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In the age of social media, should you bother with an email newsletter?

In the age of social media, should you bother with an email newsletter? | Social Media and Healthcare |

With everything moving toward social media posts and other forms of fast content, lots of practices are wondering if email newsletters are still a worthwhile form of marketing.

Is it a waste of time to bother with an email newsletter when it seems like everyone’s obsessed with Facebook and Twitter? The short answer is no it’s not a waste of time.

And if you do it correctly; you’ll have a great way to market your practice both to new patients and to other healthcare professionals.

In this article, you’ll find tips and ideas you can put into practice with your e-newsletters.

Newsletter marketing

Email newsletters actually have an advantage over social media in the sense that they allow you to create more in-depth, targeted content that sticks with your readers. The e-newsletter can be something your audiences look forward to each month (or with each mailing) for more thorough news and expert articles that are relevant to their interests.

Generally, planning upcoming issues is easy to do if you put together a calendar and sketch out a few ideas in advance. As you get closer to publishing, you can always add content that’s specific to recent news and trending topics. You’ll want a mix of evergreen content (content that’s relevant all the time and isn’t specific to recent events) and coverage of trends or news about your practice.

Whatever you do, don’t send the same newsletter to different audiences. If you try to make articles for every possible reader fit into the same newsletter, that’s a recipe for alienating your readership. Instead, you’ll need to target your newsletters.

For patients

Many chiropractic practices target their newsletters for patients with articles that are interesting to laypeople who don’t know much about chiropractic care and are interested in learning more about their health and your practice.

These articles:


  • Feature straightforward topics. For your patients, you’ll probably want to write jargon-free, easy-to-read introductory pieces to health topics and educational articles about chiropractic care and about your practice philosophy. These articles are friendly and informational.
  • Cover practice news. Vacations, new team members, policy and schedule changes, etc., are great topics to cover. Including a calendar also makes sense, to inform readers about any upcoming events at your clinic.
  • Present you as the expert without being overwhelming. Remember, your goal here is to provide useful information and create a marketing piece.



For your colleagues and other healthcare professionals

You may not have thought about having a newsletter for other chiropractic clinics and other healthcare professionals to read, but this can help you build connections to colleagues. Many chiropractors see other professionals as competition, but the healthcare community can serve as a valuable source of referrals that can help you build your practice.

Here are some possible benefits for you:

  • Reaching other chiropractic clinics reminds them of you and educates them about your practice in case they ever want to refer their patients somewhere else during vacation periods, scheduling conflicts, etc. If you have specialties, such as offering prenatal chiropractic care, then that’s important to highlight in case they’d rather send a particular patient to you.
  • Allopathic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians can be great referral sources. Letting them know about your practice can give them a trusted place to send patients who need chiropractic care.
  • Remember, it’s not uncommon for patients to see many different specialists for different reasons, too. Physical therapists, massage therapists, and others are also potential referral sources.
  • Establish yourself as an expert chiropractor by presenting relevant information for your readers. You can use more jargon and have longer articles, since this is intended for a professional audience.
  • Educate people who aren’t chiropractors about the chiropractic profession.

To promote your newsletter, you can send a brochure in the mail about your practice and include a letter letting them know you’re offering subscriptions to interested professionals or reach out with a personal email. Don’t just add other practices to your email list without inviting them first―you could be seen as a spammer and that can create ill-will even if you have good intentions.


Forbes Agency Council, “In the Age of Social Media, Should You Bother with E-Newsletters?” Forbes Magazine. Published: April 2018. Accessed: May 2018.

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Social Media Implementation Checklist

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

Formdox's comment, April 20, 5:34 AM
#Formdox integrates perfectly with several #functionalities for the monitoring
cctopbuilders's comment, April 26, 6:01 AM
Shala Wedikom's curator insight, September 27, 5:05 PM

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Physicians Building a Community Through Social Media

Physicians Building a Community Through Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare |

Doctors can use blogs and other digital outlets to educate patients, build online reputations and, perhaps most importantly, have an outlet for their opinions. 

In 2004, an interaction with a patient changed the way Kevin Pho, MD, thought about social media

Pho’s patient told him how she was comforted by a post on his blog, KevinMD, that outlined alternatives to a medication that recently had been recalled. 

Kevin Pho

“That was really my lightbulb moment, where I can use these media tools to really connect with patients outside of the exam room,” says Pho, an internal medicine physician who has practiced in New Hampshire for the past 15 years.

In the time since that interaction, his website has become a respected social media platform for health care professionals. It has been recognized by major news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. 

Pho receives between 20 and 30 unsolicited daily submissions — contributions from physicians, nurses, medical students and patients — and he has published work from more than 2,000 people. Many of contributions focus on seldom-discussed topics that are common in physician experiences but are typically out of public view, such as physician burnout and assisted suicide. 

RELATED: Doctors Need to Stay in Line When Going Online

“I like to share these stories all in one forum and really open up the discussion because, in health care, there are very few issues that everyone agrees on,” Pho says. “I think that using my site as a springboard for both patients and physicians to tell the stories that really open up a discussion and hopefully helps bring everyone together.” 

In Pho’s opinion, there are three major reasons why physicians are motivated to contribute to blogs and other forms of social media: to educate their patients, build their online reputations, and have an outlet for their opinions. 

What: National Health IT Week

When: Oct. 8-12.

About: An awareness week focusing on the value of technology in health care.


The last point, Pho says, is crucial to the representation of physicians overall. 

“A lot of the health care reform topics, the decisions are being made by nonphysicians,” he says. “But I think it’s important for physicians to have their voice and contribute to the health care conversation.” 

While some physicians prefer sharing their voices through well-established sites such as KevinMD, others start by creating their own blogs. One neurologist of 20 years started his blog, Doctor Grumpy in the House, as a way to share the stories he was saving to include in his book. 

“But, as many find out, you don't have time for that,” he says. “So, in 2008, I started this blog to share the stories, and the blog is my book.” 

The physician, who blogs under the pseudonym Ibee Grumpy, MD, says he has maintained his blog because, more than anything else, it is a fun and cathartic hobby.  

RELATED: Five Ways to Promote Your HCO and Reach Potential Patients

“The ad revenue isn't worth the time, maybe $100 a month, so I'm not doing this to get rich,” he says. “I think, like many bloggers, you keep hoping you'll get a big break and become famous and have millions of readers so that you can cut back on the real job hours somewhat, but realistically that really doesn't happen much. After eight years, it's mostly just for the fun of it.” 

He says the biggest challenge of keeping a blog is finding the time to write posts. Second is deciding what to write about. Though his blog is known for its humorous nature, Grumpy says his favorite stories are the ones that are a bit more serious, such as his 2011 post about his first malpractice suit. 

“Getting sued is like cancer — something that happens to other people,” he wrote. “I think all doctors, on a superficial level, know it will likely happen. But you're still blindsided when it happens to you.” 

Jeff Barson, an entrepreneur who has helped establish such medical websites as Uncommon Student MD and Medical Spa MD, believes it is important for physicians to use social media as a way to discuss the issues that matter most to them. 

Barson regularly accepts contributions from physicians and other medical professionals for his websites. In his experience, many physicians are interested in having their voices heard but are unsure of how strongly they can voice their opinions. 

RELATED: Unfavorable Online Reviews a Challenge for Many Physicians

“If you are trying to please everybody, it can be pretty bland,” he says. 

“What generates the most interest is not actually brain surgery — it’s if you are actually interesting,” Barson says. “If you are writing interesting stuff, people will be interested in it. What I tell physicians is, you should be writing the stuff that you want to read.” 

But for some, blogging is less about engaging their audience and more about expressing themselves — a kind of therapy to vent stress and build a community of like-minded followers. For Pho, blogging has always been a way to avoid burnout. 

“I think one way to combat physician burnout is to have a passion outside of clinical medicine,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy seeing patients, of course. I still see patients four days a week. But I think if I saw patients every day, every 15 minutes, dealing with mountains of bureaucratic paperwork, I’d probably get burnt out, too. And let’s face it, patients need more than a frustrated doctor.” 

Pho says many of his contributors use blogging for the same purpose: to connect with others about the challenges of practicing medicine. 

“If you look at some of the recent statistics, about half of doctors are experiencing burnout today,” Pho says. “I’ve shared hundreds of these stories on my site, and they all say how valuable it is to have that platform where they can share stories with each other and let each other know that they are in the same boat. I think it’s tremendously important to let burnt-out doctors know that they are not suffering in silence.” 

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National Health IT Week 2018: Here’s what was said on social media

National Health IT Week 2018 happened around the country and, as usual, plenty of conversation took place in face-to-face events, inside the Beltway, at state capitals and, of course, on social media.

HIMSS Senior Director of Congressional Affairs Samantha Burch explained that 2018 is a transformative year for NHITWeek because the purpose has shifted from proving the value of health technologies to demonstrating the achievements and successes.  

While that may be somewhat different from last year, one aspect did not change: Healthcare is a human story. That plays out each NHITWeek and 2018 was no exception.

Rasu Shrestha MD MBA@RasuShrestha

It's the real stories behind #HealthIT that make our collective efforts come to life.

Read these here, and stay inspired: #IHeartHIT #NHITweek #Aim2Innovate #HCLDR #HDPalooza

This year's themes hit the mark!

Brian Eastwood@Brian_Eastwood

Why do #IHeartHIT? There's so much potential to change the lives of clinical staff and patients - and so many ppl working to solve the challenges that stand in the way.

Also (in a nod to the Southern accents I've been hearing this week) y'all are awesome.#NHITWeek


Powerful stories humanize health information and technology, inspiring us to innovate. What keeps you motivated to help move health IT forward? #IHeartHIT #NHITweek

Pew Health

Up to 1 in 5 patient records may not be accurately matched within the same health care system – and that’s a problem for patient care. Learn more:  #NHITWeek


Echoing the sentiments of Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, and Smash Mouth, we could all use a little change. That’s the theme of #NHITWeek. Learn how Lauren is working to change EHR education and support for the better. #IHeartHIT

Carla Smith@CarlaMSmith

When it's your mom, getting the right care at the right time becomes very personal:  #NHITWeek #IHeartHIT

How My Mom’s Health Story Gave New Meaning to Interoperability #IHeartHIT | HIMSS

A story of how a health IT professional discoverd the true impact of interoperability while caring for his mother.
Rasu Shrestha MD MBA@RasuShrestha

Empathy is the heartbeat of healthcare. When you combine that with curiosity, you get to innovation.@TToddDunn of @Intermountain at @HealthLeaders Innovation Summit. #pinksocks #hcldr #innovation #NHITWeek

Lewis Levy, MD, FACP@lewismlevy

Location, language & longer factors to seeking quality care when traveling abroad.
We make purchases, bank & connect to each other w/confidence from around the globe.
Now we can access quality healthcare from anywhere.
As it should be. #virtualcare #IheartHIT #NHITWeek


That’s really just a taste of all the #IHeartHIT stories told during this National Health Week and year’s past. Read them all here.

The power of technology to improve people’s lives was front-and-center this week and it shared some of the spotlight with social determinants of health.

Bernard J.Tyson, CEO

Everyone can make a difference. More than 1,000 @KPShare IT employees across the country volunteered 4,100 hours planting gardens, cooking/serving meals, sorting food bank produce and more to bring healthy food and nutrition to our communities.#NHITweek

Linda Stotsky@EMRAnswers

I’ve worked in #healthcare for over 25 years, but it was when I entered #HealthIT that I found my passion. The ability to improve outcomes by combining IT systems & services w/ communication processes, still amazes & motivates me EVERY day. #NHITWeek

Mercy Technology Services@MercyTechnology

“Why do I love Health IT? We can use analytics to help doctors make data-driven decisions that improve patient care. With natural language processing, we can pull usable data from doctors’ notes, which make up some 80% of info in patient records.” –Kerry Bommarito, MTS #NHITweek


As noted above, NHITWeek is also a time to demonstrate already-won success stories of using information and technology.

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The evolving role of social media in health-care delivery: measuring the perception of health-care professionals in Eastern Saudi Arabia

The evolving role of social media in health-care delivery: measuring the perception of health-care professionals in Eastern Saudi Arabia | Social Media and Healthcare |


The objective of this study is to evaluate the perception of health-care professionals in Saudi Arabia toward the usages of social media in health-care delivery.


In this cross-sectional study, an online-based questionnaire was distributed among the health-care professionals residing in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia. Their perception toward the uses of social media in health-care service delivery was evaluated by analyzing their attitude toward its benefits and risks involved.


The sample size was 120 participants, and 80% of them agreed with the benefits of using social networks in health-care services and considered that the use of these technologies in the provision of health services improves their professional knowledge and is a suitable tool for patient education and public health awareness. However, some respondents (20%) believed that there are several risks associated with the use of social media, such as ethical or legal challenges, the risk to the patient’s health status, or the breaching of the privacy and confidentiality of the patient.


The results of this research indicate that social media can be a useful tool by which physicians may promote their services and publish general health information. However, there are potential problems in the use of social networks that can have negative consequences for patients and HCPs. This implies that precautions must be taken to avoid ruptures of patient privacy and other risks that can result in legal action against health professionals damaging their image and professional status. The study also found that the participants are willing to use social media for professional purposes.

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Five Ways to Promote Your HCO and Reach Potential Patients

Five Ways to Promote Your HCO and Reach Potential Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

To build a thriving organization, physicians leaders can’t overlook the importance of a cohesive marketing strategy. An industry expert offers advice.

For empowered health care consumers, physicians remain a well-regarded source of information and guidance. Yet when it comes to seeking out that information, the patient journey to find physicians and treatments can be nonlinear and sporadic.

In fact, a 2016 McKinsey and Co. health insurance study found that while patients ranked selecting a provider as their most important health care-related journey, it was also the one where they expressed the least satisfaction, potentially because of the difficulty involved in finding the right doctor.

By connecting prospective patients with the right information through the right channels, physicians can better serve key markets, while driving sustainable success.

While savvy physician leaders understand the importance of promoting their work, many don’t know where to start or simply don’t have the bandwidth to devote to it. As a result, they take a reactive approach to marketing, and much of their remarkable work goes unnoticed. Not only is this detrimental to business, but it is also a disservice to potential patients looking to learn about the latest and greatest in patient care. 

By connecting patients with their valuable work, physicians can establish patient relationships that support better clinical outcomes as well as business performance. Here are five easy steps physicians and their leaders can work proactively with their marketing teams.

Align business and marketing goals with clinical priorities. Before physicians meet with their marketing teams or even engage with a marketer, they need a clear understanding of their clinical strengths. Think about any underused subspecialties or areas for growth in your system, as well as related content that will interest patients. For example, if a gastrointestinal practice wants to boost the number of colonoscopies booked, educational materials on exam prep and patient testimonials can help build trust with potential consumers.

After identifying clinical priorities, clearly defining marketing goals and what marketing success looks like is key. If your goal is to attract new patients, for example, consider your total patient capacity and the expected billing value of each one. Crunching those numbers before rolling out a campaign can help organizations better assess if they’re spending marketing dollars wisely.


Make your content understandable and accessible. Few things turn patients off faster than complicated medical jargon they can’t understand. When prospective patients are seeking advice or information, they need easily digestible answers. While it can be tempting to turn to terminology-laden explanations, using complex language can interfere with a physician’s ability to connect with patients effectively.

Humanizing content with patient testimonials, approachable language and a friendly tone goes a long way toward engaging prospective patients. If your budget allows, video can be a particularly effective way to explain procedures, treatment differentiators and patient results clearly and leave a lasting impression.

Help patients find you with a multichannel marketing strategy. Your patients are everywhere, so you should be, too. Today’s health care consumers often engage with multiple platforms as they seek health care information, with health-related search traffic growing on the web and social media.

As patients go digital for their health care information, diversifying your marketing strategy can help you meet your goals by meeting consumers where they are. When exploring digital marketing avenues, first make sure your website is optimized for mobile. This not only will improve the online experience for potential patients while they are on the go, but also will help the performance of your marketing efforts. With health-related lookups growing on search engines and social media, a multimedium strategy is more critical than ever.


Reputation is a huge part of the patient’s journey. When looking for a new medical provider, referrals can often help turn a prospective consumer into a paying patient. That’s especially true for younger patients; a 2015 survey of 3,000 people by the health care technology firm Nuance found 70 percent of patients ages 18-24 chose a primary care doctor based on recommendations from family and friends, compared with 41 percent of patients 65 and older. On the flip side, a negative reputation can cost you credibility and patients. According to a Digital Assent study in 2013, 85 percent of patients wouldn’t feel comfortable choosing a clinician if more than 10 percent of their reviews were one-star ratings.

As a health care provider, making sure that word of mouth works in your favor is a key part of an effective marketing strategy. With review sites like HealthGradesZocDoc and even Google giving people a window into your practice, encourage your own patients to share their experiences online. If patients are willing, sharing written or video testimonials is also a powerful way to showcase your capabilities. In addition, work with your marketing team to monitor your online presence and address any negative feedback from patients promptly and honestly.

Keep communication ongoing and content fresh. The more patients know about your practice, the more effectively they can use your services and refer others. Keep them updated by email, social media and other channels about new physicians, services, technology advancements, office specials and other practice updates.


In addition to regular patient communications, review your marketing content regularly to ensure you’re still working toward the right goals. Updating pay-per-click ads, social ads, SEO keywords and other assets as subspecialties or services change will help ensure you’re drawing the right kind of traffic. For example, if your orthopedics practice is now focusing on total knee replacements rather than general orthopedics visits, modify your content and keywords accordingly. If your practice reaches capacity, consider refocusing your marketing strategy on building your brand and promoting content as opposed to driving new leads.

Vanessa Vollman O’Donnell is director of the national health care division for California-based ReachLocal, where she manages strategies and campaigns for multilocation health care systems.

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When Digital Devices Distract Doctors, Mistakes Can Happen

When Digital Devices Distract Doctors, Mistakes Can Happen | Social Media and Healthcare |

Digital distraction in healthcare is emerging as a great threat to patient safety and physician well-being.[1] This phenomenon involves the habitual use of personal electronic devices by healthcare providers for nonclinical purposes during appointments and procedures.[2] Some call it “distracted doctoring.” Matt Richtel, a journalist for the New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on distracted driving, coined the term “distracted doctoring” in 2011. [3] Like driving, attending to a patient’s complex care needs is a high-risk activity that requires undivided attention and presence in the moment to ensure the safety and protection of others.

But the threat might more aptly be called “distracted practice,” as it impacts all healthcare workers and staff. While distraction is particularly concerning in the operating room, emergency room, and critical care areas, it can impact all healthcare settings—including the office practice. Personal electronic devices can create a digital distraction so engaging that it consumes awareness, potentially preventing healthcare providers from focusing on the primary task at hand—caring for and interacting with patients. And the consequences can be devastating.

Our Devices Are Addictive

In today’s electronic culture, it has become unthinkable to be without personal electronic devices. Growing evidence shows that our personal electronic devices and social media are addictive.[4] The reason is dopamine. Our dopamine systems are stimulated by the unpredictable, small, incomplete bursts of information with visual or auditory cues. For example, we are never quite sure when we will receive a text message and from whom. We may keep checking to see who liked our recent Facebook post. And when our devices ding or vibrate, we know our reward is coming. Yet as when gambling or playing the lottery, the anticipation of the reward is (usually) better than the reward itself. This results in more and more of what some call “seeking” and “wanting” behaviors. Then instant gratification encourages dopamine looping, and it becomes harder and harder to stop the cycle.

Distraction can also be both a symptom of and a contributor to healthcare provider stress and burnout. As a symptom of burnout, digital distraction is a way to escape a stressful environment. As a contributor to burnout, digital distraction impedes human interaction because of the sheer volume of data-demanding our attention.

Medical Malpractice Implications

For most healthcare providers, distractions and interruptions are considered part of the job; it is the nature of their work. If we consider healthcare distraction on a continuum, on one end are distractions related to clinical care (e.g., answering team member questions or responding to surgical equipment alarms). On the other end of the continuum are distractions unrelated to clinical care (e.g., making personal phone calls, sending personal text messages, checking social media sites, playing games, or searching airline flights).

From a litigation perspective, the distinction between distractions related to clinical care and those unrelated to clinical care is important. In a medical malpractice claim where there is an allegation that an adverse event was caused by distracted practice, a distraction caused by a clinical-care-related activity may be found to be within the standard of care and is, therefore, often defensible. But where it can be shown that the distraction was caused by non-patient matters, the plaintiff’s attorney will certainly use that against the defendant. In these situations, the defendant’s medical care may not even enter the equation, because during eDiscovery the metadata (i.e., cell phone records, scouring findings from hard drives) serves as the “expert witness.” Even if the defendant’s clinical care was within the standard, the fact that there are cell phone records indicating that the healthcare provider was surfing the Internet or checking personal e-mail may imply distraction and could potentially supersede all other evidence.

Preventing Distractions

Complex problems require a multifaceted approach. Organizations, teams, and individuals all should take responsibility and ownership for reducing the risks associated with digital distraction. The following are risk management strategies to prevent distractions and enhance patient safety.


  • Create awareness

    • Recognize the extent of the problem and risks.
    • Model appropriate personal electronic device use behaviors.
    • Tier communication to batch non-emergent messages.
    • Refrain from sending texts on non-urgent matters.
    • Do not expect immediate responses for non-urgent matters.
  • Educate system-wide

    • Train all healthcare providers and staff at orientation and conduct annual refreshers on safety concerns, legal risks of using personal electronic devices when providing care, device-user etiquette, and the addictive potential of technology.
    • Use simulation-based learning where distractions and interruptions are introduced during high-risk procedures.
    • Use case studies of real-life examples where distraction was alleged to play a role in an adverse event.
  • Deploy technology solutions

    • Manage facility-issued devices.
    • Create technology-free zones.
    • Limit Internet access to work-related sites only—EMR, labs, images, pharmacy formulary, state Rx databases, and decision support/cognitive aids.
  • Enforce

    • Monitor compliance with system-wide protocols and guidelines.
    • Clearly define how personal electronic devices are used in patient care areas.


  • Reinforce situational awareness and mindful practices with your team or department through:
    • Unit-specific protocols: “Sterile Cockpit” and “Below 10,000 Feet” protocols limiting or eliminating non-essential activities during critical phases of procedures and high-risk activities.
    • Empowering every team member to speak up when they have a safety concern. For example, encourage team members to speak up when they notice another member is so focused on a personal electronic device that he or she has lost situational awareness about the patient’s clinical condition.
    • Applying TeamSTEPPS® principles: leadership, situational awareness, mutual support, and communication.
  • Create a process where employees can be reached via a call to a central location, with messages relayed to the employee by a staff member. This alleviates employees’ desire to have their personal electronic devices nearby in case of a family emergency.
  • Monitor compliance as part of the team’s quality measures.


  • Take personal responsibility—ignore distractions, especially during high-risk procedures, and make sure to speak up, set an example, and remain vigilant.
  • Practice situational awareness:
    • Pay attention to what is happening in the present moment.
    • Increase attention, focus, and concentration.
    • Leave your device behind.

New CME Courses Address Distracted Practice Concerns

Two new CME courses from The Doctors Company, How Healthcare Leaders Can Reduce Risks of Distracted Practice in Their Organization and The Risks of Distracted Practice in the Perioperative Area, address addiction to personal electronic devices and provide strategies that individuals and organizations can use to minimize the patient safety risks associated with distractions from these devices.

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Consider All the Variables When Evaluating Your Marketing ROI 

Consider All the Variables When Evaluating Your Marketing ROI  | Social Media and Healthcare |

When you claim an impressive-sounding healthcare marketing ROI for a marketing initiative, are you undermining your credibility by not considering all the variables in your calculation?

“With case volumes slipping and persistent competitive threats to operating margins, many healthcare marketers look to purchase multiple solutions — CRMsdigital marketing services/tools, targeting lists, among others — to gain a strategic advantage in acquiring new patients or retaining market share. While these services or technologies can be helpful, healthcare marketers need to be clear on the true returns they may expect for what they are buying,” says industry veteran and thought leader Jessica Walker.

“This sounds like it should be a straight apples-to-apples comparison, but the truth is that we use the term healthcare marketing ROI across a range of investments and strategies, and how it is calculated is frequently based on inconsistent or subjective data points.

“Healthcare is complicated and there are many variables, making it challenging to build an apples-to-apples ROI. Additionally, it would be inappropriate to claim success using one variable in isolation, as many marketing initiatives operate in tandem with others that support and enhance the outcomes (e.g., a social media campaign running concurrently with a paid search campaign).

“It is critical that healthcare marketers know how to normalize measures of success when deciding which solution will be most likely to support their ultimate goals,” says Walker.

In our new story, Walker takes us through some detailed examples of how marketers could misinterpret information and misstate their true healthcare marketing ROI by not digging deep enough. She warns of the dangers of comparing apples to bananas using the entertaining example of her two banana-loving “monkeys” (8-year-old and 5-year-old sons).

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Increase Your Visibility On LinkedIn By Publishing Articles

Increase Your Visibility On LinkedIn By Publishing Articles | Social Media and Healthcare |

There’s no better or faster way to highlight your expertise, build your personal brand and grow your LinkedIn followers than through creating and sharing high-value content with a strong focus on your topic(s) of expertise. One of the best ways to do this to publish long-form articles directly on your LinkedIn profile.


Why You Should Publish Articles on LinkedIn

To get your content in front of the 467+ million strong member base of LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful marketing opportunity.

When you publish an article on LinkedIn:


  • Your original content becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed on the Articles section of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Having your blog accessible to ALL the members of the most professional, affluent and well educated social network is great for promoting brand awareness and generating new leads. LinkedIn Publishing is even searchable through Google. 
  • It's shared with your connections and followers in their news feeds, and sometimes through notifications.
  • Members that aren't in your network can follow you from your article, so that your next article will be surfaced in their feeds.


So how can you leverage this opportunity to promote your thought leadership, increase brand awareness and generate more leads? In this article  Marie will show you how to start publishing on LinkedIn right away.


more at


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Medical Marketing: What Every Doctor Needs to Know About Personal Bra…

Presented at the Osaka Endocrinology Conference: October 2018 Medical Marketing: What Every Doctor Needs to Know About Personal Branding — 2019 and beyond Med…
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Unfavorable Online Reviews a Challenge for Many Physicians

Unfavorable Online Reviews a Challenge for Many Physicians | Social Media and Healthcare |

There is value in review websites, but they can lead to problems when literally anyone posts negative comments or false information.

With the proliferation of websites that solicit reviews from patients, it’s no wonder some physicians worry about their online reputation. It’s yet another reason to be cognizant of patient satisfaction.

“In addition to making the right diagnosis and prescribing the right therapy, you have to do the things that make people happy,” says Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Feldman isn’t fretting over the possibility of one or two disgruntled patients venting in cyberspace, maintaining that a few unflattering reviews won’t “make a lick of a difference.” While taking them in stride, he offered a prudent countermeasure: “If you’re confident in what you do, go ahead and encourage all your patients to do the ratings.”

Nonetheless, some physicians contend that review sites can create conundrums when patients, family members or literally anyone posts negative comments and false information.

The comments aren’t even reflective of the care patients received, according to a study published in September 2017. Researchers concluded that “online consumer ratings should not be used in isolation to select physicians, given their poor association with clinical performance.” The report, appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, looked at 78 physicians representing eight medical and surgical specialties.

Unable to appease everyone, “it can often be counter-therapeutic to give in to the demands of patients,” according to the article Internet Sabotage: Negative Reviews of Psychiatrists, published in the December 2016 issue of Psychiatric Annals.

The authors, psychiatrists Laura Kendall, MD, and Timothy Botello, MD, MPH, who work in the involuntary psychiatric unit of a Los Angeles County-operated hospital, highlighted the dilemmas posed by online reviews. “Sometimes, it is a psychiatrist’s duty to set limits,” they wrote, especially in treating patients with borderline personality disorder, who are prone to explosive reactions. “For these patients, such limit-setting could be fuel for the fire that leads them to write negative reviews online.”

To illustrate, they presented the case of a 70-year-old woman with schizophrenia who was admitted on a 72-hour hold after neighbors had notified the police due to her bizarre behavior and weight loss. During the hospitalization, it became known that “her daughter had been taking advantage of the patient financially and was emotionally abusive” to the mother, as well.

As required by law, the physician filed an adult protective services report. The daughter then lodged a complaint with the hospital, claiming that the physician had falsified information. She also personally attacked the physician in email and phone messages and posted derogatory reviews online.

According to Kendall, the physician prevailed in requesting that the websites remove the comments because the postings — written by a family member, not a patient — violated terms of service. After one of the sites had expunged the daughter’s review, it reappeared. This time, the physician reported the reviewer for harassment, and again, the site deleted the posting.

“It took a lot of … time and energy to take this down,” says Kendall, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. However, this approach “probably wouldn’t work in a lot of cases” because some websites will “leave up all those reviews no matter what you do,” she says, citing feedback from other physicians.

The case helped Kendall and Botello better understand the value of what’s posted about themselves on the Internet.

“We started Googling ourselves a lot,” Kendall says.

“I didn’t know I had an ‘F’ rating,” added Botello, a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at USC and director of its forensic psychiatry fellowship program. “We were not savvy enough at the time. It’s just like checking your credit score.”

In forensic cases, which tend to be adversarial in nature, Botello explained that any decision leaves one side or the other unhappy. He and Kendall have become accustomed to this scenario in their positions.

“If we were working solely in private practice, these negative online reviews would be even more worrisome,” he says.

Steven Mandell, a First Amendment lawyer at the firm Mandell Menkes LLC in Chicago, recommended that physicians try to tactfully prevent conflicts from escalating into difficult situations. Taking a “hard line” with a disgruntled patient could result in a negative review.

When a patient posts a negative review, he suggested writing a response along these lines: “Our goal is to make our patients happy. I’m sorry if you had a negative experience. Please call me to discuss how we can make this right.”

This gives the physician an opportunity to resolve the issue while minimizing potential damage from bad publicity. In the response, Mandell advised, it’s important to avoid disclosing confidential information protected under the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Online reviews seldom warrant legal action. Physicians should “seek advice to determine whether or not what has been says really rises to the level of defamation; or rather, is this someone voicing their disappointment, anger or frustration, which usually is characterized as opinion,” Mandell explained.

Unfavorable comments from patients often reflect their perception that a physician was rude and uncaring. The criticism may serve as a wakeup call to improve communication skills, says Feldman, the Wake Forest University professor.

In the February 2016 issue of JAMA Dermatology, he wrote that with unhappy patients feeling more inclined to air their discontent online, some practitioners may perceive these reviews as an adverse trend. But not Feldman.

“Negative feedback is a gift,” he says. “It’s more helpful than all the positive ratings.”

Susan Kreimer is a freelance health care journalist based in New York. 

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Social Media in Healthcare

Social media are basically web-based tools used for computer-mediated communication. It is a powerful tool that healthcare professionals can use to communicate…
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Patient Experience: The Biggest Transformation in Medicine Since the Stone Age

During National Health IT Week, champions from across the industry are uniting to share their voices on how health IT is catalyzing change in U.S. healthcare. The following post from a National Health IT Week Partner is one of the many perspectives of how information and technology is transforming health in America.


The digital transformation of healthcare is going mainstream, promising a higher quality of care at a lower cost for all. And its right on time, as only a couple of years ago the World Health Organization calculated the cost of not taking action to address the spread of noncommunicable diseases as 7 trillion dollars in 20 years.

Telemedicine allows for a cheaper infrastructure of medical consultations, connected hardware means remote monitoring 24/7 and big data helps researchers find patterns in the spread of diseases and better target preventive activities.

But the biggest change happened to the model of patient relations. It has changed irreversibly as the digital transformation of healthcare turned patients from passive beneficiaries into active decision makers. For the first time since the Stone Age.

The Internet brought with it the emancipation of patients who gained a much wider access to information, which led to the rise in decisiveness. Companies in healthcare are no longer primarily in business to business communication with other medical entities and public administration but in business to consumer – having to work hard to gain patients' trust for the first time.

With noncommunicable diseases epidemics, the more engaged patients are, the better for early prevention. But there’s also the dark side to this transformation when extreme emotions come into play and patients don’t know who to trust, the internet has the answer. On a public policy level, it is crucial to regain control over the quality of communication in the outside environment. Building patient experience is no longer just an option, it’s an essential element of healthcare strategy.

What is Patient Experience?

Like in the case of customer experience, it’s best described by the Cambridge dictionary definition: “the way someone feels at all stages of doing business with a company or organization.”

What differentiates patient experience from customer experience are the emotions that come into play and the legal restrictions in communication. In no other industry, does one have to deal with such a wide spectrum of emotions, from indifference to preventive activities to the most extreme when fear kicks in. On the other hand, the restrictions in advertising and marketing make it harder to combat medical lies (like anti-vaccination movement) as it’s health professionals and companies who face charges.

The necessity of including patient experience into your strategy will mean that you need to change how your organization functions. As Adam Richardson wrote for Harvard Business Review: “Crafting a great customer experience requires enormous amounts of collaboration across groups in a company that often work independently and at different stages of product development. In many cases marketing, product design, customer services, sales, advertising agency, retail partners must all be working in concert to create even a single touchpoint.”

Patient Experience in Digital Transformation

Patient experience before digital transformation happened mostly only in two channels: medical facilities or pharmacies. So the patient journey was linear, fully controlled and top-down.

Patient experience after digital transformation became multichannel, nonlinear, happening 24/7, interdependent and collaborative.

Healthcare not only has to deal with multiplication of available channels – from doctors’ offices and pharmacies to retail, online and mobile platforms, as well as social media. They also need to address different trust levels as well as emotional levels – when in doubt we tend to trust more those who are valued members of our social circles.

With the abundance of channels, companies need to accept that each stage of the journey may take place in every channel – customers may base their decision on the quality of post-sale service or turn to social media platforms for customer support. Shopping trends apply also to health tech – when customers go to stores to test devices and then look for the cheaper offer for the same product online.

Emergencies can happen late at night or on weekends. With social media, we’re now used to easily accessible and immediate forms of communication, meaning those responsible need to address problems quickly and, most important, emphatically.

Patients are often looking for a second opinion, not only by visiting another professional but also in various health-related sources. This means that businesses and professionals need to concentrate as much on the channels of communication that they control as on those where they’re only guests.

Patients are active decision makers so companies and professionals need to win their trust. They’re no longer beneficiaries coming for top-down recommendations. They’re equal partners looking for explanation and conversation. After all, it’s their health and life that’s at stake here.

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Social media guidance for physicians taps timeless principles

Social media guidance for physicians taps timeless principles | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media has come a long way since Friendster, permeating every facet of American life—and medicine is no exception. If the decade and a half since Facebook was launched seems like an eternity on the social media timeline, it is but a blip for a guide to physician conduct that debuted more than 150 years ago.

Yet that guide, the AMA Code of Medical Ethics, has quite a bit to say about how physicians should navigate Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Learn how to apply the enduring principles of medical ethics to the quickly moving world of social media.


The Code recognizes both the attraction of social media and the special need for caution when physicians use it.


“Participating in social networking and other similar opportunities can support physicians' personal expression, enable individual physicians to have a professional presence online, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, provide opportunities to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communication,” notes the preamble to Opinion, 2.3.2, “Professionalism in the Use of Social Media.”


“Social networks, blogs and other forms of communication online also create new challenges to the patient-physician relationship,” the Code of Medical Ethics says.


Physicians widely—and, most often, wisely—use social media. It has also been misused, including shared images and other violations of patient privacy, as well as emails and texts that never should have been sent.


CEJA cited three of the nine Principles of Medical Ethics in rendering its opinion on physician use of social media. Those principles include respect for human dignity and rights, honesty and upholding the standards of professionalism, and the duty to safeguard patient confidences and privacy.


The opinion states:


Physicians should weigh a number of considerations when maintaining a presence online:


(a) Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online.


(b) When using social media for educational purposes or to exchange information professionally with other physicians, follow ethics guidance regarding confidentiality, privacy and informed consent.


(c) When using the internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the internet, content is likely there permanently.


Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.


(d) If they interact with patients on the internet, physicians must maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship in accordance with professional ethics guidance just as they would in any other context.


(e) To maintain appropriate professional boundaries physicians should consider separating personal and professional content online.


(f) When physicians see content posted by colleagues that appears unprofessional they have a responsibility to bring that content to the attention of the individual, so that he or she can remove it and/or take other appropriate actions.


If the behavior significantly violates professional norms and the individual does not take appropriate action to resolve the situation, the physician should report the matter to appropriate authorities.


(g) Physicians must recognize that actions online and content posted may negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, may have consequences for their medical careers (particularly for physicians-in-training and medical students) and can undermine public trust in the medical profession.


There’s a CME course for that

A central theme of the guidance in Opinion 2.3.2 has to do with understanding and maintaining boundaries.


The AMA offers a credit-eligible CME course, Boundaries for Physicians: The Code of Medical Ethics, “to help physicians identify and understand how to maintain proper boundaries with their patients and to articulate and understand the underlying importance of those boundaries to the practice of medicine.” The module is free to members ($20 for non-embers) and covers a wide range of situations, including social media.

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In the Social Media Age Patient Surveys are More Important Than Ever

In the Social Media Age Patient Surveys are More Important Than Ever | Social Media and Healthcare |

The Internet has become as fundamental to daily life as electricity and running water. It’s part of normal routine for more than half the people on the planet, and physicians are starting to take notice. The days of physical recruitment, postcards and published ads, are dwindling and providers are turning to digital platforms to showcases their practices, but can unlimited access be a risk for providers? With platforms like Yelp, Google, and Facebook available at any time to voice your opinion, providers and medical practices can find themselves covered in 5-star reviews and positive praise or sinking under the weight of negative comments. 

“Online reviews can be intimidating to healthcare organizations, but they push providers and organizations to assess their weak spots and make the necessary changes,” said Ann Baker, Patient Satisfaction Surveys and Health Campaigns Product Specialist for Relatient. Patient surveys help providers anticipate the reviews coming their way, and better their service. Using surveys, providers can ask patients questions on everything from office ambiance to quality of care, which allows the provider to improve patient experience.   

“Patient surveys are an important part of any practice. Providers need to be aware of their patients’ experience to provide the best care possible,” said Baker. Social media is just one of the ways patients can express their opinions on a doctor or practice, “it’s important for practices to monitor this activity” and process the information into actionable steps. 

While the use of online reviews is out of providers’ hands, they can impact the feedback contained in those reviews. Patient surveys can help prepare providers for the feedback that may be posted online and respond accordingly. Patient satisfaction is about more than great care, patients want to feel like their opinions are heard. Proactive surveying also helps medical groups anticipate and prepare for the results of their Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), which are published for consumer review and can dictate a portion of a practice’s reimbursement. 

One of the biggest challenges to surveys is that patients are already overloaded with mass emails, surveys, and ads seeking their opinions. Surveys that are short, well-timed, and focused are more likely to be answered. Relatient suggests that practices and health systems can keep it simple with one short question, delivered via text message: How would you rate your overall experience? 

A great way to build your online presence is to encourage loyal patients to leave a review online after the survey and make it easy for them to do so. This is important because 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. If a patient’s experience wasn’t stellar, asking the patient to provide more feedback helps uncover opportunities for improvement and gives disappointed customers a voice, offline. Automated surveys allow healthcare organizations to seek feedback at the optimal time and including a way to leave a review online improves online reputation.  

“Reviews affect how potential patients view your organization, which can be unnerving for some providers,” said Baker. But if providers are diligent in their social and survey monitoring, patient reviews can have a positive effect on their practice.

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How Do Patients and Institutions Talk About Breast Cancer on Twitter? 

How Do Patients and Institutions Talk About Breast Cancer on Twitter?  | Social Media and Healthcare |

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers analyzed how Twitter users talk about breast cancer on the social media platform. They found that breast cancer awareness and prevention are among the more common topics, and the findings could generally be used to guide advocacy and patient organizations in providing resources and support.

“Many of the patients we see in daily practice use social media to search for information about their disease, so, as care providers, we wanted to know what kind of content they find there,” said Rodrigo Sánchez-Bayona, MD, of Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, according to a press release. “At the same time, the sheer volume of posts on Twitter represents a rich pool of data we can use to assess attitudes and discourses surrounding cancer.”

Sánchez-Bayona will present results of the new analysis at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress, to be held in Munich from October 19–23.

The study involved analyzing all tweets posted with the hashtag #BreastCancer over a 7-day period; they included a total of 6,341 tweets, of which 3,703 were original and 2,638 were retweets.

Of the full set of tweets, 1,144 of them (31%) were considered to have medical content; of those, 90% were deemed to have appropriate content. A total of 2,559 tweets (69%) were deemed non-medical, and 14.8% of those were considered to have a stigmatizing attitude regarding cancer.

A total of 1,137 tweets (30.7%) contained content relating to a patient’s experience, while 96 tweets (2.6%) contained an experience from the perspective of a relative of a patient. Sixty percent of tweets came from private accounts, while 40% came from institutions or public accounts.

The aims of tweets included scientific (17.3%), advertising (15.8%), fundraising (8.3%), and patient advocacy (25.3%). When broken down into subthemes, prevention was most common (44.5%) followed by treatment (25.5%), diagnosis (18.6%), and prognosis (11.4%).

The authors noted that this was part of a larger study on discussion of diseases more generally on social media, in which they found that cancer was the most mentioned pathology on Twitter around the world.

Sánchez-Bayona said the findings may prove useful to various types of organizations. “In particular, advocacy organizations can draw on them to create relevant medical content and counseling about cancer that will be more accessible to users,” he said.

Marina Garassino, MD, of Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, who was not involved with the research, noted that there are clearly large numbers of patients using Twitter. “We should take that as corroboration of a new reality: patients now use the web to find information, and social media must be an integral part of our communication with them,” she said. “Academic institutions and key opinion leaders need to be even more active in spreading their findings through these channels to counteract the many ‘fake news’ circulating online.”

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What Does Your Online Presence Say about You as a Physician Candidate?

If you are a physician searching for practice opportunities, you probably have a lot on your mind - is your CV up to date? Have you compiled your professional reference list? Are your license and certifications up to date?

You may or may not have given much thought to your social media profiles, but did you know that your social media presence can also factor into your job search? It may not be the most important factor in the process, but how you present yourself on social media could impact your job search positively, or negatively.

What Physician Recruiters Look For

Many physician recruiters indicate that they research candidates online primarily to verify that what the physician candidate has shared with the recruiter is true, check for any potential unknown background issues or inconsistencies, search for positive things about the physician to share with clients, and also to get a better idea of the physician's interests, personality, and family needs as they relate to and fit in with the client's practice opportunity.

Where Recruiters Search Online

When asked about their use of social media during the recruitment process, most recruiters stated that they search all candidates online - mainly a Google search, and also a search of LinkedIn, Facebook, Vitals, and Doximity. Some recruiters will search other sites such as Instagram and Twitter, but most will primarily focus on LinkedIn and Facebook.

However, recruiters aren't always successful finding candidate information online, which leaves additional questions sometimes. Many physicians are not found on social media sites, so there is one less way for the recruiter to engage with the physician and learn more about the candidate and help him or her find the best fit.

"I am happy when I find a physician I'm working with on LinkedIn," states Nolan Smith, recruiting principal for The Medicus Firm. "I do feel that when I make those [online] connections, that my professional relationship with the candidate becomes stronger and I'm able to better assist him or her."

Jared Vaughn, another recruiting principal for The Medicus Firm, also utilizes social media research frequently during the recruiting process. "I look for information to qualify the physician for a position.. or to confirm information that we have discussed. It's great when there are patient reviews/recommendations that speak to the physician's quality [of practice], personality, and skill set as well." 

Vaughn also noted the absence of many physician candidates on social media. "I’m honestly surprised in 2018 how few physicians are on social media, but that may be for the best for multiple reasons. It may help prevent the physician from having to try and answer medical questions from patients... and to a certain degree help protect the patient/doctor relationship," Vaughn adds.

Red Flags

Some recruiters admitted that sometimes they see things they don't want to see, when they research candidates on social media. Fortunately, this is not a common occurence. Red flags would include any inconsistency between what's presented on social media and what the candidate has represented via phone, email, or their CV. Also, negative patient reviews, or egregious background issues that were concealed or not revealed by the candidate can also pose a problem for candidates and recruiters representing them.

Each recruiter puts his or her reputation on the line with each physician candidate he or she represents and submits to a client employer. Therefore, it's paramount that recruiters have as much information as possible about the candidate so that they can accurately represent the job seeker to each employer.

Ultimately, social media provides an excellent mode of communication and engagement for recruiters to interact with their candidates and learn more about each physician in order to help provide the best professional fit and practice opportunity for the candidate and his or her family.

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5 Content Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019

5 Content Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

The marketing world is changing every day. New tools and technologies emerge, fresh thinkers put new spins on old tactics, and the bar for quality continues to rise as audiences everywhere are exposed to more content in a day than they could possibly process.


For all the changes that have taken place over the years, one thing is certain: Content marketing is here to stay. In fact, this time last year, it was estimated that the content marketing industry would be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.


And as content marketing continues to grow and our approaches to it become more mature, these five trends will shape the way companies (and their audiences) create and consume content in 2019.


1. Content marketing is becoming marketing.


2. Strategy will become more essential.


3. Customer success will emerge as the new frontier.


4. The marketing funnel will change shape.


5. Distribution will remain a driver of success.





nrip's insight:

At @plus91 we have been big believers in marketing being digital and content driven. When in 2011-12 we decided to shift to Digital to create our own go-to-market strategy, a number of people were not convinced it made sense to use it. But we saw the possibilities and decided it would be the right choice for us years down and the years proved that call was spot on. Today, with our direct connection with over 210000 medical professionals and over 16 million care customers,  we are in ourselves a community. 

Which is what prompted us to also setup out Digital outreach consulting hub to offer our insights and services to other healthcare providers and medical device firms who were either curious to learn about or were wanting to adopt digital media as a market outreach possibility. 


Since 2012 we have been experimenting with new digital content marketing ideas and then bringing those tried and tested strategies to reap benefits for our customers. We have experimented with new strategies in all aspects of digital marketing, from Social Media, SEO to Curation and Drip feed newsletters.  If there are areas of special interest you wish to learn more about,  just drop us a note via the form on the right, leave a comment, or DM us on twitter at @plus91




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Social Media Sites: The New Wild West for Illegal Online Pharmacies

Social Media Sites: The New Wild West for Illegal Online Pharmacies | Social Media and Healthcare |

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) published the September 2018 Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators. This report shows how social media sites can lead consumers to dangerous rogue pharmacy sites through simple keyword searches.

During a four-week study, the Association performed keyword searches on multiple social media platforms and easily found posts leading to rogue pharmacy websites selling commonly counterfeited and/or abused prescription medications. On the social media platform Pinterest, for example, NABP found 66 posts promoting the sale of medications, and 38% of these posts provided links to websites selling prescription medicines illegally. Characteristics of these illegal sites include selling medicine that was not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, not requiring a prescription, and selling controlled substances.

Keyword searches performed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and eBay garnered similar results. Keywords and terms used to perform the searches included “Viagra,” “Ciprofloxacin” (brand name Cipro®), and “Xanax for sale online.” This review of social media sites was a subset of NABP’s ongoing study of online drug sellers, which has found that 95% of websites selling prescription drugs online are doing so illegally.

NABP has been working with social media companies and other stakeholders to protect consumers from fake pharmacies. One example is Twitter’s and Snapchat’s requirement that advertisers of pharmacies and pharmacy products must be verified by NABP. In addition, NABP shared the results of the study with representatives from Pinterest, who said they are aware of the problem and are taking steps to further reduce the number of illicit Pins that slip through their filters. As Americans’ reliance on social media platforms for news and information has grown in recent years, it is expected that the prevalence of rogue online pharmacies in these spaces will also increase. The goal is for social media companies to take steps and use available resources to screen and monitor their platforms for harmful content linking to illegally operating websites.

Consumers who buy medicines from NABP-verified websites can be confident they are buying medicine from trustworthy, legitimate pharmacies. An easy way to know that a website has been verified by NABP is to look for the .pharmacy domain at the end of the web address. A list of safe online pharmacies and related resources can be found on the Find a Safe Site page of

Read the full report and learn more about social media sites and rogue online pharmacies by visiting the Program and Committee Reports page in the Publications and Reports section of

NABP is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health.

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Why crowdsourced hospital reviews often don't reflect actual quality—and how hospitals should respond

Why crowdsourced hospital reviews often don't reflect actual quality—and how hospitals should respond | Social Media and Healthcare |

A study published in the Health Services Research journal found that crowdsourced ratings websites—such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook—are good indicators of individual patient experience, but they don't reliably reflect patient quality and patient safety, Christopher Cheney reports for HealthLeaders Media.

Cheat sheet: Your guide to responding to online reviews 

The problem with crowdsourced reviews

For the study, researchers compared ratings from nearly 3,000 acute care hospitals posted on Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook to scores from Hospital Compare—a CMS website that uses Medicare claims data and 57 metrics to rate hospitals on patient experience, patient safety, and clinical quality.



The researchers found about half of the top-rated hospitals on social media sites were also among the best-rated by Hospital Compare's overall rating. On the other hand, about 20% of the top-rated hospitals on social media were among the worst-rated by Hospital Compare's overall rating.

Victoria Perez, a co-author of the study and assistant professor at Indiana University, said, "For the most part, what we found is that the social media scores tell us about patient experience, but they don't tell us about the best and worst hospitals on the basis of clinical quality or patient safety."

How hospitals can use the study's findings

While research suggests that crowdsourced ratings don't always accurately represent a hospital's clinical quality, Cheney writes that reviews in venues such as Yelp are very accessible for patients, which means they often can color patients' views of a hospital's quality of care.

Perez said, "We wish that people would understand that even if hospitals are not scoring well on Facebook in user reviews, they could have excellent clinical scores."

According to Perez, hospitals can neutralize the negative crowdsource ratings by refocusing patients' attention to measures of clinical quality and patient safety. "Hospitals can advertise that they score well on Hospital Compare and establish marketing strategies to respond to social media scores," Perez explained.

She recommended hospitals post their Hospital Compare clinical quality and patient safety scores on their websites and social media pages (Cheney, Health Leaders Media, 9/10).

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Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends to Expect in 2019

Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends to Expect in 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

Things like Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and improved wireless network capabilities are allowing people all across the globe to connect and share information like never before. We live in an exciting time…and it pays to expand your knowledge and prepare for the newest healthcare marketing trends if you want to grow your business. Over here at Cardinal, this is what we think is worth taking a special look at in healthcare digital marketing going into 2019:

1. Healthcare SEO Trends (and a rise in voice-activated searches)

As businesses vie for the top spot in search engine rankings, healthcare providers and professionals will start to really hone in on the value of organically-generated content to improve search engine optimization.

Plus, going into 2019 it’s likely we’ll see an increase in voice-based search queries. How many people do you know use Siri on their iPhones, Amazon Alexa, Cortana, Google Voice, et cetera, to find directions or instructions or communicate with people while trying to be hands-free?


Even at the end of 2015, voice command software systems were on the rise. MindMeld released a study that showed a significant increase in people who started using digital voice search in the last six months since being introduced.

Even though voice-activated search software systems don’t typically release the numbers on how often their devices are used, digital marketing experts suggest that voice-based searches will be on the rise. ComScoreeven went so far to say that by the year 2020, all internet searches will be voice-driven.

With more people going to their mobile hands-free devices for answers, it’s important to create content so that they find your business- especially if you work in healthcare. There are several ways to organically generate content and distribute it through the web that in turn raise your SEO ranking and are more likely to get picked up over voice commands, such as through social media and blog posts.

• Social Media
Regularly posting updates to Facebook and LinkedIn can help healthcare businesses climb the ranks in SEO, but the ones who will continue to stand out in 2019 are those that come up with creative social media campaigns that really drive engagement.

For example, to urge people into practicing healthier ways of living, UnitedHealthcare released a “We Dare You” campaign in 2015 that gained widespread healthcare marketing notoriety. In it, United Healthcare encouraged its social media followers to make one small change/implement a healthier habit per month and share it with the rest of the group. United Healthcare posted prompts, like “We dare you to watch our ‘Choosing a Health Insurance Plan’ video and share your opinion” to “Play the herbs and spices matching game” with everything leading back to sharing the results on social media for a chance to win prizes.

United Healthcare is no stranger to using hashtags in their Facebook posts (recently bringing awareness to #NationalAcornSquashDay and #ChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth), but every time they do they gain a couple thousand more likes. And with more than 185,000 followers, United Healthcare is doing something right in digital healthcare marketing.

The “100 Deadliest Days” may sound like a zombie apocalypse horror movie, but it’s also a time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when children and teen deaths increase tenfold due to critical injuries. When the Arkansas Children’s Hospital recognized this, they created a campaign to raise awareness of what kids can do to stay safe during the summer. Even though it doesn’t paint a pretty picture when you search #100deadliestdays on Twitter and come upon a teenage car accident, it does send a powerful message to be alert during this time so that your loved ones stay out of the hospital.

• Blogging
Regularly creating content for your website that is helpful and answers peoples’ questions is a great way to gain recognition as a trusted expert in your field, or you can at least facilitate the conversation by creating a forum or being the absolute go-to source for anyone who has a medical question.

I think that two of the two most prevalent sources for medical information is WebMD and the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic in particular, is a well-recognized source for treating patients from all over the world with a variety of information and a top-notch staff. In a medical marketing sense, the Mayo clinic successfully created an inclusive, worldwide digital community through its Sharing Mayo Clinic blog. In it, the blog is consistently sharing success stories, experiences, and helpful information about dealing with big life changes for its family members, patients, and staff.

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How Facebook can improve critical care ultrasound education

How Facebook can improve critical care ultrasound education | Social Media and Healthcare |

With no standard way to teach critical care ultrasound (CCUS) to physicians, researchers from the University of Southern California have found that social media may be the answer, the American College of Chest Physicians reported on Oct. 3.  

Utilizing a social media platform such as Facebook to teach CCUS is comparable to that of a typical learning environment, according to researchers who found that half of study participants reported that being in a CCUS Facebook group enhanced their education and motivated them to learn more about the skill.  

Volunteers participants—fellows from the University of Southern California pulmonary and critical care department—were included in the study and provided with a typical CCUS curriculum and a pre-knowledge and skills assessment. The fellows completed the assessment, participated in a two-day hands-on bootcamp and were invited to join a private CCUS Facebook group.  

The Facebook group provided the participants with 41 skills divided into five systems and delivered over a 20-week period. Facebook posts included quizzes, cases, images, movies, questions and weblinks to articles. The researchers measured the platform analytics including the traffic, number of views and overall time usage. 


Almost half of the fellows participated in the Facebook group, with three first-year, four second-year and to third-year fellows. The average number of posts viewed was 24 out of 41 posts, almost all fellows responded to the post intervention survey, 44 percent shared that they would participate in a Facebook education group again, 56 percent said that the Facebook group enhanced their CCUS education and 44 percent stated that it motivated them to learn more about CCUS.  

“We believe that Facebook is a viable method for implementing a CCUS curriculum,” said lead author Shiqian Li, PhD in a prepared statement. “The fact that most of the fellows stated that the content was useful and had enhanced their education and some of the fellows stated that it motivated them to learn more further shows that Facebook and social media may be a beneficial adjunct for different types of learners." 

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How to Choose the Right Video Format to Export Healthcare Videos

How to Choose the Right Video Format to Export Healthcare Videos | Social Media and Healthcare |

Many healthcare professionals nowadays have started to create videos as a way to advertise their services, provide useful advice, or build up a social media following. One of the aspects of video creation that you may have difficulty with however is choosing a format when you export your videos.

Video Formats: Containers and Codecs

Many people aren’t aware that the ‘format’ of a video actually has two parts: A container and a codec.

The container is the wrapping that holds together the video data and is easily recognized by the extension of the video, i.e. MKV, MP4, AVI, and so on. It also determines the additional features that may be in the video, such as subtitles, menus, and so on.

The codec, however, is the part that arranges the data and determines the compression that is used. Some of the more popular codecs nowadays include H.264, H.265 (HEVC), and MPEG-4.

When you choose a format you need to select both a container and codec – as they work as a pair.

“How Will The Video Be Used?”

If there’s one question that you should ask yourself when you want to choose a format for a healthcare video, it is the one above: How will it be used?

To break it down, depending on how the video will be used you will approach your choice differently:

  • Upload to social media or other online platforms

If you want to upload your video to social media or any other online platforms, you should try to look up the recommended format and settings for that platform. For example YouTube’s recommended format is MP4 with H.264.

By exporting your healthcare video using the recommended format, you can ensure that there are no issues involving the format when you upload it.

  • Distribute manually or store for personal use

In other cases where you intend to distribute the video manually or store it for personal use there are two factors you need to consider: Compatibility and compression. Newer video formats have better compression, but are not as widely supported.

If you’re going to be distributing the video to a large group of people, compatibility is key and opting for MP4 with H.264 is a good option. However if you’re not and your devices support newer formats, you could try MKV with H.265 to conserve space.

It is worth noting that all the above applies to videos in other formats that you may want to upload online or distribute through other means. In fact if you have videos of any kind in obscure formats you should definitely consider transcoding them. For example you could use Movavi Video Converter to convert videos between formats – including as a MXF converter.

As you can see choosing the ‘right’ format for healthcare videos isn’t that difficult when you approach it from this angle. Just remember to be aware of both the container and codec that you’re using when you export your videos and save them.

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95% of Americans find online doctor reviews reliable, survey suggests

American consumers are more often using online review sites to choose doctors, and they’re increasingly trusting of those reviews, especially millennials, according to a new survey of 1,000 US adults.

The survey, conducted by One Poll and sponsored by digital-focused healthcare marketing company Binary Fountain, found that 95 percent of respondents — and 97 percent of millennials — found online ratings and reviews somewhat to very reliable. And 70 percent said that online ratings and review sites had influenced their choice of physician. Forty-one percent said they still check a doctor out online, even if they were referred to them by another physician.

“The survey results underscore the significance of online ratings and reviews as online reputation management for physicians becomes ever-more important in today’s healthcare consumer environment,” Aaron Clifford, senior vice president of marketing at Binary Fountain, said in a statement. “As patients are becoming more vocal about their healthcare experiences, healthcare organizations need to play a more active role in compiling, reviewing and responding to patient feedback, if they want to compete in today’s marketplace.”

Where do patients go for these doctor reviews? Well, 34 percent went to the hospital’s own website first, which is good news for providers looking to control their message. Twenty-nine percent went to Google, 18 percent started at WebMD and 15 percent headed for Healthgrades.

Interestingly, 12 percent said Facebook is where they started for reviews, and the survey showed that generally people are willing to share their healthcare experiences on social media platforms. Fifty-one percent of all respondents and 70 percent of millennials said they have shared experiences with a physician online, either via social media or on an online review site.

These findings could be troubling for healthcare professionals, who tend to have a different view of online reviews. A survey in May found that nine in 10 doctors were worried about online reviews, and a Mayo Clinic research project from April showed that reviews often reflected non-physician care experience factors.

Respondents also shared what they were looking for in a physician and what turned them off. Bedside manner was paramount. Forty-eight percent of respondents marked “a friendly and caring attitude” as a highly important factor and 47 percent indicated “an ability to answer all my questions” was important. Additionally, 45 percent ranked the thoroughness of the examination among important factors.

The most frustrating part of a hospital experience? Wait times, according to 43 percent of respondents. Ten percent said cost and payment, 10 percent said waiting for exam results and 9 percent listed scheduling.

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How are doctors using tech for patient engagement?

How are doctors using tech for patient engagement? | Social Media and Healthcare |


The healthcare industry relies on technology for numerous purposes — billing, scheduling, and documentation, to name a few. And a new survey found providers are increasingly relying on tech to engage patients.

The poll from patient engagement business PatientPoint and nonprofit think tank Digital Health Coalition included responses from more than 200 doctors. The survey was powered by physician social network SERMO.


EHRs alone are insufficient to succeed in value-based care. That’s why hospitals and health systems are integrating an analytics platform.


Ninety-five percent of physician respondents said they sometimes or nearly always use technology to better educate or engage with patients.


“I think a big reason why we’re seeing such high utilization of patient engagement tools is because physicians truly believe in the power of technology to provide better care,” PatientPoint founder and CEO Mike Collette said via email.

Indeed, 77 percent of surveyed doctors agreed technology helps improve patients’ overall experience.



Digging deeper, the survey asked what types of tech physicians are currently using to engage or educate patients. The top answers included digital waiting room screens (58 percent), mobile apps (46 percent) and exam room tablets (44 percent).

Collette noted these tools all allow providers to have more meaningful conversations with patients. He explained:

The waiting room screens empower patients to ask about treatment options, enroll in patient portals and adhere to preventive screenings and immunizations. In the exam room, patients can take a deep dive into their condition alongside their doctor via rich media like anatomical models and videos. Then patients can continue their education and conversation with their doctor on mobile apps before and after their visit, bringing things full circle.

Other solutions currently in use by doctors included check-in tablets (34 percent), digital screens in the back office (33 percent) and interactive touchscreens in the exam room (28 percent).

When asked about which types of technology they’re interested in utilizing in the future, 52 percent of doctors pointed to check-in tablets. Additionally, two key locations stood out as important touchpoints: the waiting room and the exam room. Thirty-six percent of physicians are interested in digital waiting room screens, while 45 percent want exam room tablets and 44 percent want interactive touchscreens in the exam room.

Collette said these two spaces — the exam room and the waiting room — are pivotal, and that doctors see the benefits of engaging individuals there.

But patient engagement doesn’t only happen in the office. That’s perhaps why 54 percent of physicians said they want help connecting to patients before and after their visits. Those surveyed said they’re interested in using a variety of technologies to connect with patients outside the office, including email (59 percent), mobile apps (48 percent) and SMS texting (39 percent).

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Facebook status: Sick—how people use the internet to cope with illness

Facebook status: Sick—how people use the internet to cope with illness | Social Media and Healthcare |

When a person is diagnosed with a serious illness, he or she may seek support from a variety of sources: friends, family, support groups, medical and mental health professionals. Today's toolkit for coping with disease also includes something it didn't in the past: digital resources. 

In his new book, Coping with Illness Digitally, University of Arizona communication professor Stephen Rains explores how people use digital toolslike social media, online health forums, medical information websites and even email correspondence with physicians to cope with illness.

As these tools have become more widely available, they have changed the ways in which patients understand and come to terms with disease diagnoses, and even how friends and family members grieve when a loved one dies, says Rains.

"Because technology has become so central to our lives, it makes sense that it would also be used as a coping resource," said Rains, who studies technology and health. "I saw this book as an opportunity to do two things: One, to better understand the world in which we live, in which we're inundated with these technologies that play such a central role in our everyday lives. And two, to learn about how people cope and how resourceful people are in making sense of and dealing with illness."

Rains' book pulls together research from a variety of fields, including communications, medicine, public health, psychology and sociology. In it, he proposes a model for understanding how and why patients engage in digital coping activities, based on seven benefits afforded by technology: anonymity, availability, control, diversity, documentation, reach and visibility.

For example, after a patient is diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness, one of the first things he or she might do is seek more information about the condition online, where massive amounts of diverse material are available at one's fingertips and the user has control over the extent of the search.  

Patients might also post on their social media accounts or blogs as a way to share their disease journey, giving them visibility, reach and a way to document their experiences, for themselves or loved ones. In addition, they might visit or post comments in online health forums for others with similar diagnoses—something they can do publicly or anonymously.

"Online communities have been around since the '80s and '90s in different forms, but now they're a lot more prominent, and 1 in 5 people has gone online at some point in their life for peer support," Rains said. "The reason people go online is because the experience of illness, in many ways, sets them apart and makes them different from their family and friends, who want to help but don't know exactly what that person's going through. Sometimes, going online and talking with others who are experiencing similar things allows people to realize they're part of a broader community who's all in this together, and just knowing there are others online feeling the same way is very comforting."

Rains' book also includes a chapter on end of life and bereavement, which explores how friends and family members use digital tools in grieving.

"One finding in a couple studies that really struck me was evidence that people use Facebook pages to talk with the bereaved," he said. "They use these technologies to maintain a relationship with someone who passed away."

While it's easy to focus on the potential social pitfalls of life online, the research in Rains' book suggests the digital space is largely beneficial for those diagnosed with serious illness.

"When we talk about online, we often talk about it in negative terms—cyberbullying, negativity online—but in the context of health, I see almost the polar opposite," Rains said. "If you go into these online support communities, by and large they tend to be very warm, inviting, positive and supportive places."

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