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Patient Communications: Why Pharma Leaders Should Think Like Social Marketers 

Patient Communications: Why Pharma Leaders Should Think Like Social Marketers  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Pharma is well-versed in communicating with patients. From simple patient leaflets to full blown patient support programs and nationwide disease awareness campaigns, the industry has been directly serving up health messages to patients since the first days of aspirin marketing.

But there’s a parallel world that’s been going further than serving up health messages to patients. A world that pharma seldom dabbles in – despite there being huge cross over in aims when it comes to making people healthier – the world of social marketing.

 

By exploring how social marketers think, and why this is different to commercial marketing, pharma can unlock tried-and-tested ways to bring measurable value to their patients. In this article on outcomes-based patient engagement, we give you a short overview of the social marketing basics.

A new approach (for pharma at least)

First up, what is social marketing?

Social marketing is one of those disciplines you may have heard of but don’t quite know what it is. You’re not alone: social marketers often have to grapple with people thinking we ‘do Facebook’ and other social media marketing, for instance.

Social marketing combines marketing theory with social sciences like behavioral economics to systematically plan and develop programs that focus on achieving clearly defined behavioral goals for a social purpose. (Note a social marketing campaign can involve social media, it’s just that we don’t start our thinking with a particular channel in mind.)

The methodology has been successfully delivering regional, national and international public health behavior change campaigns for years, and has built up strong evidence on what works when it comes to influencing target audiences in improving their health and wellbeing.

Think smoking cessation (19% of 18-24 year olds smoke now compared to 26% in 2010[1]); cancer screening rates (an increase from 54.4% to 63.9% of men over 60 participating in a bowel cancer screening programme[2]); and breastfeeding (an increase in the number of women breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks in areas of deprivation and historically low breastfeeding rates from 31.7% to 37.9%[3]). All of these successes have involved the use of social marketing methods and campaigns.

Information and awareness aren’t enough

Social marketing understands that information provision alone doesn’t change behavior. People know that they shouldn’t smoke, should drink less, exercise more, complete their prescribed set of drugs and manage their long term medical condition better, but that knowledge doesn’t translate into behavior change.

Social marketing combines learning from marketing theory and social sciences to move beyond information provision to really understand what drives and influences patients behavior and what value or exchange patients require in order to be persuaded to change their behavior.

Often the exchange has nothing to do with the health benefits derived from changing a particular behavior and more to do with another more personal benefit valued by the target audience.

For example, research carried out by the NSMC with Pakistani mothers in Buckinghamshire in the UK highlighted that their motivation for taking exercise wasn’t about being healthier but more to do with being a better role model for their daughters. This insight was used on campaign materials and with local service providers to provide culturally sensitive activity opportunities for groups of Pakistani women.  

Yet how often is this type of approach considered for patient-facing communications in pharma? Taking a leaf out of the social marketing playbook, pharma could be doing a lot more to explore and leverage the behavioral influences behind medication adherence to better target specific behaviors and audiences, for instance.

Evaluation is key

This focus on behavior change also requires a different evaluation model, with campaign metrics, such as website views, downloads and opportunities to see being only part of the evaluation framework.

Social marketing uses these metrics, but goes further to evaluate the actual behavior change achieved by the targeted audience and the impact the behaviour change has had on the health challenge being addressed.

The Buckinghamshire project not only measured how many Pakistani women were reached by the campaign but also how often they participated in one of the promoted activities; whether they maintained their level of activity after 6 months; and the impact it had after 6 months on their physical and mental wellbeing.

This type of thinking is vital if pharma is to truly deliver on the outcomes-driven model of healthcare. No longer will ‘awareness’ – measured through clicks and message recall – be enough for a public-facing information campaign, for example. Measuring the effect on specific behaviors and the impact of that change is the route to truly demonstrating value, whether that’s increasing uptake of a specific ‘healthy’ behavior or something more subtle such as completing a course of medication.

Bringing outcome to the fore

In the age of patient centricity, there’s an opportunity for the pharmacuetical industry to look to the social marketing approach taken by their public health counterparts to create effective patient value and behavior change.

Yes, the message will always be important. But even more important, what’s the outcome you’re hoping to achieve with your campaign and how can you make it as easy as possible for your audience?

Once you develop an outcomes-first mindset, you are already halfway to thinking like a social marketer.

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

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

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. 

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Always Be Listening: How to Evolve Your Facebook Page by Listening to the Community 

Always Be Listening: How to Evolve Your Facebook Page by Listening to the Community  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Are you listening? Are you really listening? 

As pharma becomes more and more ingrained in social media, it’s critical to know how and where to listen to the community that you are engaging with and to understand that this is an ongoing, individualized process. With so much discussion happening online, particularly within communities you might be building on Facebook, listening is the best way to mine insights straight from the horse’s mouth.

Standard practices might not always resonate with the community you’re trying to reach, which is where effective listening comes into play from start to finish of creating an online community. Social media should be treated more like a telephone and less like a megaphone, meaning listening and adding value to help anchor conversations rather than solely pushing out messages. The most valuable information and resources you can offer to a patient community is simply providing them what they are asking for and understanding what’s meaningful to them.

So how can you do this? At Digital Pharma East, I learned about the successful approach that allowed one pharma company to listen a little better when building a Facebook page for a rare disease community:

  1. Understand the Current Online Landscape: Is there an unmet need? What are the challenges and concerns shared by the community? How can you address them? Take time to research what’s already out there and identify what type of voice you want to be.
  2. Don’t Work in A Vacuum: Sit down with advocates, patients and caregivers to co-create the content vision and direction; remember that they are the experts and they can help guide you.
  3. Strike a Balance: Particularly in the early days, be mindful of ways that you are engaging with the community. This is the best way to understand what types of content are resonating, when you should be posting, and how effective your targeting is.
  4. Find Opportunities for Offline Touchpoints: Are there easy ways to bring the community together outside of social media? Whether it’s a phone call, in-person event or a virtual meeting, provide opportunities for members of your community to build upon their online relationships. By enabling this valuable meet-up to happen, you can also be a part of it. 
  5. Test, Learn, Repeat: Try to focus on one key insight to test for an extended period of time to help learn more about the audience and what they want from a community. But always remember learning is never done. As online behaviors and offerings shift and grow, so must your approach. 

 

The more that you listen – to conversations, interactions and reactions – the more you can build an authentic community that adds value to the patients you are trying to help. By creating a connection between you and your community, and treating your content accordingly, higher and authentic engagement will follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Alyssa Kaden is a creative and analytical digital marketer with proven experience in helping growth and improving business performance with a data-driven approach and design thinking. Alyssa joined Syneos Health in 2014 as a digital and social media strategist just as the explosion in use within the healthcare industry was taking place. She serves as a digital lead for several client engagements, leading teams of designers, digital analysts and content writers to ensure projects exceed business and creative goals. Alyssa has been at the forefront of work within the oncology, diabetes, mental health and rare disease space, and brings a detailed eye and strategic mindset to any fully integrated digital campaign. Alyssa graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies.


Read more at https://syneoshealthcommunications.com/blog/always-be-listening-how-to-evolve-your-facebook-page-by-listening-to-the-community#7Mj1BYtKqEd3qJor.99

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How to Develop a Unique Tone in Patient Communication

How to Develop a Unique Tone in Patient Communication | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Texting is the most common way for people to communicate. And almost everyone is part of at least one group message with lots of friends or family members. In these groups, multiple messages are coming at the same time. Sure, each message is tagged with a name, but do you really even have to rely on that tag? Chances are you can tell which of your friends sent which message just by the tone of the message sent.

Everybody has a different voice when speaking, and that usually translates over to their voice in a written message too. You would think it strange if a friend who is normally witty and causal in their written messages sent a message in a serious or formal tone. Even if you don’t realize it, you become accustomed to the voice of those who frequently send you messages.

Just like you can recognize your friends’ texts or emails before seeing their name, your patients should be able to recognize the tone in the messages that come from your practice. The voice you set for your practice should be consistent and help convey the message you want to send. With so many ways to connect with your patients, utilizing one consistent voice will help increase the uniformity and recognizability of your messages, and ease the flexibility of who can send them.

Uniformity

Between eNewsletters, appointment reminders, text messages, and social media posts, you’re hitting your patients with a lot of communication. If every message you send sounds as if it’s coming from a different person and using a different voice, your patients may start to feel overwhelmed. But if each message they receive has a similar look and tone, they are likely to pay more attention to what you are trying to say. The messages will all feel cohesive and unified. It will convey organization and uniformity in your practice, which in turn will increase your practice’s credibility in your patients’ eyes.

Recognizability

It’s important to keep a consistent connection with your patients between visits, and a great way to do that is by communication through a variety of channels. Maintaining the same voice in all of your patient communication makes it easy for patients to recognize your messages. Your patients are bombarded with emails and texts and they scroll past countless ads on social media every day. If your messages lack a consistent voice that helps them identify you, they are more likely to delete or scroll past without even bothering to read it.

Flexibility

Determining your written voice can also make it easier for anyone in the office to compose and send messages or social media posts. If everybody knows the office voice, you don’t have to have a dedicated writer for all messages—any member of your staff can write the message and it will maintain the tone that helps your practice build credibility and connections with your patients.

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Use Search and Social Media Ads to Recruit Patients for Rare Disease Clinical Trials

Use Search and Social Media Ads to Recruit Patients for Rare Disease Clinical Trials | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Meeting recruitment goals is incredibly challenging for any clinical trial, but it’s even more so when fewer than 200,000 people nationwide are potential candidates, as is often the case for rare disease studies.

No matter what condition they’re investigating, clinical trials are always concerned about sufficient patient enrollment. No wonder: upwards of 75% of clinical trials fail to meet recruiting targets. However, it’s even harder to reach recruiting goals for rare disease clinical trials. When pulling from an small pool of potential candidates, reaching an enrollment number that ensures reliable results can seem impossible.

It’s true that recruiting for rare disease clinical trials is in many ways a whole new ball game. There are unique challenges — even beyond patient population numbers — that accompany these kinds of trials. With that being said, the agility and affordability of digital marketing make digital solutions especially impactful, as long as sponsors and CROs are innovative in their marketing approach.

Reaching a Small Patient Pool

The FDA defines rare diseases as those affecting fewer than 1 in 200,000 people, which equates to 200,000 people or fewer in the United States. Reaching such a small pool of candidates is difficult to begin with, but that difficulty is compounded by the fact that many rare disease sufferers are misdiagnosed due to the rarity of their actual condition. In addition, many rare diseases have a high level of genotypic heterogeneity, which can make standardized results near-impossible to achieve.

For rare disease trials, success hinges on communicating with the right patients and making it as convenient as possible for them to participate in the trial. Fortunately, when it comes to reaching potential patients, many of the same tactics that work for regular clinical trials are even more effective for rare disease trials.

Facebook offers a unique opportunity to reach patients with rare diseases. With almost 2.3 billion active users, Facebook has 100% coverage of many disease populations, meaning that everyone in the world with a certain condition has a Facebook account. By targeting users that are interested in rare disease Facebook groups, sponsors and CROs can pinpoint likely trial participants out of a sea of social media users.

Patients with rare diseases tend to do a lot of research on their conditions, and there’s no better place to meet them than in their search results. With Google Ads, sponsors and CROs can target long tail keywordsassociated with the condition they’re studying, presenting ads to patients or caregivers who are looking for alternative treatments.

Putting the Patient First

While rare disease patients tend to be open to clinical trials, especially if treatments for their condition are currently nonexistent or lacking, it’s likely that the locations of most clinical trials make them inaccessible to many eligible patients. For a rare disease clinical trial to be successful, sponsors and CROs need to think in terms of the patient first.

Eligible patients are few and far between, so it’s worth going to them. Trials should wait and see where their patient populations are located before choosing research sites. In some cases, it may even be a good idea to travel directly to patients, especially if their condition limits mobility.

Rare diseases are attracting more clinical trial attention than ever before, but in many ways, they’re also the perfect storm of trial challenges. Between recruitment difficulties and obstacles to accessibility, it’s up to rare disease clinical trials to be more innovative, nimble, and patient-centric than any of their peers. It’s possible that these trials aren’t just creating groundbreaking treatments and cures for rare diseases; they’re also paving the way for greater efficiency and improved patient experience in all clinical trials.

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What Gen Z and Millennial patients look for in healthcare providers

What Gen Z and Millennial patients look for in healthcare providers | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that Generation Z and Millennials are highly different from older generations, but you might not realize these differences extend to healthcare. One area this is becoming increasingly notable is young adults’ views on primary care physicians (PCPs).

Nearly half (45 percent) of 18-to 29-year-olds and 28 percent of those in the 30 to 49 age range do not have a PCP, according to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation as reported by The Washington Post. In contrast, only 18 percent of 50- to 64-year-old participants and just 12 percent of those age 65 and older do not have a dedicated PCP.

Regardless of specialty, ensuring your practice offers the accommodations younger patients seek out should be high priority. Read on to learn how you can grow your practice with younger patients.

5 things Gen Z and Millennials want from a healthcare practice

Virtual access

They grew up with technology at their fingertips, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Gen Z and Millennials expect it to be incorporated into their healthcare. An overwhelming number (92 percent) want full two-way electronic communication with their providers, and 83 percent look for a doctor who allows them to access all their patient information online, according to a 2017 survey conducted by Jefferson Health.

Features like patient portals and telehealth services are a huge draw for young adults. If you want to attract new patients from this demographic, it’s time to incorporate more technology into your practice.

Online scheduling

When the younger generation makes a healthcare appointment, they don’t want to pick up the phone. The vast majority (71 percent) of those who participated in the Jefferson Health survey expect providers to offer online scheduling.

Not just a convenience for patients, online scheduling benefits your practice, too, because it allows people to make appointments 24/7. If patients can easily book an appointment on their own time, instead of having to race to the phone during your office hours, they’re more likely to choose your practice.

Look: 4 online patient scheduling opportunities your practice is missing

Speed

When young adults are sick, they expect to see a doctor immediately. However, many practices don’t make this easy. The average wait time for new patients to see a doctor is about 24 days, according to a 2017 survey of 15 large metro markets conducted by physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins.

Making an appointment is only half the issue; the younger generation also has no interest in wasting time in your waiting room. However, 85 percent of patients reported waiting 10 to 30 minutes past their appointment to see their healthcare provider, according to a survey conducted by digital research and design firm Sequence.

If you want to grow your practice with Gen Z and Millennial patients, offer same-day appointments and strive to keep the wait time as low as possible.

Evening and weekend hours

Gen Z and Millennials are busy. During the day, their schedule is filled with work and school, so it’s hard to make time for a doctor appointment.

Offering evening and weekend hours is a savvy way to attract new patients, because young adults want a provider who fits their schedule. If you make appointments convenient, they are likely to choose you over your peers who close down shop in the afternoon or early evening hours.

Related: What private healthcare practices can learn from urgent care centers

Social media presence

Many young adults grew up with social media, so they rely heavily on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Therefore, it’s not surprising that 65 percent want to discuss health-related topics and compare providers on social media sites, according to the Jefferson Health survey.

Some 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 78 percent of people ages 30 to 49 use at least one social media site, according to a 2018 survey conducted by Pew Research Center. If you want to get on their radar, you need a robust social media presence.

Millennials are expected to become America’s largest population in 2019, according to Pew, so it’s important to tailor your practice to meet their needs. If you’re able to provide the kind of service they seek, they’ll join your regular patient roster and recommend you to their friends.

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Facebook says there's a place on Instagram for pharma companies

Facebook says there's a place on Instagram for pharma companies | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Instagram might seem like a challenging environment for pharmaceutical companies but according to Facebook Health’s industry manager, there is ample opportunity for them to connect with patients through the app, which remains incredibly popular with younger consumers who are increasingly deleting the Facebook app.

At the Digital Pharma East conference in Philadelphia last month, Danielle Salowski told attendees:

“Now we feel that we’ve gotten to a point where we mastered Facebook, we want to talk about Instagram. This is now a place you need to pay attention to in order to reach patients at scale. [Instagram] is the intersection of amazing visual communication and the ability to share it with your friends and patients in a snap.”

Of course, Instagram presents numerous challenges for pharma marketers and there are a number of things they should take into consideration when developing Instagram campaigns.

Think visually and less formally

The highly visual nature of Instagram means that pharma marketers need to think creatively about how they can create image and video-based content that is more likely to resonate with Instagram’s younger user base.

As part of this, pharma marketers are wise to think about their tone. As Nancy Nolan, associate director of marketing communications at Merck, who appeared on stage with Facebook’s Salowski, explained, “When you think about pharma, we’re very formal in the way we speak and address patients, and it can be really standoffish. Millennials don’t like to be spoken to with that type of formality and tone.”

Monitor hashtags to identify virtual communities

 

Healthcare marketers should consider that they can tap into pseudo-communities that form around hashtags on Instagram. Facebook’s Salowski pointed to the hashtag, #migraine, pointing out that “there are a ton of posts just using #migraine, and [Instagram] is a place where patients come to connect, talk about their experience visually, and share with friends.”

By monitoring hashtags of interest, pharma marketers can identify opportunities to join the proverbial conversation, engaging patients and also, where appropriate, caretakers.

Consider teaming up with influencers

While influencer marketing on Instagram is most often the domain of fashion houses, beauty brands, and the like, with a little creativity, pharma marketers can also team up with popular Instagrammers to spread their messages.

Of course, choosing which messages to spread is critical. In many cases, pharma marketers are likely to find that unbranded campaigns aimed at driving awareness of conditions they offer treatments for are ideal for influencer campaigns. After all, by partnering with influencers who are in some way connected to those conditions, brands have an opportunity to foster emotional connections.

Don’t forget about healthcare professionals

While social marketing in many industries often focuses on consumers, pharma marketers shouldn’t overlook opportunities to reach healthcare professionals, including physicians, via social media.

As influencer marketing platform InNetwork noted, many healthcare professionals are active on social platforms today, where they have established themselves as trusted sources of healthcare information to both other healthcare professionals as well as consumers. As the company observed, “By partnering with a healthcare professional, you open the doors to both target audiences.”

Remember the rules

The rules that pharma marketers are required to adhere to don’t disappear simply because they might be slightly more inconvenient to comply with on social platforms.

A reminder of this fact came recently as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fired off a warning letter to pharma company Mannkind for failing to disclose the risks associated with Afrezza, its inhaled insulin drug, in content posted on its Facebook Page.

The letter was the result of a complaint made to the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) Bad Ad program, which allows third parties to report potentially problematic ads.

In its letter, the OPDP demanded that Mannkind remove non-compliant content, which the firm appears to have done. A failure to do so could have led to enforcement action, something no pharma marketer wants to have to deal with.

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Social Media Posts Can Predict Depression

Social Media Posts Can Predict Depression | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In any given year, depression affects more than six percent of the adult population in the United States—some 16 million people—but fewer than half receive the treatment they need.

What if an algorithm could scan social media and point to linguistic red flags of the disease before a formal medical diagnosis had been made?

New research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,shows this is now more plausible than ever. Analyzing social media data shared by consenting users across the months leading up to a depression diagnosis, researchers from Stony Brook University and the University of Pennsylvania found their algorithm could accurately predict future depression. Indicators of the condition included mentions of hostility and loneliness, words like “tears” and “feelings,” and use of more first-person pronouns like “I” and “me.”

“What people write in social media and online captures an aspect of life that’s very hard in medicine and research to access otherwise. It’s a dimension that’s relatively untapped compared to biophysical markers of disease,” says H. Andrew Schwartz,Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University and principal investigator of the World Well-Being Project. “Conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD, for example, you find more signals in the way people express themselves digitally.”

For six years, researchers in the World Well-Being Project (WWBP), based in Stony Brook’s Human Language Analysis Lab and UPenn’s Positive Psychology Center, have been studying how the words people use reflect their inner feelings and contentedness. In 2014, Johannes Eichstaedt, WWBP founding research scientist and a postdoctoral fellow at Penn, started to wonder whether it was possible for social media to predict mental health outcomes, particularly for depression.

“Social media data contain markers akin to the genome. With surprisingly similar methods to those used in genomics, we can comb social media data to find these markers,” Eichstaedt explains. “Depression appears to be something quite detectable in this way; it really changes people’s use of social media in a way that something like skin disease or diabetes doesn’t.”

Eichstaedt and Schwartz teamed up with colleagues Robert J. Smith, Raina Merchant,David Asch, and Lyle Ungar from the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health for this study. Rather than do what previous studies had done—recruit participants who self-report their depression—the researchers identified data from people consenting to share Facebook statuses and electronic medical record information, then analyzed it using machine-learning techniques to distinguish those with a formal depression diagnosis.

Nearly 1,200 people consented to provide both digital archives. Of these, 114 people had a diagnosis of depression in their medical records. The researchers then matched every person with a diagnosis of depression with five who did not, to act as a control, for a total sample of 683 people (excluding one for insufficient words within status updates). The idea was to create as realistic a scenario as possible to train and test the researchers’ algorithm. 

“This is a really hard problem,” Eichstaedt says. “If 683 people present to the hospital and 15 percent of them are depressed, would our algorithm be able to predict which ones? If the algorithm says no one was depressed, it would be 85 percent accurate.”

To build the algorithm, Eichstaedt, Smith, and colleagues looked back at 524,292 Facebook updates from the years leading up to diagnosis for each individual with depression and for the same time span for the control. They determined the most frequently used words and phrases, then modeled 200 topics to suss out what they called “depression-associated language markers.” Finally, they compared in what manner and how frequently depressed versus control participants used such phrasing.

They learned that these markers comprised emotional, cognitive, and interpersonal processes such as hostility and loneliness, sadness and rumination, and could predict future depression as early as three months before first documentation of the illness in a medical record.

“There’s a perception that using social media is not good for one’s mental health, but it may turn out to be an important tool for diagnosing, monitoring, and eventually treating it,” Schwartz says. “Here, we’ve shown that it can be used with clinical records, a step toward improving mental health with social media.”

Eichstaedt sees long-term potential in using these data as a form of unobtrusive screening. “The hope is that one day, these screening systems can be integrated into systems of care,” he says. “This tool raises yellow flags; eventually the hope is that you could directly funnel people it identifies into scalable treatment modalities.”

Despite some limitations to the study, including a distinctive urban sample, and limitations in the field itself—not every depression diagnosis in a medical record meets the gold standard that structured clinical interviews provide, for example—the findings offer a potential new way to uncover and get help for those suffering from depression.

Social Media Posts Can Predict Depression was originally published on the Stony Book University website.

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Looking up patients online: Why it’s a bad idea | 

Looking up patients online: Why it’s a bad idea |  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Searching for someone on the Internet and viewing his or her social media profile is an effective way to obtain information about people, including patients. Following our patients’ “digital footprint” may help us understand the context of their lives, reconcile discrepancies in what they have told us, or allow us to confront denial and address incomplete reporting.1 However, perusing our patients’ online profiles could negatively impact treatment and adherence. Consider these factors before looking up your patients’ online profiles1-3:

Inaccurate information. Information on the Internet, especially what you can find on user-generated forums, is largely unregulated; as a result, the veracity of that information cannot be guaranteed.1 Patients may choose to portray themselves inaccurately on their online profiles, and their identities often cannot be confirmed. Even if some information is accurate, you might discover things that you did not expect to learn about your patients, including important information that they did not share, or even something they lied about. This can create the conundrums of what to do with such information and how to discuss it at the next visit.

Impact on treatment. Despite patients’ online activities being displayed for the world to see, many patients do not expect their clinicians to access their online information. They might perceive such perusal as a breach of trust, which might lead some to view the doctor–patient relationship as adversarial. Accessing this information also could create a more intimate relationship than intended. Even if a clinician acquires consent to perform a search, patients may still feel coerced into allowing it because they might feel that declining to grant permission would make the clinician suspect that they have something to hide, or that the clinician would search without consent.2

In addition, if patients are aware that their psychiatrists are monitoring them, they might change their behavior. For example, they may delete certain data, add additional information that may not be accurate, or censor future social media posts. Knowing that their clinicians could be paying attention to them around the clock also might motivate certain patients to act out more or become withdrawn.

Possible medicolegal repercussions. If clinicians are able to access their patients’ electronic profiles, are they then legally obligated to monitor them? For example, if a patient who posts a picture with a noose around his neck later completes suicide, does the clinician who intermittently monitored this patient’s online profile face legal ramifications for not seeing the post? Do clinicians have to call 911 for vaguely suicidal tweets? What responsibilities does a clinician have at the first sign of an innocuous “sad” emoji? The sheer volume of online content that patients can create over different outlets is staggering. It can be overwhelming and ineffective to attempt to monitor patients’ online activities in addition to attending to one’s usual clinical duties, and the medicolegal repercussions of doing so are largely unknown.

Before searching the Internet to learn more about your patients, first consider the ramifications of doing so. While such searches could be helpful, they may lead to poor adherence, a lack of trust, or legal quagmires.

 
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What is Patient Engagement? | 

What is Patient Engagement? |  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

THE FOUR PRINCIPLES OF PATIENT ENGAGEMENT

According to industry experts, there are four principles of patient engagement:

  • Willingness: Is the patient willing to be engaged in their own healthcare management?
  • Proactiveness: Is the patient willing to be proactive about their health care? Many people, especially older patients, might prefer to leave health care management to the professionals.
  • Adaptability: Is the patient willing and able to use computers or smartphones to interact with the practice during off hours?
  • Support: Is there enough support available to help the patient stay on track and be proactive about their health care?

Whether a patient is willing and able to be proactive about their health will depend on the patient, and will need to be assessed on an individual level. Not all patients are willing to take that responsibility or have the technical aptitude to access the tools provided to them.

IMPROVING PATIENT ENGAGEMENT CLOSE TO HOME

What can offices and staff do to improve patient engagement closer to home? There are quite a few tools that can be utilized, though some might take a substantial investment of time and money.

  • Provide and utilize patient portals: Portals give patients a way to keep track of their medical records and treatment. These portals can also be used to allow patients to pay their bills online, which saves practices time and money. Upwards of 60 percent of adults prefer to pay bills online, and offering online bill-pay can reduce the need for follow-ups.
  • Create and maintain a patient communication platform: Not every patient can afford to take the time to make a phone call or come into the office when they have a question, whether it’s about billing, medication or anything in between. Having an easily accessible and secure communications platform can help patients be more proactive about their health care by giving them the answers they need quickly and correctly.

These are just a few potential examples of ways to improve patient engagement in local offices. The exact implementation will vary from office to office to better cater to the needs of each patient.

Patient engagement is quickly becoming the future of medicine, largely by necessity, because patients are constantly connected via smartphones and the internet and want to be just as connected to their medical practitioners.

It’s up to professionals to choose the best way to engage with their patients.

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11 Things Health Leaders Need To Know About Social Media & Marketing

11 Things Health Leaders Need To Know About Social Media & Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Of the more than 7 billion people on Earth, the number of mobile phone users is approaching 5 billion devices, while toothbrush ownership is closer to 4 billion. Indicating that both marketing of technology and public health have great disparities, but also that leadership in health care are not executing on their brands, social media or marketing. But in the U.S., hospital identity and health branding are paramount for success in a community. By listening to patients, getting feedback on wants and needs, and creating new incentives to engage individuals, increased revenue, greater trust and improved health might be achieved.

Here are 11 surprising things to keep in mind when health care and hospital leadership plan marketing efforts for 2019:

    1. The brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text. Additionally, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Whether it’s growing your brand identity or improving medication adherence through instructions, visuals are a key to interacting with and empowering patients.
    2. Surprisingly, Grandparents love Twitter so much their presence on the platform doubled last year. They are also replacing young people who are choosing to leave Facebook. Not only does this indicate they are here to stay for some time, but they are a great place to target our aging population who consume a majority of our health care services.

 

    1. An estimated 31 billion eCoupons will be redeemed in 2019That means almost 60% of U.S. internet users have redeemed digital coupons or codes at least once. With so many new retail clinic and other hospital services that can use coupon-like strategies for patient cost-savings, this is a must in the new year.
    2. Voice search on devices like Alexa, Siri and Google Search already account for 20% of searches . Depending on the product or service in question, voice search via virtual assistant is certain to play an increasing role in consumer purchasing.

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  1. In 2017, it was estimated that 62% of emails were opened on a mobile device. Checking email is the top mobile activity among smartphone and tablet users. So be sure those emails are appealing and informative, as they’ll be consumed on the go.
  2. The number of devices connected to the Internet now exceeds the number of humans on earth. This means health companies and hospitals need to be intentional about marketing on multiple platforms and for many different devices.
  3. Social media influences 74% of shoppers final purchase decisions. Further, 90% of consumers indicate that they trust peer recommendations. Therefore, previous patients and reviews like those on Amazon are your greatest allies.
  4. Instagram has 500 million viewers every single day. And 71% of those are millennials. While plastic surgeons and fitness experts have driven the health trends on this platform, there is a significant opportunity to appeal to and educate the under 35 crowd as they begin making life-long health decisions.
  5. More than 78% of U.S. Internet users research products and services online, and every month, there are more than 10.3 billion Google searches. What your top hits say about your product, organization, or providers will influence your bottom line.
  6. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, and, per dollar spent generates about 3X as many leads. When creating a marketing strategy for particular service lines, services, or physician groups, think about exactly who needs to see that ad.
  7. 70% of people surveyed claim they would rather learn about a hospital or company through articles or reviews rather than direct advertisements. Therefore, not only are advertising campaigns important, but so are the patient experience testimonies, community reviews, and visual or print articles. It will pay to make sure your company is being written and talked about.

Nicole Fisher is the founder and CEO of HHR Strategies, a health care and human rights-focused advising firm. She is also a senior policy advisor on Capitol Hill and expert on health innovation, economics, technology, and reform - specifically as they impact vulnerable popul...

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How pharmacies can use social media to boost community engagement? 

How pharmacies can use social media to boost community engagement?  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Blueclaw marketing director Martin Calvert explains how pharmacies should use social media responsibly to improve their communication with patients

For pharmacies who are looking to increase their visibility and attract more patients, social media is a crucial and cost-effective starting point.

With so much noise from competing businesses on social media, it’s important to have a plan that takes into account patient interests and your promotional goals, focusing on the platform that suits you best.

Picking a platform

The right platform, or platforms, for you will depend on your internal resources. If you operate a medium-sized chain of pharmacies and employ a marketing team, then it’s straightforward to make social media part of their remit.

However, for a single-pharmacy contractor facing the daily demands of the business, it can be easy to fall behind on social media. Building visibility online requires consistency. Sticking with one platform that you know you can contribute to regularly makes more sense than tackling several with half measures.

Focus on the ones that give you the greatest reach with patients in your area – usually that means Facebook and/or Twitter, but it really depends. Where are your patients on social media? How do they like to communicate, and what are the topics they will respond to, even when they do not have an ailment?

Here is one example from an independent pharmacy on Facebook:

Although you may wish to build your social presence to become more visible in the profession or add your voice to debates (where LinkedIn may be the platform of choice), for many the primary goal will be to attract and engage new patients.

Responsible communications

The responsibility of pharmacists in communities extends to social media. Whoever is posting on behalf of your company has to be aware of your company policies, as well as the need to remain professional at all times.

When patients are exploring their symptoms, many will look to social media for answers. Although the instinct to give helpful advice can be strong, it’s important not to give specific medical advice or compromise confidentiality.

This is because encouraging patients to visit a pharmacy or GP surgery, where they can receive face-to-face treatment, is the best response.

However, giving general advice and providing useful, actionable information is a great way to provide insight without getting into personal diagnosis. Being a neutral source of sound information is great practice.

An example from Day Lewis on Twitter:

Social media can help you to be more visible than other pharmacies online. When there is a choice of stores, some independent, some part of larger chains, as well as the online-only options, it’s important to give patients a reason to choose yours.

It’s worth keeping this in mind when you or your staff may be tempted to be less-than-professional – don’t respond to negative comments with negativity or get involved in emotional debates.

When patients have so much choice, it’s the conversational tone and approachable personality evident from local pharmacies that can make a difference when it comes to who they choose to trust with their health.

Don’t overdo the promotions

When it comes to promoting your brand, it’s important to tread a fine line between communicating your plus points and being too ‘salesy’. Ultimately, we want the public to view pharmacists as trusted clinicians. Being overly promotional can jeopardise that.

Plan your social content in line with seasonal trends and topics such as the flu jab, pre-holiday preparations and so on. This keeps it relevant and commercial without overstepping the mark.

A tweet from an independent pharmacy on medical news:

Think about paying to push ads

If you have the budget, social advertising can be extremely effective to reach your ideal audiences. Facebook and Twitter have many options for ad targeting or promotion of your posts.

For example, on Facebook you could target patients with children who are less than five miles from your location in order to promote a visit to the pharmacy – if you abide by its advertising regulations.

Checking your progress

You can check the reach of your posts with insights on a Facebook business page or the analytics section of your Twitter account.

But the greatest success is to be able to attribute new patients to your social media activity. An easy way to find out if this is happening is to ask new patients a friendly question on how they found your pharmacy.

Nevertheless, though measuring the commercial impact of activity and advertising certainly helps focus strategy, for many pharmacists, just being part of the online conversation is rewarding enough.

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The Power of Social Media in Medicine and Medical Education: Opportunities, Risks, and Rewards –

The Power of Social Media in Medicine and Medical Education: Opportunities, Risks, and Rewards – | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Earlier this year I contributed to a paper published in the journal, Clinical Chemistry, which explored the use of social media in medicine and medical education. You can read the full paper here –  it’s Open Access (yay!).

Both personal and professional use of social media by medical professionals is increasing. Some medical specialties have quickly adopted and embraced social media, particularly in the fields of family medicine, pediatrics, and emergency medicine.  Emergency and critical care medicine have embraced social media under the free open-access medical education (#FOAMEd) movement that seeks to share knowledge as widely as possible and for free. (Fun fact! The term FOAM was coined in June 2012 in a pub in Dublin, over a pint of Guinness).

Extracted highlights from the paper

Shannon Haymond, Professor of Pathology, sees social media as “a way to stay up to
date on rapidly changing fields and to connect with a diverse set of people who share your interests. This is particularly true for finding those interested in your area
of expertise but from a completely different perspective.”

I continually use social media to find and save ideas for improving the content and delivery of my lectures and educational sessions – Shannon Haymond

In response to the question of barriers to the adoption of social media among medical professionals, Haymond points to lack of time to tackle a steep learning  curve and notes “people are not sure of the value or level of professionalism (i.e., they assume it is all about pop culture and celebrity feuds) and  may be apprehensive to put their opinions out into the public conversation.”

Emergency medicine consultant, Professor Simon Carley considers that emergency medicine has adopted social media at a much faster pace than most specialties “owing to the ability of social media to engage individuals across the breadth of our specialty, despite the chronological and geographical challenges that typify our practice.”

I am more up to date than my peers who do not engage. I am a better physician as a result, and I truly believe that my patients receive better care because of this. Professionally I find it intellectually satisfying, as I am forced to constantly learn and reflect on my current practice. It has created opportunities to join research and educational groups across the globe with interactions through #FOAMed, leading to journal publications and numerous invitations to speak at national and international conferences. My personal learning network of experts is no longer limited to those in my department or hospital, and I regularly learn from those in other countries and health economies – Simon Carley

Although Carley thinks there still exists “a big gap between awareness and involvement”, clinical educator, Jonathan Sherbino, MD says “the novelty of social media as an emerging phenomenon is being replaced with lines of inquiry that take advantage of the principles of social media: open access, interconnectivity, asynchronous dialog, and crowdsourcing.”

We are now at a tipping point from the early adopters to the early majority, largely a function of a generational shift with early career educators promoting and modeling the professional use of social media – Jonathan Sherbino

Sherbino, an avid user of Twitter,  believes social media “allows an individual to participate in a richer community.”  He uses Twitter “as an aggregator to condense numerous online conversations relevant to health professions education into a single stream. He also says  he pays ” more attention to superusers (individuals or organizations with a personally vetted record of high-quality information) than any member within my network.”

Michael Berkwits, editor at The JAMA and JAMA Network also points to social media’s curatorial capabilities.

“Social media allows publishers to distribute information to readers in the workflow and spaces they are already using. With innumerable options, most people direct-access only a handful of website homepages and instead use social media platforms as a way to curate “tables of contents” of people, interests, and sources they want to keep up with – Michael Berkwits

Carley uses personal learning networks, curation sites, and apps to help him track and collate useful content.

I have developed a personal learning network of individuals who collate and curate special interest areas. You cannot follow everyone, so find and follow the high return, high-quality individuals or sites that filter content for you. I also follow sites that act as clearing houses for social media content, which create a weekly digest and e-mail it to your inbox – Simon Carley

Social media is an important mechanism for communicating about science with the public. As Haymond points out, “Despite the tremendous benefits, including free access and wide distribution of information, the quality of online scientific information
is variable.”

Stephen Smith, Professor of Emergency Medicine, is firm that medical professionals should be more discriminating about what they choose to post online.

Because there is so much information, we should try to limit what we post to only those things that are both important and accurate, to the best of our knowledge. We should not be posting things for our own ego, to be able to say how many followers one has, or how many posts one has put up – Stephen Smith

When it comes to risks, Sherbino points to trolling, Smith to patient identification, and Haymond to the risk of posting misleading or inaccurate information. Carley considers that the “risks are overstated.”

The only difference is that social media shares your views with a wider audience. If you act inappropriately and unprofessional in real life, then more people will know it. Similarly, if you are a diligent clinician, researcher, and academic, then more people will find out – Simon Carley

The future of social media in medicine

Social media is changing the ways that patients interact with healthcare providers and the healthcare system. It is increasingly common for patients to use information technology to gain access to information and control their own healthcare.  Increased access to the Internet and mobile communication will bring public health information to many more people, more quickly and directly than at any time in history. Social media will widen access to those who may not easily access health information via traditional methods, such as younger people, ethnic minorities, and lower socioeconomic groups.

Social media is also changing the face of medical education. Sherbino goes so far as to state, “No longer are the giants of the field identified by their textbooks, citation rates, or leadership roles; rather, my residents and fellows are influenced by the scope of an educator’s social media brand.”

Carley quotes Rob Rogers, “we will change from those who give out knowledge to those who coordinate it. Social media will develop us all into “learning choreographers.”

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Social media for skilled-nursing facilities: Here’s what you need to know

Social media for skilled-nursing facilities: Here’s what you need to know | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

For any business, crafting a social-media strategy can be initimidating. That may be especially true for skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs). Declining censuses and vigilant consumers have raised the stakes for anyone hoping to manage an SNF’s online reputation. A social-media slip-up can easily become a costly mistake.

In light of that, it may be tempting to avoid engaging in social media altogether. Why risk alienating consumers?

Renee Pruzansky, CEO of AristaCare Health Services, pointed out that this avoidance would be a mistake. “If your community’s not on top of social media, your competitors will be, and your organization will fall behind,” she said. Renee understands, though, why some communities might hesitate. “The fear comes from a lack of control,” she said. “If you don’t know what to do with social media, it’s scary. That’s why I tell people to take as much control as they can. Don’t create anxiety—create a strategy. Failing to use social media means missing out on a lot of opportunity.”

All of this is just a small sampling of the social-media secrets that Renee shared in our webinar. Any SNF leader will find a lot more value in her entire presentation.

If you want to watch it, you still have time. Just click here and you can view the whole webinar, including a Q&A session with SNF leaders from around the country.

 

In a recent webinar for NRC Health, Renee taught SNF leaders how to build a social-media strategy that works. Here are some highlights.

New Age Consumerism

First, Renee explained how important it is for SNF leaders to embrace transparency. “It’s New Age Consumerism,” she said. “That means we’re in a direct-to-consumer era. People don’t think that applies to healthcare, but healthcare has become a direct-to-consumer industry.”

Consumers are approaching healthcare in the same way they might approach other purchasing choices. They’re not content to just accept what they hear; they’re proactive about performing research themselves. And what’s the first thing that consumers want to see when they’re conducting that research? Ratings.

“I call it the ‘ratings mindset,’” Renee said. “Ratings are the first thing people see when they look for providers, the place where their eyes naturally go. For example, on Amazon, I’m not going to buy anything under four stars. Similarly, why should I put someone in my family in a low-rated facility? When we’re talking about transparency online, that’s what we mean.”

It’s not just performance

SNFs, then, should focus on getting those online ratings as high as possible. Giving residents a great experience is a crucial and key component, but Renee pointed out that improving service isn’t enough.

“Remember: it’s not just about performance,” she said. “It’s about perception of performance. It’s the perception that’s going to help your online reputation the most.”

She cited one of AristaCare’s communities as an example. “A year ago, one of our facilities had a two-star rating on Google, and that’s not because we were a bad facility!” she explained. “It’s because we didn’t have that control over our online reputation.”

By planning and executing on an effective social-media strategy (including making use of NRC Health’s Transparency Solutions), Renee and her team were able to bolster AristaCare’s numbers from a 2.7 average Google rating to a 4.1 average—in under a few months.

How to get started

But how exactly did AristaCare do it? What should the day-to-day work of social-media management look like? While Renee believes this will vary between communities, she did have some suggestions for where to start.

“First, you have to have a social-media team,” she said. She recommended having a few Millennial-aged employees take on the tasks of publishing updates to social-media profiles, or else bringing on interns from local universities. “Make sure they’re meeting regularly, generating those positive care stories,” she added.

She doesn’t believe, however, that efforts should stop there. For a social-media strategy to take off, the entire workplace has to get behind a new culture of transparency. “Communication is key,” she said. “You have to build this network of messaging to get the word out there. The good news is that this doesn’t have to break the bank. You can make smart use of the resources you already have.”

This means shifting ad spending away from print and toward digital, as well as encouraging staff to talk to residents about the kinds of care experiences they’re having. These can be invaluable fodder for social-media updates and reviews.

Specific platforms

With new stories on hand and a team dedicated to telling them, SNF leaders should then turn their attention to the major social-media spaces. Renee shared her thoughts on each of them.

Google

“Ninety-two percent of people Google a facility before making a decision,” she said. “But getting a positive rating on Google is the most difficult, cumbersome part of social-media management. It takes a monumental amount of effort and time.”

This is where she says NRC Health’s services were the most helpful. “With NRC’s help, we were able to put up ratings from our own website, and have those juxtaposed against Google’s ratings when people search for us,” she said. “That was a game changer for us.”

Facebook

Renee believes that the importance of Facebook can’t be overstated. “Facebook dominates the caregiver and senior sector of social media,” she said. “This is a dated statistic, but last I read, 40% of all Facebook users are 55+. That’s the target market for senior care.”

She recommended that Facebook be the first place SNFs direct their ad spending, as well as the bulk of their social-media management work. “It’s a great place to take control of your identity and give people a flavor for what you’re offering in your community,” she said.

As a bonus, she noted that Facebook also happens to be the easiest place for seniors to place reviews, so it’s a good idea to have engaging Facebook classes as part of your regular activity schedule—and to remind residents to leave a comment if they’ve had an experience they enjoyed.

LinkedIn

In Renee’s opinion, LinkedIn is an underappreciated avenue for reputation management. “Not everyone thinks of it,” she said. “But transparency is 360 degrees! You can’t ignore any angle.”

Aside from what potential residents might see, LinkedIn also proves to be a valuable means of professional association. “It’s crucial for maximizing referral source exposure, building that goodwill with other providers in the community,” she said.

Instagram/Twitter/others

These last social-media services skew toward a younger audience. Renee believes that, for now, that makes them slightly less valuable for SNFs. “For our space, these shouldn’t be the priority,” she said. “That said, be open to what your local community needs. The activity on some of these other networks could surprise you.”

A parting note

Finally, Renee observed that, in the end, all these efforts amount to giving current and future SNF residents what they’re asking for and deserve.

“It’s time to redefine customer service,” she said. “The world has transformed. Transparency has been the catalyst to a sharper focus on customer needs, and this includes family members as well.”

The future, she said, will reward organizations that can “get their heads out of the old culture, stay open, and embrace something new.”

To get to that level of openness, a coherent social-media strategy and focus will carry SNFs a long way.

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Social media: A health risk! - The Patriot on Sunday

Social media: A health risk! - The Patriot on Sunday | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Patients currently control all aspects of their interactions with the medical profession as they dictate the way they want to be assisted health wise without paying attention to the special advice of a trained medical professional. This is mostly influenced by the Social Media through the abundant access of The Internet.

South African-based Scientist, Director and Founder of The Noakes Foundation Professor Tim Noakes said this when giving a keynote address under the topic “The pending revolution in Medicine: How social media, the internet and the nutrition revolution have irrevocably changed patient ‘perceptions of what constitutes medical care’’ in Gaborone this week.

The lecture focused on how the nutritional feeding means has changed and its outcomes and how social media shapes perceptions of the patients towards medical treatment as well as the trend in which it influences individuals’ way of living.

Prof Noakes charged that the Social Media era has brought up different perceptions and approach on how people diet, receive treatment and cure based on what they read and see from the new media, hence this leads to a number of serious trending diseases such as sugar diabetes, extreme obesity and cancer.

He said it is very important for individuals to change how they consume social media health tips as this sometimes put their health at risk since most of them are not valid.

“New media has typically brought a revolution by the patients on how they respond to medical needs and this also comes with continuous health posing threats and changed nutrition landscape of the patients, because they end up taking a diet that is not in line with the kind of a disease one should treat. However, the new media also comes with some positivity in availing information about how patients can live positive and healthy as well,” he said.

Professor Noakes indicated that the changing habit in nutrition and diet across the world is a cause for concern because a lot of diseases come as a result of the evolution. Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity are cited as the outcomes of the change in nutrition and diet.

He said it is high time there is reduction in consuming more starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and sugar and meat as well, saying vegetables and fruits should be the most consumed form of diet because of their rich nature of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they resist most of diseases to attack the body.

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Effectively Improving Patient Engagement

Effectively Improving Patient Engagement | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Healthcare technology has been dominated by electronic health records (EHR) and everything that comes with them throughout the last decade.  The premise of EHRs is to have integrated real-time information that can easily be shared throughout a health system. It was realized early on that, if clinicians can share information with each other, making their jobs more efficient and improving patient care, couldn’t sharing information with patients also improve the quality of care?  And just like that, the need for improving patient engagement was born.

Patients in the information age have an important role to play in their own healthcare experience. However, their input relies squarely on how informed they are and the quality of the information they are receiving.  Can your patients understand the information being shared?  Is the information accurate and easily digestible so that patients can use it to make informed decisions about their care?  Do they have the technical means to engage with their physicians?

The logical place to start thinking about patient engagement is with patients, right?  Actually, healthcare organizations have to examine their internal processes first before attempting to engage with patients.  Sure, there are reasons to get every patient signed up for myChart as quickly as possible, but for the purpose of patient satisfaction and quality care, internal education is more important than jumping the gun with mobile application downloads.

Think of patient engagement as a lifecycle that begins with their first need to visit a healthcare facility.  Why should they choose yours? What do they know about you? What information is available to them and in what mediums?  The people they come in contact with at your facility stand as the primary communicators at this stage and that includes everyone from scheduling, security, and reception, to technicians, clinicians, nurses and doctors involved in their care. Everyone must be informed.

The more knowledgeable your people are about your organization and its offerings, including patient engagement tools, the more comfortable they will be talking to patients and visitors about them.  Equally as important is that the quality of the data presented to patients builds trust both internally and externally. Make sure your people have the tools and information they need to engage patients.

There are numerous ways to engage patients these days and capabilities vary wildly from organization to organization. These can include mobile applications, email, texting, wearable technology, biometrics, and patient portals, among others.  The public drives the market here and you have to go where patients are and use the tools they use.

Currently, email, social media, and text messaging are the primary forms of personal communication.  Mobile push notifications and text messages work best for quick messages while email and social media provide access to patients where additional information can be linked.  Text messages can be used to remind patients about their medications or upcoming appointments as well.

Encourage patients to engage with you as well.  One of the best features of patient portals is the ability for patients to reach out to their physicians directly and ask questions about their treatment.  This feature should not be overlooked as it gives the patient some control in the engagement process and this ongoing conversation between patients and their care team is the ultimate goal of improving patient engagement.

Mobile optimization is a must.  Most people use their phones to send, receive, process and store information. Ensuring that your organization’s website is optimized for mobile capabilities is essential,  as is proving engagement tools on mobile devices, i.e. mobile applications and patient portals.

Some of the most common interactions patients have with their doctor or healthcare practice once they leave the office are appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and bill payments.  A win for patients and clinicians is to provide those capabilities via desktop and mobile applications.  Automating these processes builds trust and appreciation from patients as their time is valuable too.

But it shouldn’t just be patients initiating interaction. Social media provides communication opportunities with patients as well as the general public.  It’s an opportunity to display your organization’s thought leadership, but also show that you’re modern and progressive enough to engage in two-way communication.  Social media, when done properly, allows you to communicate and have conversations with patients, the public, partners, other businesses, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

There are a number of vendors in the marketplace who are working to assist hospital systems with this issue.  Their collective goal is to provide patient’s with information while allowing providers to devote more attention to patient care, resulting in a better experience for everyone.  Patients have the information they need to actively participate in their care and the decisions that must be made, nurses are freed to focus and engage with patients – which is what they do best – and physicians are empowered to reduce costs from an improved workflow, outcomes, and patient satisfaction.  It’s a cycle that all begins with proactive sharing of information and a focus on patient’s needs and engagement.

Even tech giants like Apple are getting into the game as user experience is what they’ve hung their hat on for years. If a user is a patient at a participating hospital, the new features in Apple’s Health app will collect all existing patient-generated data, from over 40 participating health systems and 300 participating hospitals, and display it in a user’s Health app. Apple’s goal is to bring a patient’s medical information right to their iPhone. Given the slow pace of technology adoption in healthcare, the willingness of these institutions to work with Apple is immense.

Improving patient engagement is not only good for the business’s bottom line, it is also good for the patient.  Healthcare is a very real and personal thing and the more information we share, the more personal it becomes.  The more we engage, the more we’re able to partner with our patients to provide the highest quality care for them.  Improving patient engagement strengthens bonds within the community and ensures patient loyalty at a time when patients are starting to shop for healthcare.

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Twitter for healthcare professionals: what you should know

Twitter for healthcare professionals: what you should know | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Twitter can be an extremely valuable tool for healthcare professionals who want to use social media in a professional capacity. Get some tips and tricks here.

Twitter can seem daunting to first-time users, but it is actually a simple tool that allows you to stay up to date about research and hot topics in your field of medical expertise. It is possible to use your Twitter account only to listen, and to start participating only when you feel truly comfortable with doing so. The character limit has been increased to 280 characters, which means that it is easier to create a tweet.

 

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and is used to identify messages on a specific topic. Hashtags are very useful to allow you to follow conversation threads around specific topics, for example a disease type. All medical conferences now also use hashtags to engage Twitter users to tweet about what they have learnt and about their congress experience in general.

Which hashtags are of interest to healthcare professionals?

Symlur, a healthcare social media analytics provider, have created a Cardiology Ontology which provides a list of hashtags used around the world to communicate on different topics: view Symplur’s Cardiology Ontology

Hashtags of particular interest to interventional cardiologists are amongst others:

  • #STEMI ST elevation MI
  • #NSTEMI Non-ST elevation MI
  • #cvVHD Valvular Heart Disease
  • #RadialFirstRadial
  • #Stroke Stroke
  • #TAVI Transcutaneous Aortic Valve Implantation
  • #TAVR Transcutaneous Aortic Valve Replacement
  • #Heartfailure Heart failure
  • #CardioOnc Cardio-oncology
  • #cvACS Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • #cvCABG Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
  • #cvCHF Congestive Heart Failure
  • #AFib Atrial Fibrillation
  • #LVAD Left Ventricular Assist Device
  • #MitraClip MitraClip

Other hashtags often used by Cardiologists are: #CardioTwitter, #CardioEd, #Twitterati

The anatomy of a tweet

A typical tweet can contain several elements. It can be a simple phrase, but to increase engagement, it's a good idea to include a hashtag, a link, an image and a mention. To find someone's Twitter handle, search for the person's or organisation's name on the web, and add Twitter to the search phrase, for example: "PCRonline Twitter".

1. #hashtags

2. @people

3. @society

4. Image

Practical tips for Increasing visibility on Twitter :

  • Asking people to retweet (RT)
  • Tweets with images get twice as many retweets as those without
  • 18% more engagement for accounts that respond than those that don’t
  • Shorter tweets get more engagement than longer ones
  • Links receive more retweets than tweets without links
  • Use hashtags to increase engagement
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What Physicians Should Know about Posting on Social Media

What Physicians Should Know about Posting on Social Media | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Should otolaryngologists use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to expand their professional network, engage with patients, or promote their published research? Four physicians at a panel discussion at the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) Annual Meeting in Atlanta on October 6, 2018, “#ENTSurgery: How Otolaryngologists Can Leverage Social Media to Promote Public Health, Disseminate Science and Build Their Professional Network,” said yes.

They offered their tips and potential pitfalls for social media use to fellow surgeons, who are increasingly online-curious. According to a 2018 study, social media was the preferred networking and communication tool for 22% of surveyed surgeons, and 70% of surgeons find social media useful for networking purposes, said moderator Alexander Langerman, MD, SM, a head and neck surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville (J Surg Educ. 2018;75:804–810).

Facebook and Twitter are the most popular platforms for surgeons, said Dr. Langerman, who noted that this session’s panel was arranged over Twitter—in just 24 hours. “All major healthcare professional conferences, organizations, and government and health policy agencies now have a social media presence. It is de rigueur,” said Dr. Langerman. “You can do a lot as a surgeon on Twitter. It is a great way to put yourself out there and get feedback.”

Curate Academic Information

Social media can seem crowded and noisy to a busy physician. Focus on curating academic information to enhance collaboration and stay up to date on surgical research, said Jennifer A. Villwock, MD, a rhinology and skull base surgeon at the University of Kansas Medical Center (@docwock). She also manages the Women in Rhinology account (@Women_Rhinology).

Consider how different readers may view your posts. “As you’re putting content onto the Internet, people don’t know your background, or what was happening with that patient or that research. It’s easy to post something that you think is benign and helpful, but it could be interpreted in different ways,” she said.

Professionals who read your tweets about your research may offer “pseudo-peer review,” said Dr. Villwock. “On Twitter, the peer review process is simplified. There’s a tweet, and then the ‘peer review’ is either retweeting, liking, or nothing. It offers a nice opportunity for potentially high-impact studies that may take a while to gain traction and gain a broader readership,” she added.

Curate information online by searching for hashtags related to research on specific topics, she said. One example: #UTI led her to tweets on post-surgical urinary tract infection management studies. “Social media is a great opportunity for that cross-pollination—how can we apply what’s being done in other fields to our field?”

Visual Abstracts

One rising social media-driven innovation is the visual abstract, or a single-slide, graphic summary of a study’s main findings, said Andrew M. Ibrahim, MD, MSc, resident surgeon at the University of Michigan (@AndrewMIbrahim). He quickly shared four visual abstracts with the audience on a glioblastoma therapy trial, a children’s sleep study, a commentary on patient-centered hospital design, and a survey on barriers to developing surgical scientists.

“You are not an expert in any of those topics, but in just one minute, I gave you the movie trailer version of each study,” said Dr. Ibrahim, who also published a study on visual abstracts’ utility for disseminating research for a broader audience (Ann Surg. 2017;266:e46-e48). Visual abstracts are found on the Twitter feeds of major academic journals, and they may be linked to PubMed.com soon (see Figure 1, left).

Dr. Ibrahim, who previously trained in architecture and design, is on the editorial board of Annals of Surgery. In 2016, he launched the visual abstract concept after he was “totally geeked out” by the journal’s paper on London trauma centers. He designed a bold, illustrated yellow slide encapsulating the study’s data. In one week, the visual abstract had 35,000 Twitter impressions, a 17-fold increase from a regular tweet about the same study. Readership of the full article tripled, so the journal staff created 100 more visual abstracts of its published studies in 2017.

More than 75 academic journals now use visual abstracts, along with national health agencies. Search for #VisualAbstract on Twitter to view examples, or go to www.surgeryredesign.com/resources for a free, online, open-sourced primer of visual abstracts and a template for creating your own.

Online Professionalism

Use the same professional judgment on social media that you use offline, said Heather Logghe, MD, surgical research fellow at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia (@LoggheMD) and the co-author of a paper on best practices for surgeons using social media (J Am Coll Surg. 2018;226:317–327).

“Know the rules of your institution” for social media use, including whether yours requires your bio to state that your opinions online are your own, she said. Use the elevator test, she said. “If you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing a tweet or a photo in a crowded hospital elevator, it definitely does not belong online.”

Go beyond HIPAA to safeguard patient confidentiality on social media, she said. Patients or their families may recognize that your tweet refers to their particular case even if you don’t reveal their names.

Even when you discuss controversial topics on social media, try to stay positive, said Dr. Logghe.

“One strategy I follow when tweeting about difficult topics is to avoid putting my own judgment on it,” she said. State the facts, but don’t personally attack people or institutions online. “I encourage you to not stray from the difficult topics. Just because something is controversial doesn’t mean you should avoid it.” Run your tweet’s wording by trusted colleagues before you post it, she suggested.

“Also: Don’t feed the trolls. Trolls are those people who tend to be negative, want to detract from your message, or have their own agenda,” she said. Reply once to negative responses to clarify your message or ask them to clarify their comment. If the person continues to argue with you, gracefully allow them to have the last word.

“Know that you can delete your tweets later. Think twice, post once,” she said. “If you’re thinking about deleting or that it wasn’t a good idea to tweet something, delete it. You can always repost it after you’ve thought it through.”

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Massachusetts Medical Society: The Why, How, Pros, and Cons of Online Physician Communities

Massachusetts Medical Society: The Why, How, Pros, and Cons of Online Physician Communities | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The tools of the modern doctor’s kit: white coat, stethoscope, and Twitter. And if not Twitter, then Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other online forums. Industry estimates suggest more than 90 percent of physicians in the US are actively using at least one social media platform to interact with colleagues as well as patients.

These electronic forums — and the tools that physicians use to access them — serve the same purposes as traditional medical communities. They have become integral to advancing medical education, as well as facilitating cultural evolution within the profession, says Kathryn Hughes, MD, an acute care surgeon at Falmouth Hospital.

“The reach [of online forums] in the medical community is broad, global, and across the entire arc of the medical experience, from student, to resident, to attendings, to thought leaders and industry leaders,” says Dr. Hughes. “It encompasses the entire spectrum of the hospital experience as well as colleges and universities and medical programs.”

General interest physician-only communities, such as Doximity and Sermo, are one manifestation of physicians’ online networking; Doximity estimates that 70 percent of US physicians have used the platform at least once. These forums are complemented by social media initiatives that bring physicians together, often in special interest communities. Facebook’s Physician Moms Group, for example, has become a dynamic forum for women physicians. “These are very fluid and nimble communities that can lay the groundwork for the next community to be created. Significant and real collaboration grows out of them, and they are a powerful way to form connections,” says Dr. Hughes. She and other physicians spoke to Vital Signs about the value of Twitter.

Enduring Goals, Changing Means

More than a century ago, surgeons came together in person to collaborate, support each other, set standards for the profession, and bond over shared experiences, says Dr. Hughes. “Flash-forward to a new millennium. Problems, benefits, and all of the good and all of the bad are bigger in this new electronic format, but they aren’t different.”

In 2015, the American Association of Medical Society Executives noted, “[T]he mechanisms and ways that [medical] communities come together have changed a great deal. New technologies allow physician communities to be built online as in-person networking opportunities are harder to fit into members’ schedules.” In addition, young physicians are technologically savvy and would likely be active on social media platforms regardless of their career choices.

Some physicians find that online interaction can substitute for, or at least complement, face-to-face connections. Michael S. Sinha, MD, JD, MPH, says, “It’s nice to reconnect with the online colleagues you’ve made on a periodic basis. You often feel like you get to know people, even if you’ve never met in real life.”

Moving Medical Culture Forward

The influence of such networks has grown rapidly. Social media helps explore the ways that issues of broad topical currency play out in the practice of medicine. With women accounting for more than half of incoming US medical students in 2017, for example, online physician communities are dynamic forums for discussing diversity and inclusion.

“Virtual discussions have led to an increase in awareness of issues related to gender parity in medicine,” wrote Julie K. Silver, MD, associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, and co-author of a June 2018 article in the New England Journal of Medicine on the role of social media in advancing women physicians’ careers. “Social media may play a role in supporting these female students, just as it has begun to support women physicians of all career stages, helping them overcome traditional barriers to professional development.”

Dr. Hughes, chair of the MMS Committee on Women’s Health, was a pioneer of the hashtag #Ilooklikeasurgeon, which first appeared in 2015 in an effort to highlight women’s contributions to the heavily male-dominated field of surgery. The hashtag went viral. (The theme was immortalized in popular culture by an April 2017 New Yorker covershowing four masked female faces gazing down at a patient in an operating theatre.)

Facilitating Patient Care

Online networks can facilitate clinical learning. The use of hashtags on some social media platforms enables users to find relevant content and conversations. Dr. Sinha, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, routinely engages in several e-communities on Twitter, including #WomenInMedicine, #HMIChat (transforming health care delivery and medical education), #PWChat (physician well-being), #JHMChat (care for hospitalized patients), and #MedEd (medical education).

Matthew Katz, MD, a Lowell radiation oncologist, turned to Twitter more than four years ago as a means to keep current efficiently with cutting-edge academic research. Dr. Katz initiated a monthly journal discussion for tweeting oncologists, engaging article authors and introducing them and their research to the e-community. He facilitates chats that often attract 50–100 colleagues, researchers, and patients interested in treatment developments related to breast, lung, and brain tumors. Dr. Katz, who is also a regular user of Doximity, is a past chair of the MMS Committee on Communication, which is developing an updated guide to social media for physicians (available imminently on massmed.org).

Patient-Physician Learning

Online learning communities can include patients, says Dr. Sinha. “When patients join the chats, especially topical chats centered around specific diseases like #lcsm (lung cancer), #obsm (obesity), or #bcsm (breast cancer), those perspectives and contributions are tremendously insightful and important for physicians.”

This multidimensionality of online communities is a major benefit to medicine, he says. “Increasingly, it’ll be a way for physicians and patients to engage with one another, to educate one another, and to establish meaningful relationships. It’s certainly not an appropriate venue for establishing a patient-physician relationship, but if used correctly, e-communities like Twitter can allow physicians to walk in patients’ shoes, and vice versa. That’s critically important in health care today,” said Dr. Sinha.

Challenges and Pitfalls

Online forums are not without hazards. Social media can be a time sink; it is important to be conscious of the return on investment. “You have to do it in a way that adds to your clinical practice of medicine,” says Dr. Katz. In addition, any mistakes made in such forums are public.

Protecting Patient Privacy

Participating physicians have the added responsibility of constant vigilance about patient privacy laws. Many physicians who are active on Twitter make a point not to reply to posts soliciting medical or legal advice, and place such disclaimers on their profiles, says Dr. Sinha. “Above all, it’s important for physicians to avoid disclosing identifiable information about patients — and not just because HIPAA says we should. It’s more about respect for patient dignity and personal privacy.”

Online medical communities are working on these challenges. “Social media are potentially very powerful tools for communication, and I am hopeful we’ll figure out through better research a way to use them both ethically and effectively, but I don’t think we are there yet,” Dr. Katz says.

That said, there’s no going back. “We’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential for how social media can be used to bring us together to disseminate information and improve clinical practice,” says Dr. Hughes. “We are in the early stages of seeing where this can take us. I’m an optimist.”

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Traditional Digital Advertising Rules Don’t Apply To Patient Recruitment

Traditional Digital Advertising Rules Don’t Apply To Patient Recruitment | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Syneos Health has released the results of a study conducted to gather real-world patient insights into the effectiveness of digital advertising to assist with clinical trial recruitment. The study was conducted online and involved 432 patients in the U.S. with epilepsy and migraine, two conditions with active late-phase pipelines. The patients were about equally split between male and female, with 91 percent being white. All were in the U.S.

Social media has taken an increasingly important role in patient recruitment. A research report from Consumer Health Online found 75 percent of Americans are now looking up medical-related information online at least monthly. From the sponsor company perspective, social media offers more granular targeting capabilities, efficient pricing for ad delivery, and increased variability in creative execution than traditional forms of marketing. The Tufts Center has found only 11 percent of clinical trials currently use social media to recruit patients, leaving a lot of room for growth.

With those statistics as a background, the study was conducted to help digital marketers better understand patient perceptions surrounding online clinical trial advertising. It evaluated patient trust levels with specific online channels and platforms as well as what factors contributed to content success.

Patient recruitment for trials has always been difficult. With personalized therapies and precision medicine treatments now making their way into clinical trials, finding the right patients will become even more challenging. As a result, social media advertising will play an increasingly important role in trial recruitment.

Patients Remember Ads

The study, titled Content That Clicks: Effective Social Marketing for Clinical Trial Recruitment, notes four key findings.

First, the recall rate of clinical trial ads is high. In other words, patients who see these ads will later recall having seen them. This is certainly different than most traditional advertising efforts. Sixty-six percent of epilepsy patient respondents and a whopping 79 percent of migraine respondents recalled seeing clinical trial advertising.

When asked where they recall seeing the ads, most respondents cited television ads, followed by Facebook, and their doctor’s office. Other sources garnering over 20 percent of responses by either epilepsy or migraine patients were online patient communities, search engines, newspapers, and radio. LinkedIn was cited by just 8 percent of epilepsy patients and 0.6 percent of migraine patients. Respondents were also asked what social media platforms they use regularly to read or post content. YouTube was number one, followed by Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Clinical trials expose patients to new and unfamiliar treatments. That makes patient trust in sponsors and investigators essential. Advertising decisions should, therefore, be made in a way that maximizes that trust.

The study found that high trial intenders have a significant trust of social media. High trial intenders are defined as individuals who indicated a high intent to enroll in a clinical trial. These individuals showed high levels of trust in every digital information source outlined in the study, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In terms of the level of trust placed in these sources, most social media channels were clustered closely together. YouTube was the most trusted channel. In fact, trust in YouTube amongst those with high intent to enroll in a trial was 19 percent higher than those with low intent.

Patients Trust Their Doctors

We know that patients have a high level of trust in their physicians, and those professionals were cited as the most trustworthy source of information. In terms of trustworthiness, physicians were followed by patient advocacy groups and medical/health websites.

A third finding notes that the trust level in healthcare professionals also translates into creative imagery. In the study, patients were shown two ads. One ad featured a doctor in a lab coat. The other featured a woman in obvious discomfort. The creative imagery that featured the physician outperformed the other image by nearly 10 percent.

Unfortunately, patients in the survey did not place a lot of trust in pharma companies. Pharma ranked last amongst the survey options, trailing behind sources such as other patients, family members, and friends.

Deliver The Right Emotional Message

Pharma is focused on the promise that their medicines offer patients. Therefore, an ad for a migraine treatment might tend to picture a patient who looks healthy and happy. That aspirational tone might look good in ads but can miss the target by not being relatable to patients. The study found people living with migraines were more likely to click on an image of a person who appeared to be experiencing a headache or other type of pain. The study also found illustrations outperformed stock photography, possibly because photography requires the user to identify with the real person in the photo. If you don’t relate to the person, it can negatively impact the advertising.

Finally, standard social rules may not apply when attempting to recruit patients. On social media, shorter content is typically viewed as the gold standard. However, this study found that with clinical trial social ads, longer content performed better. Eighty-one percent of responders who indicated their condition has a high negative impact on their quality of life preferred an ad with longer and more detailed copy. 

One additional piece of information in the survey is worth discussing. Participation rates in clinical trials are low, and the reasons for not participating are numerous. Respondents were asked what might keep them from opting to participate in a clinical trial. Transportation issues ranked number one, followed by the lack of payment for the time invested. Both issues could be reduced or eliminated with some amount of investment by pharma. Coming in third was concern over receiving a placebo, followed by lack of time and concerns over privacy.

The worlds of patient recruitment and social marketing will continue to become more intertwined. That will make it essential for sponsors and agencies to invest the time necessary to deeply understand the needs of their target audience. As the report notes, targeting the right audience with the right message on the right channels can make a meaningful difference in patient recruitment.

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6 steps for increasing patient enrollment in clinical trials

6 steps for increasing patient enrollment in clinical trials | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Clinical trials are the engine that feeds innovation for the biopharmaceutical industry. At any given time, 6,000 clinical trials are enrolling participants across the globe — patients with cancers, serious conditions, or one of 7,000 rare diseases. Not surprisingly, enrolling trial participants has become a core competency, required of biopharma companies to complete clinical studies and move on to regulatory filing and approvals.

And still patient enrollment is often cited by companies as one of the most significant barriers to conducting clinical trials.

Failure to enroll sufficient numbers of patients can result in costly delays or even cancellation of the entire trial. In fact, roughly 80% of clinical trials fail to meet enrollment timelines and approximately one-third of Phase III study terminations are due to enrollment difficulties. In addition, 15% to 20% of sites never enroll a single patient.

Here’s the basic truth: Without patients, there’s no trial. That’s why the obstacles and inefficiencies that plague clinical trial enrollment must be reduced via an infusion of technology and a big dose of patient-centricity.

For anyone with an entrepreneurial mind and a high tolerance for risk, clinical trial enrollment presents a perfect opportunity. Here are the steps the industry needs to take.

Widen the enrollment funnel.

The enrollment process best resembles a funnel. It is initially wide, but narrows considerably as inclusion and exclusion criteria are applied and as patient location, availability, and willingness to participate come into play. Interested parties must seek out opportunities to use technology to minimize each potential disruption so that more patients are included at the mouth of the funnel and fewer are eliminated due to logistical reasons.

Understand key stakeholders.

When it comes to clinical trial enrollment, patients want to find out about research opportunities as soon as possible, and they want the ability to sign up or prescreen, ideally online, for clinical studies. They want fewer phone calls, no voicemails, and more control over scheduling and rescheduling screening visits. They want to be able to summon transportation without red tape and access their medical records quickly and easily.

How about clinical trial sites? They want more eligible patients to manifest at a steady rate, a system to organize and track these patients, and support from the sponsor to arrange for transportation or in-home testing.

And the biopharmaceutical sponsors of the research? They want steady progress toward complete enrollment, accelerated enrollment, and to know — in real time — the study’s enrollment status.

Together, these three stakeholder groups can help design the future of clinical trials, a future when clinical trials are efficiently enrolling all over the world. And technology, within and outside pharma, is already helping the industry move in that direction.

Harness digital targeted advertising.

Patients often share that they may not ever find out about a clinical trial. If their doctor is not participating in the study, they say, then why would he or she let patients know about the clinical trial? And how long will it take to inform them?

In the future, every clinical trial will be advertised on mass channels such as Facebook, with targeting so sophisticated any likely participant will be offered the opportunity to participate. But trial enrollers are currently falling short: A mere 11% of organizations currently recruit patients through social media.

Conduct online prescreening.

In the future, it will not be enough to simply inform patients about a clinical trial. Instead, we must provide them an actionable way to prescreen, sign up, and opt-in to be contacted.

While clinicaltrials.gov provides a comprehensive listing of trials, it suffers from two key problems.

One, the study descriptions are not easily understood by the average patient. And two, there is no actionable way to prescreen. At some point, each study should have an online prescreening mechanism that allows patients to find out if they are eligible and, if so, continue the enrollment process.

Consolidate and transfer medical records.

Once we’ve gotten the patient to a screening visit, the next major hurdle is the consolidation and transfer of medical records — two activities that do not occur with any degree of predictability or efficiency today.

For patients with complex or severe conditions, the process may take weeks or months, and oftentimes becomes the responsibility of an already overtaxed caregiver. In the future, we must develop a central, secure repository of medical records that can be accessed by patient or caregiver for easy transfer and use by the clinical trial site.

Facilitate in-home testing.

Just as they summon Lyft and Uber drivers with their phones, what if clinical trial participants could summon nurses to help complete diagnostics and forms required during the screening or later visits?

Patients are often overburdened by the number of study visits and the slew of blood tests and other diagnostics required. Bringing the ones that don’t require a clinical environment right to the patient’s living room would significantly increase enrollment.

The in-home tests could be conducted using an app, a wearable, or a diagnostic device specifically designed for the task at hand. But it won’t happen until regulators get on board with the process, expediting the review of these tracking systems and enabling implementation.

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Top 10 U.S. Social Media Influencers in Healthcare

Using our extensive media database, we compiled a list of the top 10 United States social media influencers in the Healthcare space. See how our solutio
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Social Media for Medical Practices: 3 Tips for Launching a Facebook Page

Social media has become a prevalent part of the lives of consumers, and a vital tool for businesses to reach them. With more than 1.8 billion active users, it’s no surprise Facebook is one of the…
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Debe Mack's curator insight, November 12, 11:07 AM
Social Media can be used for recruitment, information, and  engagement!
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How Digital Marketing has changed Healthcare Marketing

When I meet new patients at my clinic, I always ask them how they got to know about Tamira. Everyone has a different story to tell.

They either found us through a google search, an online advertisement, an article that we had placed online, patient testimonials or through patient referrals.

Customers these days are well informed. When they meet me, most of them ask pointed questions which means that they are well researched in the topic.

I have heard from several of my hair transplant patients that they started researching about hair transplant and hair loss control options from the time they started losing hair. This only shows that a huge number of people are now active online and are looking for information online for all their health queries. Moreover, they can get the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons regarding choosing between hospitals or clinics rather than being biased by individual opinion.

According to an article in www.digitalvidya.com, the statistics of online consumer behaviour is interesting when it comes to searching about health related information: 

  1. Over 40% consumers say that they look for information online for health related queries and the information they find affects the way they take decisions pertaining to their health. Another research by Demi and Cooper Advertising & DC Interactive group says that 41% of people reported that social media would affect their choice of specific medical facility, hospital and a doctor. Hence, health care professionals should make educational content that prospective customers can review and take a decision. This content should also be made easily accessible on company websites and social platforms.  
  2. People in the age group of 18 to 24 are more than 2 times likely than 45 to 54 year olds to discuss health related issues on social media. That does not mean that hospitals and departments catering to 45 to 54 year age category need not invest in digital marketing. Most probably the younger member in the family would be more informed to take a decision for the elderly. Hence, hospitals, clinics and doctors must maintain social media presence and must post informative content regularly. The content needs to be informative and educative about the recent advances in medical field. Not just that, they must incorporate online conversations to keep the engagement going. 
  3. 90% of those in the 18 to 24 years category would trust medical information shared through social media networks and search engines. Hence good quality educational information is a must with focus on customer testimonials and reviews. Testimonials and reviews can create a positive mindset in the mind of the information seeker. This can reduce time to decision.
  4. 19% of owners of a smart phones have atleast 1 health app on their phone. For those of whom it is relevant, it is important to invest in developing an app, which would make it useful for a customer. The app can be a useful means to stay connected with the patient, feed useful information, fix appointments easily and keep the customer engagement ongoing. 
  5. According to MedTechMedia (a leading UK based healthcare magazine), 31% of healthcare professional use social media for professional networking. Due to this reason, Doctors and health care professionals must be active on social and networking sites. Doctors referrals can be a good source of patients. 
  6. Google’s Think Insights has shown 119% year on year increase in YouTube traffic to hospital sites. Hence, hospitals must creative more video content, be it educational videos or testimonials. 

There are several differences between Plastic and aesthetic treatment discipline and other disciplines of medicine, in terms of how a decision or clinic selection is made.

In plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments

  1. The lead time to decision can be lengthy, upto 2 years.
  2. Our patients are not sick, and hence they can go shopping for treatments. They visit different centers, meet different doctors, check rates and then decide. Therefore cost of a procedure becomes a deciding factor in many cases. Hence, marketing efforts are geared towards creating a differentiation between your services and that of the others. 
  3. Time to decision can vary from patient to patient. From the time a patient takes an appointment with us and meets us for a consultation, we have found that there are patients who have turned up for a surgery within the next two months, and some who have taken over 2 years to make up their mind and come for a surgery.
  4. Customer are not open about their aesthetic treatments and wish to keep it a secret, hence they do not seek information from friends and relatives. Hence, our referral customers are very few. 

Due to these factors, in the Aesthetic healthcare industry, marketing is key. In the last few years, we have found that the digital marketing has over taken all other forms of marketing and mediums. The reasons for this is obvious. They are

  1. Digital marketing costs lesser than other traditional marketing medium.
  2. Easy to start campaigns, stop, control and tweak based on real time data.
  3. ROI is measurable and one can ensure that the most effective creatives and the most effective campaigns get higher budget.
  4. Brands can afford continuous online presence unlike print media.

Due to the consumer behaviour and due to the online browsing patterns, health care service providers in the cosmetic surgery space like ourselves need to 

  1. Be present where the patient is – be it google, social media, quora or health care directories like Whatclinic, RealSelf or Quora.
  2. Make content that is educational and informative and is easily available
  3. Focus on making high quality videos that are informative
  4. Be active on social media and participate in the social conversations
  5. Ensure customer testimonials and reviews that are so vital are made available and are easily accessible. Invest in them.

Regardless of Health care reforms, Health care is a business and is an industry. 

For years, hospitals and physicians relied on personal referrals. Marketing was not considered necessary, and in fact was considered unprofessional. Even today, according to MCI rules, a doctor cannot solicit Patients. The rule was made when GST was imposed on cosmetic treatments. By imposing GST, Government of India has categorized “Cosmetic surgery and Aesthetic Medicine” as a luxury service/procedure, while other health verticals are categorized as life saving procedures. 

As so many people are searching for information online and are looking for treatment options, it is imperative that every medical practitioner has a digital marketing strategy that enables them to differentiate themselves and their services from other local providers. 

Tamira leverages Digital Marketing 

At Tamira, we go the full length to leverage digital marketing for awareness programs, demand generation and customer engagement. We are able to accomplish this through our 

  1. Carefully designed website
  2. Social media presence and campaigns to reach our target audience. We engage with our followers actively
  3. SEO and SEM to enable people interested in our services to find us
  4. Videos that are informative
  5. Great quality content like blogs and infographics that are useful to the prospective patients
  6. Customer newsletters that ensure that we continue to engage with our customers. A happy customer can get us more. Also, once a customer is always a customer.

Digital marketing can be a double edged sword

To industries that depend on digital marketing extensively, like the aesthetic treatments space, digital marketing and online presence can be a double edged sword.

  • Stringent advertising guidelines: There are stringent guidelines for advertising for our services and treatments on social media sites like Facebook and Google. For example, to promote a weight loss treatment, we cannot use text or images that will in any way imply body shaming or leans towards promoting a certain body type.
  • Negative reviews are a bane: Some customers may be fussy and probably they had a one off bad experience, or did not get the result they expected. It may be because they did not follow the post procedure care or protocols as discussed with them. Such customers end up posting testimonials, reviews and comments that are negative. We often deal with unhappy customers who make it a point to leave negative remarks on our social media sites about our service. Once we have a negative remark, it becomes nearly impossible to erase them. These remarks became a threat to companies like us. Many times there are anonymous reviews and complaints. This means that the person is trying to sabotage our credibility. 
  • Our competition tries to sabotage our efforts: There have been instances where our competition has tried to post negative reviews about us, or have tried to post their positive reviews on our social sites. In the west and in some centers in India, I understand that customers are expected to sign form that states that if they post negative comments about the center, they are liable to be sued and charged with defamation. These forms are got along with General consent forms for the procedure. 
  • Negative marketing: Negative Search Marketing is another aspect that is effecting the way we promote our services. For eg, if you searched for Apple iPhones on google, you will find ads for Samsung, OnePlus, Google Pixel etc. This means that Samsung, OnePlus and Google Pixel are ensuring that when you search for Apple iPhone, you will also see ads for their products. They are seeking your mind share and ultimately are trying to influence your decision. This is called negative Marketing. Nothing wrong with it, but, it means you need to spend more money to stay on top in the competition and grab the eyeballs. No matter how much we spend to promote ourselves, our competition could be resort to guerrilla marketing tactics, that are detrimental to us.

What’s next with digital?

As there are advancements in the Aesthetic treatment space, robots enabling hair transplants and 3D printed hair as replacement for lost hair, I am sure there will be advancements in the digital space as well.

Here are some of advancements that I am looking for to:

  • An Online listing of board certified plastic surgeons: This is the need of the day. There are several surgeons operating aesthetic centers without relevant educational background and licenses. I wish there is a portal that lists names of all board certified surgeons with their educational qualifications, licenses and affiliations with the governing bodies relevant to their field of practice. This way, the unqualified doctors and quacks will be out of the list. It will become common practice for general people to look up this list and verify the claims and reviews before setting up an appointment.
  • Artificial intelligence can pave the way for intelligent ad campaign management:Like in all other fields, Artificial intelligence can play a role in digital marketing as well. May be there is a way to target digitally all individuals who are looking at a picture of a beautiful nose…may be they are considering a Rhinoplasty. 

There can be many more possibilities. There are interesting days ahead.  

Last week, Tamira Life was declared winner in 3 Single speciality Center categories for Plastic and Cosmetic surgery, Dermatology and Trichology in the Times of India All India Lifestyle Hospital and Clinic Ranking Survey 2018.

We have been declared:

  • No. 1 in the Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery
  • No. 2 in Dermatology
  • No. 3 in Trichology

We owe our success to our digital marketing efforts and our entire marketing team. Without their dedicated effort the 1, 2 and 3 ranks would not have been possible.

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The Web-Based Physician is Ready to See You: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Survey of Physicians Using a Mobile Medical App to Evaluate Patients With Sexually Transmitted Diseases in China

The Web-Based Physician is Ready to See You: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Survey of Physicians Using a Mobile Medical App to Evaluate Patients With Sexually Transmitted Diseases in China | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Background: Web-based medical service provision is increasingly becoming common. However, it remains unclear how physicians are responding to this trend and how Web-based and offline medical services are linked.

Objective: The objectives of this study were to examine physicians’ use of mobile medical apps for sexually transmitted disease (STD) consultations and identify the physicians who frequently use mobile medical apps to evaluate patients with STD.

Methods: In August 2017, we conducted a nationwide cross-sectional survey among physicians registered on a mobile medical app in China. We collected data on physicians’ demographic information, institutional information, and Web-based medical practices. We compared physicians who used mobile medical apps to evaluate patients with STD frequently (at least once a week) with infrequent users. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to identify physicians who frequently evaluated patients with STD on mobile medical apps.

Results: A total of 501 physicians participated in the survey. Among them, three-quarters were men and the average age was 37.6 (SD 8.2) years. Nearly all physicians (492/501, 98.2%) recommended their last Web-based patient with STD to subsequently see a physician in the clinic. More than half (275/501, 54.9%) of physicians recommended STD testing to Web-based patients, and 43.9% (220/501) provided treatment advice to patients with STD. Of all physicians, 21.6% (108/501) used mobile medical apps to evaluate patients with STD through Web more than once a week. Overall, 85.2% (427/501) physicians conducted follow-up consultation for patients with STD using mobile medical apps. Physicians working at institutions with STD prevention materials were associated with frequent evaluation of patients with STD on mobile medical apps (adjusted odds ratio=2.10, 95% CI 1.18-3.74).

Conclusions: Physicians use mobile medical apps to provide a range of services, including Web-based pre- and posttreatment consultations and linkage to offline clinical services. The high rates of referral to clinics suggest that mobile medical apps are used to promote clinic-seeking, and not replace it. Physicians’ use of mobile medical apps could benefit sexual minorities and others who avoid formal clinic-based services.

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The importance of managing your practice's online reputation

The importance of managing your practice's online reputation | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

When was the last time you reviewed online ratings and social media sites to find out what people are saying about your practice? 

A recent MGMA Stat poll asked, “Does your practice manage its online reputation (e.g., review sites, social media)?” The majority (67%) of respondents indicated that their practice does, one-quarter said their practice does not, and the remaining 7% were unsure. 

In this age of online information, transparency and an ever-increasing trend of consumerism in healthcare, patients make choices based on information, and the easiest information for them to find is just a Google search away. Managing your practice’s online reputation is a critical component of your business plan.

The statistics bear this out:

  • A recent survey conducted by Binary Fountain, a company providing healthcare-focused online platforms for healthcare facilities, indicated that:
    • 75% of healthcare consumers say online ratings and reviews influence their decision when selecting a physician or provider.
  • A 2016 survey by Software Advice found:
    • 82% of patients surveyed used reviews to evaluate physicians
    • 77% of consumers search for a provider online before making an appointment
    • 48% of respondents would go out of network for a doctor with favorable reviews
  • BrightLocal 2017 US-based consumer review survey found:
    • 85% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation
    • 47% would consider going out of network for a doctor with more favorable reviews

Managing your online reputation is an ongoing process. Here are some tips for crafting an online reputation management plan:

  1. Google your practice’s name. Then, try different variations of the name and review and document what you find. On what sites does your practice appear and what information do you see? Is it accurate?
  2. Google your physicians and other providers. Follow the same process outlined above.
  3. Monitor, track and document how your practice ranks on various sites over time. Consider conducting these audits on a quarterly basis.
  4. Search for “doctors near me” in your specialty and see where your practice and providers rank. Track this over time. 
  5. Note “bad” reviews and comments. Do not remove them. Respond in a professional, non-defensive way. Thank the reviewer, offer to speak to him or her personally to gain additional insight and assist in resolving issues.
  6. Use “bad” reviews as a learning opportunity. Step back, think about the underlying intent of the bad review and learn from it. What can you teach the staff to prevent this from happening again?
  7. If your practice is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms, ensure your social media content is updated on a regular basis. Produce content that is relevant, carefully curated and helpful to your patients.

Managing your online presence is an important part of your practice development efforts. After all, you want your online reputation to be as stellar as your practice’s clinical care and customer service. To do so, incorporate the tips mentioned above in your planning, and allocate the necessary resources, whether it’s time, personnel or money.

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Are You Using Social Media To Market Your Dental Practice?

Are You Using Social Media To Market Your Dental Practice? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Social media marketing is a powerful tool to attract patients to your practice. However, it’s not always easy to know how to go about using it. What information should you post? Where should you post it? Should you use hashtags? We’ll help you navigate the social media landscape with the tips below.

Facebook

This is the most popular social media site. Facebook marketing is essential today if you want to market your dental practice. What should you post? Essentially, anything that is helpful or interesting to your patients or leads.

1. Set up a Facebook profile about your business. You can include information in the About Section that tells users who you are and how long you’ve been practicing. Be sure to include your contact information and a link to your website. Also include photos of your office and staff, engaging copy, interesting dental articles.

2. If you work with vendors you’d like to promote, tag them and their products. The more information, the better. But keep it interesting and relevant to your patients and prospects. Engaging content is the key to finding new patients on Facebook.

3. Ask your satisfied patients for testimonials you can post on Facebook. Also, engage with those who like and follow you.

4. Use Facebook to promote any sales on services, events you hold or attend, and any awards or honors you or your staff have received.

5. Include a link to your Facebook Page on your website, in emails, sales letters, newsletters, and other collateral materials. Spread a “wide net” to attract as many followers to your Page as possible.

6. And remember to include a Call To Action so people know how to contact you.

Twitter

Twitter can be very useful for dentists. It provides a fast-paced, real-time engagement for patients and prospects.

7. Unlike with Facebook, your posts must be less than 280 characters. If you want to include an article, you’ll need to provide a website for readers to link to.

8. Include photos, engaging content and a call to action. Use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase to categorize your Tweets and to help them stand out. Use them to promote events or promotions. For example, if you’re holding an online event to educate children about teeth brushing, use a hashtag like #kidsbrush. Then people can follow your hashtag wherever you place it.

Instagram

Instagram is popular because of its visually appealing presence.

9. Set up an Instagram Business Profile for your dental practice. Be sure to include information about your location and contact information. Link your profile to your website. It also provides users with a way to see how others are engaging with you.

10. You can also use hashtags and location tags to organize photos and improve search functions. This is where you want to share Interesting photos that highlight your dental practice. Include engaging captions that share where you are and how to reach you.

11. Add hashtags in the caption or comments of your post. T a photo or video with a hashtag. You can use up to 30 hashtags per caption.

Pinterest

This is another platform that attracts people for its visually appealing content.

12. The target audience for Pinterest is women, so keep this in mind when posting. Include engaging photos and appropriate hashtags just as you would in Instagram.

13. Pinterest should supplement other lead generation efforts. Use it to create boards for patients and followers based on your services. Include your accomplishments with comments, likes and “Repins.”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to attract clients (mostly business people) to your dental practice. When you provide helpful information that appeals to business people on LinkedIn, they will look to you as the expert you are. This builds interest, trust, and allows you to promote, and sell your dental services.

14. Create your own LinkedIn Group. This is a great way to attract followers who want up-to-date information about dental health. Develop a subject as a reason for your group, and position yourself as an expert in the field (perhaps a subject like dental implants).

15. Participate in other LinkedIn Groups. By doing so, you can highlight your profile and attract followers. Once you’ve positioned yourself as a dental expert, and a knowledgeable resource, you’ll have an opportunity to promote your business.

16. Promote your LinkedIn Page via other marketing vehicles. Just like you did with Facebook, including a link to your LinkedIn Page on your website, in emails, sales letters, newsletters, and other collateral materials. Spread a “wide net” to attract as many followers to your Page as possible.

17. Take advantage of LinkedIn Follow Ads. Follow Ads can be promoted to people in your area. They help you reach and attract the right followers — those who are interested in the dental services you provide, and in an area that you cover. Be sure to add a LinkedIn “Follow” button to your website.

18. Ask your employees to be LinkedIn “Ambassadors.” After all, they are some of your best advocates. Ask them to create personal LinkedIn profiles that include your business name, and a link to your website.

Contact the team at NOVA for other social media and IT tips. In the meantime, it’s essential for you to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of IT. We make it easy by posting newsworthy articles on our Blog. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:

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