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How Digital Advertising Helps Clinical Trials Recruit Elderly Patients

How Digital Advertising Helps Clinical Trials Recruit Elderly Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

The clinical trial community still believes that older patients aren’t online — here are some facts and figures to help dispel that myth.

In my experience, one of the biggest misconceptions among clinical trial sponsors and CROs is that older patient demographics aren’t online. As a result, they continue to rely heavily on traditional media for patient recruitment with the assumption that it’s the best way to reach their target audience. However, as tech adoption increases and consumer habits shift, digital marketing has become an increasingly viable and cost-effective way to reach older patients and improve enrollment outcomes. Here’s why.

Yes, Millennials and Gen X Still Dominate Digital Media Consumption…

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are still the most active generation on digital media platforms. 96% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 use the internet, according to Pew Research. Close behind is the 30-49 age group, 93% of whom are internet-connected. So of course these patient demographics are ideal targets for digital recruitment campaigns.

In fact, according to a recent Makovsky report, Millennials are more receptive to online ads from pharmaceutical companies than any other generation (51% of them, versus 36% of Gen Xers), and are also more likely to click the first link in a health-related search (this is critical for PPC campaigns). They’re also 35% more likely to trust pharma-led social media campaigns than those over 66, according to separate Makovsky research.

...But Older Patients Are Online Too!

While younger people are certainly the most digitally active, the argument that Millennials are the only group worth targeting online is no longer valid.

According to eMarketer, 63.7% of Baby Boomers over the age of 66 are active internet users, and that segment is growing rapidly. Already, Pew reports that more than 50% of those aged 50-64 (a 57% increase since 2009) and 77% of those aged 30-49 use social media on a regular basis. By the end of 2017, 51% of consumers over the age of 65 will be active on one or more social media platforms.

While adoption might not be as widespread as it is among Millennials, older generations have a significant online presence and are just as likely (60%) to share content on Facebook, according to AdWeek. In fact, the demographic that spends the most time consuming digital content per week is the Baby Boomer generation. Even more interestingly, these older users are actively relying on the internet to manage their personal healthcare needs. According to Accenture, searching for health-related information is the number one reason that seniors go online: 58% of those 65 and older, and 71% of those 50-64 currently use the internet for exactly this purpose.

Seniors Need to Be Connected with Clinical Research Opportunities

According to Advisory Board, spending on wellness services by those 65 and older could rise from $200 million all the way to $1 trillion by 2024. Moreover, 62% of Baby Boomers currently have at least one chronic health condition related to obesity, while it’s predicted that 60% will have multiple obesity-related complications by 2030. In other words, it’s this patient demographic that will likely have the greatest need for new treatments in the near future — especially in key areas like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

As tech adoption among older patient demographics continues to soar in the coming years, clinical trials will need to expand their marketing approach accordingly. Traditional media and referrals will still play an important role in recruitment, but in the future, enrollment outcomes will largely upon the quality of your digital marketing efforts — regardless of when your target patients were born.

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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, 12:29 PM
Being active on Social media can really help your company.
rob halkes's curator insight, September 15, 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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Grow your patient base in a competitive market

Grow your patient base in a competitive market | Social Media and Healthcare |

If it seems to you that dentistry is more competitive than ever, you’re right. The rise in the number of dental school graduates equates to more dentists in both group and solo practices in your local area. And that means more choices for consumers, who are becoming even more discerning and have the digital tools to do so.

How, then, does a practice grow and retain its patient base when the competition is fierce? By creating plans and making purposeful decisions in two areas of focus: being found by consumers and improving the patient experience.

Getting found online

A modern, well-functioning website is essential. Too many times, once a site is launched, it isn’t updated for years. Even if the practice’s service offerings don’t change, the site should evolve with the ways in which busy consumers read and make decisions.
Make it quick and easy for them to see the value of your practice’s services while helping Google algorithms index relevant information from your site. A few guidelines include:

  • Don’t overwhelm the reader with content; keep information scannable.
  • Limit topics to one per webpage with the exception of your home page.
  • Use friendly plain speak, rather than dentistry jargon, for procedures.
  • Keep content fresh through friendly “meet the team” pages and blogrolls; a blogroll is a list of helpful links.
  • Highlight your team’s personality and specialized expertise.

And while “exceptional service” is something most practices pride themselves on, be sure to spotlight the areas that make your location stand out. Your unique selling proposition may be flexible financing options, evening and weekend appointments, a relaxing atmosphere or specialty treatments — and that may be just the thing your potential patients are seeking.

Connecting to consumers

Also consider how those patients are finding your site in the first place. Often it’s through social media channels and online reviews. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to stake your office on Yelp, Facebook, Healthgrades and Google My Business. These free-to-use platforms have significant reach, and this matters because even if you aren’t active online, people are still talking about you. It’s much better to see the reviews you’re receiving than to have an unchecked perception of the experience in your practice. Once you have a digital “home,” you can more easily receive feedback and share the great work that you do.

When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just five percent of American adults used at least one social media platform. By 2011, that number had risen to half of all Americans, and today 69 percent engage with some type of social media. Therefore, a healthy marketing mix that includes informed social media participation is key to increasing your reach.

As a marketing advisor at TDSC, I see firsthand how the social media training our Practice Management member-clients receive helps them navigate the channels with confidence so they can be authentic and effective online. But every practice should invest time in getting social media plans organized.

Once you’ve claimed your pages and ensured that the core information about your practice is up to date, create a content calendar. That way, you can delegate the responsibility of social media to a trusted team member. Just a few hours per month spent scheduling posts in advance, checking notifications and responding to messages can yield positive results.

One of the best ways I’ve seen to improve online engagement is through video. You can use video to provide a virtual office tour, explain a procedure or share testimonials. The more you can show instead of tell, the more your site and your social channels will shine. And by linking testimonials back to your reviews on Yelp or Healthgrades, you’ll give potential patients a real view of the experience they can expect.

Delivering service excellence

Now, once those patients are attracted to your practice, it’s your job to convert them into lifelong patients! That exceptional service we want them to read and write about online is supported by patient-focused moments from the initial scheduling call through case acceptance and treatment.

Consumers are seeking convenient, customized and engaging experiences online and off. Digitization — from appointment-setting to X-rays and impressions — makes the patient experience faster and more comfortable. Personalization — from warm conversations to celebrating successful treatment outcomes — builds trust and loyalty. Distinguish your practice in a competitive market by leveraging both new digital tools and consistently excellent service.

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Marketing Statistics that Matter to Healthcare 

Marketing Statistics that Matter to Healthcare  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Not to get all marketing nerd on you, but checking out the latest trends and statistics in the industry makes me excited like it's the first day of school. Understanding what's working makes me feel smarter. And watching for the next big thing (is it AR? VR? Little robots that do my job for me?) keeps life interesting, even if I still haven't figured out a way to make Instagram a selling tool for healthcare technology.

The thing about horizontal marketing trends, however, is that some will never apply to healthcare marketing. Either they're not a good fit for patient and consumer privacy, or it's flashy tech that will die out before we figure out how to apply it to healthcare's specific needs and regulations. But a girl can dream!

With this in mind, we've scoured Hubspot's 2017 Marketing Statistics Report to bring you the marketing trends and statistics most relevant to healthcare, ideas that could help improve your healthcare marketing efforts now and into the future.

Conversion Rate Optimization
Turning prospects into paying customers can be difficult, no matter what industry you're in. Only 22% of businesses say they're satisfied with their conversion rates, according to a 2016 survey from Econsultancy, which leaves a lot of room for improvement.

To address conversion concerns, most businesses spend significant time jockeying for position at the top of Google's search rankings. A 2015 report from Advanced Web Ranking found that click-through rates for the top search spot on desktop and mobile garnered 34.36% and 31.35% of total clicks, respectively.

For healthcare organizations, this trend is even more important to conversion success. Healthcare consumers often search for providers and facilities "near me," and when your website and provider directories are optimized for these kinds of searches, your chances at ranking first, second, or third increase. When your ranking goes up, your conversions go up as well.

Social Media Engagement Still Dominates
The writing is on the (Facebook) wall — social media is effective in driving conversions. With 1.13 daily active users, according to a 2016 Statista report, Facebook is one of the best places to engage prospects and existing patients alike. In fact, the Pew Research Center says 43% of Facebook's total user base logs on multiple times a day, making it an excellent platform for reaching consumers.

One way to improve healthcare consumer engagement goals through social media platforms is by posting blog-style content multiple times a month. Research shows that the more you post, the more it drives engagement — Hubspot reports that business-to-consumer companies that posted 11 or more blogs a month saw four times as many leads generated by blogging than businesses that blogged only four to five times a month. Consumers, even healthcare consumers, are hungry for your content.

Once you have a well of on-site content like blog posts and infographics, leverage its merit for futher engagement by sharing across your social channels. Healthcare organizations can easily harness such a social media strategy to bolster and retain their patient population at better rates than traditional search engine ranking alone.

Minimal Time and Energy
Creating and maintaining a social media presence for a healthcare organization might seem like a big job, but the truth is you can see improvement with minimal effort. According to a 2015 Social Media Examiner report, 66% of marketing managers said that all it takes is six hours a week to see results. Think engaging in conversations after a positive review, addressing any negative feedback as directly as possible without violating privacy, and sharing your own or other relevant content with your audience. Add paid social ads or campaigns to drive things like health risk assessments to your organic presence for even more impact.

Not only will maintaining your social media presence translate to higher levels of social media engagement, there are bonus effects as well: 61% of marketers who did invest at least six hours of activity a week into social media marketing saw upticks in their search engine rankings... and so, the circle continues.

The Takeaway
Healthcare marketing may have more nuance than marketing for other industries, but we can still learn from the larger market -- their consumers are our consumers. All marketers have the same challenges with conversion, search ranking, and lean teams that need to accomplish more. So, keeping an eye on the world outside our normally narrow scope can and will help us grow. After all, our healthcare consumers are also the ones helping create the statistics that marketers in other industries base their efforts on.

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How Patients Are Searching for Doctors Online: Make It Easier for Them to Find You 

How Patients Are Searching for Doctors Online: Make It Easier for Them to Find You  | Social Media and Healthcare |

The digital world has infiltrated every facet of our lives, including our health care. Yet, many physicians don’t know how to best compete in this online marketplace. The sheer amount of information on the internet has empowered patients to choose physicians with discretion and change care providers if they don’t have a good experience.

By placing your clinic’s online presence in the same digital spaces that your potential patients occupy, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll choose you for their next appointment.

Help Them Find Their Diagnosis

Patients come into an appointment with a pretty robust working knowledge of all the possible rare tropical diseases they could have and a comprehensive list of all side effects of each potential treatment. How do they have all of this information? They Googled it.

While some people still go straight to their mom, most first enter their symptoms into a search engine or medical-focused portal like WebMD. They investigate all the possible causes of the symptoms, available treatment options, and further advice on what kind of care they should seek. By creating content that answers these questions, you can position yourself as an authority on the subject and build trust with the readers.

Claim Your Listings

Once people have a good idea of what could be wrong with them and what kind of medical care they need, they might not immediately make an appointment. Instead, they may return to search engines to do further research. They search facilities and doctors nearby, check to see which providers are in their insurance network, and read reviews. This chart from Gravitate shows some of the queries people are searching.

Having information about specializations, board certifications, awards, presented papers, and other selling points on your website is useful, but often patients are looking at third-party sites like Healthgrades for reviews from other patients. You only have control over the content of your website, but if you claim your listings on some of these sites, you can update them to have an up-to-date address and phone number, a link to your website, a list of current physicians and specialties, and even responses to negative reviews.

For help claiming your listings or other digital marketing services, contact Search Influence.

Put a Face to Your Practice

When you claim your listings, it’s a good idea to list all of your physicians and some of their basic information. You can also provide detailed bios of each doctor on your website. Yext conducted a study on how people search for physicians and found that 76.3% of patients search for individual providers, while only 29.9% research facilities.

Patients want to feel like a partner in their own healthcare, so finding a physician who is personable, knowledgeable, a good listener, and willing to go out of their way to help the patient is important; a strong doctor-patient relationship may even be favored over a cutting-edge facility if the patient is seeing a different doctor every time or feels more like a lab rat than a person.

By giving information about the people behind your practice, you’ll appear in front of a much wider audience and get conversions through your personality and expertise.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Americans, especially the younger generations, get the majority of their news and information from social media, for good or ill. But even older people use social media to share interesting articles and connect with people who share similar experiences and worldviews. By sharing important and relevant medical information, you can help educate patients and combat misinformation. 

If you consistently share quality content, potential patients will trust you and see you as an authority within your field. While they may not run off and make an appointment immediately, you will be in their minds already the next time they get sick. Social media is also a great way to continue to engage with patients you’ve seen before by responding to comments and questions. This way, they will feel like you still care for them as a person, even after their treatment has ended. Just be sure to maintain patient privacy.

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Digital Health Is A Cultural Transformation Of Traditional Healthcare Through Disruptive Technologies 

Digital Health Is A Cultural Transformation Of Traditional Healthcare Through Disruptive Technologies  | Social Media and Healthcare |

The authors of the paper argue that digital health means a qualitative change on the horizon of healthcare transforming its very nature. And while it comes down to the countless disruptive technological innovations that are flooding the medical field in the last couple of years, the essence of this change is not technological, but cultural.

Technological transitions have taken place in healthcare before, explains the paper, but this is the very first time that they lead to a meaningful transformation of the status quo. When personal computers became widely available in the 1990s, e-health emerged. When such computers could be connected into networks, telemedical services appeared. The rise of social media networks gave space to medicine 2.0 and health 2.0; while penetration of mobile phones and later smartphones summoned mobile health. But from the 2010s, the rate at which disruptive technologies appear is inducing a qualitative change for both the patients and their caregivers.

The paper calls this new phenomenon “digital health”, and define as

the cultural transformation of how disruptive technologies that provide digital and objective data accessible to both caregivers and patients leads to an equal level doctor-patient relationship with shared decision-making and the democratization of care.


The authors describe that the use of technology only leads to better health outcomes if the related cultural challenges are acknowledged and the new needs of patients are met. That’s why we needed this definition – as part of acknowledging the changes around us.

What Will The Future Of Healthcare Look Like?

With the rise of digital technologies, such as artificial narrow intelligence, robotics, virtual reality/augmented reality, telemedicine, 3D-printing, portable diagnostics, health sensors, wearables, etc. the entire structure of healthcare, as well as the roles of patients and doctors, will fundamentally shift from the current status quo.

In the infographics below, I summarized the cornerstones of the coming changes comparing the current, traditional healthcare system, its structure and its roles with the modern healthcare system characterized by digital health.

Digital Health Raises Challenging Questions

The transformation of traditional healthcare leads to some serious ethical considerations and challenges policy-makers in unprecedented ways. Who should have access to health data? Is it lawful if employers or insurers want to gather data from their employees’ direct-to-consumer genetic testing results? What if someone hacks medical devices? How will we deal with medical robots? Whose responsibility will it be if it makes a mistake during surgery? What about gene editing and the possibility of designer babies? Should someone have the chance to pre-plan a human embryo?

Policy-makers, medical professionals and basically every responsible person should contemplate about the possible responses to pressing ethical questions and the challenges digital health means. As the waves of technologies are already flooding patients, the faster the appropriate answers come from the regulatory side, the better for the whole society. The reluctance and lack of incentives for physicians as well as policy-makers in this cultural transformation make patients the leading driving force in initiating changes. Although there are positive examples as the story of the FDA approving an artificial pancreas as the result of the #WeAreNotWaiting movement, individual entrepreneurship skills should not define patients’ health outcomes in the long run.

Medical Professionals & Policy-Makers Should Be The Guiding Lights

No matter how difficult it is, medical professionals and policy-makers should always be one step ahead of technology. They must take up the role of guiding patients through the myriad of digital health technologies – but it is only possible if they are up-to-date and open-minded. On the one hand, they must ensure patients don’t turn to non-proven services or technological solutions, on the other, they must involve patients as partners in designing care and decision making.

As disruptive technologies have the potential of taking away repetitive and monotonous tasks from physicians, they will be able to dedicate their focus to the patients as guides through digital health. Moreover, medical professionals will be able to go back to the very basics of healthcare. They could provide empathy, social care and the human touch which seems to be so scarce in traditional medicine.

iSlimSolutions's comment, October 20, 3:39 AM
good stuff, thank you for posting
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Four Ways to Make Your Patient Portal Findable

Four Ways to Make Your Patient Portal Findable | Social Media and Healthcare |

Here’s a solution: help patients find your portal.

Sounds simple, right? But often the best solutions are hiding in plain sight. If patients cannot find your portal or are unaware of it, they are not going to use it. And yet, as a healthcare consultant, I cannot tell you how many instances I encounter of patient portals hiding in obscure corners of a healthcare system’s digital assets. Granted, patient portals exist behind firewalls. But you can help patients find them by following some fundamental steps:

  • Put your website and physician pages to work. On the home pages of your website and physician pages, offer a prominent “click here to use your patient portal” option. Doing so will capture more eyeballs from your site visitors. And make sure you give patients easy access. It should take only one click for patients to get to your portal.
  • Advertise. Use tools such as Google AdWords and social media advertising to raise awareness for your portal. Tout the portal’s features such as ease of use. Give your portal personality and a brand (e.g., “your 24/7 access center”). Advertising will build more awareness for your portal, and although the tactic is less targeted than, say, promoting your portal on your own website, you’ll be able to promote your portal as a competitive advantage to a broader pool of users.
  • Use email. Especially for established patients who opt into your email communications, you should be touting the benefits of your portal and offering prominent links. Email has the obvious benefit of being very targeted and allowing you more real estate to discuss the value of your portal than an ad or a website tab.
  • Go mobile. Patients who have opted into your mobile-based wellness programs should be reminded to sign up and use their portals with brief notices befitting the nature of mobile (“Sign up for your portal here and manage your health! [link to portal].”
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Top 9 Social Networking Tools that Healthcare Professionals Must Explore

Top 9 Social Networking Tools that Healthcare Professionals Must Explore | Social Media and Healthcare |

In today’s digital world, having a strong social presence for a brand is of utmost priority. The more active businesses are online, the better is their chances to attract new customers and retain the existing one. The benefit of socializing is not limited to customer acquisition or brand awareness only. For busy bees like healthcare professionals, social networking platforms can serve as a forum for sharing and gaining knowledge.

Most of the physicians, nurses and other professionals are active members of several online communities where they get to explore new ideas, channelize their experience and spread knowledge in abundance. Social media is just about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. as most of you might think it. There are many social networking communities primarily meant for healthcare professionals where they get to establish peer-to-peer interaction and sharing of informative content.


#1. Doximity

Operating as a community of U.S. clinicians, Doximity has been helping Physicians, nurse practitioners, PAs and pharmacists in staying connected with each other, expanding their practices and exploring new opportunities. It is an HIPAA-secure medical network directed towards making communication in the healthcare industry a secure, fast and seamless process.

To be a part of this online platform, physicians just require creating an account and enjoy the privilege of interacting with colleagues, receiving alerts on latest medical updates and even earn 1 CME credit by reading journal articles on this site.

Doximity already has more than half a million healthcare professionals as part of its community. If you have not yet joined Doximity yet, then it’s high time you join them as a step towards strengthening your online presence.

#2. Sermo

With over 800,000 verified members, Sermo is a popular social media network exclusively built for physicians from U.S. and other 150 countries. As a platform for honest and frank conversations among doctors globally, Sermo enables its members to interact with their peers and discuss medical cases, share knowledge, ask for help and in the process improve their practices for delivering quality healthcare services.

Being a part of Sermo is like being a part of a knowledge bank. Hence, leveraging this social platform will help you as a physician in improving your practice as well as contributing to the success of others.

#3. QuantiaMD

Transforming the way physicians learn medicine and practice, QuantiaMD has established itself as one such web and mobile community that Physicians found useful when it comes to socializing and exchanging of knowledge.

Through interactive presentations and discussions, QuantiaMD is trying to promote the physician-to-physician teaching and learning process that can help offer better quality care to patients. This collaboration platform has more than 200,000 registered members and is led by medical experts with years of experience who are eagerly waiting to hear from their peers and help them improve.

Be it during a coffee break or between treating patients; you can log into the community and start being part of valuable conversations, go through important medical updates and have a look at tips related to your practice.

#4 .WeMedUp

In an attempt to stimulate the advancement in the field of research and medicine, WeMedUp, an online community for medical professionals was created by physicians. Like any other medical networking platform, WeMedUp too helps its member interact with colleagues, share ideas and experience, conduct and participate in online poll, review case studies, get access to deals related to medical supplies and equipment. But what makes this platform a little unique than the others is its job application feature. Members of this community can also post their resumes and apply for new job opportunities.

#5. Figure 1

With the objective of improving the future of healthcare, Dr. Joshua Landy, Richard Penner, and Gregory Levey led the foundation of Figure 1, an online social networking platform where healthcare professionals from around the world can post medical images and comment on posts shared by others. If you are a physician working in a remote location, this app can help you in getting opinion while treating any rare disorder from your peers located elsewhere.

At present, Figure 1 app and website has more than one million users.

#6. MomMD

Helping women in medicine seek work-life balance, MomMD is a leading online association providing valuable resources, content and medical information to women physicians and medical and premedical students. As a member of this social community, women doctors can discuss healthcare related issues with each other and even compare average salaries.

For all the female physicians, exploring MomMD’s interactive platform is a must.

#7. Allnurses

For peer to peer communication among nurses, allnurses is a great online community providing people in this profession the opportunity to network, share and learn from others in the same field. This nursing social networking site offers a global platform where nurses can socialize with their peers and in the process stay updated with trending topics related to their practice. Not only working professionals but also the nursing students can join this community.

#8. Mayo Clinic Social Media Network

Operating as a collaborative learning community, Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (MCSMN) is providing learning and sharing platform to its members who are professionals working in hospitals, medical providers, caregivers and even patients. Using MCSMN as a networking tool, healthcare professionals can exchange ideas, be alerted on advancements and contribute towards building a healthy world and improving care services.

#9. DoctorsHangout

DoctorsHangout is an online platform where doctors from all over the world can communicate. Being a member of this community will help doctors in sharing their medical knowledge, advance their skills, access online journals, and ultimately expand their social presence in the industry. If as a doctor you are looking to build long lasting professional relationships or establish new contacts then DoctorsHangout is the platform you must explore.

Final Thought

The social networking tools discussed above can add immense value to healthcare practices of physicians and other medical professionals. But, while leveraging these platforms to socialize within the industry, don’t forget to maintain the privacy of patient data as per the rules and regulations set by HIPAA.

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Public Health Pros Use Twitter for Patient Education Messages

Public Health Pros Use Twitter for Patient Education Messages | Social Media and Healthcare |

Public health professionals are using Twitter to spread patient education and informative messages, leveraging the platform to communicate with an otherwise hard-to-reach audience, according to data published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Twitter has emerged as a popular tool for public health professionals because it helps drum up energy around a certain health issue, the research team from the University of Florida wrote.

“Through microblogging, individuals not only share personal mementos, opinions, political information, and news but also promote products and information, thereby raising awareness for causes or charities,” the research team said.

“Research shows that microblogging is powerful in convincing/rallying other individuals because of immediacy, its far reach to individuals around the world, and is seen as credible because it appears in a print format,” researchers continued.

The average Twitter user is fairly young, between ages 18 and 29, the researchers reported. Racial demographics skew slightly toward the majority being African American or Hispanic. Most users also live in urban areas.

READ MORE: How Social Media Can Improve Public Health, Patient Education


Those patient demographics are notoriously difficult to reach, the research team explained. Twitter presents an opportunity to contact those patients where the patients already are.

“Local health departments often tweet information about tobacco cessation resources, events, frequently asked questions about immunizations, and other popular health-related topics,” the team stated. “Twitter has also been used as a means to provide sex education and to promote the use of condoms by tweeting facts on sexual health and information about local clinics that provide free condoms.”

Twitter also holds promise because of its search and reply functions, the team said. Through search, public health officials can look at different regions with high mentions of a certain disease, such as the flu. If one county has a high frequency of flu mentions, the public health official may determine that the county needs more flu shot education next season.

The reply section allows individuals to ask specific questions to public health professionals, and for those professionals to reply back. Those inquiries should be about broad public health topics, and not specific patient queries containing PHI.

An analysis of Twitter use among public health professionals revealed that these experts are using their platforms to disseminate health information.

READ MORE: How Providers Can Address Online Physician Reviews, Social Media


The research team looked through Twitter accounts using the search filters “public health practitioner,” “MHP” (master’s in public health), “public health,” and “APHA” (American Public Health Association). Weeding out inauthentic accounts, official public health institutions, and those with fewer than 300 followers, the team had 15,236 tweets to analyze.

Between those over 15,000 tweets, 23 categories emerged. Health nutrition, conferences, Ebola, the Affordable Care Act, and social justice were the most common categories.

Four content themes also emerged, including educating and informing, monitoring health statuses and trends, social justice, and professional development.

The educating and informing category appeared the most useful and most prevalent, the team said. Public health officials use their platform to explain health concepts and educate patients using lay terms.

“Similar to public health organizations, public health professionals are also using Twitter to inform and educate the public,” the researchers pointed out. “These results are not surprising, as one of the main tenets of public health is to ‘educate and inform.’”

READ MORE: 4 Patient Education Strategies that Drive Patient Activation


Additionally, public health professionals are using their platforms to ensure audiences are properly informed, dispelling misinformation and tackling common public health myths.

“As social media has become a main resource of knowledge for many, so has misinformation,” the researchers lamented. “With the credibility seen in microblogging, it is important for public health professionals with credentials/authority to dispel this misinformation among the public.”

For example, public health professionals were instrumental in combatting misinformation with regard to the Ebola virus.

In addition to general education attempts, public health professionals used their Twitter profiles to offer updates on specific health condition trends in a specific area.

“This also allows public health professionals to take technical research and translate it into 140 characters, or lay terms, for the public to understand and disseminate among their social groups,” the team said.

The researchers also noted the benefit of using embedded links, allowing patients to access more expanded information on a health agency’s website, for example.

The analysis also shed light on public health’s core tenet of social justice. While social justice messages were not effective in driving patient engagement, and did not arm patients with knowledge necessary to better their health, the researchers said it indicated action for health equity.

Twitter offers support for patient education, helping patients to better navigate the healthcare industry and to understand broad-reaching healthcare issues. Additionally, the tool presents an opportunity for public health professionals to advocate for health equity and equal access to treatment.

“Unlike the majority of health organizations, public health professionals’ individual Twitter accounts outside organizations are not monitored by the government, and they are able to disseminate important information to colleagues and the lay population, such as how climate change affects public health, that organizations may not be able to disseminate, despite how critical that information is to the overall public health in the United States,” the researchers concluded.

The team advised that offices lift any social media filters from their computer systems, allowing experts to deliver patient education messages outside the confines of their leisure time.

It should also be noted that social media in healthcare can be a tricky area to navigate. All healthcare professionals should prohibit any inclusion of PHI in any form of social media use, including private direct messages.

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Why Social Media Marketing Is Essential … Even for Orthodontics

Why Social Media Marketing Is Essential … Even for Orthodontics | Social Media and Healthcare |

Are you looking to market your orthodontic practice without spending a fortune? According to recent research, nearly 92 percent of healthcare marketers in 2014 agreed that social media marketing was necessary for their practices, with 80 percent of marketers indicating that social media marketing efforts increased traffic to their websites. What does this mean for your orthodontic practice? Having a strong social media presence is an efficient way to attract new patients and build stronger relationships.

Social networks provide a way to leverage what is unique about your orthodontic practice – strong relationships with patients, team culture and sharing informative content. Not only are social networks an easier and cheaper way to market your practice, but they also help attract new patients and turn existing patients into brand advocates. The key is to create and share informative content on your social media pages. It is not mandatory that everything you share be educational or a special offer, but it should add value to your patients’ lives and encourage them to be a part of your practice.

Social media conversions reveal how modern patients are making their decisions based on other patients’ experiences and opinions. Instead of calling your office, most patients will direct their questions and concerns via social networks. According to Google research, more than 50 percent of Internet activity is driven by social networks. Social media is one of the top Internet activities, and Americans spend more time on social networks than any other Internet activity, including emails.

Regardless of the size of your orthodontic practice, you are missing out on vital opportunities for growth if your practice is not tapping into the power of social media marketing. According to experts, the impact of social media on healthcare-related decisions is startling. Simply put, social networks have transformed the way patients choose their medical providers.

Here are five reasons why every orthodontist needs social media marketing and what it means for your practice:

1. Gain visibility and attract new patients: If your practice does not have a robust online presence in today’s digital world, it might as well not exist for many potential patients. You would not want your office location to be difficult to find or to be far away from the places frequented by potential patients. Similarly, you should not have your practice’s online presence be compromised, or separate from the online sites frequented by potential patients. You should have an updated and easy-to-navigate website. You must be sure to establish links between your website and social media networks. More traffic to and from your social media profiles means new patient opportunities. The more people see your practice online, the quicker they will be to contact your office.

2. Build credibility and improve online reputation: Potential patients use the Internet in a variety of ways while searching for healthcare providers. Most patients use search engines to look for dentists and then go to the dentists’ websites as well as refer to online reviews sites as they weigh their options. When visitors find your practice online, will they see reviews from patients and activity on your Facebook page. During a patient’s decision-making process about an orthodontic, every bit of reinforcement helps. Your website, pictures and videos of your office, online reviews and your practice’s recent activities on social media will work together to improve your credibility and enhance your appeal. If you want insured patients to come to you as an out-of-network provider, then your marketing should make a good case for why they should prefer you over your competitors.

3. Spread word-of-mouth and gather patient reviews: Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Referrals are crucial to the success of your orthodontic practice. After all, most prospective patients will trust their friends and family. Social media marketing is, basically, word-of-mouth marketing on a much larger scale. Even if you only have a few hundred followers on social networks, your potential reach may extend to the friends of your friends. You must share quality content that encourages patient engagement, which will reap the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing.

4. Reach target audience: Gone are the days when a “one-size-fits-all” approach worked well. Today’s digital era demands a customized social media marketing strategy. For every service, there is a customer out there. The task is to find these potential patients and pitch your offerings. Social media marketing is the answer! With plenty of social media platforms, you can instantly reach target markets and specific groups anywhere across the globe. For instance, Facebook and Twitter allow you to search for specific groups based on demographics. This means you can advertise and promote your orthodontic practice to the right patients and increase your number of leads.

5. Strengthen patient relationships: Patients’ demands are changing, and to stay at the top, you must meet these ever-evolving preferences. This means you must be updated and aware of what your patients are looking for, what they need and what they dislike. This information is vital for marketing your orthodontic practice for future offerings. Traditional marketing methods are usually one-sided, where the information is placed for potential patients to view, offering zero interaction. On the other hand, social media marketing provides plenty of engagement opportunities with potential and existing patients. Using the relevant social media networks, you can interact with your patients, gain valuable insight on their preferences and build a stronger healthcare marketing plan.

How to start with orthodontic social media marketing?

So, you want to utilize social networks for your orthodontic practice. To begin with, you must decide how many tasks you are going to do yourself and how much work you want to outsource. You can either outsource social media-related work to a professional or to a staff member.

Next, you have to identify which social media networks will work best for your practice. It is best to focus on good-quality content posted to fewer platforms, as opposed to posting poor quality across all platforms. Make your social media choices based on where your potential patients will be able to see you better.
When you are getting started, it is better to invite your employees, colleagues and friends to follow your accounts.

Be personal, not pushy

Be more friendly and personal in posts aimed at patients. Do not talk about them, rather try to speak with them by posting engaging content and by encouraging patient interaction in the form of likes, comments and shares.

You can set up notifications to enable your staff to promptly respond to comments and messages from your followers. It is critical to maintain consistency in your messages and voice across all social media platforms.

Be cautious not to sell in every post. It may seem counterintuitive, but it is essential to find a balance between sharing content to sell services and sharing content to engage patients. If your posts are overly promotional, patients will stop following them altogether. You should only share content that is informative, relevant and fun. In addition, avoid posting mundane or controversial content.

Be active

Depending on the social media platforms, you must post daily or at least twice a week. You should never let your account stagnate or reflect poorly on your practice. As you gain momentum, make a plan for posting regularly without disrupting your daily routine. A content calendar can be of great help to you. Prepare a strategy to achieve your social media marketing goals, and do not hesitate to recruit if you need any help. For your content strategy, you can start once a week to ease in, and then increase the frequency as you get the hang of it and see how your content works for your practice.

Social media marketing ideas for orthodontic practice

The key to communicating with your patients through social networks is understanding which social network can be used for what purpose. For instance, your practice’s Facebook page can be used for posting oral hygiene updates, office holidays or events and sharing informative links. On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile can be used for blogging and marketing efforts. This segregation will also help keep your accounts organized and easy to update.

However, it is advised to check the quality and accuracy of the information you are sharing with your audience. This will ensure that your patients get only what is useful for them.

There are a variety of ways healthcare practitioners are utilizing social networks to promote their services and enhance patients’ experience. Here are the top ways orthodontists are using social media networks:


Facebook is the most popular social media platform and the best choice for promoting your orthodontic practice socially. If you plan to focus on just one platform, make it Facebook. Start by creating a business page, and get it verified. In addition to regular Facebook posts, you can use specific Facebook Ads to target potential patients. Facebook is a great place to solicit patient reviews, as well.
Orthodontic marketing ideas for Facebook

  • Photos of your staff, office and events, particularly for engaging your patients.
  • Links to blogs and news updates.
  • Important updates about your practice.
  • Contests and other promotional activities.
  • Business hours and holiday calendar.
  • Dental care tips.
  • Helpful resources for patients.


If you have time for frequent updates, Twitter will be an effective channel for your orthodontic practice. Due to its fast-paced nature, Twitter may demand more time commitment and. therefore, can be more than it’s worth. However, if you still want to get started, follow your patients, industry leaders and local communities. Learning the art of hashtagging can prove to be helpful.

Orthodontic marketing ideas for Twitter

  • Participate in relevant conversations and chats.
  • Post links to blogs and latest news.
  • Share relevant content from those you follow.
  • Post Live-tweet from conferences and other industry events.
  • Respond to questions about dental care.


Set up a Google+ Business Page even if you do not plan to be active here. This is because Google+ gives you the ability to keep separate circles of followers so you can engage with multiple groups on the same platform. Soliciting Google reviews from existing patents is highly recommended and helpful.

Orthodontic marketing ideas for Google+

  • Updates about latest technology and techniques.
  • Industry-related blogs and news articles.
  • Promotional posts and periodical updates.
  • Host hangouts for contests, if relevant to your business goals.


Instagram is primarily a visual channel, so it can work better if you have a cool-looking office or unique benefits that can be shared visually. If you focus mainly on orthodontics, you can utilize Instagram to post images that build a positive side of your brand and services. You can start by creating a business page for your practice, and learn to use local hashtags and tags. Do not overuse image filters, and educate yourself on ways to present beautiful images.

Orthodontic marketing ideas for Instagram

  • “Behind the scenes” images of your office.
  • Post photos of patients taken in your office. However, you have to be extremely careful of HIPAA regulations while posting information or images related to your patients.
  • Before-and-after images of patients, but only with patients’ permission.
  • Event promotion.


You can leverage YouTube to post videos that are embedded on your website, or you can augment this platform with a steady stream of video content. However, you have to be realistic about what you can produce and what your existing and potential patients would be interested in watching.

Orthodontic marketing ideas for YouTube

  • Virtual office tour.
  • Staff interviews.
  • Patient reviews.
  • Compilation of photos and video clips from your team’s experiences.
  • Oral hygiene tips.


Now that you are aware of social media marketing ideas for orthodontics, make sure you follow these tips to create a successful brand online. In addition, it is essential to keep up with the latest trends and continuously improve your engagement with your followers. Moreover, keep track of your social media performance through analytics, which will help you enhance your reach and attract more patients to your practice. For more information on how to develop a social media strategy for your orthodontic practice, please contact us at Practice Builders. Our marketing specialists have the skills and experience in social media marketing that your orthodontic practice needs.

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Patients Want Pharmacists to Be More Social Media Savvy

Patients Want Pharmacists to Be More Social Media Savvy | Social Media and Healthcare |

Your Patients want to hear from you! Are you getting the word out?

Half of Americans polled in a survey said that they currently follow their pharmacists on social media, and 42% said they would prefer their pharmacists were more active when it comes to using social media.

The 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey—conducted by Propeller Insights for PrescribeWellness, a cloud-based services company—revealed that when they’re looking for a pharmacy, 37% of Americans turn to Google, 18% use Facebook, and 34% rely on word of mouth.

When asked what qualities they value when it comes to choosing a pharmacy, here’s what respondents had to say:

  • Pharmacy that accepts their insurance or Medicare Part D plan: 57%
  • Competitive drug prices; 50%
  • Expanded store hours: 45%
  • Useful web site: 32%

Almost half (47%) of the respondents reported that their preferred social network for interacting with their pharmacist is Facebook, followed by Twitter (15%), and Instagram (12%). A third of Americans (34%) said that they are interested in their pharmacist’s website, and 25% revealed that they would be interested in an email newsletter.

Top benefits of following their pharmacist on social media included:

  • Deals and promotions: 58%
  • New offerings or services: 39%
  • Health-care news: 37%
  • Relevant news and tips about health and wellness: 37%
  • Seasonal vaccine reminders: 31%

The majority (92%) of the respondents said that they would listen to recommendations from their pharmacist about health education or advice, while more than 54% tended to buy or use a new product that their pharmacist recommended on social media.

Related article: Social Media, Store Websites, and the Pharmacist

Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, told Drug Topics that social media is one more tool that pharmacists can use to go “beyond the fill,” connecting with patients outside of the pharmacy setting by offering useful advice, vaccination reminders, promotions, and other preventive care messages. “Our survey findings demonstrate that Americans welcome this connection and think of their community pharmacist as a valuable ally in their health and wellness," Babbington said.

Websites and apps for refills

According to the survey results, 62% of the respondents said that they use their pharmacy’s website. The website services they use the most include:

  • Refill requests: 61%
  • Online orders: 47%
  • Medication reminders: 29%
  • Medication list: 28%
  • Online appointments: 20%
  • Messages from their pharmacists: 19%

Forty percent of respondents said that their pharmacy has a mobile app. Forty-eight percent said that they use that app to place refill requests, 38% use it to receive refill reminders, and 38% use the app to place orders.

Local pharmacies preferred

In another survey, respondents preferred visiting local pharmacies rather than their doctor for many services. Most of the reasons were based on convenience. Top reasons included:

  • Their pharmacy is a “one stop shop” for many health and wellness needs: 26%
  • The local pharmacy is easier to get to than the doctor’s office: 24%
  • They get faster and friendlier service: 22%
  • Their pharmacist helps keep their medications in order: 19%

Finally, 21% of parents who responded to the survey said that they prefer visiting their local pharmacy because it is more convenient than the doctor’s office when they have the kids with them. 

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And here’s how internet & social media has transformed healthcare -

And here’s how internet & social media has transformed healthcare - | Social Media and Healthcare |

You suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat and try to shake off the feeling with lots of water. But what if the issue persists even after a few hours? Surely you won’t rush to the doctor but the first approach would be the internet. Nowadays, anyone with a computer and internet has the benefit of getting connected with healthcare experts anytime, anywhere for simple to complex issues.

They may choose a video call doctor’s app on the smart device for online consultation and pay the fee with convenience of electronic transaction. In today’s connected world, social media and internet are game changers for almost any industry including healthcare. Let’s have a look at how the two changed the medical niche for the best of both doctors and patients!

Medical experts & facilities are riding the social media bandwagon

More and more medical professionals are embracing social media for sharing critical information and providing patient care at hand. A survey conducted over a thousand patients and around a hundred healthcare executives revealed that utilising social media and the web are the rage.

Some of the most trusted and globally accepted medical resources are providing online services with almost 60-percent expert doctors, 55-percent hospitals and 56-percent nurses partaking in the campaign.

Social media is being utilised more and more by healthcare facilities and professionals as a means to convey general information and even personalised patient care through a smart video call doctor’s app. Even marketing specialists voted in favour of social media as a great means to emphasise those in need of immediate medical care thereby going beyond the simple healthcare news sharing.

Although, hospitals do receive private messages from patients inquiring about specific health issues, queries aren’t publicly posted on social media platforms but a professional and personalised approach is taken for the treatment.

With all the benefits, there’s also a high potential of misinformation over the internet as identified by many healthcare experts bearing years of experience in the field. You can’t simply trust everything you read online due to which personalised approach us the best approach provided by innovative digital solutions and a video call doctor’s app is simplest example.

Challenges to the digital healthcare

One of the biggest downside of internet-based doctors is managing their private clinics and treating sensitive ailments associated to physical and mental anomalies. Excess social relations between a doctor and patients may undermine healthcare staff, discourage medical operations of institutions and can also jeopardise reputation as well as treatment. This is the reason medical apps are considered a better approach due to personalised treatment.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal mentioned that around 35-percent physicians received friends request from Facebook, Twitter and other platforms however, most have been rejected thereby maintaining a professional relationship and overall reputation.

However, medical experts have different views and opinions about digital healthcare services. Some doctors totally avoid such platforms and make themselves engaged with patients alongside medical staff such as assistants and nurses while others are open to social media serving patients on the go anytime, anywhere.

Online therapy/Virtual sessions

Researchers at the University of Sydney studied effectiveness of internet-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (iCBT); a free programme for the treatment of various anxieties and depression! The results highly favoured the programme in relieving mild to moderate depression and cardiovascular anomalies alongside many different physical ailments guided through a video call doctor’s app.

Doctor Internet; at your service

Another report concluded that every one-in-three American adults use the internet to diagnose certain medical issues. The accuracy of medical information being accessed is a mix of accuracy and uncertainty depending on patient’s approach and anomaly. Highly complex issues are best treated the traditional way that is by visiting actual facilities.


All in all, digital healthcare is the future of medical industry and adapting the technology is crucial for survival as well as maintain brand reputation.

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HEALTHCARE 2.0: WHAT CAN DIGITAL DO FOR YOU?  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Health professionals have taken particular interest in the internet trend as more practices begin to implement tools that will effectively improve doctor-patient engagement and interaction. Digital is a primary influence guiding patient choices and the patient journey starts with searching the web.  According to Google’s Digital Journey to Wellness study, 77 percent of patients use search engines prior to booking appointments.

Google partnered with Compete, Inc. and fielded over 500 hospital researchers to understand what influences hospital selection and what role digital plays in the journey. Digital marketing content was the key decision-making influence when patients booked appointments. 

Patients response data concludes digital content is indispensable. In fact, with 77% of users using search before they book an appointment, patient web searches drive three times as many valuable visitors than other traffic sources. What does that mean for healthcare providers? A strong online presence and positive reputation is critical, and generates conclusive patient leads.

Patient’s love digital and in the digital world– content is king.  Eighty five percent of patients booking appointments said digital content was the primary factor that influenced their decision making. Paid search ads, social media and quality search engine optimization are vastly influential as well, generating unique search paths that lead to valuable patient-doctor outcomes.  Online videos and blogs also play a pivotal part in patient engagement.  

Healthcare Industries, as well as other industries, have seen how the digital world has evolved to what it is today. With ever-changing digital platforms, it is important to keep your patients in mind through their digital journey. From website optimization to social media management, more and more patients are depending on the web to choose Hospitals, Specialists, and treatment centers.


For more insight, research and trends about the digital impact on healthcare industries, you can join us on October 18th 2017 for a live-stream event partnered with Google. During this event, specialist from Google will be taking a deep dive into digital marketing for Healthcare and Insurance Industries.

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How St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Uses Instagram to Make Science Fun

How St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Uses Instagram to Make Science Fun | Social Media and Healthcare |

For Carrie Strehlau, turning a complex subject into an engaging story is part of her everyday challenge.

Carrie Strehlau, Senior Social Media Specialist, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

After working on the media relations team at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for 13 years, Strehlau was appointed to the first social media position created at the hospital, and has since established St. Jude on five social media channels.

One of the unique aspects of Strehlau’s job is that people know and recognize the St. Jude brand, but are not familiar with the science and research that happens at the hospital. Using Instagram Stories, Strehlau has been able to feature doctors, researchers, therapists and more in easily-digestible and interesting ways.

Strehlau—who will discuss Instagram Stories at The Digital PR & Marketing Summit Oct. 17-19 in Miami—shared some of the tactics she uses to feature St. Jude’s research and employees on Instagram Stories. 

PR News: How has your social media strategy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital changed over the past six months?

Strehlau: Social media that’s solely focused on the science and medicine at St. Jude is fairly new to the institution. We’ve been building this specialized social media focus in large part with help from hospital employees. Throughout the past year, we’ve seen an increase in our employees not only engaging on the platforms but also presenting ideas to us on how social media can be integrated into their programs, projects and more. While our overall strategy hasn’t necessarily changed based on that, we have had to adjust to more departments inquiring about social media while continuing to build and adjust the social media foundation.

PR News: What are some of the biggest pros and cons of using Instagram Stories?

Strehlau: The Instagram Stories platform is easy to navigate and provides ample opportunities to enhance photos and videos. It’s immediate and short-lived, so we want the audience to feel like they don’t want to miss what we’ve posted. It also provides us an opportunity to be a little less formal and “buttoned-up” when it comes to promoting research papers and conference presentations. A con is that the Stories do disappear soon.

PR News: Do you think using Instagram Stories can work for an organization of any size? Why or why not?

Strehlau: Any organization of any size could and should use Instagram Stories. They’re snippets of time that give the audience a close-up feel like they’re there along the journey with you. It provides a casual, behind-the-scenes, unscripted version of the story our other social media followers might not see.

Learn more from Carrie Strehlau at The Digital PR & Marketing Summit, Oct. 17-19 in Miami. Brand communicators from The Hershey Company, Reebok, Burger King, Royal Caribbean Cruises and many more will speak on topics ranging from influencer marketing to Facebook ads to Snapchat strategy and more.

PR News: Can you briefly describe the timeline of planning that goes into your Instagram Stories?

Strehlau: In the world of public relations and social media, you have to be flexible. Even within an industry that is highly regulated like ours, which is an academic, research and clinical environment. We often have to plan around privacy policies, unpublished data, proprietary knowledge. While some projects allow for pre-planning, we’ve found that many of our Instagram Stories have been spur-of-the-moment opportunities. For our audience—most of whom will never have to come to St. Jude—it gives them a sense of being at the hospital with us.

PR News: How do you calculate the success of a particular Instagram Story?

Strehlau: Our audience is growing, so we look at the number of viewers but don’t rely on a large number to deem an Instagram Story successful, especially since we have such a targeted audience—those who are interested in our research and clinical care. We also follow-up with employees to share the numbers, which might encourage them to share more content in the future. Having an established researcher come to us with an Instagram Story idea because he or she just had a paper published in Nature or is presenting at ASCO—that’s success to us.

PR News: What do you hope attendees at The Digital PR & Marketing Summit will take away from your session on Oct. 18?

Strehlau: Try new things and ways of storytelling with Instagram Stories. Get employees engaged on Instagram and encourage them to provide sharable content. Don’t be so focused on the numbers; have fun, produce great content and the audience will come. Use the platform to showcase, in a different way, a topic you might’ve posted on another platform.

Connect with Carrie: @CarrieRockChick

Connect with Samantha: @samantha_c_wood

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NDCHRC: Putting social media and technology to good use

NDCHRC: Putting social media and technology to good use | Social Media and Healthcare |

It was a single ping—“Girl from Ranchi requires heart surgery, needs to see a specialist in Delhi”—on WhatsApp that set the ball rolling for Pratyush Kumar, founder and chief executive officer of New Delhi Children’s Hospital and Research Centre (NDCHRC), a healthcare non-profit.

In September, Kumar reached out to Dr Dinesh Chandra, associate consultant at Medanta-The Medicity Hospital in Gurugram, who provided the 20-year-old tribal girl (name withheld) pro bono treatment that included waiving the echo test charges. Kumar is thankful for Dr Chandra’s quick response, especially considering they had only interacted on LinkedIn.

Today, Kumar simply conducts a search on LinkedIn or pings one of his WhatsApp groups and finds help at hand. The 40-year-old financial tech professional from Delhi is amazed at how willing people are to step forward. “Everyone is hungry for change. All they need is for someone to take the initiative and they’re happy to participate,” he says.

Intent on effecting sustainable change, Kumar used his managerial skills to draw up a phased plan to revamp children’s healthcare. It starts small, with online consultations and health camps, which is where they are at now. Eventually, Kumar intends to set up of a full-fledged paediatric hospital.

As a non-medical professional with virtually no contacts in the fraternity, setting up a pro bono healthcare system ought to have been an uphill task. But Kumar’s expertise gave him an advantage. In April 2016, he kicked off a campaign to solicit volunteers on his Facebook page. Within a week, 50 people had signed up. “None of them were doctors,” he says. Soon after, NDCHRC was registered as a trust and its social media pages and WhatsApp group were set up.


These digital platforms remain a primary interface. “Of the 250 people who work with us today, only three-four were known to me personally. Rest all came on board via social media,” says Kumar of the volunteers, aged between 25 and 44.

Nameesha Verma, a 44-year-old Gurugram resident and former teacher, read about NDCHRC on Facebook. “As an educator, the betterment of children is a cause close to my heart. I’ve been collecting toys and books for NDCHRC for a year now,” she says.

After organizing a few mobile health camps, Kumar and his team set up a children’s clinic in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, in April. It is run on a nominal (and optional) Rs100 charge and is manned, on rotation, by about 20 doctors. To reach out to doctors, Kumar began building the NDCHRC brand on LinkedIn, publishing blogs and sharing relevant articles.

“I sent out LinkedIn invites on a case-to-case basis,” he says. Today he has a WhatsApp group of 50 medical professionals, including about 30 doctors in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Over the last year, Kumar says NDCHRC has helped around 2,000 children.

While social media has made it easier to enlist help, technology plays an even bigger role in enhancing NDCHRC’s operations. For instance, data gathered at mobile camps is analysed to determine locality-specific problems. “After one camp, we realized that half the children are malnourished so now we have a nutritionist visiting our clinic every Sunday,” says Kumar.


They are also crowdsourcing funds for high-cost treatments. Naval officer Lieutenant Commander Mukesh Bhandari, 35, heard about NDCHRC through a WhatsApp forward and contacted Kumar for his neighbour’s son’s cancer treatment. “NDCHRC shared the story on crowdfunding site Milaap and we raised the money within 15-20 days,” says Bhandari.

Lessons to make giving more engaging

“Compared to Western countries, we’re not that forward about making donations, unless it’s for a religious cause,” says Kumar, who believes there needs to be an attitudinal change.

Also, giving back shouldn’t be restricted to the underprivileged. “Our initiative is not restricted to poor patients; I want everyone to experience the benefits of our services because that will encourage them to donate,” he says.

Lastly, we need to build a culture of giving back within our corporate culture. “When organizations start looking at how you are contributing to CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives or what social work you’ve done in school or college, people will automatically get on board because it adds value to their personal brand,” he explains.

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Physician Communication: Inform Strategy Through Research

Research conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine and the aligning strategy.
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4 steps to reduce a hospital social media crisis

4 steps to reduce a hospital social media crisis | Social Media and Healthcare |

A report from Altimeter Group says social media crises are on the rise. But with proper preparation, you can avoid them.

This is good news for hospital CEOs who view social media as a potential disaster waiting to happen. The report lists what organizations—including hospitals—can do to prepare.

Altimeter defines a social media crisis as "a crisis issue that arises in or is amplified by social media and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business processes, or financial loss." The group conducted online surveys and interviews with more than 200 social business program managers, corporate practitioners, and social business software, service and solutions providers.

The group analyzed more than 50 social media crises since 2001.

Here are four steps you can take to reduce the risk of a social media crisis.

Clear social media policy

Establish and reinforce a corporate social media policy that sets clear standards and allows employees to participate professionally. Even if your hospital isn't engaging on social media, it's still important. Employees appreciate having clear social media guidelines. And remember to review these policies at least annually to keep up-to-date.

Solid resources

Make sure you have the staff in place to respond quickly to patients and families in social media. Don't let a problem fester for hours before responding.

Ongoing education

Foster a culture of learning through ongoing social media education. The digital world is changing so rapidly, it's smart to schedule social media education at least twice a year.

Centralized response

Develop an organized, centralized response to social media. Make sure someone is in charge, and that communication between all parties is easy and seamless.

Interestingly, these same points can be applied directly to helping in times of community crisis. During tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and earthquakes, hospitals that have been prepared have been able to use social media to communicate emergency messages to their communities.

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Gamification in Healthcare: Challenges and Opportunities 

Gamification in Healthcare: Challenges and Opportunities Lecture at Coventry University 10 oct 2017
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Leading Healthcare Marketer Calls For Executive Leadership And Oversight In Hospital Digital Marketing

Leading Healthcare Marketer Calls For Executive Leadership And Oversight In Hospital Digital Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare |

According to Authority Marketing Specialist  Linda Carey, hospital CEOS and/or COOs  need to get more involved as creative architects for  digital marketing through strategic planning exercises with professionals prior to campaign execution. Ms. Carey emphatically states, “Many CEOS and COOS of hospitals fail to get involved directly on the front end of  a digital marketing campaign and are likely to be pulled in due to a communication crisis mid-stream that could have been averted.” She continues, “I think executives are largely intimidated by the fact that they have so many priorities and this is unfamiliar turf but nonetheless, the vision for any hospital campaign needs to be incubated with collaborative leadership at the top of the organization in the c-suite.”

Furthermore, executive oversight for the results is required in order for campaigns to flourish. Sadly, the responsibility and accountability for digital marketing is often deferred to individuals who may or may not be qualified to build and optimize a hospital’s reputation and authority. This is a mistake. While no one expects today’s responsibility-laden healthcare provider executives to ‘micro-manage’ digital marketing, there is a definite need to escalate this powerful opportunity as a strategic initiative and priority in the C-suite. One excellent outcome is that the facility will achieve greater “authority” via digital content. The benefits are numerous but specifically may include increased demand for that facilities’ services.  Consumers have choices and education as to why a facility should be considered and possibly selected over an alternative option is truly mission critical.

If a facility is not currently engaging online or is engaging with lackluster results, where should a healthcare executive start?

Ten Relevant Questions That Should Precede Online Engagement:

  1. What knowledge is there of “best practices” in healthcare digital marketing?
  2. Is there a strategic vision or “end game” in mind for a specific time period or thematic digital marketing campaign?
  3. What are the ideal experience requirements of individuals  who are either hired or appointed to implement online campaigns?
  4. What are the rules of “engagement” for online content production, monitoring and engagement within a facility?
  5. How is a facility prepared to respond proactively or reactively to opportunities and/or threats of online engagement?
  6. What specific deliverables are sought?
  7. How does the online engagement dovetail with “off-line” events and services offered?
  8. How does a facility position its expertise in various medical specialties and services to patient-consumers online?
  9. What metrics are being utilized to evaluate digital marketing campaigns and/or properties?
  10. What other key internal or external stakeholders are being made aware of success and/or failures of online marketing?

Be Aware: Digital Marketing Is Not Just Facebook

Digital marketing is mistakenly often “summarized” as “Facebook”.  While Facebook is very popular and can afford some great insights and benefits, it should never be the summation of a healthcare provider’s digital marketing suite. The fact is that digital marketing evolves every single day and requires expertise by individuals who commit themselves to continuous learning in a fast-paced and perpetual learning environment.  While there are numerous ways to “engage” online, new methods are being spawned each day. Some of these may include websites, blogs and various social properties like Twitter, Pinterest, Google + or Instagram. Social bookmarking sites also help messages go viral and may include Only Wire, Stumble Upon and Reddit (to name a few). All of these require concentration for content production, timely posting, curation and reputation management.

Hire Qualified People to Execute Digital Marketing

A major challenge is that individuals appointed to “manage Facebook” are not schooled in the suite of digital tools available, the fundamentals of engagement marketing and the specific nuances of posting healthcare related content. Most effective online digital marketers have spent years  learning, crafting and honing their skills through online industry experts, not to mention  investing hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) on digital marketing tutorials and software. All of this is done in order to stay abreast of the constant changes online and to be better at educating and supporting healthcare specific audiences. To give a media management role to a novice or worse, an individual who is the “catch-all” for the face of hospital marketing will lend “piece-meal” results. Bottom line…you get what you pay for here also.

Plan a Budget

The best campaigns feature online and offline engagement that is blended for optimal outcomes. Digital marketing should be a line item in the annual capital planning process.

Identify Your Online Audiences

The following list  consists of  just six audiences who are previewing healthcare provider social media properties daily and should be considered by a healthcare provider executive who needs inspiration to get on board with digital marketing:

1. Patient-consumers who are tweeting, texting and, in general ,communicating about everything, including your hospital

2. Vendors who are determining whether you are a good prospect for their goods and services

3. Physicians who may be potential recruits

4. Community members who wield influence such as bankers, businesses, fundraisers, politicians, chamber of commerce members or community college leaders

5. Potential investors

6. Regulatory agencies

 Get Real With Oversight for Online Marketing and Social Media

No news here, the “buck” ultimately stops at the CEO/COO desk. If you are finding that you don’t like the “fruit of the vine”, then look to where “the vine” was germinated.  Summarily, responsibility for the overarching vision and a campaign that benefits all stakeholders must be initiated in the top tier of the C-Suite and most assuredly precedes implementation.

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Healthcare Content Marketing - Know the Facts

Quality content is important for healthcare practices as well as companies for successful online healthcare marketing. Content for your target audience comes i…
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Is My Executive a Good Fit for Social Media? 

Is My Executive a Good Fit for Social Media?  | Social Media and Healthcare |

I learn something new every day tuning into my social media accounts to read chatter from those I follow, many of whom are health care executives within influential organizations.

I’m intrigued by their knowledge and guidance that helps improve the overall health care system. Their willingness to put themselves forward on social media garners huge results: they not only help raise the visibility of their organizations and drive awareness around important topics, they also build an authentic online reputation for themselves. In turn, they create a community of inspired followers who listen and respect their words.

So how do these leaders establish and maintain compelling social media profiles? And how can we, as strategists, identify potential social media stars, support them and help them grow?

Up-front planning is key to success

Developing an effective social media presence is easier said than done and is often a team effort. I’ll talk more about how to engage executives in social media on December 12 at Mayo Clinic’s annual social media conference. But I’ll give you a preview: much of an executive’s social media success depends on up-front planning.

It’s our job as strategists to have conversations with our company’s leadership – ask questions, listen, identify opportunities -- to determine whether the executive is a good fit for social media.

Key qualities to look for:

  1. Thought leader: When “thought leaders” talk, people listen. This is because they possess specialized knowledge, skills and “leading thoughts” based on experience in their respective areas. Because they consistently provide high-quality and value-added insights, their opinions matter and hold weight among their peers – becoming a trusted, go-to source. This credibility is key in having their content break through the fast-paced/cluttered social media space.
  2. Conversationalist: Social media is built for two-way dialogues; therefore, executives must be able to connect with people. They must feel comfortable initiating conversations, sharing content created by others, and asking and answering questions, even if they have never met the person.
  3. Good Listener: They must be aware of the environmental landscape (trends, competition, risks) and understand their followers’ interests and values (even if different from their own). Seeing things on both a broad and personal level, while having some thick skin and a discerning ear, helps executives know how, when and where to use their voice purposefully.
  4. Desire to help: They are passionate about what they do and aspire to motivate with what they believe. Their natural enthusiasm to share information helps others solve problems and keeps people intrigued and coming back for more.
  5. Time Commitment: Executives must be willing to keep up and commit to the needs of the channel – that may mean posting daily. This consistency is key in staying top-of-mind among followers and the rest of the social media chatter.
  6. Authenticity: They must be themselves! Use humor. Share personal photos. The more open, relatable and transparent executives are, the more trust they build with their following. If these traits are lacking, audiences tune out quickly.
  7. Wants to HAVE FUN: Yes, I said it. None of this should feel like work. Executives should be excited to use social media and want to get out there, interact and play. It should be an easy, natural fit.

All these qualities will help you recognize if there is potential on social media. Of course, it doesn’t end there. Next steps include training, rules of the road, a strategic plan, creative tactics and ongoing analysis.

Have I scared you off yet? Hopefully not, because when done strategically and with commitment, social media engagement from executives can mean great things for both executives and the company.

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Communicating Health Research on Social Media

Presentation at the Philippine National Health Research Week preconference meeting: Rallying Communicators for Science, Technology, and Innovation in Health | …
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Doctors: Has a follower on social media ever asked you how much a procedure costs? 

Doctors: Has a follower on social media ever asked you how much a procedure costs?  | Social Media and Healthcare |

If you’re a doctor that offers medically necessary services paid out of pocket before a deductible is met or because they’re considered cosmetic, I bet someone has asked you how much a procedure costs. And I’ll double my bet if you fit in this category and you show your results on social media. As soon as you post your before and after results, one of your followers asks, “how much does this cost?” Does this scenario sound familiar?


The right way to answer “how much a procedure costs”

Sure you could simply answer the follower’s question and give them a dollar figure. But what if the price is more than they were expecting? They’ll just dismiss the idea of coming to see you. And since you don’t have their contact info, you can’t follow up to answer more specific concerns about their needs. You certainly can’t have an open conversation on social media for obvious reasons. One is the HIPAA risk but also, you don’t want to start providing consults to everyone on your Instagram or Facebook feed.


The right way to answer a consumer’s question about pricing is to get their contact information first. Then follow up with them offline (or off social media) for a more personal and patient-specific conversation. But how do you get their contact info for follow up?


Well as you’ll see in the video below, this doctor got it right. Dr. Rich Castellano is a facial plastic surgeon in the Tampa Bay Area and he’s known as Dr. Smile or @realsmiledr on Instagram or ImageLift on Facebook.


In the video, he’s performing filler injections via Facebook Live. And not just once, but three times during the injection session, he was asked how much the procedure cost. Again, he could’ve just listed the price three times in response to the question. Instead, he directed them to his Price Estimator on his website so the follower could check for themselves. However, for the follower to see the cost, they have to first enter their contact information. Armed with the consumer’s contact info, the office staff can follow up and answer their questions and address their concerns. Can’t do that with a vague social media handle!


In the same video, you’ll see where a patient asks via Instagram how much a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) and Breast Augmentation combo procedure costs. If we simply answered her question, the most we would have is her Instagram handle. But to go to her Instagram page and start asking follow up questions is a bit stalker-ish. She’s probably ok with us answering her questions on our page but probably not ok with us pestering her on her Instagram page.


That’s the secret to the internet. Minimize the number of clicks for the consumer to get from “I know what I want” to “here’s how I get it.”


Since we recommended she go to the Price Estimator on our site, we instead received her name, email address and phone number after she provided her contact info in exchange for real-time pricing information. And since she contacted us, provided her contact information, opted in to receiving emails from us, she’s given us permission to follow up.


Video: How to answer pricing questions on social media

One more small detail to make the consumer’s life easier. Instead of giving them a link to go to a Price Estimator and then forcing them to scroll through all of the procedures to find the procedure they’re looking for, give them a deep link. A deep link brings them to the specific procedure they want to know pricing for without all of the searching. In this example, the deep link takes the patient directly to the BBL/breast aug procedure listing. That’s the secret to the internet. Minimize the number of clicks for the consumer to get from “I know what I want” to “here’s how I get it.”

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Digital Marketing for Healthcare Industry

Presentation on Digital Marketing for Healthcare Industry, that I delivered at Goa Institute of Management.
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4 Ways to Align Traditional and Digital Marketing for Health Care Conversions

4 Ways to Align Traditional and Digital Marketing for Health Care Conversions | Social Media and Healthcare |

All good marketing campaigns should incorporate a mix of traditional and digital advertising

Marketers for hospitals and health care-related companies are charged with bringing in new patients. Yet for a variety of reasons—perhaps pressure from the board or inveterate practices—traditional marketing continues to be the go-to strategy.

However, the digital age has changed everything. The average consumer is bombarded with more than 5,000 advertising messages a day from a variety of sources—whether a print ad, billboard, social media, text message or web display ad. With so much competition, it is not surprising that traditional marketing alone is no longer enough to acquire new patients.

Does that mean traditional marketing should be cut entirely? No. But it does mean that marketing needs to align offline and online efforts. Knowing when to turn to digital marketing experts to help achieve overall marketing goals is also an essential piece to the puzzle. Here are some strategies for aligning traditional with digital.

1. Opt for Complementary Strategy, Not All-or-Nothing

Traditional marketing, such as billboards and print advertisements, do exactly what they’re meant to do: disseminate information. They work well to passively communicate marketing messages, but they can work even better if they’re transformed into a launching point for a digital strategy. Just by issuing a call to action to learn more about a hospital or a health care-related company by visiting their website, the traditional method is now supporting a digital marketing strategy. The two can work together to complement each other. 

When patients are directed to a website, they are able to connect more deeply with the organization and consume the information available to them on their terms. Other digital touch points to consider include retargeting to encourage repeat visits to the site and HIPAA compliant chat on the website.

2. Use a Multi-faceted Digital Marketing Approach to Reach Consumers Where They Are

People have a variety of ways to consume information and connect with brands, and it’s mostly on their terms. Whether it’s a mobile app, a television commercial or a website, consumer touch points have increased, and modern marketers need to incorporate the necessary tools to reach consumers throughout their journey. Taking a multi-channel approach only enhances a hospital or health care-related company’s ability to engage with more people where they are and in ways that appeal to them.

Some media platforms work better than others depending on a health care organization’s target audience. However, using all the tools in the toolbox is key to expanding reach. Traditional methods like billboards work well to grab attention and direct to a website or social media channel. Social media channels are essential for every health care organization, but they are limited to the people that are already connected and engaged. Branching out beyond current followers and implementing a social ad campaign expands reach and can be strategically targeted based on demographics, interests and behaviors. 

Using Facebook for Health Care Marketing

Even traditional radio spots can be used in a digital environment like Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services. These services are excellent multi-channel platforms because, in addition to an audio message, a display ad can be used. Don’t forget about TV commercials. Many hospitals and health care-related companies have made significant investment in TV ads. YouTube is a digital alternative to traditional TV and can be effectively targeted as well.

The good news is that health care marketers have a variety of options to reach more people using a multi-channel approach.

3. Make Personal Connections Through Digital Marketing

Consumers use almost six touch points on average when buying a product or service, with nearly half regularly using four. It is increasingly challenging to reach and stay engaged with customers. Digital marketing methods provide a better opportunity for organizations to connect with a specific audience on a deeper level than traditional media. That is because the tools available to marketers allow them to create custom programs that sift through millions of social media users and directly target the people they want to reach. In addition to leveraging targeted social media programs, creating interesting content that potential patients will want to read will increase a health care organizations’ chances of getting the right eyeballs on their messages. In fact, 76% of people use their Facebook news feed to find interesting content.

4. Turn to Experts

There are many ways health care marketers can approach their marketing mix. However, with so many options and approaches, creating a strategy and executing on that strategy can be difficult, overwhelming and time-consuming. Just as patients go to doctors to get treatment, marketing executives should rely on digital marketing experts to help meet overall marketing goals.

Health care marketers have plenty of traditional and digital marketing tools to use to increase their brand awareness and attract patients. One method isn’t necessarily better than the other. The point is that, when used in tandem, both traditional and digital marketing techniques can work together to create effective and successful outcomes that grow patients, business and mindshare.

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The Robot Will See You Now. How Pharma Can Approach Using Chatbots. 

The Robot Will See You Now. How Pharma Can Approach Using Chatbots.  | Social Media and Healthcare |

Innovation can be defined as ‘the production of something original and useful in order to create value for society, business or both’. In line with many of the other great society changing landmarks that have occurred in our age of technology, such as the birth of television, the creation of digital music or the evolution of the mobile phone, we can find an intersection of how technology and a human need collide—which fosters the innovation.

One of the most common examples of human demand which has now been extrapolated in the internet digital era is the need to ‘access information’. But we are becoming lazier in our ever increasing busier lives, and looking it up in a book like when I was a kid is pretty obsolete. Humans tolerate less delay these days; we want it NOW, instantly and requiring limited effort. Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) are innovations which are already changing and will continue to change, allowing humans easier access to information through advanced AI platforms.

Messaging continues to dominate

That’s great and all, I hear you say, but isn’t it just another passing phase? Why is it important? Why should you care? Isn’t it just another ‘channel’ of info? In the last couple of years messaging platforms (FB Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc.) have surpassed the big four social media network channels in terms of size of audience, and clearly this is one of the main reasons that the Googles, Microsofts and Facebooks of this world are sinking billions of dollars into developing their offerings in this space. Now, stop and think about that for a second, and what an impact the current social platforms have had on society and the way we engage with each other today; that’s a pretty big deal, and now there is something that’s bigger!! With audience adoption of these messaging apps being so pervasive, it would make sense if you’re a digital business that’s interested in reach of any sort for this to be part of your channel strategy mix. The pharma industry needs to start aligning with the new consumer on-demand mindset that has been set by online businesses such as Netflix and Amazon. However, don’t include new technology just for the sake of being able to say you are doing it; you still need to put user needs at the centre and make sure you’re creating something that is relevant, valuable and useful to users. Otherwise, don’t bother. 

Technology in this space has progressed leaps and bounds in the last few years.  The rate of machine learning evolves quickly and this technology will only continue to get smarter, faster, more relevant and human-like in its operation. Working in the pharma sector, we know that traditionally this industry as a whole is somewhat of a laggard against more ‘innovation’ leading industry sectors. I think many understand where these blending of human and machine interactions can create immediate efficiencies, convenience and customer experience, so there certainly is an appetite for it. Healthcare is predicted to benefit greatly from this technology evolution and in an increasingly patient/customer-centric world, one of the questions we are constantly asked by our clients  is ‘How do I use this for my customers and in my pharma company?’.

Doing it for pharma

For all pharma organisations, naturally, control and risk mitigation are important factors. The thought of relying on an accurate Siri response to a customer’s question is enough to scare the life out of the typical pharma marketer, or at least elicit cries of ‘code breach!’. However, chatbots can actually be deemed a safe, secure channel, as they can (platform choice dependent) act in a one-to-one environment with customers, rather than social media’s typical one-to-many configuration. Part of the challenge of implementing innovation in a regulated market is about tackling the ‘folklore’ head on and also following successful examples set by your competitors. There are usually ways around these barriers, though, and it doesn’t have to start with anything overly complicated to set your own company precedent for these activities.

At Nitro Digital, we have found there are three typical approaches which pharma can take when addressing chatbots; which of these is the right choice for you really depends on the nature and objectives of your business:

    This operates a curated and controlled experience, with predetermined answers and scripts defined and approved for use. It it limited in scope but is currently a model which pharma marketers favour as they begin to explore this space.
    This model is machine learning driven, and it works by delivering natural language responses to questions and queries through learnt behaviour. This can, however, be unpredictable and its level of sophistication currently will still cause concerns as to the degree of control that can be kept.
    The third option is a mix of the previous two. It allows for the gathering of insights and builds on the knowledge base which customer interactions can offer by capturing these queries and storing them. This way, we prepare for the technology advancement in the platform without losing any of the rich learnings, which is something that pharma will typically do before jumping in. It is a more risk cautious method of approaching chatbots: whilst you are offering a curated experience,  you are also building the datasets of learning to apply to your development at a later date.

Of course, there are still challenges for the industry, like obtaining content approvals, ensuring the Fair Balance Act is upheld, observing privacy laws, etc., but these are obstacles with workarounds rather than showstoppers. However, as we have advised many eager and ambitious clients wanting to be the first to bring chatbots into their organisations—’Let’s not do this just for sake of doing it’—we still need to fill a user need, and it is still an activity which requires a commitment and needs ongoing maintenance and improvement.

‘But isn’t machine learning really difficult and expensive to do?’ you may ask. The truth is that creating a successful automation bot is more of a user experience (UX) challenge than one of technology complexity. And in that respect, it should be approached like any other social or digital activity. Think about the goals you want to achieve; what is the problem you are solving for your users; what is in it for them; what could be automated; what efficiencies can you make; what risk mitigation could this help with; is this something that will deliver cost saving: are all good questions to ask yourself. Start simple, learn, test and evolve the process.  

It’s evident that chatbots are another great technology which can help deliver value within digital marketing—and especially so for pharma and healthcare brands looking for a shortcut to offer value and information to their customers. Examples of instances where chatbots can provide value and enhanced patient care are doctor discussion guides, benefits verification support, medication and refill reminders and overall customer support and content delivery that the user can access whenever they want, 24/7, personalised for their needs. Artificial intelligence has advanced greatly in the last few years, so anyone with some coding smarts can do this, and, in addition, there are already lots of platforms and tools to leverage. Nitro has a 40+ strong team of keen software developers looking to experiment with this tech to solve problems for you.

So, start thinking about this now as this needs to be part of your digital strategy, not a bolt-on, nice-to-have afterthought. And you need to be thinking about this now for 2018, not 2020, as by then the market will be saturated and you’ll have missed the robo-party. You can read more about how chatbots can benefit  your marketing strategy in general here.

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5 must-have social media posts for hospital marketing teams 

5 must-have social media posts for hospital marketing teams  | Social Media and Healthcare |
Hospitals should leverage social media marketing

Hospitals across the U.S. have taken social media marketing to new levels, using the social amplification and shareability of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Pinterest (believe it or not) to tell healthcare stories to fans and followers.

When we partner with hospitals and elective care destinations for their marketing needs, social media strategy—both paid and organic—is always part of our recommendation due to its unique power to connect with audiences on a personal level.

As you’re putting together your hospital’s social media strategy, we at COHN wanted to make sure you don’t overlook these five social media post types that help your pages generate more engagement and build a stronger online following.

And because every hospital marketing blog in the U.S. features the Mayo Clinic as its go-to case study, we decided to keep things local and pull in examples from Colorado-based hospital providers. Enjoy!

1. Health tips

Regardless of industry, social media is the place to flaunt expertise—and what are hospitals if not experts in all things health? The most successful way to gain an audience in content marketing and social media is to provide value to your audiences, and so as experts in health, do your part to share your knowledge to help your followers stay healthy.

Colorado example:

Photo credit: Children’s Hospital of Colorado

2. Translate current events and pop culture news

Want to tap into the shareability of social media? Catch the wave of trending topics. What was Angelina Jolie just diagnosed with? Does Pokemon Go have any health effects? Is “Work Martyr Syndrome” a real disease, and if so, what does your hospital say about it?

Colorado example:

Photo credit: Presbyterian / St. Luke’s Medical Center

3. Risk awareness

As a local authority on your community’s health and wellbeing, posting about potential health risks in the area is not only smart social media strategy, it’s also the right thing to do.

Colorado example:

Photo credit: Denver Health

4. Staff recognition

Don’t overlook the size and reach of your internal staff on social media. This is your chance to promote and highlight internal champions at your hospital, which is paramount to building a culture of recognition and respect.

Colorado example:

Photo credit: Rose Medical Center

5. Patient stories

We saved the best for last. If you aren’t sharing patient stories via social media, you’re doing it wrong. Whether it’s through long-form storytelling that relies on written storytelling, quotes, photos, X-rays, testimonials and more, or rich video that tugs at your heartstrings, sharing patient stories is by far your greatest opportunity to connect with social media users.

Colorado example:

Credit: UCHealth YouTube 

If you’re a hospital marketer and you are looking for a marketing partner to help you with your social media strategy, give us a call. We’re a full-service hospital and healthcare marketing agency that uses brand strategy to drive results for your team

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