important policies and procedures regarding Workstation Use, Workstation Security, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, and others.  These policies and procedures are important for ensuring your organization’s employees and the employees of your business associates are properly safeguarding patient information – oral, written or electronic.

DON’T: Overlook the severity of HIPAA Violation Penalties.

According to HHS, the majority of HIPAA violations from recent years have occurred from employees mishandling PHI, many of which stem from inappropriate social sharing. Violations under the HIPAA Privacy Rule include Civil Money Penalties which can result in fines ranging from $100 – $1,500,000 or Criminal Penalties which can result in fines up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison.  Other consequences of violating HIPAA include lawsuits, the loss of a medical license or employee termination.

When a HIPAA breach occurs on a social network or professional blog, the following steps should be taken:

  • Report to your compliance officer a brief description of what happened, including the date of the breach, if known, and the date of the discovery of the breach. This will be important when providing notification to the affected individual(s).
  • If it is determined a breach has occurred, covered entities and their business associates are required to provide notification following a breach of unsecured protected health information. Individual notifications must be provided without unreasonable delay and in no case later than 60 days following the discovery of a breach.
  • In addition, your compliance officer will ensure appropriate notification procedures are followed including providing notice to the secretary of HHS and to the media if it is a breach involving greater than 500 individuals.
  • Employees involved in the breach should (at a minimum) be re-trained on HIPAA Privacy, HIPAA Security and any additional social media policies and procedures.

Remember that HIPAA compliance is an on-going, vigilant part of your overall compliance program.   By providing ongoing training to employees regarding potentially hazardous mistakes while using social media and medical blogs, your organization will ensure social media a powerful tool for sharing information, sharing experiences, and potentially expanding your organization’s business.

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[Infographic] Digital Marketing for Healthcare

[Infographic] Digital Marketing for Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare |

Given the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare market, the healthcare industry is turning to digital marketing in increasing numbers. Building a digital campaign focused on growing awareness and lead generation can make an immense difference to both hospitals and healthcare groups. If you’re wondering how digital can help you, take a look at our infographic for a quick overview.

And if you would like to dive a little deeper and see a healthcare digital marketing campaign in action, be sure to read our post on Digital Marketing for Healthcare: Best Practices and a Case Study, or DOWNLOAD OUR FREE Top Digital Marketing Tactics for Healthcare.

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what does social media success look like for pharma? –

what does social media success look like for pharma? – | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media marketing measurements are not so straightforward and easy to measure. At the same time, social media platform offer so many opportunities for pharma. When asked what does social media success look like for pharma, for me the following 5 elements are key.


Social media success for pharma is reach and/or audience

  • Reaching the broadest audience is the ultimate goal for any social media presence
  • A slow and organic building of an audience will take time (aka no overnight success) but it is the one which pays off in the long run
  • An audience gives a privilege to communicate
  • An audience gives you a competitive edge
  • An audience makes you an authority

Social media success for pharma is engagement

  • Your audience is built of people, not consumers
  • Engagement is a paradigm shift in how pharma companies and brands engage with people
  • It is all about values and interests and this relationship is built across a dialogue
  • A good mix of social media platforms allows for engaging with different audiences on different platforms

Social media success for pharma is being inspiring

  • Make content that is inspiring, not just pushing your brand
  • Always ask yourself how can I take this information and make people care about it
  • Make people enjoy what pharma does (not hate you)
  • Gain inspiration from what your audience is asking or saying online

Social media success for pharma is educating

  • Be the go-to source for information
  • Explain the research you do – break research down and make it relatable and understandable
  • Don’t just push your same old marketing messages or DTC commercials – provide something of value

Social media success for pharma is being relevant

  • Just do not tout your product (which is so evident)
  • Listen to what people are saying or talking about on social media
  • Mine the conversation (large or niche) and try to become a part of the conversation
  • Proactively try to reach your audience and answer their needs, not yours
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5 Ideas for Dentists Using Instagram Live Video to Attract New Patients

5 Ideas for Dentists Using Instagram Live Video to Attract New Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

Instagram Live Videos are a powerful way to boost social media engagement and attract new patients to your dental practice. Here are five fun and effective ways pediatric dentists can use Instagram Live Videos to attract new patients.  

How to Use Instagram Live Videos

To begin an Instagram Live Video session, tap the camera icon in the top left of the screen, or swipe right anywhere inside the app. Then, tap the “Live” button at the bottom of the screen and hit “Start Live Video.” And, voila! You’ve successfully started your first Instagram Live Video.  

For more detailed instructions, check out Instagram’s guide to Live video 

1 – Dentist Q&A

Hosting a dental Q&A is a great way to engage with your patients, and allows you to share valuable insight with your audience. Try to use the Q&A to answer some of the most common questions they have about teeth and share your expert advice about pediatric dentistry. When hosting a Q&A, be sure that you have comments turned on so that you can field questions and answer in real time. Keep your Q&A short (15-30 minutes), and direct your commenters to your dental practice website so that they can get more information afterwards.

 Guided Office Tour

Instagram Live Videos are an excellent tool to show off the inside of your dental practice with a live office tour. Be sure to highlight any special qualities about your dental practice, and have someone from your office guide the tour, and talk about some of the keystones of your dental practice.  

3 – Streaming a Live Event

Does your practice take part in a candy buy-back campaign, or volunteer dental services to the your local community? If your practice does any sort of public-facing event, then use Instagram Live Videos to share the experience. This can help better connect you with patients that are passionate about community service, or those that share your practice’s values.

4  An Oral Care Info Session

Parents are always searching for the right way to care for their children’s teeth, and you can help them by hosting live, oral care info sessions. You can show your audience the proper way to brush teeth, how to floss, or discuss common oral ailments like gingivitis and cavities. These types of oral health info sessions allow you to determine a subject, and dive in at your own discretion.

5 – A Digital First Visit  

A child’s first visit to the dental office can be stressful, but you can help quell anxious feelings with a digital “first-visit.” Host the video as if you were a first time patient or parent, and have your staff walk you through a first visit. This can help parents show their kids that there’s nothing to fear about visiting your dental practice.

Important Tips for Promoting Your Live Video Session 

Instagram Live Videos appear at the top of your follower’s feeds, so each person following your dental practice will see that you’re currently hosting a Live Video session. Despite the prominent placement atop your follower’s feeds, you’ll want to remind people to view your Live Video by promoting it in your dental practice’s Instagram Story. There, you can tease your session by sharing photos and videos with text overlaid. This lets you write out captions that tell your audience exactly when to tune into Instagram to catch your Live Video.

Also, be sure to save your video by hitting “Save” after your Live Video session has concluded. This will save your Live Video for 24 hours, and display it as your dental practices Story on top of your follower’s feeds.

Stay Ahead of the Social Curve

Smile Savvy helps dental practices stay ahead of the social media curve with comprehensive social media management services for dentists. We understand the shifting landscape of social media, and take time to learn about new apps, technologies and tools that can better connect your practice to your community.

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How to become a pharma social media rock star in 2018

It’s undeniable that social media can be a real challenge for Pharma companies.

  • The restrictions imposed in a regulated industry when publishing content
  • The strategic decisions global organisations have in establishing global and regional social presences
  • The need to balance corporate, brand and product content and messaging
  • The challenge of deciding who their social outposts should cater for … patients, payers, policymakers, HCPs?

Therefore, it may not be surprising to learn that many of the pharma companies that have adopted social media marketing are still finding their feet. They may simply be using these channels to promote corporate news or re-publishing marketing campaigns. They may have also started following key influencers including KOLs, HCPs or patient groups. The primary KPI may currently be the number of followers or fans accumulated.

As a team who’ve been helping digital teams in global corporates across many sectors succeed in social media over the past decade, we’ve got 5 hot social media tips to help pharma social media managers push ahead, find their confidence and become social media rock stars in 2018.

1. Nurture your pharma social media community spirit

Have conversations. Don’t just start them, find, join and foster them. Consider retweeting or curating great content which you know your followers and fans will find relevant.

Adopt an always-on and real-time mindset, as the conversation doesn’t revolve around you and the working hours of pharma social media managers.

The number of replies or comments on your posts as well as your average response times would be good KPIs in helping understand if the community is accepting you.

2. Only create content that’s brilliantly relevant, valuable and timely

It’s too easy to fall into the trap of routinely creating content calendars full of mediocre content. It’s time to gain a deeper understanding of your followers and the broader social media community around your key therapeutic areas. Only then can you create brilliantly relevant content whether that’s valuable or timely content for your fans, followers and community. Likes and retweets would be useful KPIs here.

Pharma social media managers need to ensure their content is part of a broader content and inbound marketing plan which is informed by the brand strategy.

3. Fully embrace paid social media or leave the stage

Facebook announced on 11th Jan that they would prioritise family and friends posts over companies and media outlets. This was an inevitable move which further reduces the organic reach of companies posts on Facebook.

Therefore, as social media increasingly becomes another pay-to-play channel, as well as needing relevant content, pharma companies need to budget for promotion to reach their fans and followers as well as the wider community.

4. Get in touch with your inner filmmaker.

As the consumption of video content on social media channels continued to grow during 2017, pharma social media managers need to ensure video is part of their format mix in 2018. If it’s not being used already then it’s time to start experimenting with video and live video content during 2018.

All the main social media platforms are video-ready so it’s important for pharma social media managers to get to grips with how to get the best from each of them.

5. It’s time to ‘really’ listen to what social media is telling you

Use social listening tools to gain insights which can be used to inform and then make improvements across the whole company. ROI should be the ultimate KPI here.

Social listening tools can also help identify influencers which may or may not be on your KOL radar. Some of these may be micro-influencers, which means that even though they have relatively small communities in particular therapeutic areas, they hold incredible influence. KPIs here would be the number of micro-influencers following you and their engagement with your content.

And to find out who are the pharma social media stars take a look at our Social Media Ranking — Global Twitter Edition 2018

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The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love

The Art of Patient Loyalty – 4 Tips for Building a Practice Patients Love | Social Media and Healthcare |

In a world where your competitors are just a click away, patient loyalty is the new marketing. Today’s patients have access to an endless amount of information about your medical practice and the unique services your offer. Research shows that patients are willing to stop hopping from one doctor to another and stick with practitioners who go the extra mile to create a fantastic patient experience. When patients feel taken care of, they are more inclined to come back to your practice and recommend you to their family and friends.

Here are some of the reasons why patient loyalty is so important:

  • Most patients have a choice. Despite being limited by factors beyond their control, most patients prefer to change their doctors to get a better patient experience.
  • Better patient experience makes everyone’s job a lot easier. Patient satisfaction leads to more accommodating patients, which makes a smoother experience for your practice overall.
  • Higher patient loyalty means more referrals and word-of-mouth business. When patients have a good experience, they are more likely to talk about it to their family. That means more word-of-mouth referrals, which means more patients and an increased bottom line.

The Power of Patient Loyalty

As an individual practitioner or a small-practice owner, you may lack the capital or need more staff members. However, you can remain profitable by serving your existing patients well. According to studies, nearly 67 percent of practice owners do not understand the value of patient loyalty. These practice owners often miss the opportunity to gain lifelong patients and brand ambassadors.

When a patient is loyal to your brand, it means when faced with a decision between you and your competitors, he or she picks you every time. Clearly, all practitioners want patients to prefer their brand over their competitors. However, the key is to learn about your patients’ preferences from the very beginning. A report stated that almost 48 percent of patients think the most critical time to gain their loyalty is when they make their visit to your office. This is the best time to offer a consistent experience that addresses their needs and solves their problems. It is essential to understand how the patient experience affects brand loyalty.

When your patient calls to ask for help, do not be passive. Make sure to familiarize yourself with a patient’s background so you can take charge of the conversation. Brand loyalty is strengthened with every interaction your patient has with your practice. The key to patient loyalty is always to meet or exceed your patients’ expectations. When patients become loyal, they not only come back to your practice, they become emotionally attached to your brand. Loyal patients will recommend your brand to their friends and family, develop an emotional connection and act as brand ambassadors. Brand loyalty is an essential investment for your medical practice and you must offer value in order to become invaluable to your patients.

But Why Do Patients Leave?

According to an insightful report, the number-one reason patients stop visiting a medical practice is poor patient service experience. But what reasons lead a patient to describe a service experience as “poor” or “unacceptable”?

The report stated that incompetency, staff manners and slow service define poor patient service. Almost 73 percent of patients described the incompetent staff as their most prominent reason to “dislike” a practice or practitioner.

This candid feedback from unhappy patients shows that competent and polite staff is more critical than the speed of the service. So how do you build a brand that wins over the hearts and minds of your patients? Let us look at four ways medical practices can move relationships with their patients.

1. Engage with your patients: Patient loyalty is about reaching out and nurturing the patients who help your practice grow. Engaging with your patients will help you create a sense of belonging. You can use social networks to inform patients of special deals and exciting developments. If you can make your patients involved in your practice, they are more likely to have positive associations, and engaged patients are loyal patients. According to the Pareto principle, 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts. But for most medical practice owners, the disparity between your best patients and the rest is stark. The top 5 percent of your patients are worth as much as 1800 percent of the average patient lifetime value. So adding a few more loyal patients might be the smartest thing you can do to grow your practice. Adding and retaining patients often starts with figuring out how and where you are losing patients: Why do so few patients become loyal members of your practice? In most cases, this is due to poor patient service. It is important to make sure your patient service is impeccable, and if you play your cards right, this can be an easy victory for your practice. Provide a positive patient experience, safeguard your online reputation and encourage patients to stick by your brand long enough to develop loyalty. One of the most effective strategies to retain patients is by recognizing and fulfilling their needs. You can use your patient behavior data to assess what your patients are likely to expect from your practice and offer it to them.

2. Use technology to improve patient experience: The latest tools and technology can be used to help improve your relationship with your patients. When patients understand that you are delivering a unique experience and exceeding expectations in order to meet their demands, they will return the favor by giving you their time and information. This symbiotic relationship is valuable as it helps create trust, which should be the goal for every medical practice.

Providing data-driven services can increase revenue for your brand. According to a study, nearly 86 percent of patients said that personalization plays a role in their decision to choose a healthcare provider. In addition, almost 73 percent of patients said they preferred to visit practices that use personal information to make their experience more relevant.

Once your practice has earned the trust of your patients, you can employ patient portals to gain intelligent insights and solutions. Such portals will enable your patients to create, edit and delete their profile and use it whenever they want. Patient portals will help your staff have quick access to valuable insights about the needs and preferences of your patients. By engaging your patients with data aligned with their preferences, your practice can provide a better patient experience.

3. Use social media to show patient appreciation: Social media is an excellent way to build brand loyalty and improve patient engagement. According to a study, when a business – including the healthcare market – uses social networks to communicate with their target audience, people listen. In fact, more than 81 percent of people said they had more confidence in a medical practice when its doctors are using social media.

When you communicate with your patients on social media, it helps build brand loyalty, and those patients can become your brand ambassadors. Replying with a personal message or updating your patients with general healthcare-related news is a great way to humanize your brand and strengthen the relationship.

Your medical practice likely has some brand ambassadors continually engaging on social media. You must surprise them. Go beyond the typical reply with a special discount voucher or complimentary service. The cost will be minimal, and you can rest assured that the recipients will post about it for others to read. This shout-out or acknowledgment on social networks will help attract more patients and increase the positive exposure of your brand. Showing that your practice cares about its patients and their experience will separate your brand from the competition.

4. Deliver value: Patients are looking to identify with your practice’s mission and values. To them, what you offer is who you are. How can you help your patients identify your brand’s values? The answer is: Be definitive. The more specific you can be about your skills and services, the more your patients will understand what value you can offer them. You need to make sure your patients understand what you do and the value you add to their lives. This means you need to zoom in on just one service or unique proposition until it fills the screen. Even the most effective brand loyalty campaigns will be futile if you do not deliver value through your unique services and focus on your patients’ needs. You must promote your unique selling proposition and use it as the foundation to design and deliver your brand loyalty campaigns.

Do Patients Forgive Poor Service?

Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes are bound to happen when dealing with patients. A lot of small issues may make their way into your service provision. However, the good news is: Occasional mistakes will not damage your reputation unless such errors become the norm.

But what about serious errors? Will patients forgive a massive error? It is important to understand the thought process and associated actions of dissatisfied patients. As mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, most patients who suffer an injury due to a practitioner’s negligence do not sue their healthcare provider. A common factor among those patients who pursued legal action felt like they did not get enough time with their doctor. Most of the litigious patients described their interactions with their doctor as poorly diagnosed. However, most of these patients are willing to give their doctor a second chance.

Speed and quality of service are the innocent culprits in most of these situations. Trying to respond to patients as quickly as possible decreases your chances of ignoring critical details, something that is very important to patients.

Wrapping Up

It is believed that by 2020, more than 89 percent of patients will shift to practices providing better patient experience and engagement. Your competitive advantage must focus on building patient relationships and improving experience.

Gone are the days where practices offered basic healthcare services. If you expect brand loyalty, it is time to treat patients like people, not numbers.

Always pay attention to what your patients are telling you. Do not be a transaction-focused practice. It is critical to building a practice to serve people and care about them, and they may return the favor by caring about you. This is the key to nurturing brand loyalty.

Remember, engaging patients and strengthening relationships is a practice-wide endeavor. It is not just for your front-desk staff. Brand loyalty and patient satisfaction are everyone’s responsibility.

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Pharma on social media – the time to engage is now

Pharma on social media – the time to engage is now | Social Media and Healthcare |

he pharma industry is moving on from merely broadcasting on social media platforms and starting to listen and engage, appreciating the benefits of mining these rich seams of data.

What does social media mean to you? There are now an estimated 2.4 billion social media users worldwide, and for many it is part and parcel of everyday life, with Facebook and Instagram being the most convenient ways to keep in touch with friends and family, and follow current affairs and celebrities. Of course, it has its downsides too, such as Twitter trolls and ‘fake news’.

In addition to all of this, social media also represents a legitimate and essential source of big data for commercial businesses looking to understand their customers better. For pharma, mining social media data can lead to unparalleled insights and fuel its move towards greater customer and patient centricity.

To examine how this picture is evolving, pharmaphorum CEO and digital expert Paul Tunnah chaired a recent webinar in conjunction with IQVIA.

Sharing their expert insights were Professor Andrew Stephen, Associate Dean of Research and L’Oréal Professor of Marketing at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and Anurag Abinashi, IQVIA’s NEMEA Social Media Intelligence Lead.

The panel outlined that, much as the platforms themselves have matured, so has the technology available to work with them, automating and solving previous risk-based obstacles such as adverse event reporting.

Abinashi sounded a note of optimism, saying that the industry was showing some progress along the ‘maturity curve’ of social media: moving away from using it to merely ‘broadcast’ and now beginning to use it to listen and engage.

However, there is still some way to go: a poll of the webinar’s viewers revealed a mere 15% of participants used social media for listening, compared to 26% for engagement, and 41% for broadcasting, while 19% revealed that they weren’t active at all on social media.

One reason why many pharmaceutical marketers have been reluctant to use social media is to do with the reporting of adverse events. Pharma is under a legal duty to pass on reports of adverse events, and there remains uncertainty as to whether this responsibility extends to social media. Abinashi said this wasn’t a valid justification for not engaging: “We’re often given that excuse that pharmacovigilance teams will be inundated if we engage, but research supports that the volume of adverse events on social media is extremely low – 1-2%. We also now have tools to automate the process, so this is no longer a risk or resource-based issue.”

Professor Stephen described using social media solely for broadcast as, “just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how companies should be using social media for everything from traditional marketing, to customer relations and intel, right through to informing R&D processes. If it is all you are doing you are missing the opportunity.”

Abinashi said most pharma companies have dabbled in the broadcast element and some are using it to listen, but engagement remains an aspiration for most. “There are two big categories of social listening uses: social listening for insight generation (either retrospective or real-time) and also for influencer identification purposes. On engagement, however, pharma is lagging behind other sectors quite fundamentally.”

Other emerging uses for social media include corporate reputation engagement, and as a recruitment and education tool. On the education front, identifying unmet needs by listening to therapy area conversations could be used to educate and better engage customers from a non-promotional, disease awareness perspective.

Companies with experience in social listening know that it’s easy to focus on rudimentary analysis of brand mentions and topics, ‘followers’ and ‘likes’, and never get to the truly actionable insights.

The panel agreed that listening is not the goal, but social intelligence is, and this informs actions taken by marketing or some other area of the business, such as R&D and product development. This can be used to improve business outcomes, customer relationships, and operational efficiency.

Lessons for pharma – driving innovation

Another opportunity is using trend identification to inform product innovation. Professor Stephen explained that for global, consumer-focused companies like L’Oréal, P&G and Unilever, social media represents an unparalleled opportunity to widen and deepen knowledge of their customers, in all their diversity.

L’Oréal is increasingly diversifying into the healthcare sector, and Professor Stephen highlighted the firm as one which pharma should watch.

Fast moving and highly competitive, the beauty and fashion industry is one of the most difficult for forecasting trends and product demands. The ability to discern between a meaningful trend and a fad can help a company like L’Oréal to capitalise on trends and respond quickly with first-to-market new product offerings. By scouring YouTube to find consumer-generated content on hair colour trends, L’Oréal gained invaluable insights. They identified the kinds of materials and tools consumers were using to create the desired hair colour effects, as well as the myriad problems they encountered in doing so.

Monitoring this user output helps to spot trends and identify the most popular ‘vloggers’ who could act as influencers and help to sell and share new products with their followers.

So where does pharma go now?

Understanding how to engage, and how to extract the right data to get actionable insights – and all the while complying with regulations – isn’t so straightforward in our industry. Life sciences companies need to put this new data source in context with the existing broad range of metrics. Achieving this calls for a step-by-step progression towards social media maturity.

This progression could involve both behavioural and company-level changes within pharma, said Abinashi. “Pharma companies tend to have one person, a brand or business lead, who runs an account or commissions a single piece of research for a brand. This is very different to how other sectors operate, with more of a top-down rather than bottom-up approach. These sectors make social a key part of their business strategy and more and more they embrace social. This helps them to achieve an advanced level of maturity, and then bring in other data to correlate with the social data – this is an area in which pharma is lagging.”

Keeping pace with change

The industry needs to understand how to use each available social media channel, and keep pace with their development. A recent high-profile tweak to Twitter has sparked a change in usage within pharma, Abinashi stated.

Twitter’s trial of a 280-character tweet limit has been universally expanded – a move which has increased its appeal. “Twitter as a platform has been fundamentally unfriendly to pharma. The increase in character count has helped address the complexity of pharma tweets, making Twitter a more useful platform in terms of disease awareness and the publication of research. I’ve observed two companies (Novartis and Eli Lilly) who have already latched on to this expanded word count.”

Abinashi noted that the crucial difference in approach is in how socially mature companies are addressing what their audience wants to hear. “We’ve talked about the difference between listening, broadcasting and engagement. Companies seem to be making the links between those three modes – listening for insights and building that into the publication calendar to develop content that addresses what the audience wants to know. It’s a closed loop and what we’re seeing is more engagement as a result of that informed content.”

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Social Media in Medicine_ Professionalism and Opportunities 2018

2018 Grand Rounds on Social Media Professionalism and Opportunities. Examples are given of using Twitter for professional development, academic research, and n…
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A Social Media Wake Up Call for Plastic Surgery Societies

There’s a paradigm shift in how patients are finding their doctors. And nowhere is this more evident than in the cosmetic surgery space. In the past, consumers found their doctor through word of mouth. Then it was the yellow pages. That gave way to the internet, specifically a doctor’s website, and in the last decade, Google. Consumers’ tastes continue to change. They’re now relying less and less on search engines and the world wide web, and more on social media.

I’m not suggesting Google and their AdWords revenue model have anything to worry about. But I believe the way in which a consumer chooses a doctor is changing drastically. The consumer is no longer satisfied with the curated pages of the doctor’s website.

The Perceived Power of Social Media

Now, the patient in the research phase of finding a doctor will want to see the plastic surgeon perform surgery and see their results in some variation of real time. And the best way to do that is by watching them on Snapchat, Instagram Stories or Facebook Live.

The “truest” impression of a doctor, as far as the consumer is concerned, is on the physician’s social media where informal 10–15 second video clips build into a 24-hour story that reveals the doctor and staff in their natural habitat of the operating room and clinic.

It’s not about dancing in the operating room or dressing up in silly outfits which some doctors do. That’s just a distraction from the real power of social media in this context — education.

Some physicians will disagree. They’ll see ‘education’ as a just a euphemism for shameless entertainment. Well, here’s a thought…maybe it can be both!

There’s disagreement on the plastic surgery societal level as well. In a noble attempt to protect doctors from themselves and protect the reputation of the specialty, there are instances of the societies admonishing doctors for some of their social media posts. Determining what is and is not appropriate is such a futile exercise that even the Supreme Court outsourced those decisions when it came to obscenity. It comes down to a community standard. In other words, who is that doctor’s audience and what does their clientele want to see?

Our country is one of diversified opinions and tastes. Attempting to regulate or punish doctors for their social media tactics is futile and unnecessary. If a doctor posts something inappropriate, punishment in the court of public opinion will be swift, uncompromising and fierce. Ask anyone in Hollywood.

The Education War

The other risk the societies take in attempting to curb their own member’s activities on social media is their total lack of control for doctors that are non-members of those societies. There’s a battle out there over who is educating consumers.

A recent Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ) article pointed out that most consumers following plastic surgeons aren’t following plastic surgeons at all. In fact, the most popular cosmetic surgery accounts and posts on social media were from plastic surgeons only 17.8% of the time. So while the plastic surgery societies may want to regulate their own members, doctors not subjugated to the same rules have the consumer’s ear.

As Dr. Clark Schierle points out in a recent Chicago Tribune article, his study in the ASJ mentioned above should serve as a “wake-up call” for board-certified plastic surgeons. “We’re losing the information war, and (we’re) being drowned out by these other players.”

Plastic surgery societies understandably promote the importance of board certification. But I’m afraid those board certification warnings are now falling on deaf ears. When the consumer sees an amazing result on social media, particularly reproducible results day after day on a doctor’s Instagram feed, results will win out over “board certification” every time. Can you blame the consumer for embracing results?

The plastic surgery societies should encourage their members to embrace social media and its educational benefits wholeheartedly. Don’t bother offering warnings or caveats. Doctors are adults and are responsible for their actions and shouldn’t have to rely on a society to make good decisions for them. If a doctor can’t police themselves when it comes to social media, maybe they shouldn’t be operating on anyone either.

Dr. Jonathan Kaplan is a board-certified plastic surgeon based in San Francisco, CA and founder/CEO of BuildMyBod Health, an online marketplace for healthcare services that allows consumers to determine cost on out-of-pocket procedures, purchase non-surgical services, and in exchange, the healthcare providers receive consumer contact info — a lead, for follow up.

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Growing Your Dental Practice with Social Media

Social Media for Dentists & Dental Professionals. Raw slides/presentation from Scott Childress' lecture on how dental practices can best use social media to gr…
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Drive Patient Engagement with Health & Wellness Marketing Campaigns

Drive Patient Engagement with Health & Wellness Marketing Campaigns | Social Media and Healthcare |

The prospect of starting a new year is inspiring; the new year often signifies a clean slate, and an opportunity to better oneself. This is no more apparent than in the most common resolution people make: to get healthy in the coming year.

With so many people vowing to improve their health around New Year’s, health systems can capitalize on the opportunity to engage patients and potential patients in a meaningful way. In order to drive patient engagement around New Year’s resolutions, marketing teams should strategically plan, execute, and measure digital health and wellness campaigns.

End-to-end campaign planning helps ensure the success of such “get healthy” marketing efforts— that they will reach the optimal consumers and encourage action effectively. Campaign planning involves defining audiences, selecting campaign types and deployment channels — think organic search, paid search, email, social, display, and more — and determining calls to action.Let’s take a closer look at campaign planning tactics that drive success:

Define Audiences

Having clear campaign audiences is imperative, as success relies on reaching the right targets, at the right time, in the right way. Consider defining campaign audiences using propensity modeling, first-party research, existing market data, and historical campaign insights. Additionally, creating ideal customer personas and evaluating clinical data about existing patients can be helpful.

When defining campaign audiences, put the most focus on influencers and caretakers — as those are the most engaged audiences — by including content that is easily shareable and relatable.

Another important part of defining audiences is considering the influence of peripheral audiences. For example, if the target audience is mothers of young children, possible peripheral audiences are grandparents and spouses, as they have influence over how mothers make healthcare decisions for their children.


Choose Campaign Types

There are two main types of health and wellness campaigns: awareness campaignsand direct response campaigns:


Awareness campaigns focus on educating the audience and tend to contain a soft call-to-action (CTA) like a whitepaper download. For this type, patient engagement is measured through brand lift, landing page engagement, and content efficiency.

Direct Response

Direct response campaigns on the other hand, aim to convince consumers to take action and feature revenue-driving CTAs such as appointment scheduling. Direct response campaign engagement is measured with touchpoints, form submittals, new leads, and numbers of newly scheduled appointments.

It’s important to determine which campaign type and campaign channel will help reach target audiences and contribute to engagement goals.

Determine Campaign Timing

Patient engagement depends greatly on when health and wellness campaigns are deployed; certain service lines have campaign “sweet spots” due to seasonality. Campaigns that are aimed at seasonal service lines’ optimal audiences during peak times have the best chance at driving the most engagement.

For example, campaigns around weight management tend to elicit the most engagement, due to the popularity of New Year’s resolutions. For instance, deploy campaigns with messaging around exercise and healthy eating from November through the end of January to target patients who made weight-loss resolutions.

Nurture Post-Campaign Launch

Not everyone will schedule an appointment, or even reach the threshold of a marketing qualified lead to trigger an outbound call. Once health and wellness campaigns are deployed, it’s essential to nurture target consumers. This involves creating multi-channel campaigns through emails, social media, outbound calls, direct mail (brochures or pamphlets), and more to connect campaign efforts with further engagement opportunities.

For successful lead nurturing that improves patient engagement, ensure that follow-up efforts include content that supports and complements the previously seen content, as well as strategic CTAs. All campaign content, no matter the channel, should have cohesive branding for a unified message and brand presence.

Timing of nurturing is also imperative –  follow-ups sent too soon or too long after campaigns can hinder engagement. Spreading follow-up over a two-week period is a general best practice.

Consider building nurture workflows that lay out engagement journeys. Patient engagement journeys outline ideal pathways, from the point a patient initially sees a campaign to when they become a lifelong member of the healthcare organization’s community. Nurturing is a key component of patient engagement journeys because it helps keep patients involved with health systems over time.

Final Thoughts

Health and wellness marketing campaigns can boost patient engagement by inspiring consumers to visit health systems’ websites, interact on social media, call engagement centers, ask questions, and ultimately come in for clinical appointments in the new year. Patient engagement is a central component of acquiring and retaining patients; effective engagement helps health systems gain new patients and retain existing ones, driving revenue and increasing patient bases.

When it comes to patient engagement, strategic planning, thoughtful implementation, and consistent follow-up on health and wellness campaigns are the keys to success. This is imperative not only for patient experience and satisfaction, but for the financial success of healthcare organizations.

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Radiology is Primed for Social Media | Diagnostic Imaging

Radiology is Primed for Social Media | Diagnostic Imaging | Social Media and Healthcare |

In this day and age where millions use social media on a daily basis, the world of medicine has rapidly jumped onboard. The use of social media in medicine is an interesting and multi-faceted one. Hospitals, medical technology companies, physicians, medical students and patients all have an interesting stake in the world of healthcare social media. On one side of the spectrum, physicians on social media can partake in professional networking and teaching opportunities. On the other, patients find themselves within informal reach of physicians willing to discuss what they do, and why they do it, closing the gap between the physician and patient. Luckily for radiology, where the majority of cases are image and technology based, the field is primed for a significant social media presence.

With social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Figure 1, radiologists have a myriad of options. One of the most common and simpler platforms to manage, Twitter, affords medical professionals an interesting opportunity to interact with others. With a “like” acting as a high five, a “retweet” as a hello, and a “reply” as a method of initiating conversation, radiologists can easily interact with other healthcare professionals, widening their professional network and building a far-reaching reputation. While medical conferences have traditionally been known as a way to bring physicians from all around the world together to interact, social media pages, including Twitter, have found a way to strengthen those relationships year-round. These tools now allow greater and more meaningful collaboration than before.

In addition to improved networking, the use of social media for teaching and learning cannot be understated and the methods are abundant. For example, radiologists can easily post interesting cases to illustrate teaching points useful for practice. Social media also uniquely affords a fantastic opportunity to ask questions about soliciting advice from other radiologists and sharing of ideas and experiences to further improve one’s practice and provide better patient care. Furthermore, social media allows for a quick avenue to learn about the ever-evolving innovations in the field, creating a one stop shop for “what’s new” in radiology and medicine. Another helpful use of social media is sharing grant and scholarship opportunities, announcing national meetings and sending deadline reminders for abstracts and other educational opportunities.

The role of social media in education is particularly relevant for the current generation of medical students. Through sharing of interesting cases and radiological teaching points, students can be introduced to the field before even stepping into a reading room. Moreover, students are frequently in search of physician networks to find opportunities for research, shadowing and meaningful mentoring relationships. Social media provides an effective conduit for students to interact with radiologists nationwide to develop such relationships. Finally, social media affords a fantastic recruitment opportunity for residency programs. Medical students take notice of programs with a strong presence on social media, which aids programs in recruiting strong applicants for their incoming classes and publicizing their institutions.

Lastly, healthcare social media is not just for medical professionals. Social media also allows patients to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into who their doctors really are, professionally and personally. It can be intimidating for patients to interact with their physicians during appointments. When medical professionals walk into a room in their white coats, there is a clear power divide. Social media, on the contrary, is a very informal platform for patients to get to interact with the radiologists who interpret their imaging exams and perform their image-guided procedures. Additionally, it’s a great way to humanize radiologists in the eyes of patients as they get to know them through online interactions and develop improved doctor-patient relationships. Social media further plays a unique role for patient education, raising awareness of disease and clearing misconceptions, and can be even used to connect patients with the appropriate physician specialist for their medical care.

While healthcare social media is a powerful addition to the world of radiology and medicine, it is critical to avoid common pitfalls that may easily affect us and our patients. First and foremost, respecting patient privacy and complying with HIPPA rules should always be considered with every social media interaction. While it is easy to avoid sharing obvious identifiable patient information, special attention should be paid to unique imaging findings and rare cases that can be traced to the patients involved. Second, it’s important to own our social media reputation and shared personal life in the online public sphere to maintain our professional image and that of our field. Lastly, it goes without saying, careful consideration should be paid to social media contributions involving controversial political and religious matters, and personal opinions should be clarified as such and not that of our institutions/employers. If these golden rules are followed, social media holds a seemingly limitless role in the future of radiology. Moral of the story? Get posting!

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Nurses and Social Media: Guard Your Career and Your Reputation

Nurses and Social Media: Guard Your Career and Your Reputation | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social Media Guidelines for Nurses

A tired nurse, just off duty from her shift at a flu-ridden emergency department, posted a video titled "After Work Thoughts" on Facebook, in which she told the public, in bold terms, how to protect themselves from exposure to the influenza virus. She's not the only nurse who is communicating with patients, and the public, through social media. Whether you have a social media site for your business or simply maintain your own personal page or site, here are four guidelines for protecting your career.

Maintain professional boundaries. After you have posted something on social media, it's easy to get drawn into the discussion when a viewer or reader posts a comment. Don't get drawn into arguing back and forth among commenters, patients' family members, or friend/enemy groups in the community. It doesn't matter whether the site is your professional site or your personal site; you're a nurse, and nursing requires nurses to maintain professional boundaries. In one case, a nurse who had counseled a couple later sided publicly with one of them when they were splitting up. That angered the other member of the couple enough to make a report to the Board of Nursing. The nurse was disciplined for failing to maintain boundaries. For more information on the nursing profession's expectations, see the National Council of State Boards of Nursing's A Nurse's Guide to Professional Boundaries.

Protect your professional reputation. It's fine to post a photo of yourself getting an award, giving a presentation, or posing with a professional idol, student, or mentor. But don't post photos of yourself holding a beer, smoking, wearing a T-shirt with a saucy slogan, or screaming with your friends. Yes, nurses are allowed to drink beer when off-duty and they're allowed to wear T-shirts, but it's best for your credibility and your career if you maintain a professional presence online.


Make sure that what you say or write is medically correct. It's fine to use plain language. It's certainly not illegal to use slang, and sometimes slang can be effective, but usually it's more professional not to use slang words.

Don't breach patient privacy and violate HIPAA. If a commenter is also your patient, don't converse through the comments section. If you do, you could be divulging the patient's protected health information. If the patient has posted a question and you want to respond, call the patient and give your answer by phone. If the answer to the question is something that many people would benefit from, you can address the question and answer in a general post without referring to the person who originally posted the question. Here's an example: You are an expert on diabetes and have written a blog on nutrition. One of your patients posts, "Is watermelon OK?" Don't get into an online discussion with that patient. Instead, either call or email the patient with your answer, or write a separate blog, in a week or so, on which fruits are best, in general, for people with diabetes.

Don't establish a "duty of care" through social media. Let's say you posted an article on a health issue, such as how to deal with overwhelming fatigue. Someone posts, "I am tired all the time. What should I do?" You can advise the person to "See your healthcare provider." But if you provide additional medical or nursing advice, the individual relies on your advice, and it turns out that the advice was wrong and the patient suffered an injury, you can be liable if the patient sues you for malpractice, even though the patient wasn't enrolled with your practice and never paid you a penny. You automatically have a "duty of care" to patients who are admitted to your unit at the hospital or who are enrolled with your office practice. But you don't need to, nor do you want to, establish a duty of care with individuals who respond to your social media posts. You can advise commenters to see their own healthcare providers or to go to an urgent/emergency care center. But don't get into taking their history or giving advice through the comment section.

The 'Wash Your Stinking Hands' Viral Video

The nurse who posted the flu-avoidance video complied with each of these guidelines: She gave general, correct advice; her examples of patient behavior weren't identifiable with any individual patient; and she maintained a professional presence overall, even though she used some slang in conveying her frustration with those who come to the emergency department during flu season with non-emergencies.

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What The Hell Is Blockchain And What Does It Mean For Healthcare And Pharma?

What The Hell Is Blockchain And What Does It Mean For Healthcare And Pharma? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Don Tapscott, author of the book entitled Blockchain Revolution said in his superb, no-frills TED Talk that blockchain is the technology that is likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades. No, it’s not social media. No, it’s not big data, not robotics, not even artificial intelligence. It’s the technology behind the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

Stop there for a moment. So, blockchain will have more transformative power on our lives than Facebook, Instagram and Donald Trump using Twitter for diplomacy? How? Why? When? Is that true or is it another bubble shaping up in front of our eyes?

When looking at how fast companies in various industries are adopting blockchain, the latter question is certainly worth considering. According to Transparency Market Research, the global blockchain technology market is expected to be worth $20 billion(!!) by the end of 2024 as compared to $315.9 million in 2015. The overall market is anticipated to exhibit a 58.7 percent annual growth between 2016 and 2024. Moving faster than Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster in space. And the drivers of this massive expansion are innovators, start-ups, bold companies in finance, retail and manufacturing, government – and healthcare.

Due to blockchain’s ties to cryptocurrencies, most people believe that the financial system will adopt the technology soonest, but healthcare’s speed of leveraging blockchain seems to actually surpass it. A new IBM Institute for Business Value blockchain study, Healthcare Rallies for Blockchain, surveyed 200 healthcare executives in 16 countries. They found that 16 percent aren’t just experimenting; they expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale in 2017. Moreover, according to IBM’s estimation, another 56 percent will follow the first adopters until 2020. That means within 2 years!

Thus, it is high time to have a look at how and why the technology behind Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency in a great part powering criminals trading on the darknet could become the cornerstone of future healthcare. More briefly, let’s see what the hell blockchain is!

Blockchain is the new word for trust online

On the Internet, nobody knows that you’re a dog. Although Peter Steiner’s cartoon drawn for The New Yorker in 1993 is mostly associated with the issue of anonymity on the Internet, it highlights deeper problems in relation to trust, credibility, security, and privacy. In the era of fake news and online scam, it does not come as a surprise to anyone that it is difficult to secure information, communication processes or trade online. And it is especially important in case of such sensitive information as money or healthcare data.

In case of money, trust and credibility have long been established by central intermediaries, such as banks, and other types of middlemen. You transfer money via your online bank account knowing its safe and secure because you trust the financial institution behind it. And in the case of online transactions, there has been another problem for which trustworthy intermediaries have meant the solution for years. The problem of duplications. When you send an e-mail with an attached cat photo, the image will automatically be copied. So, how do you make sure that doesn’t happen with your money? That the well-earned dollars that you spend on books will actually disappear from your bank account and appear on Amazon’s. In the case of digital assets like money, stocks or intellectual property, not to speak about electronic health records, authentication and accountability are key elements.

Still, middlemen such as banks are too slow. And too expensive. While an e-mail arrives in seconds in another person’s mailbox, an international transfer could take several days, even weeks. And it is not even that secure, as it could be hacked more easily due to the banks’ centralized nature. As a response to all these issues, Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious Japanese programmer or a group, worked out the world’s first digital currency, Bitcoin and its underlying, supporting system, the blockchain. Since then, several types and modified versions of the technology appeared. As The Economist explained, blockchain enables an economy where trust is established not by central intermediaries but through consensus and complex computer code. It lets people who have no particular confidence in each other collaborate without having to go through a neutral central authority. Simply put, it is a machine for creating trust.

Blockchain is like a scarf knitted by your grandmother

The concept and the operation of the technology are rather difficult, but it is perhaps easier to imagine with a nicely-put metaphor by The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller. In his article about Estonia as a digital republic, he said that a blockchain is like the digital version of a scarf knitted by your grandmother. She uses one ball of yarn, and the result is continuous. Each stitch depends on the one just before it. It’s impossible to remove part of the fabric, or to substitute a swatch, without leaving some trace: a few telling knots, or a change in the knit.

When The Medical Futurist asked Ivo Lohmus from Guardtime, an Estonian company developing K.S.I. blockchain technology, he said it to imagine as a shared book of records, or in more technical terms, a distributed database, that’s designed in such a smart way that whatever is added to this database, that’s immutable. As if it’s carved into stone. Any change becomes immediately evident. Another aspect of the system is that there is no central authority to decide what’s right or wrong. The participants need to come to a consensus, to articulate some shared view of the world.

There are several methods for making a decision about a new entry based on the particular consensus, Medium’s Collin Thompson explains the proof of work process used by Bitcoin as the following: when a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped together in a cryptographically protected block with other transactions that have occurred in the last 10 minutes and sent out to the entire network. Miners (members in the network with high levels of computing power) then compete to validate the transactions by solving complex coded problems. The first miner to solve the problems and validate the block receives a reward. The validated block of transactions is then timestamped and added to a chain in a chronological order.

New blocks of validated transactions are linked to older blocks, making a chain or blocks that show every transaction made in the history of that blockchain. The entire chain is continually updated so that every database in the network is the same, giving each member the ability to prove who owns what at any given time.

The benefits of blockchain

The technology has numerous benefits for online transactions, especially in the field of digital assets, such as health data. Blockchain’s time-sensitive nature allows any data to move around in that particular format only once in the network. The blocks are impossible to change; only new entries can be added to the network. This is critical in case of health data. Just imagine what might happen if someone could change a patient’s blood type in the health record system without anyone noticing it.

Moreover, Ivo Lohmus said that many times, as in the case of the K.S.I blockchain which is used for the Estonian medical records system, the blockchain does not directly deal with the data. Through the cryptographic process, a unique identifier of the data, a hash, is created, which functions similarly to the biological fingerprint. While you can identify anyone based on his or her fingerprint, you cannot “reconstruct” the whole person. And finally, as the blockchain is based on the consensus of network participants, access to data can be linked to permission.

Beyond ensuring authentication and credibility, blockchain also brings unprecedented security benefits. Hacking attacks that commonly impact large, centralized intermediaries like banks would be virtually impossible to pull off on the blockchain. For example — if someone wanted to hack into a particular block in a blockchain, a hacker would not only need to hack into that specific block, but all of the proceeding blocks going back the entire history of that blockchain. And they would need to do it on every ledger in the network, which could be millions, simultaneously.

Blockchain in healthcare – Long instead of big data

Blockchain has immense potential in healthcare. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value blockchain study, new adopters of the technology expect the greatest blockchain benefits across time, cost, and risk in three areas: clinical trial records, regulatory compliance, and medical/health records.

It is capable of transforming the entire system of medical records, just as Estonia already did. In March 2017, the Baltic country’s eHealth Authority has signed a deal with Guardtime to secure the health records of over a million Estonians. Patientory, a start-up helping hospitals to secure their patient data while enabling patients to follow the fate of their own data, has urged the British government “to get behind a blockchain-enabled national IT health system” at the time of the NHS ransomware attack. If there were political will and comprehensive financial support, other countries could also Estonia’s as well as Dubai’s lead. The latter has also started to test blockchain technology for securing its electronic medical records.

Due to its time-sensitive nature, blockchains shift the lens from disparate bits of information held by a single owner, to the lifetime history of an asset. Instead of big data, capturing long-term data becomes more easily possible. And that’s exactly why it is the perfect solution when we need to document a patient’s health record, to set up reliable vaccine registries or to secure the movement of drugs through the supply chain.

Blockchain in pharma

The issue of counterfeit medicines, as the dark side of networked markets and globalization, has become increasingly pressing, both in terms of the economic cost of this global black market and the risk to human lifethat comes from taking counterfeit drugs. In many developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America, counterfeit drugs comprise between 10 percent and 30 percent of the total medicines on sale.

Cindy Greatrex, Vice President of The National Alliance of Research Associates Programs remarked that for combatting fake pharmaceuticals a solution needs to be employed that stops the counterfeits from contaminating the supply chain. The best solution is to track pharmaceuticals so that digital systems linked to medication moving in the physical world are established. This is important because when you have a unique digital reference to a drug and a physical copy of that drug, it is much harder to erase or duplicate one without the other.

Blockchain offers security through transparency. It might work as follows: barcode-tagged drugs could be scanned and entered into secure digital blocks whenever they change hands. This ongoing real-time record could be viewed anytime by authorized parties and even patients at the far end of the supply chain. This would make it much more difficult for criminal networks to sell their counterfeit drugs on the market.

However, the advantages of blockchain for pharma does not stop there. Drug developers running clinical trials might be able to share clinical data and medical samples more securely. And while blockchain underpins the digital currencies demanded in ransomware attacks, the technology could also play a role in securing sensitive industry data from malicious attack.

It’s clear that blockchain will have a massive impact on dealing with healthcare data. It’s also worth looking at news about blockchain differently than those related to Bitcoin. The blockchain is a technology, Bitcoin is a product of it. As it is going to be more and more widespread in the future, we’ll keep on writing about the many ways blockchain can support healthcare and pharma.

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10 myths about millennials and their healthcare habits - Medical Marketing and Media

10 myths about millennials and their healthcare habits - Medical Marketing and Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Drew Train turned 18 in 1999, which puts him at millennial ground zero. Now 36, the president and cofounder of ad agency Oberland says perspective has had a profound impact on how he sees and creates healthcare marketing — and that it has more to do with favoring hip-hop over grunge or comfort with computers.

“People don't understand how skeptical my generation is, and how we are always going to scratch under the hood,” he says, adding it isn't just about the way millennials view doctors, medicines, or pharma companies. “It means we have a lack of trust in ‘the man,' in general. We demand transparency.”

Train and fellow millennials who work in and around healthcare marketing believe more assumptions are made about their generation than about any other demographic.

Some are true, to some extent: they do expect everything from communications to health data transmission available at the swipe of a screen. But many others, they claim, are distorted.

Here are 10 myths these plugged-in professionals say it's time to bust.

1. Myth: We are fundamentally different than other humans. 
Reality: We're just people. Really.

“The motivators of behavior for a 20-year-old can be the same for someone who's 50-plus,” says Ben Greenberg, 24, strategic planner, social sciences at McCann Health. “It comes down to who you are as a person.”

Greenberg says McCann's Truth About Age study backs that up, but millennials “are still perceived as the lazy generation that is married to our phones. I'm wondering if people will still think about us that way when we're 60.”

His plea? “Throw out the numbers in your segmentation so you can create a new type of connection with your customers.”

2. Myth: We don't think much about our health. 
Reality: We give it high priority.

“Millennials are aging at the same rate as every other generation. Because we prioritize health so much more, we're increasingly active and engaged in healthcare,” says Derek Flanzraich, 30, CEO and founder of Greatist, a millennial favorite that reaches 10 million to 15 million unique visitors each month.

See also: Millennial staffers at agencies seek work-life balance and strong supervisors

More and more, he says, millennials are “interacting with the healthcare system as caretakers as our parents age.” This creates a major opening for healthcare brands — but few have taken advantage.

3. Myth: We're social media lemmings. 
Reality: We're experts in credibility.

Some healthcare marketers think millennials “are so enamored by social media influencers that they'll believe anything they see,” says Dana Cormack, 29, consumer health specialist at Allidura Consumer, part of Syneos Health. “Partnering with social media influencers is a valuable tactic, but the omnipresence of influencer content means millennials are savvier and more discerning about content.”

To that end, Cormack believes health and wellness marketers should strive to work with influencers who aren't oversaturated, and that the content those influencers are sharing “tells a transparent and relatable story in terms of scientific product benefits and how the product fits into the millennial lifestyle.”

Cormack suggests marketers quit tossing around phrases such as “crowdsourced” or “user-generated content.” “Millennials trust our friends, but we also need credible expert advice,” she explains. “Remember — we were the first generation to learn in school which websites to trust and which to ignore.”

4. Myth: We're technology-dependent. 
Reality: Technology, especially social media, makes us more efficient.

“People love to say we are lazy and want to take the easy way out,” says Maureen Healy, 23, art director at FCB Health. “We just use [tech] to do things faster. Social media gives us the chance to see more ideas and come to our own conclusions.”

Healy says this tech should power smarter health marketing. Two campaigns she admires: Plan B, for its clever use of social to educate people about emergency contraception, and blood cancer charity DKMS' Casting for A Hero, which leverages millennial love for Comic Con. “These are relevant and simple.”

5. Myth: We're healthy. 
Reality: Chronic illness is a fact of life for millions of us.

Obesity, depression, diabetes, and autoimmune disease are widespread among millennials. And while many of those ailments emerge in young adulthood, marketers persist in using imagery such as blissful yoga poses or gleeful bike rides.

“I hate when I see an ad for a rheumatoid arthritis drug and it shows someone running through a field of daisies on a sunny day,” says Marlajan Wexler, 36, author of the popular LuckFupus blog. “My friends with lupus can't be in the sun and don't feel like running through daisies. Pharma companies have come a long way, but there's still much to do.”

6. Myth: We mistrust doctors.
Reality: We'd just rather try something else first.

“Most millennials turn to consumer-focused solutions first,” Flanzraich notes. “When it comes to preventive health, we're more likely to try an app, click an online ad, or listen to word-of-mouth suggestions before we'd consider anything from a healthcare provider or insurer.

“The most compelling health brands manage to speak with us, not at us. They're designed to build trust and comfort. And they're built with the consumer and user in mind first.”

But that doesn't mean millennials are prescription- or treatment-resistant, Train cautions. “If we're sick, we want to get better.”

7. Myth: We're happy campers. 
Reality: Kind of. We also have more anxiety and depression, and want to hear more about mental health.

Train, who sits on the board of New York's National Alliance on Mental Illness, says many millennials felt pressure to perform at an early age.

As a result, they aren't just more prone to mental illness — they're more open to hearing about it. “They want to talk about behavioral health, stress, and suicide prevention. They want to talk about peer-support groups,” he says.

8. Myth: We're shallow readers. 
Reality: We're super-searchers.

“There's an ongoing misconception that because millennials are, on the whole, healthy, they're not well-informed about their diagnoses or about health insurance,” says Rebecca Kaplan, 31, public affairs and social media manager of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. But with a chronic and complicated illness such as inflammatory bowel disease, they quickly become experts, both in filing insurance claims and reading up on the disease.

“Reaching them better means using the right mode of communication, including social media, podcasts, blogs, and more newsy approaches,” Kaplan says.

Wexler agrees, adding, “Google is our best friend. We are beyond taking a pill just because the doctor suggests it. We're going to find lots of information before we make decisions.”

See also: What millennial women expect in the workplace

9. Myth: We love brands with a heart.
Reality: We do. But we also know when you're full of crap.

This generation invented the Pinocchio emoji for good reason. When companies such as Pfizer try to paint themselves as benevolent corporate citizens for “donating” pneumonia vaccines in developing countries, millennials are quick to call BS.

Through social media and their preferred news sources, Train notes, millennials learn “what Doctors Without Borders is saying about [Pfizer's] pricing practices. So don't try to tell us you're the good guys.”

10. Myth: Millennial patient groups are angry, demanding, and unrealistic. 
Reality: We just want to be part of the conversation.

Wexler, with some 10,000 followers across social media, says many marketers believe patient communities are made up of “people who want a cure for their disease yesterday, or expect to get drugs for free.

While that may be true of some, Wexler believes “for the most part, we're realists. We understand Rome wasn't built in a day and that it takes a long time for drugs to be developed, tested, and approved. We just want the patient voice to be heard. We want to be treated as humans — and to feel better.”

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Top 5 Social Media Networking Sites For Doctors And Patients

Top 5 Social Media Networking Sites For Doctors And Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

While most doctors and other healthcare professionals have little time to regularly check and update social media accounts, it’s the digital platform where most of their patients search for a diverse range of health-relation information. Participating in online social conversations with peers and patients is critical to modern medical success, both in terms of educating people and promoting practices. As a healthcare provider, or even a patient, you need to find and share information online, get to know about public opinions and observations, and find solutions for health issues and ailments. Lucky for you, there are a number of websites and app created for the masses to share general or specifically healthcare-related information. Here are some suggestions: 1. Facebook The social networking website is more than just an online application for the public to share everyday posts, images and videos. It has a treasure of information for people in the healthcare industry too. Many healthcare providers use for desktop and mobile Facebook to connect with potential and current patients. RSS.Bitcoin Daily Bitcoin videos twitter However, since the website has limited guidelines about specific healthcare fields, healthcare providers and patients need to proceed with caution when sharing information, so as to not violate HIPAA rules and regulations. 2. LinkedIn Groups One of the leading websites for organizations and employers to find talented candidates, and professionals to seek out a great position in their industry, LinkedIn has social tools to cater to healthcare professionals. Doctors, nurses, physicians and other healthcare providers can become members of niche groups for job searching, joining discussions, networking and marketing. 3. Healthguv A recent innovation venture that that information-sharing and social media tools specifically related to healthcare, Healthguv can be used by people all around the world. The healthcare social networking site enabled its registered users to create profiles, through which they can create and post healthcare articles, blogs, news, images and videos. They can also discover and learn from content shared by other users. The website also enables medical providers and companies to promote their practices and products in a more personalized way, and assist patients with queries through chats and, messages. Users can also control which parts of their profile and shared content to keep public or private. 4. AllNurses Nursing students and nurses looking to discover job listings, articles, forums and more can join AllNurses. The site enables registered members to share information on a password-protected system. 5. MomMD Female physicians and other healthcare providers can join in on the discussion forums and explore the website’s job board to find suitable positions in various healthcare sectors. The users can also compare salaries, and raise and spread information about healthcare related issues faced by the female population. These social platforms consist of user-friendly features, and some have immense databases of information that cannot be found on conventional medical websites. However, it’s important to know that social media can be a tricky domain for first-time healthcare users; you must remain aware of each site’s security and privacy guidelines and regulations.

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The Top Trending Dental Social Media Marketing Ideas

The Top Trending Dental Social Media Marketing Ideas | Social Media and Healthcare |

Building a dental practice and keeping your patients happy can be a huge job. We all know that digital marketing tools can make life easier.

By using digital content like blog posts, or focusing on customer reviews, you can build your brand. Local patients will boost your word-of-mouth business and you can focus on practising dentistry.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. The blessing and the curse of digital marketing is that it happens so fast.

Yesterday’s tools are today’s junk.

You need to be focusing on dental Social Media Marketing ideas for your digital campaigns to remain effective.

If not, you may fail to reach the patients you want. We can help.

Here’s why you need Social Media as part of your strategy:

Dental Social Media Marketing Ideas Work

Many dentists know that the way to boost business and establish the foundation for a successful practice is by increasing your word of mouth referrals.

Social Media takes that same concept and allows you to accelerate the process with digital content and targeted advertising.

Since more than 90 percent of all people say referrals (or earned media) are their preferred form of advertising, you can cater to their needs.

Social Media is where you enable endorsements, community presence, and add a boost to your digital content strategies. You’ll increase revenue and have a marketing strategy that is measurable every step of the way.

We know the trends aren’t always easy to follow. After all, you have a dental practice to run.

And when you and your staff finally pin down a digital marketing technique, something new comes along and changes the rules.

But if you master this list you’ll be on top of the trends this year. Here’s how to make the most of dental Social Media marketing ideas:

1. Make It Mobile

Too many dental practices still have it backwards when it comes to mobile. They plan their marketing strategy for desktop users and then reverse engineer the content for mobile platforms.

This is true for every aspect of digital marketing. But especially when it comes to Social Media marketing ideas, it’s time to shift the paradigm.

It’s simple: Your current and potential patients depend on mobile for all of their content.

If you start on the desktop you are working against yourself. Mobile is your patient’s first priority.

Mobile needs to be your first priority too.

Facebook reports that 80 percent of their new ad revenue is from mobile campaigns. This is true because business owners understand that the majority of users get their information from mobile platforms now.

Whether they are using smartphones or iPads, your current and potential patients want access on mobile platforms. You won’t just be designing your dental Social Media marketing ideas around their preferences, though.

What better place to leverage Social Media than on mobile devices? The connection between communication and the personal touch is strongest when it’s made on Social Media.

Mobile technology is hardly a trend. But designing for mobile first and desktop second is.

2. Focus On Social Messaging

It’s not enough to limit your practice to the Social Media side of digital content. Investing in social messaging is one of the most effective trends to follow this year.

Many dental practices aren’t aware of the incredible reach of social messaging. Did you know that WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat together have more users than the big networks?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are second place to the Social Messaging apps.

Social Messaging can be a great component of your digital marketing strategy. Don’t be a latecomer to the party with this mode of connection.

Dental Social Media marketing ideas work hand in hand with social messaging. You can connect users, leverage reviews, and deploy targeted ads as well.

3. Be Social With Video

Mobile video traffic is projected to grow by 50 percent annually between now and 2022. If your digital marketing content creation strategy doesn’t include video yet it’s time to start.

Your patients don’t just want mobile content. They want video, too.

Plus, video is a great way to connect socially. You can post reviews, procedures, case studies, community events, and more.

There is no limit to the ways video content can help you build your brand and connect with new patients. In terms of dental Social Media marketing ideas, video content works because it also encourages engagement with your content.

Engaged patients are likely to be moved to action. Plus, if they like your Social Media content they are more apt to share it.

You can watch your referrals soar. But the content isn’t the only reason to get moving with video.

You’ll have access to other networks.

YouTube is a Social Media community.

Many dentists don’t think of YouTube as a Social Media community. But it’s designed is for users to share personal content, respond, and connect.  It’s actually the original platform for video users in a Social Media setting. Plus, YouTube is the second most visited site in the world.

We see too many dental practices fall short with their dental Social Media marketing ideas. They use one or two but fail to see the impact.

For instance, they focus on SEO away from a Social Media strategy. But YouTube isn’t just a popular site.

It’s also the second largest search engine in the world. YouTube processes over 3 million searches a month.

By using video content as a key dental Social Media marketing idea you will have the benefit of boosting SEO and engagement while reaching more web users with popular content.

4. Get Live

Don’t just focus on video content this year. Focus on Live Video content if you want the best in dental Social Media marketing ideas.

Live content is taking off in popularity. Facebook has made huge investments in the technology which can help you reach new and existing patients.

Their approach allows for targeted ads inside Live Video content.

But Facebook is not alone. Snap, Twitter, and Instagram have all expanded their offerings and are investing in Live Video technology. Much like video content and mobile access, Live Video is what users want. With increasing distrust of mass media, Live Video allows users to connect in real time.

You can use this video in the same way. Promote a new special or connect with your followers in social and friendly ways.

Just like your other content strategies, Live Video stands ready to build your brand.

5. Be Professional

When it comes to dental Social Media marketing ideas, you’ll need to consider your platform as well as your brand. You will find you use Facebook very differently than you use Instagram.

But LinkedIn is a Social Media platform many practices ignore. They don’t remember that the branding of LinkedIn makes it a unique forum to promote expertise and professionalism.

Your dental Social Media marketing ideas can benefit from LinkedIn because you can integrate this platform with your overall strategy.

How is a platform we’ve all heard of a trend for 2017? Simply put, Microsoft’s purchase of the Social Media platform has changed things for the better.

Make sure you are being professional in a way that relates to your patients by using LinkedIn this year.

6. Invest In Targeted Ads

Targeted ads are nothing new for Social Media. But the ability to link to return on investment is becoming more and more effective.

If you think of advertising on Social Media something like placing an ad in a local magazine, it’s time to reassess your strategy.

Targeted ads need to be utilized alongside the dental Social Media marketing ideas you deploy across different platforms.

As mentioned above, this can include Live Video and Social Messaging. But you should also pay attention to return on investment (ROI) and SEO.

If you are investing the right way for your practice you should tie each campaign back to results. New dental Social Media marketing ideas include getting incredibly precise in both your targeting as well as your returns.

Social Media marketing allows for this investment to be measurable and direct.

7. Boost Reviews

Reviews are just becoming a larger trend because of their ability to boost other aspects of your dental Social Media marketing ideas. Reviews aren’t new. But using them as an SEO strategy and a way to promote content and sharing on Social Media is.

Done correctly, you can increase reviews and referrals by leveraging your Social Media strategy.

All of this should be done in an integrated approach.

8. An Integrated Approach

Each of these trends is useful when taken separately. But when combined, the effects are exponential.

Integrating your Social Media strategy with Live Video, reviews, video content, and reviews will propel your website upwards in the search results. Unfortunately, when it comes to Social Media trends, it’s hard to stay on top of things. Plus, unless you combine these ideas you are missing out on the results.

You may even watch your competitors do less work for more returns.

Don’t lose your competitive edge when it comes to the latest dental Social Media marketing ideas.

We can help. Dominate Dental creates and deploys successful digital marketing campaigns that include an integrated Social Media strategy.

Don’t wait. Keep focused on your core business.

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Plastic surgeons sharing procedures on social media raises ethical concerns

Plastic surgeons sharing procedures on social media raises ethical concerns | Social Media and Healthcare |

Plastic surgeons have been advertising their services for years with before and after photos.

Since May 2016, Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Martin Jugenburg has been using his Instagram account to increase business by showing the steps in-between.

Jugenburg, whose Instagram handle is @realdrsix, shares videos and photos of liposuction, breast augmentations and the increasingly popular Brazilian butt lifts in grisly detail on his Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

Read more: Millennials using Botox to stay young looking, plastic surgeons say

He has almost 74,000 followers on Instagram — and 80,000 on Snapchat. Many of them post comments on his photos and videos and, more importantly, reach out to him with their questions.

Jugenburg says he is providing an educational tool. But critics are concerned that viewers and potential patients may not be getting a full picture of the risks involved with plastic surgery and worry online postings could easily cross ethical lines.

“My goal is to educate the public, and make my patients better understand what they are getting into,” said Jugenburg, who believes seeing real plastic surgeons at work on Instagram is far less dangerous than watching non-qualified people at work.

“I see social media as the new Discovery Channel or TLC,” Jugenburg said. “Millennials don’t watch TV anymore. They are online.”

Jugenburg isn’t the only plastic surgeon to operate on social media, but he was the first Canadian to do so and he has the largest following among Canadian plastic surgeons.

The videos can be jarring and hard to watch at first. On the lower end of the ick spectrum is seeing the fat collected from liposuction. Higher up is seeing kilograms of flesh removed from tummy tucks weighed on a scale. Higher still is seeing the inside of a breast during lift surgery while the nipple is still in place.

If you can get past the ick factor, it’s educational and informative, said Tania Isnor, a 32-year-old mother of two, who watched Jugenburg’s videos of breast lifts before going to him for the same procedure as well as implants in November.

“The first or second time that I saw it I was like, ‘Whoa! That’s a lot,’ but then it kind of grew on me and became more interesting,” said Isnor, adding that one of the main reasons she chose Jugenburg was his social media presence.

“He shows exactly what’s happening, so I knew when I went into surgery what they were doing, so there were no surprises,” she said.

Isnor gave Jugenburg consent to share her procedure on social media to inform others about what the surgery entails.

“I told all my girlfriends I’ll be on Snap and Insta. This is the time. This is the day. So they all watched,” she said. The video was very technical, with Jugenburg explaining everything as he did it. He shared her before and after photos in his Instagram and Snapchat stories.

A recent study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found plastic surgeons who are eligible to be members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery created almost 18 per cent of the top posts on Instagram with hashtags related to plastic surgery. The rest were by doctors not trained in plastic surgery and people who aren’t doctors at all, but offering services they’re not necessarily trained to do.

The study also found certified plastic surgeons were much more likely to post educational content under the hashtags than nonplastic surgeons.

Dr. Giancarlo McEvenue, a plastic surgeon at the McLean Clinic in Mississauga who also posts surgeries on his Instagram accounts, wrote a paper about social media activity among Canadian plastic surgeons in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

He chose the topic because “no one knew what plastic surgeons were actually doing online,” he said.

McEvenue found plastic surgeons typically do not have a strong online presence and thinks that is disconcerting.

“I think it’s important for plastic surgeons to be leaders online in social media because we have the education and the expertise to inform patients correctly,” he said. “If we’re not going to do it, other people will, and it may put people in danger because of misinformation out there.”

Though the social media content is popular amongst patients and prospective patients, it can be an ethical grey area.

Not only do doctors need a patient’s consent to share photos online — even when taking care to cover identifying features such as faces and tattoos — there are concerns that surgeons may misrepresent their results by altering photos and not explain the risks of surgery thoroughly.

When it comes to sharing surgeries, McEvenue asks patients to sign a disclaimer. “Once something has been posted online in any format there’s no guarantee of privacy,” he said.

Regarding representation, Karyn Wagner, the executive director of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the organization’s code of ethics states that members are not allowed to give deceptive or misleading information, which includes before and after photos or images of patients “with different light, poses or photographic techniques to misrepresent the results achieved by the individual.”

But this can be hard to police.

The society does not have a section specifically addressing conduct on social media, nor does it have any plans to, Wagner said.

Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said it’s hard to know if all the stipulations plastic surgeons are required to follow are being met.

“Anything with before and after pictures where there’s any alteration of the photographs or the lighting or anything else would be considered unethical,” he said. “I’m not saying there is, but I wouldn’t know either.”

Neither do the doctors’ followers — they just have to hope the doctors are acting ethically.

As does the Society of Plastic Surgeons, which does not monitor its members’ postings on social media to see if they follow the ethics code, Wagner said.

However, Bowman also believes that social media can help to educate patients.

“I do think the strength of it is the amount of detail you get as to exactly what goes on in the procedure, but I wouldn’t say that’s full-informed consent because you don’t see what the risks could possibly be or the range of outcomes.”

In conventional medicine he would see “a whole lot of red flags,” in terms of the self-promotion by doctors and hard-to-find information on risk and benefits, he said. But the defence of that is the culture of plastic surgery — a very visual specialty — is so radically different, he added.

McEvenue agrees.

“We’re not dealing with sick people, we’re dealing with healthy people that are concerned with beauty,” he said. “So, we’re in a grey area of the fashion industry and medicine.”

The phenomena of sharing videos of surgeries on social media began with Dr. Michael Salzhauer, better known as Dr. Miami, an American plastic surgeon who has been sharing videos and pictures of procedures on Instagram since 2014. His two Instagram accounts combined have more than one million followers and his Snapchat account has around two million with an average daily viewership of up to one million, he said in an email.

His popularity on social media even snagged him an unscripted TV show called Dr. Miami.

“I started doing it to show my prospective patients and their families how plastic surgery works,” he said.

“It is the very best way to provide ‘informed consent.’ If a patient is able to see how an actual tummy tuck is performed, they are in a better position to decide if it is right for them. In addition, there are thousands of students that watch and are able to learn more about medicine, surgery and anatomy.”

One of McEvenue’s Instagram accounts, @topsurgery, has become a hub for his transgender patients to discuss their experience with each other.

“They’ve actually created a whole community on that page where they love being posted and talk to each other on the account and make friends and they’re all very supportive of each other,” he said.

Many of the same millennial-age patients ask to have their surgery recorded on their iPhones and shared on his Instagram account dedicated to the procedure, McEvenue added.

“In the future, probably we’ll have somebody full-time filming because it’s what patients want,” he said.

And it isn’t just millennials who’re flocking to social media for their plastic and cosmetic surgery research.

Sonia Totten, a 42-year-old nurse from Mississauga, chose Jugenburg to do her lower blepharoplasty (eyelids) in large part because she’d watched him operate on social media. She consented to broadcasting her surgery live on Snapchat and Instagram so that other people could learn.

During her surgery, her husband, Jason, who is also a nurse, could watch the procedure live on Snapchat.

“I was able to get instant updates on how my wife was doing and how everything was going in the surgery,” he said. “It was amazing.”

Though he was nervous, seeing his wife was comfortable and knowing everything was going fine helped, he said.

When the couple got home, they watched the procedure together.

“It just put my mind at ease,” said Totten of Jugenburg’s technique and professional demeanour. “It actually comforted me after and I was appreciative for that.”

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Responding to online complaints from patients 

Responding to online complaints from patients  | Social Media and Healthcare |

It is always difficult to receive criticism from a patient, but it can be even harder when that criticism is made publicly.

The increasing use of social media and online reviews has made it easier for patients to comment publicly on the care they receive. Often the comments are positive, but sometimes they are inaccurate, unfair, or misleading. This can be very frustrating especially when the feedback is made anonymously, or if patient confidentiality prevents you from putting the record straight.


The issue of confidentiality is an important one. In its guide Confidentiality - responding to criticism in the media the GMC says that you should usually limit your public response to an explanation of your legal and professional duty of confidentiality.

However, the GMC recognises that social media discussions might cause patients to be concerned about your practice. In such cases, it may be appropriate to give general information about your normal practice.

‘You must be careful not to reveal personal information about a patient, or to give an account of their care, without their consent,’ the guidance says. ‘If you deny allegations that appear in public media, you must be careful not to reveal, directly or by omission or inference, any more personal information about the patient than a simple denial demands.’

Responding to online comments

Practices need to be ready to deal with online criticism, and should use it as an opportunity to demonstrate that they take concerns seriously and want to improve the care they provide patients. A good response will reflect well on the practice, and will help counter-balance the negative remarks that have been made.

What you say in your online response is as important, if not more so, than the comments that patients have made about you. The GMC says that disputes between patients and doctors conducted in public can prolong or intensify conflict and may undermine public confidence in the profession, even if they do not involve the disclosure of personal information without consent.

So how should you respond when a patient has made negative comments about you or your practice online? A professional response will come across well to any others who may read the comments, and is the best way to try to resolve the patient’s concerns as swiftly as possible. Here are five steps that will help you to post a good reply:

  1. A quick response is important, although try to make sure that the reply is calm, measured and not written in haste. A knee-jerk reaction may just inflame the situation further.
  2. Thank the patient for their comments, acknowledge the specific concerns they have raised, and apologise if appropriate.
  3. Explain that you take all concerns very seriously, and that you will investigate the matter further.
  4. Invite the patient to contact you, giving them specific contact details to arrange a telephone call or meeting. Consider using your complaints procedure to deal with any expressions of dissatisfaction.
  5. Bear in mind your duty of confidentiality and do not disclose any personal information.

Finally, ask for advice from your medical defence organisation if you consider it may be necessary to have offending posts removed or to seek legal redress.

  • Dr Marika Davies is senior medicolegal adviser at Medical Protection
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How to Use the Healthcare Hashtag Project to Disseminate Research

How to Use the Healthcare Hashtag Project to Disseminate Research | Social Media and Healthcare |

You’ve done the work, now you probably want others to know about it, right? Sure, you could go shout about it from the rooftops, but there’s an easier alternative that doesn’t require ladders or shouting. Many people are turning to social media to share and seek health information, and using the appropriate hashtag when you post about your research can make that information more visible to the general public, as well as fellow researchers. 

Why hashtags?

Tagging tweets and other social media posts not only make you feel “hip” but they actually help others find the cool stuff you’re sharing. If you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone. In fact, you don’t even have to be a social media expert to join the online conversations. Think about the broader categories your research might fit into, as well as very specific subgroups.

Enter: Healthcare Hashtags! Yay!

Healthcare Hashtag Project is a free open platform for patients, caregivers, advocates, doctors and other providers that connects them to relevant conversations and communities.

Search for the most relevant and popular hashtags related to the info you are sharing. Look, for example, at #HeartHealth and you’ll find the related hashtags, recent Tweets, as well as the key influencers for that particular hashtag trend. This provides a quick overview of what’s happening in that world, who’s involved in the conversation, and other hashtags you might find useful. 

How can YOU benefit from this?

Say you are trying to disseminate all your breaking research findings to the community of people who might benefit from your work. Using Healthcare Hashtags you can find the most relevant hashtags to include in your post so that you can easily join in current conversations and increase the visibility of your research, share your knowledge and passion, and even connect you to other researchers in that field as well as community health organizations or other emerging leaders who might take interest in the work you are sharing. 

In addition to posting, there often are engaging Twitter conversations you might be inclined to join to either share your knowledge or learn about others working in your specialty or a related field. Hashtags are also used to highlight topical Tweet ChatsConferences, and Ontologies.



  1. Prepare your Tweet or other social media message.

  2. Visit the Healthcare Hashtag Project website and search for hashtags related to your work. Refine your selection based on relevancy and popularity.

  3. Tag your post with the top 2-3 hashtags and then publish to the social media platform of your choice.

You can reverse the order of steps 1 and 2 by visiting Healthcare Hashtag Project to see what’s trending, then find a way to join the conversation by sharing your related information using that hashtag.

PRO TIP: Before using ANY hashtag, do a quick Twitter search to preview what’s happening in that world. No one wants to inadvertently tag their research tweets with something that will deliver questionable search results.

Have any other Twitter tips? Share them in the comments, or BE BOLD and write a post about how you are using social media in your research world!

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Solutionreach Top 10: Tips to Create a Dynamic Patient Experience

Solutionreach Top 10: Tips to Create a Dynamic Patient Experience | Social Media and Healthcare |

Every provider understands that their patients live life in the fast lane. With the endless demands we all face, it is no surprise that scheduled appointments are sometimes missed. To keep up with the dynamic lifestyles of their patients, providers need to make sure that their practice adds as little stress to their patients' lives as possible. From scheduling to check-in, here are 10 simple ways that every provider can make their patient processes more dynamic.

  1. Use your social media platforms to keep patients updated on your active business hours. Is a holiday coming up? A simple event on Facebook stating that your practice will be closed will do the trick. You can also use a fun graphic to post on the main feed of every platform your practice is using.
  2. Don’t leave your patients hanging. Even if your office is not open (or if you're simply away from the phone), make sure you have a voicemail, automated messaging, or an auto response available with information that includes why you are not available, and when you will be again. This seems so simple, but taking a moment to set up an automated message with this information shows your patients how much you care.
  3. Educate your patients when not in the office. Posting on your social media or using your newsletters to share helpful information on a variety of subjects is a great way to build a relationship with your patients and maintain contact with them between visits. This helpful information, like when is best to come in to see a provider during flu season, can help your patients by not wasting their time.
  4. Prepare them for the visit. Using your newsletter, practice blog, or Facebook page, post a “What to Expect” article where you can walk your patients through your office check-in process. Knowing ahead of time what to expect the minute they walk through the door is going the extra mile to ease their stressful lives, and also helps to make sure they bring everything they would need.
  5. Give them a friendly face. Using your newsletter, social media, or even a fun Facebook Live video, introduce your patients to your office staff. By sharing smiling photos of the office staff, patients can feel more relaxed and comfortable coming into the office and finding a familiar face to help them.
  6. Create a community. By sending a monthly newsletter, regularly posting on social media and/or apractice blog, a provider can create a community through educational information, sharing tips, and celebrating milestones and birthdays with their patients. When patients feel that they are part of a community, they are comfortable and more at ease to be open to communicate.
  7. Don’t hesitate to try digital. No one likes to feel sick and then spend time filling out patient information sheets or updates during the check-in process. Speed things up by sending these to the patient ahead of time to fill out online, or print and fill out, and bring in with them.
  8. Send personalized automated reminders of scheduled appointments. By making your reminders automated and personal, it shows patients that providers are invested in their care, in making sure that their needs are being met.
  9. Create a warm office environment. Use seasonal decor and cater your waiting room to match your patients, not the wall treatment, to help your practice set your patients at ease.
  10. Greet your patients. Knowing your patients by name and saying hello when you see them during their check-in process is a great way to build and maintain relationships between providers and patients.


Keeping patients updated on office hours, providing a warm office waiting area, and greeting patients by name may seem like insignificant or small things but they can really help patients feel that they are a priority and ease the stress of seeing a provider. A patient’s experience is important, to read more about how you can help your patients have the best experience in your office check out our free checklist, "7 Research-Backed Steps to a Patient-Friendly Office."

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My other doctor is a search engine - Kantar

My other doctor is a search engine - Kantar | Social Media and Healthcare |

The patient journey starts with an online search.

Pharma companies and health marketers looking to make the most of their ad spending need to find ways to engage patients who are doing their own research before heading to the doctor. The patient journey is often starting with an online search, and pharma companies looking to maintain an edge will need to gain a better understanding of exactly how they're researching health and wellness topics.

According to Kantar Media’s 2017 MARS Consumer Health Study, 55% of U.S. consumers value search engine results as a source of health information. 1 in 4 consumers say they have looked for information about a health condition or have researched symptoms online within the past month. Moreover, nearly 1 in 5 say they have read reviews about doctors, looked for doctors, healthcare facilities or scheduled an appointment with a healthcare professional online.

Many patients are researching their symptoms online before or after they visit the doctor’s office:

The value consumers ascribe to online sources of health information (e.g., health-related websites, blogs, etc.) is not far behind how they value their doctor:

And compared to two years ago, patients are increasingly valuing online sources:

Impact of Health Advertising

When consumers go online before seeing their doctor, it’s good news for pharma marketers and advertisers. Patients conducting research prior to a doctor’s appointment are 35% more likely than the average adult to ask their doctors for drugs they see in DTC ads. They are more knowledgeable and in control of their health and report feeling more positive attitudes toward healthcare advertising than the average adult:

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Nearly All US Hospitals Use Social Media. Now What?

Nearly All US Hospitals Use Social Media. Now What? | Social Media and Healthcare |

Virtually all US hospitals now have a social media presence, with widespread adoption having increased significantly in the past few years. But a recent study suggests that hospitals are continuing to search how best to realize a meaningful purpose and payoff from social media (SM).

“This dramatic increase in social media use may show the increasing value of social media to hospitals to potentially improve market share, engage with patients, increase profitability, or advance their missions in health and healthcare,” according to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR).

The question for marketing executives is: Is your social media program producing meaningful and measurable results?

Who’s using what SM platforms?

The picture of social media use that appears from the data paints a nearly universal awareness that social media in general is a useful conduit. But of the dozens of SM platforms, there are four that top the list.

“Of the total 3,371 US hospitals identified, the adoption of social media websites varied across platforms, with:

  • 3,351 (99.41%) having a Facebook account
  • 3,351 (99.41%) having a Foursquare account
  • 3,342 (99.14%) having a Yelp account
  • 1,713 (50.82%) having a Twitter account

“Overall, 1,699 (50.40%) hospitals had accounts on all four platforms. Few hospitals (42/3371, 1.25%) used just one or two types of social media platform. Large, urban, private nonprofit, and teaching hospitals were more likely to have higher utilization of these accounts,” the study says.

Study: Maps of social media utilization for hospitals

Social media has aim points, but may or may not be hitting the target…

“The relationships between hospital-associated social media activity, patient choices, clinical processes and outcomes, and hospital profit margins are unknown and almost certainly evolving rapidly.

“At the same time, it has become increasingly critical to find effective ways of communicating with patients outside of clinical settings. Mail and telephone communication channels that dominated the past are being supplemented or replaced by new media channels, and this is occurring faster in some demographic segments and hospitals than others.”

National survey data, such as the study from JMIR [available here], provides a useful overview. But an investment in social media requires meaningful information about local results. SM goals, and the measure of return, need to be connected to meaningful business information:

  • Increased revenue or growth
  • Reduced costs or expenses
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction

Although, as this study shows, most hospitals have now adopted at least one social media platform. And, depending on marketing considerations, the utilization of social media varies. For most, social media has yet to deliver to its full potential.

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