Social Media and Healthcare
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Using Social Media to Meet Healthcare Business Objectives

Slides for my October 17, 2018 webinar for the Indiana Society of Physician Recruiters
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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Social Media Implementation Checklist

Social Media Implementation Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare |

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

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16 Highly Insightful B2B Healthcare Marketing Statistics

16 Highly Insightful B2B Healthcare Marketing Statistics | Social Media and Healthcare |

B2C healthcare stats are widely circulated, and most marketers can recite the broad strokes in their sleep.

Consumer healthcare stats like 73% of consumers use search engines to research treatments, or 83% of patients look at a hospital website before booking an appointment have been covered extensively by major media, and have become common knowledge amongst digital marketers.

But B2B healthcare marketing is a bit more of a black box. Actionable statistics are harder to come by, and the complexity of the buying cycle makes accurate data-collection a herculean task.

That’s why we’ve put together this list — to shed some light on some of the biggest challenges (and opportunities) B2B healthcare marketers should be aware of.

So let’s get started.

  1. 72% of potential medical buyers start with a search, and B2B buyers are anywhere from 60% to 90% down the purchase cycle when they decide to reach out to a vendor. (Source: HITMC)
This figure makes a strong case for healthcare content marketing — given the vast majority of B2B medical buyers will conduct extensive research before making a purchase. If your B2B healthcare company is not producing useful content for its buyers, you’re missing on a low-effort, high-impact opportunity to bring a consistent flow of new leads into your pipeline.


  1. Only 43% of B2B healthcare sales are made within the first six months of contact. (Source: Colony Health)
While on its face, this stat may seem discouraging to B2B healthcare marketers — there’s a silver lining. If your company is dealing with long cycles — so are most companies in your industry. This presents an enormous opportunity to go digital with your marketing efforts, leveraging a steady flow of organic leads, marketing automation to keep prospects engaged, and ABM to prioritize the highest quality, buying-ready organizations.


  1. One out of five (21%) B2B healthcare sales takes over a year to close. (Source: Colony Health)
Like the stat above — this figure may seem like a giant challenge. But a year-long sales cycle isn’t an issue if you have enough prospects in the pipeline, and are actively (and automatically) nurturing them throughout the year.


  1. 83% of health organizations are engaged in content marketing. (Source: MarketingProfs)
While this figure includes all health-care organizations, it’s still a sobering stat. If you’re not leveraging content marketing in your healthcare marketing efforts — you’re significantly behind the curve.


  1. However, only 36% say their organization’s content marketing efforts are very effective. (Source: MarketingProfs)
This presents an excellent opportunity for your organization to stand apart from the masses. While most healthcare companies are already using content marketing — only a small portion are doing it well. Investing in a solid SEO strategy and great content can make you more visible on the web than your biggest competitors.


  1. 52% of hospitals use at least three connected health technologies. (Source: HIMSS)
Hospitals are investing heavily in simplifying their systems and improving their technology. This presents an excellent opportunity for marketers of medical technology.


  1. 47% of healthcare organizations expect to expand their use of connected health technologies over the next few years. (Source: HIMSS)
Marketing goes beyond acquiring leads for existing products — and the changing medical landscape should be a sober reminder of that. The demands of hospitals are changing, and marketers need to work closely with their product teams to identify new opportunities.


  1. Optimizing your website for mobile is now a vital feature and not something that is just nice to have. 80% of the top Alexa websites are mobile adaptive. (Source: Mobiforge)
As more people turn to their phones and tablets to browse the web, websites that are optimized to serve content to these devices (responsiveness, load times, UX, etc.) will reap all the benefits. B2B medical websites are no exception.


  1. The average cost of a healthcare B2B sales lead is higher than any other industry at $60. (Source: Marketing Insider Group)
While the increased prevalence of digital marketing and marketing automation has significantly decreased the cost of lead generation across all industries — healthcare is lagging. This is a boon for SEO strategies, which can generate leads at 1/3rd of the price of traditional channels.


  1. Just 58% of healthcare marketers use blogs in their digital market strategy compared to 74% of all marketers. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Despite being one of the highest ROI digital marketing tactics, medical marketers are failing to take advantage of blogging. Those who do can quickly become thought-leaders on the web while driving their cost-per-lead down significantly.


  1. Only 26% of all hospitals in the U.S. have active social media profiles. (Source: DC Interactive Group)
It appears that most hospitals in the U.S. don’t see a value of maintaining a social media presence — which is a huge miss.


  1. Two out of three doctors are using social media (like LinkedIn) for professional purposes. (Source: EMR Thoughts)
On the other hand, hospital staff are taking to social media in droves. This presents an untapped channel for most medical marketers — with tactics like influencer marketing and LinkedIn ABM just waiting to be leveraged.


  1. The Mayo Clinic added 76,000 podcast listeners after it began using social media. (Source: Infographics Archive)

(Source: Google Think Insights)


  1. Video is a vital tool for healthcare buyers. 68% use videos to compare products, 63%use them just to see how a product performs, and 63% of those viewers will contact a vendor directly after viewing a product video. (Source: Google Think Insights)
Demonstrations and video overviews are especially important for medical device manufacturers. Marketers that don’t leverage the power of video will lose out to more digitally savvy companies — seeing as video consumption is to increase exponentially over the next decade.


  1. 81% of hospital administrators will directly contact a healthcare vendor as a result of their search. (Source: Google Think Insights)
In other words, if your healthcare company doesn’t appear for key search terms on Google, someone else is lapping up all of your potential digital leads.


  1. Healthcare buyers are using their mobile devices to research products and vendors. 38% read product reviews on their phones, 34% will request more product information from their phones, and 30% use their phones to read peer reviews and testimonials. (Source: Google Think Insights)
Although mobile device usage for product research is lower amongst healthcare professionals than other B2B industries — this number is only going to grow. It may not seem incredibly worthwhile to pursue mobile optimization for healthcare companies today, but this is changing quickly.


Putting All of These Healthcare Marketing Stats Together

There are a few key takeaways for medical marketers in this piece.

  • The medical B2B landscape is changing rapidly
  • Long sales-cycles are still a fundamental problem for most medical marketers
  • Leads generation is still too expensive.

But the biggest takeaway and one that medical marketers really need to absorb is this:

B2B healthcare marketers are significantly behind the curve on modern tactics like SEO, content marketing, social media, and marketing automation.

The biggest problems that medical B2B companies face in their marketing efforts can be handily addressed by employing modern digital strategies — and those who don’t adapt will be left behind.

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Using PPC Ads to Get More Patients

Using PPC Ads to Get More Patients | Social Media and Healthcare |

January is a rough month for many practices. As the year rolled to a close, many patients flocked to see their doctor before their deductible reset. This leaves January a little slower than many would prefer. But never fear...since you may have a little extra time on your hands, now is a great time to take stock of your current marketing plan and make changes accordingly. One of the easiest ways to reach potential patients is through the use of pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These are those ads you might see on Google or Facebook when you do a search. Pay-Per-Click advertising can be a great online marketing tool. In one recent survey, companies ranked paid search as the third most likely marketing effort to have a positive ROI...this is 12 percent ahead of social media. 

So how can your healthcare practice make the most of PPC ads? The answer to that question will vary depending on each practice. But here are six tips that all practices can use to make the most of their PPC ads.

1. Do Local Area Keyword Research Before You Place Your Ad

Google is the major player in the PPC ad market. They even offer a free Keyword Planning Tool that can show you how many times a specific keyword or set of words is being searched (ie. 100 hits/month). It will also slow you an estimated cost per click (how much you will pay will someone clicks on your ad and goes to your site) and how much competition there is for that keyword. 


2. Have A Dedicated Landing Page for Each Ad You run


One rookie mistake businesses often make with PPC ads is simply routing the click to their homepage. It is much better to send the ad click to a specific landing page associated with the service or promotion you are advertising. There are several reasons for this:

  • Search engines like it—The more specific your landing page to the ad, the better your ad ranking, which will help you pay less for each click!
  • Smaller chance customers will be overwhelmed—If you route potential customers to one specific page that is related to the ad, there is a much lower chance they will feel overwhelmed with information and leave your site before finding what they want.
  • Higher return on investment—Customers click on your ad because they are interested in what you are offering. By routing to a specific landing page that places the deal or product front-and-center, there is a much higher chance customers will follow through and make a buying decision.

3. Be Specific With The Location Targeting 


You don’t want to waste your practice’s marketing dollars on people who would never visit your practice. You have to stay local, ideally within 20-30 miles of your practice location. That’s where search engine location targeting comes in. On both Bing and Google, you can set your ad campaign to only show your ad to people who are within a certain distance of your business location.  Make sure to use this feature! Unless your practice is highly specialized, your marketing dollars will be much better spent on local searchers.


4. Two Are Better Than One: Create Multiple Ads

Creating multiple ads will also boost your results. If you create multiple ads within a single campaign, Google will automatically rotate them for you and then give you info regarding which has the most success. Sometimes, a certain phrase, image, or product can make a huge difference and cause one ad to significantly outperform another. By having multiple ads and tweaking them as you go, you can get a much more accurate idea of what works and what does not. More on this below.


5. Make Use of PPC Ad Extensions

Pay-per-click ads have certain things that can be added onto them, known as extensions. Basically, these allow you to include extra info in your PPC ads, like address, phone number, extra links to specific areas ofyour site, ratings and reviews, or additional buttons such as “Get directions.” Extensions can really make your ad stand out from the pack, so use them whenever you can. To learn more about ad extensions and other tips to increase your local PPC ad effectiveness, check out this guide on how to advertise on Google.

6. Evaluate and Optimize Your Ads Once They Have Run For a Week

Once you get your campaign up-and-running, your job is not yet done. To get the most out of your ads and campaign, you need to re-evaluate how it is doing every 1-2 weeks. There are several things to do:

  • Add negative keywords - Once your campaign has run for a week or two, you will be able to see which keywords and phrases people are searching that trigger your ads. If you notice there are certain keywords or phrases that don’t relate to your business/ads, you can add them as negative keywords, which means your ad will stop appearing for those search terms, focusing your target and ad effectiveness even more. 
  • Keep tweaking your ads - Once you have a week or two of results, keep the ad that is doing the best and delete the others. Then, create several new ads and re-check every couple weeks. This ensures your ad stays fresh and you can keep taking the elements of what is working in each ad and mixing and matching until you get the best combo.

Bringing It All Together

The most important thing for your private practice, is to use all the search tools you can to dial-in your PPC ads to reach your local area. You want to ensure that your PPC marketing dollars are being spent effectively. Google, Bing, and other search engines give you the tools you need to do just that. Follow the steps above and you will be well on your way to making the most of PPC ads for your private practice.

For more info on marketing your practice, check out "The Only Guide You'll Ever Need to Get More Patients."

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Should residency program directors look at applicants’ social media activity?

Should residency program directors look at applicants’ social media activity? | Social Media and Healthcare |

By now, I’m most of you probably have heard about the Cleveland Clinic first-year resident who was fired last September when it became known that in 2012 she had tweeted she would “purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds…”

The website Canary Mission documented numerous tweets expressing similar thoughts. She has apologized but will likely have great difficulty finding another job as a physician.

This incident raises the question should residency program directors investigate prospective trainees’ social media activity before hiring them. I took an informal poll on Twitter and received 4512 responses in 24 hours. Here are the results:


Numerous replies, both against and for, were also received.

Some were worried that screening for social media activity would take too much time due to the large volume of applicants and the amount of material already requiring review. That objection could be countered by only examining the social media activity of candidates selected for ranking in the match.

Others were concerned about potential bias involving applicants’ political opinions, religious affiliations, or other activities. I believe most program directors and physicians in general are fair and would only be concerned with egregious cases.

A handful of people felt using the example of the resident from the Cleveland Clinic as a basis to review every applicants’ social media is wrong because she wrote the tweet about giving Jewish patients the wrong medication in 2012 when she was younger. But she would have been at least 20 years old then. Furthermore, Canary Mission listed more than 110 anti-Semitic tweets some of which were posted as recently as 2017 when she was still in medical school.

The situation highlighted the importance of educating medical students and residents about the use of social media. As one responder noted, medical students should assume program directors are googling them. Many employers are doing the same.

Here’s an illustration. My son was looking to hire someone to teach swimming to children. A young woman interviewed well. However when he googled her, the first post he found was one in which she said she hated kids. She did not get the job.

A few thought looking at applicants’ social media activity was reminiscent of the novel 1984. I pointed out that what is going on today seems different because the information has already been made public by the individual. There should be no expectation of privacy.

Despite disclaimers by those tweeting that their views do not represent the views of their institution, the public doesn’t necessarily accept that premise. What a trainee says on social media can reflect negatively on the program and the hospital.

To paraphrase a tweet by @ThePhoenixMD1, I’ll bet the Cleveland Clinic program director wishes they had looked a little harder at their applicants’ social media footprints before submitting the rank list.

Forget about the Twitter poll’s almost even split of votes. The reality is the posts are there for all to see.

Think before you post.


Skeptical Scalpel is a retired surgeon and was a surgical department chairman and residency program director for many years. He is board-certified in general surgery and a surgical sub-specialty and has re-certified in both several times. For the last 8 years, he has been blogging at SkepticalScalpel.blogspot.comand tweeting as @SkepticScalpel. His blog has had more than 3,000,000 page views, and he has over 18,000 followers on Twitter.

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Gastroenterology Marketing: How Does It Help to Grow Your Practice

Gastroenterology Marketing: How Does It Help to Grow Your Practice | Social Media and Healthcare |

Gastroenterology marketing is an online marketing method for GI (gastrointestinal) doctors and practices to find, attract, engage, and convert prospective GI patients via digital channels.These channels include search engines, social media, review sites, emails, etc.

Today, when most GI patients are taking to the internet to research their health conditions, assessing available treatment options, and finding and receiving care, gastroenterology providers like you cannot miss on leveraging these online channels for patient acquisition opportunities. You’ll need to create a more reputable and authoritative presence across all these online channels so that prospective GI patients searching online don’t have to think twice before choosing you as their provider.

Why Gastroenterologists Need to Market Their Practice Online

Gastroenterology providers need online marketing like never before mainly due to the following two reasons:

  • Constant decline in the reimbursements to GI providers leading to the increased need of acquiring more new patients for filling the revenue gap. There has been a general decline in the reimbursement for gastrointestinal (GI) care services in the light of ever-changing health policies, reforms, and regulations. Revenue cuts aren’t happening only on professional fronts, as in the cases of RVU-based payments, but also on the outside revenue fronts, such as income from outsourced pathology labs. In that scenario, GI providers are looking for ways to improve their patient acquisition to maximize revenue sources for their survival. As a result, the competition for acquiring increased market share has also increased.

  • The growing percentage of tech-savvy patients who rely heavily on online platforms like search engines, review sites, social media, etc., for gathering information and finding a provider. According to CGH (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology) Journal, almost 50% of Americans seek health information online before seeing a physician. 7 out of 10 of these people are also using some form of social media for accessing health information and finding a care provider.

Other studies suggest that a significant percentage of the patient population (about 82%) use online reviews to evaluate a doctor before finally selecting them as their provider.

All of that points towards the need for a robust online marketing strategy for gastroenterologists. Let’s discuss the different online marketing tools and tactics that can increase patient acquisition opportunities for you.

Different Gastroenterology Online Marketing Techniques and What They Do

The different gastroenterology marketing techniques and their uses are:

    • Gastroenterology SEO:

      When people don’t have a referral, they search for a gastroenterologist online. This trend has been on the rise in recent times. Google registers keywords like “gastroenterologists near me,” “GI doctors near me,” “stomach doctors,” “pediatric gastroenterologist near me,” and “best gastroenterologists near me” in the thousands every month. See the screenshot below.Source: Wordtracker

      Search engine optimization (SEO) is the organic, non-paid method for inviting more local search traffic to your website. The gastroenterology SEO process starts with identifying all the locally-themed, highly-lucrative keywords that prospective patients use during their searches, and optimizing your website for them. A lot of consistent marketing efforts and activities go into optimizing your site for these keywords; namely, keyword planning, creating thoughtfully-written content, link building, networking with market influencers, etc.

      All these efforts ensure that whenever a prospective patient from your locality will search for a gastroenterology provider with related keywords, your website will rank on top of the organic search results. Higher website traffic means increased phone calls and more online appointments.

    • Online Advertising for Gastroenterologists

      While getting ranked for important keywords on Google or getting tons of likes, comments, and/or shares on each post on Facebook is essential, it’s not always guaranteed that these organic methods will deliver the expected results, especially in cases of high-competition. In that case, online advertising channels like PPC (paid online ads), remarketing (which is a component of PPC), and Facebook Ads are the ways to target the right prospects at the right time.

      GI doctors and surgeons take advantage of these online advertising techniques to instantly reach out to the right prospective patients by bypassing the organic ranking competition. Let’s learn more about the different gastroenterology online advertising methods.

    • Gastroenterology PPC:

      If there’s a lot of competition for a given keyword, it may take some time before your website gets ranked through your SEO efforts. With Gastroenterology PPC, you can bid on relevant keywords to reach the very top of search engine result pages (SERPs)—even above Google’s local organic results (see the screenshot below). The best part about PPC is that you can choose to pay only when a prospective patient clicks on your ads. Google has strict policies when it comes to advertising healthcare services on their platform. Be mindful of language restrictions in your ads. Words like “drugs” and “prescriptions” in your ads will get disapproved.

      PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is Google’s online advertising channel that lets you run both search ads and display ads. You can opt to get charged only when a user clicks on those ads (that’s why it’s called pay-per-click). PPC advertisements allow you to be highly-specific about targeting the right audience. You can choose the desired geographic location, preferred patient demographics, and the time of the day for targeting. Your ad campaigns are run according to a daily budget that helps it to be cost-effective, and result-oriented.


    • Facebook Ads manager:
      Like Google, Facebook also lets you show your ads to your target audience through its Ads Manager platform. The targeting options in Facebook are incredibly deep. It allows you to limit your patient audience by age group, gender, location, income level, or even interests and habits on both Facebook and Instagram.


    • Online Reputation Management for Gastroenterologists:

      Gastroenterology is a highly-competitive segment. This means a lot of GI care providers are battling to gain increased market share. In that scenario, providers who don’t have a reputable presence will lose the battle to their competitors in terms of patient volume. In today’s online world, a reputable presence means lots of 5-star ratings and positive patient reviews across all popular review platforms; including Google, Yelp, Facebook, HealthGrades, Vitals, RateMDs, etc. Most prospective patients (82% of them, according to Software Advice) use these review platforms to evaluate healthcare providers they’re considering.

      Online reviews are the most significant factor for your online reputation and those GI providers who have the most number of positive reviews across all the review platforms will be chosen by prospective patients. So how do you get those positive patient reviews and build a stellar online reputation from them? The answer is gastroenterology online reputation management (ORM).

      Screenshot of the header of the testimonials page of one of our gastroenterology clients. This testimonial page automatically collects positive reviews from all review sites helping the page to rank in Google searcheṣ. All reviews are RepuGen verified which means they are used with the permission of patients.

      As part of the ORM strategy, you are provided with an online reputation management tool that helps you:


      • Solicit genuine positive reviews from patients that adds to your reputation and improves your search rankings
      • Negative rating notifications that help you initiate service recovery ASAP
      • Monitor your reputation on the review sites that matter
      • Get insights on patient sentiment trends to discover areas of improvement for your practice and fix them


  • GI Care Social Network and Community Building

    Today, at least 70% of GI patients use some form of social media, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn for healthcare-related information and searches. They use these platforms to search for information about diseases and treatments, identify providers, and express or rate their satisfaction with providers, clinics or health systems. As a gastroenterology expert, it’s your chance to build an authoritative presence on these platforms and drive higher brand exposure.

    A misconception that needs to be cleared here is that social media marketing (SMM) is not strictly about driving more patients to your door. Patients who immediately need a gastro-physician or surgeon go directly to Google, and not on social media.

    SMM is more about network and community building and management with constant patient engagement efforts, such as sharing clinic-related news, replying to common questions from the online community, etc. It’s basically about reaching out to people, building your brand, and showcasing your office culture.

    CGH (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology) Journal also discusses the value of social media marketing for GI providers. According to them, if used correctly, “social media can magnify your professional image, amplify your voice, and extend your reach and influence much faster than other methods.”

So these are the various online marketing techniques that can help your gastroenterology practice acquire more new patients consistently.

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How to get back those lost patients in 2019

How to get back those lost patients in 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

Ring in the changes this New Year with some dental marketing moves that will boost profits. Shaz Memon looks ahead…

Absent friends is a big theme of the New Year celebrations – I’m pretty sure we all raised a glass to those we have loved and lost or were apart from as the clock struck midnight to mark the start of 2019.

But as practice principals kick-start the year with one eye on the books, missing persons from the dental chair can be problematic – and January is notoriously a long month. With bank balances emptied and patient enthusiasm wilting, what can teams do to ignite those appointment books?

Arguably, the Scottish government’s controversial proposal to extend the dental recall interval for so-called ‘low-risk’ patients to intervals of 24 months doesn’t do dental practices any favours.

Aside from the concerns regarding the need for regular screenings and tackling oral diseases early and successfully, patients can see this as a green light to side step appointments – whatever the state of their oral health and in whatever country they reside.

Your dental marketing therefore sometimes has to partake in a little fire fighting to nip in the bud those common myths and misconceptions that arise for generic media coverage.

A year is a long time in dentistry let alone politics (as 2018 proved) so there needs to be engagement throughout the 12 months in order to hammer home these key oral health messages among existing patients and to reel in new ones.

Target the missing

So, target former patients you haven’t heard from in a while. Why are they staying away? Do they understand their own individual needs and oral health challenges? Remember, their absence is not only hitting your bottom line but also impacting on their overall health. In which case, use this as a reason to make contact.

Get active on social media to job memories as to why a dental health check is so important. Post-Christmas, many of us are seeking a healthier lifestyle following the indulgences of the season. Flag up the New Year resolutions idea and turn the long dark month of January to your business advantage.

Remind them of the importance of regular attendance and set up an email marketing campaign to those former patients you haven’t seen in a while.

Blog… a lot

Include a link to the relevant landing pages on your practice website to encourage further interested in the treatments you offer beyond the annual oral health examination.

Recycle blogs with a rewrite and update information if you haven’t the time to write fresh copy – or consider investing in a copywriter to put together a timetabled package of regular dental blogs that are unique to your practice. Ensure your website is as easy to read on a mobile as it is on a desktop – these days, most consumers begin their purchasing journey on their smartphone.

If you haven’t done so already, consider setting up an Instagram account. It is now widely considered one of the key tools used by businesses to market their products and services – and dentistry is no exception.

Dentistry is obviously a very visual business, which means the photo-sharing platform is perfectly placed to showcase your skills, those happy patients and ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of successful smile makeovers.

Get technical

Technology is revolutionising the profession with innovations and tools to ensure treatments are delivered faster, are safer with more predictable and pleasing results.

Shout about the equipment you’ve recently invested in to ensure your patients’ receive cutting-edge care. If you’ve recently refurbished the practice, update your website with images and share on social media. If a patient hasn’t been to see you in a while, they wont know about the changes you’ve made unless you tell them.

Be sure to raise awareness of everything your practice offers, including any methods you may use to reduce dental anxiety. Statistics from the Oral Health Foundation suggest almost half of UK adults fear the dentist, with 12% of these suffering from an extreme dental anxiety or phobia.

Tell a story

Essentially, dental marketing is simply a form of story telling so do encourage patients to share their experiences. Personalise treatments with patient videos. Rich content is key for any business looking to interact with its target audience, with evidence suggesting that by 2020 videos will account for 82% of global consumer traffic.


Dental marketing is driven by good content but you also need to analyse your activity. Look back at 2018 and consider the posts that worked as well as those that didn’t. Paying to boost the content on Facebook that the statistics suggest excites your audience, for example, is better than second guessing what is of interest. You may be surprised by what posts get them to engage. Like dentistry, reflecting on past performances hones skills and will lead to better results in the long term.

Request reviews

Reviews, referrals and testimonials are powerful marketing tools. Invite feedback from your happy patients to boost the number of positive online comments about your business. Statistics suggest 97% of consumers are likely to read online reviews before settling on a local business.

So, regularly monitor your rating on Google. With patients chiefly concerned with quality of care, affordability and convenience, make sure you deliver on these areas. If your practice is particularly strong in any sector, shout about it on social media. Be sure to handle any disgruntled patients sensitively and react to their online posts immediately and professionally with a positive approach. Good complaints handling has been known to change around a negative viewpoint.

Be sure that the whole team understands your dental marketing strategy, is encouraged to share the ‘good news’ and encourage them to invite patient feedback. Effective team training is the backbone of any successful practice and marketing is no exception.

Tailor your dental marketing plan to meet the needs of your patients – lapsed or otherwise – and ensure there is consistency in your key messages. Educate, entertain and engage with long-forgotten patients using unique and valuable content on your website, via social media posts and in email marketing campaigns. Keep it coming – and so will they!

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5 Digital Trends You Need To Know To Stay Ahead Of The Medical Marketing Curve In 2019 [Infographic] –

5 Digital Trends You Need To Know To Stay Ahead Of The Medical Marketing Curve In 2019 [Infographic] – | Social Media and Healthcare |

To succeed on social media, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve and understand the latest social media trends.

I’ve just published my annual social media marketing predictions for 2019. In it I’ve identified 14 major trends that should claim marketers’ focus in the new year.

It’s a lengthy post but if you’re serious about marketing your medical practice online in 2019, I highly recommend you take some time to read it over the coming days.

Below I’ve highlighted five of these trends which I think will have particular relevance to medical marketing.

Stella Chrysaki's curator insight, January 17, 11:49 AM
Top 5 digital trends you need to know about #marketing #digital #influencemarketing #contentisking
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What Medical Device Companies Need to Know About Incomplete Social Media Marketing Guidelines

What Medical Device Companies Need to Know About Incomplete Social Media Marketing Guidelines | Social Media and Healthcare |

When social media was just getting started a little over a decade ago, it seemed prudent for the FDA to withhold any real decision making on marketing and communication guidelines across those channels until more time had passed. Along the way, we’ve watched social media expand, multiply and transmute in such a way that leaves little doubt it will perpetually be in a state of flux.

But one aspect that’s remained a constant since almost the beginning is social media’s undeniable staying power. As soon as that became apparent, the FDA would have been wise to begin drafting some sort of protocol and updating it accordingly.

Instead, for many years they occasionally iterated their intentions to provide guidance, while still enforcing violations against both postmarketing submission and risk disclosure requirements on social media platforms as if those platforms were any other type of medium.

The problem: social media is unlike any other type of marketing or communication channel to come before it, with interactions taking place in real time, consumers asking for guidance (and expecting feedback) in a public space and third-party users contributing their own sets of data without worrying about validity or permission.

So in 2012, Congress enacted a provision designed to force the FDA into finally establishing its internet/social media promotion policies by July 9, 2014. The FDA responded slowly, and with some points to be desired, when on January 13, 2014 they released a guidance document that would provide some insight into their views on medical device marketing on social media.

Although it was nowhere near comprehensive, it was much better than what little had come before. And so far, it’s all we have.

What We Know Now . . .

One of the biggest problems facing medical device marketers was the FDA’s postmarketing submission requirements, which state that firms must submit copies of all labeling, advertising, mailers or any other promotional materials at the time of publication or initial distribution.

But adherence to this rule was almost impossible when applied to a real-time communications format, which the FDA acknowledged in its new draft guidance. Not only did they announce their intention to use discretion when enforcing postmarketing regulations, but they also released a list of principles which companies can use as a guide when submitting promotional items.

*1. A firm is responsible for product promotional communications on sites that are owned, controlled, created, influenced, or operated by, or on behalf of, the firm. If a firm has any amount of influence over a website, even if it’s only as nominal as editorial or review privileges, the firm is responsible for anything concerning their product that appears on that site. This even extends to comments posted by users.

  1. Under certain circumstances, a firm is responsible for promotion on third-party sites. As with #1, if a firm has even the smallest controlling interest in a site, even if they aren’t the owners or administrators, they are responsible for all product-related content. However, if the firm is merely providing promotional materials to the site, without having any influence over their placement or any other aspect of the site, they’re only responsible for the content they contribute.

Interesting side note: If a firm only provides financial support for a third-party site, but has no control or influence of any sort, the firm is not responsible for any of its content.

  1. A firm is responsible for the content generated by an employee or agent who is acting on behalf of the firm to promote the firm’s product. If anyone employed by a firm in any capacity, whether as a sales representative, blogger, customer care agent, etc., posts any product-related content on any site, whether it’s owned by the firm or a third-party, the firm is responsible for that content.

However, the firm is not responsible for product-related content that is posted on third party sites if the poster has no affiliation with the firm and was in no way prompted by the firm to post the content.

In the same draft guidance, the FDA listed the criteria governing postmarketing submissions for both restricted and unrestricted sites:

  • In the case of unrestricted (public) sites for which a firm is in any way responsible, they’re required to submit the entire site upon its initial launch, including static visual and descriptions of all interactive, real-time aspects. After that, an updated listing of all the firms unrestricted sites should be submitted every month (no visuals needed).
  • In the case of a firm’s interactive or real-time involvement with an unrestricted third-party site over which they otherwise exercise no control, the firm is required to submit the home page, interactive pages and the first communication ever made by the firm (including visuals). After that, the firm must submit an updated monthly list of all such sites (no visuals needed), but should remember to notify the FDA immediately should they discontinue their activity on the site.
  • In the case of restricted sites, or sites that are password protected and/or are not open to the public, the firm is required to make the same initial submissions as in the first two examples, after which they need only submit visuals of any product-related content, even if that content is user generated. This needs to be done on a continual basis, since monthly updates are not permitted for restricted sites.

Since 2014, the FDA has promised there will be more to come, but when that’s going to happen remains a mystery. Although many in the medical device industry were grateful for the draft guidance, just as many felt that it left countless unanswered questions and was too broad in scope. And with every passing year, the considerations keep piling up.

If you’re a medical device manufacturer/distributor who’s tired of navigating your social media marketing alone (and with a poor map), we’d love to talk to you. Solutions 8 is a different kind of marketing company – one that can (and does) successfully market just about anything, but chooses to specialize in medical device marketing.

We’ve worked hard to gain a comprehensive understanding of the unique marketing challenges faced by the medical device industry and we’d like nothing more than to give you a free consultation and explain how we can change everything for you and your company. Click here to get started.

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Social Media Marketing: Practical Tips for Measuring your ROI

Social Media Marketing: Practical Tips for Measuring your ROI | Social Media and Healthcare |

You get out of social media what you put in.

Just because there is currently a relatively low cost-of-entry compared to other outreach channels, does not mean that planning is not critical. Identify your target audience and develop an appropriate and thoughtful strategy. Always start by asking “What is the objective of this endeavor?”

Customize for each platform.

We often talk about social media as if it’s monolithic. Be cautious: each platform, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, has its own strengths and weakness. Use each platform to its best advantage. And remember, these tools are constantly changing. One needs to keep up.

Track your results.

Business is a science. Social media campaigns are like studies – you need a hypothesis with specific objectives in mind, and then a determination of whether those objectives were met. The data is rarely perfect, but this doesn’t absolve us of the need to gauge what we can re: ROI. Make adjustments to your next iteration in an effort to improve on your results. Compare one tool against the other to see what is most effective. Correlate results to dollars spent.

Unique plans are critical to success.

Every organization is different. Following some guru’s formula might not be right for you. You know your organization best. You know yourstrategic priorities. These ought to dictate your plan and how you assess your analytics. Use your sound judgement as a business person in all cases, especially when the data is imprecise.
This field is evolvoing. The data is getting better.

It may sound like an oxymoron: “Use the data. The data is imprecise.” But the truth is, analyzing data is part science, part art, especially when it comes to ROI for social media. The good news is, the analytics are improving. We enjoyed this advice given to us by Elizabeth Charles, a nationally recognized Chief Marketing Officer in the retail industry, “More social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are matching their customer data with yours, allowing you to do more robust targeting up and down the funnel. This is allowing for a much stronger ROI.”

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Digital Marketing for pharmaceutical companies

Digital Marketing for pharmaceutical companies | Social Media and Healthcare |

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st Century will be at the intersection of Biology and technology. A new era is beginning” –Steve Jobs

Like all other businesses, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is also looking keenly at digital for enhancing and marketing their products. Social media and mobile apps are set to play a bigger role in the growth of this business. This will help people to catch up with tech-savvy emerging markets peers, approximately half the pharmaceutical companies are expected to allocate more than a fifth of their marketing budget to digital marketing by 2019.

Website and applications for medical knowledge sharing such as Knowledge Genie to those having on virtual and augmented reality to engage with doctors and patients, Pharmaceutical industries are getting their marketing strategy aligned to digital prospects.

The ease of access to information available online as well as the growing interest of consumers to explore information online firs, has led to the success of taking any business online and marketing it digitally. Doctors are not far behind and have started to adopt digital technology in their medical practice as well, follow updates about the latest advances in the medical field, and even changed their patient’s treatment plans based on the information they obtain from electronic medical records or data that the patient shares online.

In a world where PHARMA REPRESENTATIVES are increasingly finding it difficult to contact doctors, Digital can be answer for companies to showcase their products to RELEVANT DOCTORS.

Web is going to be the driver for the learning and training industry as well. Doctor engagement programs need to utilize online mediums such as webinars more to reach the targeted audience cost-effectively.

Enormous amount of data can be generated through different initiatives and the same can be used efficiently FOR Retargeting the audience that has displayed interests on your webpage.

A well-designed FUNNEL MARKETING STRATEGY can help pharmaceuticals create BRAND AWARENESS for their products, create INTERESTS and they are eventually CONVERT through targeted digital marketing.

Overcoming regulatory constraints

Learning compliance from companies who have initiated the usage in this arena can help avoid pitfalls.


You can choose and spend wisely to get the maximum impact for your product very cost-effectively and choose only the channels listed below to get the maximum impact for your pharmaceutical business

AWARENESS STAGE/ PRE LAUNCH: Use of Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, targeting doctors and RELEVANT THERAPY AREAS. CONSIDERATION: Comparison with competitors. Highlighting your key aspects CONVERSION: Highlighting yours USPs and GOING ALL out with your selling strategy

Site engine optimization (SEO) will yield results in the long term for your product. When a Doctor is trying to find relevant information with respect to relevant keyword to your business, your site should among the top search results and that should be half the battle won for your social media campaigns.

A. Broad audience network

Digital influence has changed the way people deal with their healthcare concerns, a study showed that 83% of patients visit website of the hospital before booking an appointment, same study showed that 73% of patients use search engines to find treatment. Another study revealed that 41% of patients agreed that social media impacted their choice of healthcare providers. These facts clearly show the extent to which people rely on digital resources for their healthcare concerns.

To deal with the digital patient, doctors have ensured their online presence; a study demonstrated a 15.4% net increase in healthcare’s digital marketing spending between 2015 and 2016, this study also estimated that total spending of healthcare professionals on digital marketing will be more than $3.1 billion by 2020.

These facts and figures indicate that a large number of healthcare providers are connected to digital marketing channels. Pharmaceutical companies and medical device suppliers have the opportunity to target them through these digital marketing channels. In traditional marketing, representatives of pharmaceutical companies meet doctors and REMIND about their brand. However apart from increasing costs, and increasing number of Doctors giving lesser time for interaction, Pharmaceutical companies are able to target only a limited number of doctors. With the help of digital marketing, a large number of doctors can be targeted.

Unlike other businesses (where it is difficult to recognize target audience), pharmaceutical companies and health equipment suppliers clearly know their audience i.e. doctors and other healthcare professionals; there is no ambiguity involved in selection of audience whenever they think about starting a digital marketing campaign.

B. Growth opportunities

Digital marketing offers equal growth opportunities to all pharmaceutical and medical equipment businesses irrespective of their size and brand name. Moreover, digital resources don’t require high marketing budget. In highly competitive GENERIC pharmaceutical industry, a new or an existing business can grow rapidly by implementing a strong digital marketing strategy.

Case Study : Femibion Brand Awarness Campagin on Facebook

Femibion, a German pharmaceutical brand launched a Facebook ad campaign to increase its brand awareness and lead generation. This is a nutrient supplement that is recommended to women during pregnancy. Special Facebook ad creatives were designed to attract expectant mothers. This campaign consisted of several ad sets some of which concentrated on brand awareness and other aimed at lead generation. Leads were generated by offering an opportunity to get free samples of the product through sign up. This campaign generated 10,000 leads and samples were also distributed at 2X low cost


Digital influence in healthcare industry has compelled doctors to ensure their online presence and this has proved to be an opportunity for pharmaceuticals and medical devices suppliers to connect doctors on digital platforms and get more prescriptions for their products. Digital platforms are economical and time saving mediums for this type of businesses, they also help to increase potential reach and engagement of doctors. In near future, it will not be possible for pharmaceutical companies to survive in highly competitive environment without strong digital presence.

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Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2019 

Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2019  | Social Media and Healthcare |

It's a given that your patient's experience should always be top of mind, both in office and online. But do you know how much their online experience impacts your bottom line? With 77% of patientsperforming online research before booking an appointment, a patient's online experience is crucial to whether they will convert from lead into customer. If you focus on creating an exemplary online experience for potential patients, you're bound to see a high ROI.

Acquiring more leads with digital marketing

For healthcare marketers, a patient's digital experience begins with your organization's website. A whopping 83% of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking an appointment. Ensure it's easy to navigate, utilizes a strong SEO strategy (more on that later), loads quickly, and provides a wide array of patient-focused content. It's also important to give potential patients options on how they interact with your brand. Consider offering online appointment booking, a customer service chat bot, electronic patient registration, text reminders, and video appointments.

Pro Tip

Make your website mobile responsive and design with mobile in mind. More than 50% of web searches are now performed on a mobile device, and mobile searchers are more likely to convert.

A patient's research doesn't end at a healthcare provider's website—that's just the beginning. Potential patients will be reviewing social media, curated content, news articles, and reviews. To ensure you're getting in front of patients, potential and current, make sure your healthcare marketing plan encompasses a robust range of content for your website, social media, and press pitches. The more high-quality content you can put out, the more likely potential patients will find (and use) your services versus a competitor.

Content to add to your healthcare marketing plan could include:

  • Q&A pages on common health issues
  • Videos featuring healthcare professionals
  • Patient success stories
  • In-depth articles focused on chronic illnesses
  • Blog posts about healthy living and preventative care
Turning leads into long-term patients

Once a patient has set an appointment, if you're not continuing to digitize their experience, you'll likely lose them. This is especially true for millennials, who generally prefer digital interactions above phone or paper. The key is to make the patient's digital experience simple and quick, while keeping everything HIPAA compliant.

To start, implement online forms on your website to ensure patients can easily sign up for appointments, submit their medical information, communicate with their healthcare professional, and answer health-related questionnaires. It's a win-win for patients, the back office, and healthcare marketers—less paper, more efficiency, better data capture, and higher patient satisfaction. Add patient portals, email campaigns, and various communication channels to your digital marketing mix to turn one-time patients into lifetime customers.

Did you know?

78% of healthcare marketers see their digital presence as the most important piece of growth for their healthcare marketing strategy in 2019.

Reputation management is key to converting new patients.

Every day, potential patients are searching the internet for healthcare professionals, and research has found that people trust online reviews almost as much as personal references. That's why user-generated content like reviews are now heavily weighted by search engines. If reputation management is not a part of your healthcare marketing strategy, it's highly probable that you're losing out on patients. Now is the time to jump on this healthcare marketing trend, since only 8% of healthcare marketers saw online reviews as their most important marketing channel in 2019.

It can be easy to gather patient reviews to boost your search rankings and conversions. Try implementing an email campaign that follows up with patients after appointments, asking them to review you on popular sites and take a satisfaction survey. Not only will these reviews improve search rankings, but you can utilize the survey data to discover trends and implement improvements. Automating patient communication and feedback gives healthcare marketers more time to dive into data, identify problems, and develop solutions.

By creating an excellent patient experience and stewarding that patient after their first appointment, you can expect to receive more reviews. By pairing constant, clear, and simple communication with an excellent digital experience, patients are more likely to not only return, but refer you by mouth and online.

Pro tip

Use a field rating in your patient satisfaction survey to calculate satisfaction scores and highlight them in marketing materials.

Location-based SEO can make—or break—your marketing tactics.

Each year, about 93 million Americans search for a health-related topic online. As with every other healthcare marketing trend, SEO best practices continue to adapt as technology and human behavior change over time. But the most recent SEO change is actually great for healthcare marketers: search results are more localized, even when searchers do not insert a geographic or location-specific term. But you still need to implement a strong SEO strategy to ensure you're staying on top of search results.

Google's algorithm ranks pages according to proximity to searcher, relevance to search terms (i.e., dermatologist, heart specialist), frequency/amount of reviews, and uniformity of address across websites. When you focus on each of those areas, you're more likely to land in the local search pack. That's the golden ticket to getting more patients—it's the box at the top of a SERP and what will be produced from a voice search. Here's how to ace each area to ensure your healthcare organization is at the top of SERPs.


It's wise to do an audit of your location listings every six months to ensure accuracy. Sites to review include your website, social media, Google My Business Pages, and review sites like Healthgrades and RateMDs. When auditing, it's a good idea to add a photo or two or refresh the content somehow to show Google it's an active page. Keeping address details and pages up to date is incredibly important for minute clinics and urgent care sites because people are more likely to search for those using their phone, both through text and voice search.


If your healthcare marketing strategy doesn't include a plan for gathering patient reviews, develop one ASAP. The plan needs to be ongoing because Google places more weight on healthcare providers who have a constant stream of positive reviews. Keep in mind that Google automatically shows results with at least a 4.0+ star rating within the local search pack at the top of a SERP.

Search Terms

Google may be including geographic location in search automatically, but that doesn't mean you can skimp on your location-focused keywords. Utilize an array of long-term keywords that include location name, plus identifiers like city and state. Don't forget to also include keywords connected to specialty or treatment type. Spoiler alert: voice search is also going to impact your SEO strategy, but more on that later!

Pro tip

Redirect patients to your Google My Business Page after they submit positive feedback through your patient satisfaction survey.

The future of search is voice.

As alluded to above, voice search is here—and it's impacting healthcare marketing in a big way. More than 43 million people in the U.S. own a smart speaker, and Alpine estimates that one billion voice searches happen per month. So how can your healthcare marketing strategy prepare for the ever-growing field of voice search?

Start off by adding natural language into your SEO strategy. Consider the questions patients might be asking Alexa, Siri, or Cortana, and how they ask them. Voice searches are typically longer than text searches and utilize the words why, how, where, and when more often. Create content that answers common health questions (like "How do you know you have the flu?") to increase your organic search results. As always, creating content that ranks in voice search is no different than text search—it needs to be high quality, easy to read, concise, and easy to digest.

Healthcare Marketing in 2020

Be thinking about how to utilize voice in other ways, such as using chat bots, filling out patient forms, navigating patient portals, or setting appointments.

Video is now the preferred content type.

of people watch more than one hour of video a day

Video has infiltrated content marketing across all industries, and it's quickly becoming the medium people prefer to consume content through. In fact, Hubspot reports that 45% of people watch more than one hour of video every day. That's a big deal! If your hospital or practice hasn't invested heavily in video marketing yet, now is the time, especially for social media marketing. An astounding 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video, which means healthcare organizations can convert more patients by investing in video.

But what types of videos should your practice or hospital create? Here are just a few ways to utilize video in your healthcare marketing spread:

  • Doctor intros
  • Patient stories and testimonials
  • Event or location promotion
  • Health education
  • Quick health-focused tips and tricks
  • Live video appointments

In 2019, video will continue to grow in the realms of live video and video communication. Try scheduling a few live Q&A sessions per month with healthcare specialists on social media. These videos will increase social media engagement, give patients the opportunity to get important health questions answered, and strengthen patient-doctor connections. Add your videos to YouTube and create a Q&A blog post to get even more out of your content.

Pro tip

Embed videos on your website and add a lead gen form underneath to capture more leads from video content.

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Social Media Tied to Depression in Teens, Especially Girls

Social Media Tied to Depression in Teens, Especially Girls | Social Media and Healthcare |

Using social media for five hours or more per day is tied to a big jump in risk for depression among 14-year-olds, and especially for girls, a new British study shows.


As compared to girls who spent just one to three hours daily on social media, girls who spent five or more hours on Snapchat, Instagram and the like had 50 percent higher odds for depressive symptoms, says a team from University College London.

The number was somewhat less for boys -- a 35 percent hike in risk for boys who used social media five-plus hours per day.

"We were quite surprised when we saw the figures and we saw those raw percentages: the fact that the magnitude of association was so much larger for girls than for boys," study author Yvonne Kelly, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the university, told CNN.

The researchers stressed that the study couldn't prove that excessive social media use caused depressive symptoms, only that there was an association. Depressive symptoms included feelings of loneliness, unhappiness or restlessness.

The researchers looked at data from a national study that included nearly 11,000 British 14-year-olds born between 2000 and 2002.

The data showed that girls were typically on social media more than boys: about 43 percent of girls used social media three or more hours per day, compared to about 22 percent of boys.

"For both girls and boys, the more social media they use, the more likely they are to have mental health problems, but not that many studies have been able to look for the explanations why," Kelly told CNN.

"We looked at four potential explanations simultaneously, and this is the first paper to do that. We looked at sleeping habits; experiences online, so cyberbullying; how they thought about their bodies, or their body image, and whether they were happy with how they looked; and their self-esteem," she explained.

"All of those four things -- the sleep, the cyberharassment, the body image or happiness with appearance, and the self-esteem -- they are all linked with the risk of having depression," Kelly said.

She noted that girls tend to gravitate towards Instagram and Snapchat. Those platforms are "more based around physical appearance, taking photographs and commenting on those photographs," she said, so the stronger link between social media and depression in girls may have "to do with the nature of use."

The findings were published Jan. 3 in EClinicalMedicine.

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Improving the reporting of social media recruitment for clinical trials

Improving the reporting of social media recruitment for clinical trials | Social Media and Healthcare |

The popularity of social media has created a new opportunity for the research community to recruit study participants.


Recent data indicate that nearly 70% of U.S. adults use some social media1. Coinciding with the surge of social media adoption, study teams increasingly report the use of social media to enhance recruitment in clinical research with promising but mixed results2,3. Recruitment of study participants is a significant problem, particularly in clinical trials. It remains a critical roadblock to successful clinical and translational research4,5.

In this issue of Dermatology Times, Katz and colleagues describe the results of a targeted advertising strategy on social media and search engines for 150 days. The goal was to recruit patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase three trial and to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tralokinumab monotherapy.

While the authors cogently describe the need for new solutions to enhance clinical trial recruitment and the potential of social media, they overlooked the importance of methodology and data transparency. For example, to assess the recruitment success, it is essential to provide the exact measurements (rather than estimates “over 15,000 people being directed to the customized landing page through the advertisement”) and to include proportions such as enrollment rate1* or the message click rate2* to look at potential selection bias and generalizability issues. Equally important is to discern recruitment results by digital platform (they also mention search engine marketing via Google) and to include any data the authors used for comparisons.

Katz and colleagues conclude that the social media approach resulted in “significant improvement compared to similar previous trial engagements.” Another critical aspect is the transparency about the number of social media advertisements (ads) that were posted to promote the trial. Conclusions about the effectiveness of a social media recruitment strategy need to be examined in light of the invested ads budget.

Katz et al. provide valuable data demonstrating that social media can contribute to achieving the study accrual target, but any conclusions about the effectiveness drawn upon this study are inconclusive.

However, the lack of accurate, complete, and consistent reporting of social mediabased recruitment methods and results is not unique to this article. Due to the lack of standards, evidence supporting the efficacy of social media-enabled recruitment is limited, and questions remain with respect to optimal methodologies, benchmarks, metrics, and baseline data, and factors that influence the recruitment success, e.g., study target population, recruitment methods, type of disease or condition a study is recruiting for, characteristics of the recruitment messaging. For example, Katz and colleagues speculate that the pre-qualification via tele-dermatology impacted their recruitment results.

Social media-enabled recruitment should be reported transparently so that readers can follow what was planned, what was done, what was achieved, and what conclusions were drawn. Researchers need to develop and adhere to consistent and transparent methodology and reporting standards if we want to evaluate the effectiveness of social media-based study recruitment and patient engagement reliably and move toward evidence-based strategies. ƒ

1. Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States. (2018) Available at:

2. Topolovec-Vranic, J. & Natarajan, K., 2016. The Use of Social Media in Recruitment for Medical Research Studies: A Scoping Review. - PubMed - NCBI. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(11), p.e286. Available at:

3. Whitaker C, Stevelink S, Fear N. The Use of Facebook in Recruiting Participants for Health Research Purposes: A Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res 2017;19(8):e290. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.7071 PMID: 28851679 PMCID: 5594255.

4. Bower, P. et al., 2014. Interventions to improve recruitment and retention in clinical trials: a survey and workshop to assess current practice and future priorities. Trials, 15(1), p.9. Available at:

5. Treweek, S. et al., 2018. Strategies to improve recruitment to randomised trials. - PubMed - NCBI. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 78, p.564. Available at: http://doi.wiley. com/10.1002/14651858.MR000013.pub6.

1* The number of people who consented and enrolled divided by the number of people who contacted the study team, for example using a contact form on a study webpage.

2* Number of impressions divided by the number of people who clicked on the link in the message to visit the study page. An impression is a viewable display of a social media post or ad, whether the post is interacted with (e.g., clicked, shared) or not.

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Social Media Marketing: Twitter Tips for Health Care Professionals

Social Media Marketing: Twitter Tips for Health Care Professionals | Social Media and Healthcare |

There’s no doubt that Twitter use by health care professionals is on the rise. The social platform has become a great vehicle to quickly reach a wider, engaged audience of clinicians, patients and the public. At the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, we have known about Twitter’s potential within the medical community for quite some time. Our profile, @UCSFImaging, has been recognized as one of the most active Twitter accounts with one of the highest followings in the field of Academic Radiology. These findings were based on a study from Vinay Prabhu, MD and Andrew Rosenkrantz, MD of NYU’s Langone Medical Center which performed an analysis of academic radiology Twitter accounts. This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (PubMed). Learn more about the study in Health Imaging magazine.

Based on insights and our own best practices, we put together these Twitter Tips for health care professionals to encourage collegial involvement within our own department and the greater medical community.

You can view a clickable, downloadable version of our ‘Twitter Tips’ by clicking this link


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Digging in to Your Social Media Feed

Digging in to Your Social Media Feed | Social Media and Healthcare |

It was with interest I read a recent Viewpoint article in the Journal of American Medical Associations (JAMA) titled: Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) in the Digital Age, Determining the Source Code for Nurture authored by Dr. Freddy Abnousi, the head of healthcare research at Facebook, along with a couple of other authors, Dr. John Rumsfeld, Chief Innovation Officer at the American College of Cardiology (@DrJRums) and Dr. Harlan Krumholz, Professor of Medicine at Yale(@hmkyale)

They rightly point out the major contribution of social determinants of health – a fact highlighted as far back as to 1946 and the World Health Organization (WHO), but the research has been hampered by the inability to capture accurate granular data which is mostly self-reported (with the associated unreliability). We do need better approaches and the social networks offer a tantalizing look into data of this nature with a peek into online behavior, data that is posted by the millions of users who engage daily online.

They offer an intriguing potential to pre-identify suicidal ideation, “with enough advance warning and accuracy to stage a peer-driven intervention“. The opportunity to identify high risk for opioid addiction or finding those at highest risk of cardiovascular mortality and engaging with the users corresponding social network who would be “tasked with responsibilities”.

There is much to applaud in the concept but it raises some serious and challenging issues in my mind

1) Informed Consent is a major challenge and history and recent revelations do not engender any confidence that this data or insights would not be used against the patients or their families

2) De-Identification of data is already problematic – when you consider Intensity Analytics ability to identify individuals and behavior simply from their interaction with a keyboard

3) Trust is broken across so many areas and the current system is working as designed – a business. It is highly unlikely that users would ever *knowingly* give their consent

4) Healthcare consumers in the United States are struggling while the business of healthcare continues its march towards profit. Intuitively any insights from an SDoH program would have to focus on the best economic solutions which are mostly non-healthcare solutions (food, housing, income, education)

We need insights and data to provide the data to support and effect change and this idea has merit – but without some real changes to the business of healthcare, it will struggle to take off or deliver value to our population. I’d suggest a better incremental step would be to look at this data to show the underlying struggles of the users and creating a catalyst for change

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5 Healthcare Marketing Resolutions for 2019

5 Healthcare Marketing Resolutions for 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

The end of the year is a perfect time to take stock of your marketing practices. You can note your big successes — and any missteps — for 2018, and make a plan for how you’ll reach your marketing goals in 2019. The new year is full of limitless potential, but we’ve narrowed it down to these top five “resolutions” for your medical marketing team to follow.

Audit Everything

Start the year off with a thorough audit of all your existing marketing channels. It’s time to assess what’s working and what isn’t, so that you know where to invest your time, energy, and marketing funds in 2019.

If you don’t already know your numbers, now is the time to see whether your 2018 efforts have grown engagement and shown a return on investment. How many people are engaging on your social media channels? Are click-throughs increasing patient calls or purchases? If the numbers aren’t what you hoped, it may be time to take stock of your SEO strategies.

Blogs can be a major part of your self-branding, and a powerful owned channel. Did keeping a blog work for you in 2018? Are you seeing increased organic traffic, engagement, and conversions? If the results aren’t what you hoped for, it may be time to optimize the content, design, and accessibility.

This is also a good time to glance behind the curtain and make sure your IT team’s strategy and security are working to protect your patients. If it’s relevant to your business, make sure you’re ADA compliant and have considered the EU’s data protection measure, GDPR.

Optimize Your Channels

All your channels represent your brand, but each should do it in its own way. It’s time to make sure that you’re taking advantage of each platform’s specific purpose and features.

Let’s start with your website. Your homepage should be an expression of your brand, with a clear message and strong, appealing imagery. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with PPC ads that send patients to an easily digestible landing page. Consider user experience — it might be time to rework site hierarchy if it could be confusing visitors, and make sure you fix any broken links.

Next, make sure your blog will continue to work for you in 2019, if it isn’t already. Include a call to action (CTA) with the majority of your blog posts to give your readers somewhere to go. This doesn’t mean you have to ask for the same action every time, however — consider if you want your readers to check out other articles, sign up for a newsletter, or make an appointment.

In addition, while an obviously keyword-stuffed blog will turn away prospects, ignoring SEO best practicesmeans even your most thoughtful, researched posts won’t find readers. Make sure you’re striking a balance between driving traffic to your site and encouraging real interest and engagement in readers.

Don’t neglect any peripheral efforts — all owned content should be an expression of your brand. Instagram can be a compelling tool for sharing patient stories and promoting events, and is a great platform for outside-the-box creativity. Make sure your content is visually interesting or appealing, and don’t neglect hashtags in the captions.

Practice Data-Driven Marketing

If you didn’t track KPIs this past year, it’s time for a fresh start in 2019. Marketing without data is a shot in the dark — you’re missing out on important information that can help you decide what strategies are working and where to invest your marketing dollars.

Take the time to set up a strategy for managing analytics on all your marketing channels. Google Analyticsis a straightforward way to figure out the story behind your numbers, and track not just bare stats but the quality of visits.  

Consider setting aspirational (and realistic) goals for the coming year’s numbers — what would success look like for your business? Schedule out biweekly or monthly reports, depending on the size of your organization. That way, as the year goes on, you’ll be able to identify the channels that work for you, and direct your time and energy accordingly.

Take Risks

If you had a successful year — or even if you didn’t — you might be tempted to stick with the marketing strategies familiar to your organization. But a strong year actually means you’re well-positioned to make forays into new channels without neglecting your current efforts.

Customers increasingly demand online accessibility, and healthcare providers should be prepared for an increased focus on patient-centric services in 2019. There are an increasing number of instant and secure messaging platforms for patients to be able to talk to doctors or engage with an AI bot. These can be a great way to increase customer access and loyalty, while streamlining operations.

If you haven’t already made the leap, Instagram is a well-respected and creative way to grow your brand; over a third of U.S. adults have joined the platform. The story format is extremely popular and offers an organic way to engage that doesn’t feel as stilted as some other digital marketing methods. Similarly, some organizations — especially those with a strong visual component or a younger demographic — might be interested in trying Snapchat.

Embrace Mobile

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re well overdue for an update. The majority of smartphone users — 80% worldwide — are eager to engage with health care providers using their phones. One study showed that about 58% of U.S. mobile phone users had downloaded a health app. If you aren’t engaging on mobile platforms, you’re missing out on possible patients across all demographics, but especially young patients.

As you overhaul your capabilities, don’t neglect mobile ads, as features like geotargeting make smartphones a powerful tool for bringing relevant content to patients. Lastly, ensure that your contact information, hours, and service offerings are updated across the databases that feed into mobile map searches, like Apple Maps and Google My Business.

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to evaluate what about your marketing strategy is working and what could be better. By following these five simple resolutions, medical marketers will already be several steps ahead of their competition — and several steps closer to reaching new patients.

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Facebook, I'm out. Your irresponsibility with patient groups has gone too far.

Facebook, I'm out. Your irresponsibility with patient groups has gone too far. | Social Media and Healthcare |

I have stopped participating on Facebook.  I’m leaving my account live (so that my post about why I’m leaving is visible), but everything will be shut off as much as possible, and the rest will be ignored. No Messenger, no more posts on my timeline, no notifications, no tagging, etc.

I’ll be spending more time on LinkedIn and Twitter. I hope you’ll follow those pages, or use the Subscribe form on the right side of my blog page.

This isn’t an easy decision because it will be harder to keep in touch with everyone in my life, not least my family (including famous daughter and grandchild) and the many friends I’ve made in my travels. But I’ve decided we must stand up.

The rest of this post explains why; if you don’t need that info, ignore it – but  please keep in touch.


I’ve concluded that Facebook is incompetent about security of our data and irresponsibleabout the side effects of what happens when marketers, bots, and monitors interact with the site. It allows (or fails to stop) unscrupulous behavior by unseen marketers, behind the scenes or even posing as members of patient groups.

In my opinion none of us should entrust a single bit of patient information to Facebook. Of course it’s up to you: you may want to stay, all things considered, and I support you in doing what you want. But be aware of what could be going on behind the curtain.

I’ll discuss three areas that have multiple evidence points.

1. Covert marketing within patient groups

For most of us, if someone is secretly selling on Facebook it may be merely annoying. But in some cases these people have done really bad things with patient groups.

Treating people this way when they have any kind of medical or mental health problem is flat-out predatory, and I believe patients should be aware that they might want to stay away. I would. (I won’t say “should stay away” because that’s a personal choice. But I won’t stand for it being in dark alleys.)  

Go to a legitimate, above-board patient site like or PatientsLikeMe or Inspire.comThey’re free, too! But, update: on Twitter, user Anita Figueroas said “sites like [Inspire] limit our outreach (links to our website aren’t allowed).”

2. Incompetence at security – and burying the evidence

An especially bad case of skullduggery and self-interest happened last July, when Wall Street was rattling swords at Facebook because FB had not been truthful to investors about the Cambridge Analytica election scandal: SEC Probes Why Facebook Didn’t Warn Sooner on Privacy Lapse (Wall Street Journal). (It’s one thing to mess with the public, but mess with Wall Street and s4!t gets serious, eh?)

Coincidentally, right when that happened, a thriving private FB #MeToo group of 15,000 sexual abuse survivors got hacked by trolls (see the Wired article How a Facebook group for sexual assault survivors became a tool for harassment), who proceeded to post vicious sexual images to certain members, privately or publicly in that group. When the admins reported it to FB, FB didn’t investigate – without warning they ERASED THE WHOLE GROUP, destroying all the evidence – not to mention all the group’s past conversations, networks of contacts, etc.

The company has gone too far, to the point where it’s time to walk away.

3. Incompetence and haphazard management of hate speech issues

Clearly, after the scandals around the 2016 elections and alt-right hate problems, Facebook needed to do something about all the fraudulent accounts and hate speech they were allowing. But rather than figuring out an approach that could have been costly – actually being careful about rules – they went for cheap and sloppy, because “careful” ain’t cheap. The result has been so dishearteningly inept that it helped nail the coffin on whether I could tolerate being there.

It’s summed up in two articles about how they’re clumsily handling censorship vs freedom of speech – a very delicate issue in these times, which they’re trying to handle by sending disorganized rules created by random people everywhere to cheap call center personnel, in the form of PowerPoint slides!

  • June 2017: Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men From Hate Speech But Not Black Children  (Yes it literally says that; read it. An interesting contrast to the perception that Silicon Valley is reflexively left-wing.)

  • Nov 2018, Rolling Stone: “Who will fix FB?” including a sample story of a guy whose legit website got banned from FB as collateral damage during a sweep intended to erase frauds … it seems nobody checked whether the rules were working as intended! That is WICKED bad in a software company. Blind, unthinking execution of rules written by someone somewhere, carried out (the article suspects) by workers in low-priced overseas call centers. And nobody checking.

The decision to actually leave Facebook started in mid-December. (It had come up several times, but throughout 2018 it got worse and worse.) Then, right after Christmas this came out:

The leaker said FB “was exercising too much power, with too little oversight — and making too many mistakes.”  Mistakes like that can cause harm; harm that happens entirely because the company is being reckless.

Beware of technology carelessly used 
in the pursuit of large-scale automated profits

A basic reason why business loves automation is that human intervention is costly. “It doesn’t scale,” as they say. (Specifically, to do more of it, you have to hire and train more people, pay them benefits, etc. Silicon Valley likes things you can program into a system and sell to 100 or six billion people at the same cost.)

I love automation as much as anyone (it’s been my whole career), but there are limits: you have to check that the robots aren’t going insane. Especially in cases where harm can result. Like driverless cars. Or healthcare. 

Some things truly require human judgment.

Other big tech companies are getting too big and irresponsible for their britches – e.g. Amazon wants to sell its “Rekognition” face recognition software to the TSA, even though (USA Today, July) it misidentified 28 members of Congress in an ACLU test. The software said those 28 faces matched a database of arrest photos!

Click image to visit original article on American Civil Liberties Union website

Are you eager to walk through that software for TSA, at your next flight? Especially if you’re not Caucasian: “Nearly 40 percent of Rekognition’s false matches in our test were of people of color, even though they make up only 20 percent of Congress.” [ACLU]

Note: TSA hasn’t bought Rekognition yet, but USA Today says local law enforcement agencies already have. Do they have I.T. experts who can adjust and evaluate such new technology??

You should have exactly this kind of worry about anyone who’s touting some amazing “AI” (artificial intelligence) as the next miracle. AI is powerful and beginning to do great things – but it must be monitored and checked for unintended harms, or the robots truly will do large-scale harm in our civilization.

Some of the investor-oriented tweets and posts I’ve seen don’t care a thing about whether the stuff is accurate – “Hey, it’s NEW! It’s gonna be great! Don’t miss out – buy some today!” 

Not me – not unless a thinking human is doing a sanity check on whether it gives accurate answers.

And that’s exactly what’s missing in Facebook’s irresponsible management of group security, covert marketers, and censorship vs free speech vs hate speech.

It’s often said that with great power comes great responsibility. Actions like FB and Amazon’s go way too far, and the last straw to me was the increasingly clear picture that Facebook truly isn’t going to let the risk of harm to others slow them down.

That would be irresponsible in any walk of life; in criminal law it’s called negligence.  In healthcare (where I try to lead) it especially crosses the line into “must not be tolerated” territory.

So, Facebook: as they say on Shark Tank: I’m out.

Additional reading:

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Medical Marketing Strategies: 10 to Try in 2019

Medical Marketing Strategies: 10 to Try in 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

This year, we’re likely to see some dramatic changes in the world of healthcare. With private equity acquisitions on the rise, retailization in high demand, and some fierce competition, it’s time to start treating your healthcare organization like the business it is.

Make 2019 the year you find what works for your medical marketing. 

These 10 medical marketing strategies can help you find and keep higher-paying cases. Stay ready for the competitive atmosphere in the coming months and years with our list of new things to try in 2019.

Audit your current medical marketing strategies

First things first—how are your current marketing strategies working out? If you’re blindly trusting processes you’ve had in place for months or years—without any data to back up their impact—it’s time for an audit.

If you’re doing your own marketing, determine if the time and expense really back up the results. Does your team spend too much time on social media? Rely too heavily on word-of-mouth marketing? Spend too little effort nurturing doctor referrals?

If you have an outside marketing company, on the other hand, it’s time to demand the data. If you have inconsistent ad copy, lackluster design, and no results to back it up, it may be time to find someone new.

Related: Learn More About Our Healthcare Marketing Agency

Change your messaging to be more “you”-centered

Some healthcare organizations are so focused on providing detailed information, they forget the most important question of all. Why should a prospective patient choose your team over any other?

The content on your website, social media, digital ads, and any traditional advertising must offer benefit to the patients. To put it simply, it should focus on what the organization can do for “you.” Your copy should use this magic word–“you”–liberally and answer some key questions. Put yourself in a patient’s shoes.

Reading the copy, do you feel the organization has something unique to offer? What can “you” expect to gain? Can you get back to work sooner? Recover faster? Live pain-free and enjoy new activities?

Break into social media advertising

We use the term “organic” to talk about types of marketing that don’t require paying for advertisements, including search engine optimization and posting updates on social media. And while organic social media is one of many methods to build your brand, it’s simply not the most effective way to get noticed.

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform—by seniors and millennials alike. Of course, your practice, hospital, or organization can build out a business page and post for free. But it’s tough to attract followers, and even as you do, you can expect very few followers to see your posts.

It’s time to start treating Facebook like a paid advertising platform. Create powerful, effective posts that boost brand recognition and clicks to your site. Add images and videos, and leverage custom audiences to reach more people within your target demographic.

Target patients you’ve already seen

Attracting new patients is a major goal for organizations of all sizes—but seeing returning patients should be an even higher priority for most. After all, the cost to acquire new patients can be 10 times more than the cost for patient retention.

Acquiring new patients is only the beginning of your medical marketing efforts. It’s important to follow up with patients and keep your name at top of mind. That means sending follow-up emails or mailers, as well as continuing to market for brand recognition. Often, this can come in the form of an email newsletter.

Get brutally honest about your website design

Is your website truly helping to bring in new patients? It’s time to get real and ask yourself tough questions about the look and feel of your site (and/or any landing pages you use with digital advertising).

Aim to WOW your prospective patients, not just to give them basic information. Remember: today, you cannot simply compare your website design to colleagues’ and competitors’. Patients care that your website is up-to-date, and they’re comparing it with standards set by other industries. A website that looks behind-the-times may be a deterrent, as patients see this as a reflection of your office.

Take advantage of Facebook Live

This is a strategy we’ve been learning more and more about in the last couple of years—and we’ve grown to love it. Sharing video on Facebook is a great way to build awareness of your brand. But too often, thanks to new algorithms like “Friends & Family First,” your followers never see those carefully filmed and edited recordings.

Facebook Live, however, actually prioritizes live video through its algorithms. Followers are alerted that you’re sharing helpful information on your timeline, increasing viewership dramatically. Past and prospective patients may share this content, increasing brand awareness and helping people in your community get useful health information.

Related: 5 Things Most Doctors Get Wrong about Social Media

Leverage existing content

Larger healthcare organizations like hospitals and health systems often create quality online content that simply loses momentum after a week or so. They post about it on social media, bank a few “likes,” and move on to the next piece of content.

But this content could serve a greater purpose. For example, you can repurpose content for email sequences. You can even “gate” content on your website so that interested parties must provide their email address and sign up for your weekly newsletter.

You may also repurpose particularly compelling content in paid advertising. Leverage ebooks and long-form articles as Facebook ads or even in paid search, depending on your medical marketing goals.

Ask for patient referrals

If restaurants, retail stores, and coffee shops can do it, why not healthcare? If someone tells you they had a great experience at your place of business, ask for a referral!

“Thanks! Please let your friends and family know we’re here.” …is a start. You can also refer them to online review sites (as long as this doesn’t violate the terms and conditions of that service).

For larger organizations and those looking to grow, there’s an even easier way to do things. Reputation management systems automate the process: unhappy patients are given an outlet to express their concerns, while happy patients have the opportunity to spread the word online.

Lead important discussions

“Thought leadership” is a common goal among many doctors and healthcare professionals. And you may not have to write a book or speak on a national talk show to gain recognition. Leading and joining important discussions can boost earned media. Typically, all you need is a website, a camera, a social media account, and some savvy marketing and public relations.

Sharing great content online—content that others will want to share—is the first step in gaining earned media from local news stations, along with larger opportunities. Videos typically get better engagement than images and text posts, and it helps to speak about the topics your audience cares most about. 

Commit to staff training

All healthcare organizations do their best to ensure their staff is polite, understands HIPAA, and stays organized. But too few organizations work to actively train staff members to convert calls.

You can buy all the right ingredients to bake a loaf of bread, but without a confident baker in the kitchen, you’ll go nowhere. The same is true of your marketing. You can spend money on beautiful ad campaigns that get the phone to ring. But all that means nothing if your staff isn’t prepared to convert calls.

It takes more than a friendly personality. In our years as healthcare marketing professionals, we’ve seen up to half of an organization’s inquiries go nowhere, largely because the staff was not trained to make the “sale”: armed with the right information, professionalism, and counterarguments to book that appointment.

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9 Social Media Experts Share Helpful Marketing Tips for Doctors

9 Social Media Experts Share Helpful Marketing Tips for Doctors | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media marketing is a hugely successful way to market your goods or services directly to your target audience. Whether Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or Twitter, the targeting capabilities are impressive and can lead to massive exposure even on a lower-end budget as compared to traditional advertising avenues.

Marketing for doctors, medical offices and other healthcare related businesses can be a bit tricky. Nine successful social media professionals have shared their insight into making sure you're able to get the most out of your social media marketing campaigns for 2019 and beyond.

1. The Human Element

“The best way Doctors and medical offices can use social media in 2019 is all in the content. Lifestyle tips, healthy recipes and preventive information in their specialty will broaden their audience and perhaps capture the attention of someone that wouldn't have noticed them before. Keep the content informative, human and don't make it too clinical. You want to show your expertise, but also show that you are human and care about the full picture of your patients lives, not just one appointment.”

Kristen Harold of KMH Marketing

2. Facebook Live

“Facebook will continue to favor video content, especially live content. Medical professionals need to establish a formal process for creating facebook live videos in their practice. A great way to do this is to set a specific time each week that you film the doctor talking about common procedures and questions. This will create engaging content and is a great opportunity for potential patients to ask questions, you can't give medical advice but you can discuss procedures and their benefits!”

Joseph Sloan of Advice Media

3. Make Use of Video

“When it comes to social media marketing for doctors you will really want to utilize video. Take videos of the different treatments that you offer and show how these treatments are performed. People will want to see what they are getting themselves into before receiving any sort of treatment, and by using video you will be able to show them just how the treatment is done and how a patient reacted. Also, using video to give testimonials from patients. People want to make sure that your reviews and testimonials are REAL and by taking a video of someone talking about how your treatment helped them, it gives you more credibility because it shows them real people are coming to your office. Video gives people an inside look into your office and will ultimately make someone feel more comfortable going to your doctors office rather than someone else's who doesn't have an inside look.”

Samantha Walls of InTouch Marketing

4. And More Video…

“I work with surgeons (in extremely competitive online spaces) who stand out by leveraging this specific strategy – they take real, unedited testimonials videos from their patients & load them to YouTube so that it ranks for keywords. We then combine this with paid traffic, meaning we run YouTube ads and remarketing ads on Facebook and YouTube.

It's part of the doctor's office protocol now to ask their patients if they would be willing to share their story & to shoot the videos with their iPhones at post-surgical follow-up visits. Last month alone, regular uploading of videos like these for the spine surgeon resulted in 60+ very targeted phone calls.”

Kristen Hinman of Peare Media

5. Highlight Expertise & Accomplishments

“I work with an orthopedic practice and my strategy has always been to highlight the doctors expertise and accomplishments. This means creating content around events they attend or participate in. This helps add credibility to their name. To highlight their expertise I recommend writing blogs or recording videos where they give free advice for injuries they treat. Not only does a future patient get a feel for you, but they also get familiar with you. I started a Youtube channel for the group I work with and a majority of our content is doctors introducing themselves and explaining injuries they see often.”

Chris Williams of Clock In Marketing

6. Share User Friendly Content

“Share content with a broader focus than just the practice — while it's helpful to post about the availability of flu shots, changes in insurance provider arrangements or office hours, patients are interested in more macro information about their health. Provide tips for treating common ailments, updates about new research or clinical trials and articles about health trends and statistics. Post events you are hosting, and use groups to convene patients with common interests to specifically appeal to demographic segments like moms of young children or seniors.”

Leigh Picchetti of LKP Consulting

7. Facebook Ads & Live Webinar Funnels

“I’d say that the most successful revenue generator for me has been utilizing Facebook ads to drive traffic to live webinar events. It works because you give perspective customers something that not only educates them but allows them the opportunity to ‘get to know you' which builds an initial rapport. You can then invite them to take advantage of a special offer at the end of the webinar. The special offer can be anything from a free consultation, to a specific discounted services. Of course, there are variations on this strategy. The Facebook ad may not always lead to a webinar – maybe a free report that leads to an email series, maybe it leads to a quiz that leads them to a special offer. The point is using funnels in conjunction with Facebook ads is a sure way to make acquiring new clients simple and ongoing.”

Dr. Maiysha T. Clairborne, MD of

8. Start Small & Stay Active

“When you decide to post on social media, start small with a few platforms and then add more if you feel that you're able to keep up. There's nothing worse than starting out on social media, then not posting for six months. So focus only on the platforms that you feel are going to be the best fit for your audience. Maybe for doctors, that's Facebook and Twitter. Or maybe if they're interested in the B2B side, it's LinkedIn. Just don't try to do TOO much if you're just starting out. I've seen businesses get overwhelmed – and then just stop posting.”

Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations

9. Consider An Ongoing Social Series

“Use a ‘Series' to increase engagement: One of the biggest problems many people face when getting into social media, is that they don't know what to feature each time they consider posting. Creating an ongoing (perhaps weekly) series' helps mitigate that issue – for instance ‘Cure-iosity Wednesday' where a doctor talked about the historical significance of a particular cure. This would allow each time you want to post on Wednesday, for their to be a continuity and a positive expectation from the audience, who would find a pleasant familiarity with your Wednesday posts after time. Ideally you stick to a very specific rhythm so there could even be an anticipation for the next one.”

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Social Media and the Spread of Misinformation: Taking Back Public Health

Social Media and the Spread of Misinformation: Taking Back Public Health | Social Media and Healthcare |

The online spread of health-related misinformation has demonstrable negative effects on public health. Antivaccine discourse on social media, for example, has been cited as a contributing factor to the rising number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.1 Similarly, rumors that circulated on social media during the 2014 Ebola outbreak generated hostility toward healthcare workers, hindering efforts to contain the epidemic.2

In a viewpoint article published in JAMA, Wen-Ying Silvia Chou, PhD, MPH; April Oh, PhD; and William M.P. Klein, PhD, research scientists at the National Cancer Institute, described ways in which medical professionals can curb the spread of health-related misinformation.3

Misinformation is amplified within “information silos” and “echo [chambers],” the authors wrote. Social media feeds are “personally curated” by each individual, thus decreasing the likelihood that users will encounter viewpoints that differ from their own. Misinformation is easily amplified in these social media environments. Research also suggests that “falsehoods spread more easily than truths” on social media and other online forums.4 Mistrust in medical institutions further legitimizes health misinformation in online circles; according to a 2016 Gallup poll, just 36% of individuals expressed “adequate confidence” in the medical system.5Additionally, a 2017 study suggested that 1 in 5 individuals express “skepticism about scientists” of any field.6 To mitigate the spread of misinformation, authors outlined guidelines for clinical practice, research, and public health.


To properly curb health misinformation, scientists must first understand the way such information is shared. The authors encouraged the “deployment of innovative methods” such as social network analysis to address misinformation on social media. Surveillance must be conducted to investigate the characteristics of certain information silos and identify which intervention methods may be effective. Scientists must also study the “context of misinformation exchange,” including the social media platform on which the information was shared. The dynamics among users sharing misinformation should also be properly understood before strategies are developed. Additionally, the “reach” and consequences of certain health messages must be understood; real-time behavioral data, linkage to medical records, and marketing research can help elucidate the way in which social media users internalize certain information.



Beyond research to identify proper means of intervention, the authors wrote, the medical community must also provide support and training for interaction with misinformed patients. Clinicians must be equipped to understand and respond to their patients' concerns, rather than “dismissing [them]…as skeptics.” It is also important for social media platforms to properly assess the credibility of certain content before it is disseminated, the authors wrote. Health-related misinformation can undermine efforts to provide proper health care. Social media platforms that encourage the spread of misinformation must receive due attention from medical and public health professionals to curb these effects.


  1. Broniatowski DA, Jamison AM, Qi S, et al. Weaponized health communication: Twitter bots and Russian trolls amplify the vaccine debate. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(10):1378-1384.
  2. Jones B, Elbagir N. Are myths making the Ebola outbreak worse? CNN. Updated August 25, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  3. Chou W-YS, Oh A, Klein WMP. Addressing health-related misinformation on social media. JAMA. 2018;320(23):2417-2418. 
  4. Vosoughi S, Roy D, Aral S. The spread of true and false news online. Science. 2018;359(6380):1146-1151.
  5. Saad L. Military, small business, police still stir most confidence. Gallup June 28, 2018. Accessed January 8, 2019.
  6. Funk C. Mixed messages about public trust in science. Issues Sci Technol. 2017;34(1).
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3 Key B2B Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends in 2019

3 Key B2B Healthcare Digital Marketing Trends in 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare |

This is a follow-up to our post about B2B Healthcare Marketing Statics (read it here).

With significant changes in the healthcare space sweeping the globe (increased automation, big data, new technologies, etc.) — it seems that many medical B2B companies are struggling to keep up.

Newer, more nimble, tech-savvy competitors are rapidly entering the space — and they’re dominating the entire conversation on the web. They’re leveraging the latest techniques in digital marketing — from SEO, content marketing, and mobile optimization, to slick videos and non-stop social media marketing — to get in touch (and stay in touch) with your target audience.

And according to the latest stats, the vast majority of medical buyers are actively researching new medical purchases on the internet. In other words, if you’re not taking advantage of digital marketing tactics — you might as well be invisible to them.

That’s why you need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to leverage the shifting trends in demographics and consumer behaviour.

But marketing in the medical space comes with a myriad of challenges (that other industries don’t have to face).

To help you navigate these challenges (and make the most of your digital marketing spend), here are three major B2B healthcare trends that marketers need to be aware of in 2019.

1. Compliance, Compliance, Compliance

The unfortunate reality is that the standard marketing automation toolkit that businesses use across many B2B industries is not applicable to healthcare.

At least out of the box.

Every region has its own rules for medical marketing, and getting a single platform to comply across the board is no easy task.

That’s why healthcare organizations looking to adopt modern automation practices have to carefully consider how those practices fit within their regulatory requirements — or work with agencies that are well versed in working effectively within these limitations.

For example, every healthcare marketer — B2B and B2C — must be trained on HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. This act was designed to protect the confidentiality and privacy of every patient.

Essentially, to be HIPAA compliant in your marketing, you must avoid the use of any protected health information that could in any way reveal a patient’s identity.

Additional Regulations Healthcare Marketers Must Be Aware Of

Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA): Ontario’s healthcare privacy laws were updated as recently as January 1, 2018.

Medicare and Medicaid Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS): A federal fraud and abuse statute that impacts all healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical device organizations in the U.S. It is “an anti-corruption statute designed to protect beneficiaries from the influence of money on referral decisions.”


This can make vital best practices of a digital marketing strategy — like customer testimonials — a tricky thing to implement.

It is critical that every piece of your marketing strategy, whether it be email marketing, content marketing, or social media is HIPAA compliant. If your digital marketing campaign is not HIPAA compliant, you can be subject to enormous fines of up to $50,000 per violation.

And because regulatory requirements will vary from country to country and state to state (or province to province!), you need the help of an expert team who is equipped to traverse this minefield of compliance.

2. LinkedIn is King of B2B Social Marketing

When it comes to B2B social marketing, LinkedIn reigns supreme. In fact, LinkedIn is responsible for 80% of social leads generated by B2B companies. And because two-thirds of doctors are active on the social media platform, the medical B2B space is ripe with opportunity.

Think about your buyer personas for a minute.

Whether your product is EHR (electronic healthcare records) software or medical technology, the CFOs, hospital administrators, MSOs, etc., they’re all on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s growing user-base and hyper-granular targeting tools make it one of the best channels to invest in for Account Based Marketing (ABM). You can target prospects by:

  • Job title
  • Organization (specific hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc.)
  • Geography
  • Skills
  • Responsibilities
  • Interests (hash-tags)
  • Professional associations (LinkedIn groups, etc.)

You can advertise directly to your target, share useful content, message them with an offer, or add them to your Network.

Plus, by sharing insightful, well-produced content on your company’s LinkedIn page, you can grow your captive-audience and generate recurring, low-cost engagement from industry professionals.

How Can a Focused Content Marketing Strategy Generate You Leads?


3. Video is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

There’s no excuse for excluding video in your content marketing strategy. Let’s revisit the stats from the previous article:

  • 68% of B2B healthcare buyers are using videos to compare products;
  • 63% are using them just to see how a product performs;
  • And, 63% of buyers will contact a vendor directly after viewing a product video.

A video is 50 times more likely to rank organically on search engines compared to the blogs you are publishing, and in 2019, videos are expected to account for a whopping 85% of online traffic in the U.S.

Here are some prime areas of opportunity for medical B2B marketing:

  • Product/software demos: Tech sheets and snappy product pages aren’t enough — you need engaging demonstrations that show off your product/service.
  • Webinars with experts in a specific topic: You want to showcase your brand as a thought leader in a particular topic. With a webinar, you can target specific buyers with topics that they are interested to learn about, attracting them to your brand and generating leads in the process.
  • Client testimonials/use cases: On top of a product demo, client testimonials and use cases give you a chance to show buyers exactly how your service will work in their environment. (Just don’t forget to stay HIPAA compliant!)
  • Whiteboard video marketing: While increasingly cliche, whiteboard videos can be a creative way to showcase your product/service and are very social media friendly.
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Balanced Digital Marketing Strategy Tips

Balanced Digital Marketing Strategy Tips | Social Media and Healthcare |

A successful digital marketing strategy is all about balance. Today’s healthcare consumers live online, on multiple channels, and you need to shine in each one to capture their attention and gain their loyalty. Each realm of digital media – earnedpaid, and owned – is interdependent on the others, and your medical practice needs to solicit, dominate, and provide the right content in each of those spaces, with an integrated approach, to boost volume and satisfy consumers.

But how does that really work?

Think about it this way: For your owned media – or your practice website, your social media pages, location information, etc. – you can create as much as you want and update the content as often as you want, but those assets are only one part of a balanced digital ecosystem. Because of the way Google and other third-party sites rank websites based on reviews, your earned media – or your online reputation from reviews, star ratings, and more – is a great way to drive traffic to your owned media and promote engagement and positive sentiment around your brand. And finally, paid media – any paid digital ads in search, social, and beyond, plus retargeting, etc. – can help you both generate more earned media and drive traffic to your owned properties.

As you understand how interconnected your paid, earned, and owned digital media strategies should be, you can see that content is your most valuable marketing asset. Your owned media assets are the ultimate destination point for consumers, because that’s where you can capture emails, phone numbers, and more through web forms or drive traffic through phone calls, while your paid and earned media help make consumers aware of your brand and drive them to engage with you online. You can repackage that owned media content, webpage content, blog posts, provider profiles, and more in different ways for the other channels.

For example: Say you’ve hired a new cardiologist and want to drive business to help her grow her practice. Start with your owned media channels and publish things like press releases, bios, and introductory posts, being sure to optimize any new content for local search with applicable maps, directions, keywords, etc. Then, purchase social media ads and keyword-focused search ads to increase the community’s awareness of your new hire. Throw in a few print ads in local publications. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking for and sharing great reviews for your new physician and her services (which will also help with local search). Each of these tactics needs to work with the others, with consistent messaging, in order to make the biggest impact across multiple channels. You need these strategies to be working together, with similar messaging, to create the biggest impact. Balancing your digital marketing strategy in this way has been suggested to be the only way to accurately predict and measure your return on investment and justify your marketing budget.

What if you’re trying to carry out these same goals for multiple physicians in your practice, across different specialties, or even across multiple offices? You’re going to need some help. If you have inconsistent messaging, incorrect phone numbers and addresses, or poorly organized websites, because it’s all too much to manage, consumers will be turned off by your brand and choose different providers. They have sophisticated expectations for digital interactions that have been set by their lives outside of healthcare, so it’s time to take a larger view of your digital marketing landscape. agrees: “Marketers need to be more holistic in order to harness PEO [paid/earned/owned] for the greater good.”

Even something as simple as a Facebook ad needs each part of your digital marketing strategy to work together to maximize impact. A Facebook ad may be technically just paid media, but because it comes from your practice’s verified (owned) Facebook page, it’s also part of your owned media. When you factor in that Facebook’s algorithms that help you reach your ideal audience insure only those consumers who like/comment/share related content see your ad, and your paid content is suddenly validated, or earned, by their interests. A Google search ad works the same way. The top of the search results page shows paid ads, then earned links (based on star ratings and localized content like maps), followed by organic results from the most optimized owned pages. Every piece of the puzzle has to excel on its own so the completed picture can better engage your audience.

To drive more volume and meet consumer expectations, you need to embrace technology solutions and services that can help you reach your goals. You’ll need applications, technology, and vendors that:

(For Owned)
1) Help you manage your content and data with simple templates, reports, and applications
2) Make finding and correcting broken links and old addresses simple

(For Paid)
3) Provide services to help you plan and execute your paid media multi-channel campaigns
4) Provide in-depth reporting to help you measure campaign successes in real-time
5) Provide expertise that allows you to locate and engage your ideal new patients

(For Earned)
6) Automates alerts for when a negative physician review pops up on a third-party site so you can respond appropriately
7) Engages those currently under your care to improve their experiences and share their satisfaction

With so much competition in healthcare today, and the challenges of changing payer mix and technology evolution, crafting a balanced digital media strategy for your medical practice will help you grow patient volume, create better and more engaging experiences online, and build more loyal relationships.

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Healthcare Marketing 2019: Top 15 Trends and Predictions

Healthcare Marketing 2019: Top 15 Trends and Predictions | Social Media and Healthcare |

The only constant is change, and that’s never been truer in the world of healthcare marketing. This year brought major acquisitions, new consumer priorities, and competitive trends that will only heighten in the New Year.

Hospitals, practices, and corporations will have to stay one step ahead to keep up with both competitors and patient needs. This means investing in best-in-class technology and resources for a marketing strategy that puts your brand at top of mind for patients and keeps them engaged and invested.

Here are our top predictions for healthcare organizations and healthcare marketing in 2019:

1. Millennials will cause more shockwaves, and demand complete convenience

Millennials don’t just want convenience; they’re insisting on it. They cannot imagine being subservient to the old way of doing things. It was once the norm to wait weeks or months for a doctor’s appointment and then hours in the waiting room. But forward-thinking organizations are departing from this model, and millennials are switching to providers that offer a much higher level of convenience.

If hospitals and practices want to evolve to the changing needs of the millennial patient, they will need to update their processes in 2019. Small changes certainly help: like allowing patients to schedule appointments online or offering text updates and appointment reminders. But today’s millennials want more than the basics, including quick access to health records and easy access to a doctor via text message.

2. Online reviews will become more important than ever

Whether you like it or not, patients are going to leave reviews of your office online. And whether you like it or not, it’s in your best interest to encourage patients to leave these reviews.

Online reviews are already heavily prioritized by the search engines. It’s often the first thing people look for when searching for a new doctor, and if they can’t find any reviews, they may simply look somewhere else. Even worse—they may only be able to find a negative review of your brand.

Studies show that people trust online reviews nearly as much as a recommendation from a friend. And while you cannot eliminate every negative review that’s already out there, you can offset them with several positive reviews. With an increased emphasis on online reviews in 2019, your best form of protection is to implement a reputation management program and to encourage happy patients to speak out for your brand.

3. Private equity acquisitions will continue to grow, with healthcare treated more like business

If you’re paying any attention, you know that private equity acquisitions of healthcare organizations have been rampant in the past few years. Healthcare is a business like any other, and these investors are willing to treat it as such, so get ready for some tough competition in the New Year.

In fact, investors and business types will continue to rush into the market in 2019, disrupting the way we think of healthcare. They simply don’t think like doctors and have fewer fears and “sacred cows.” We’re also likely to see more surprise acquisitions, like CVS acquiring Aetna, for market share and distribution. 

4. Patients will continue their rapid evolution as healthcare consumers

It’s not just millennials who are changing the game when it comes to healthcare marketing. Today’s patients are more empowered to make decisions about their healthcare than ever before. No longer are they beholden to the nearest local practice or hospital. Even referrals can be thoroughly researched online before a patient ever agrees to an appointment.

Patients have always cared about quality and cost. Now in the age of healthcare consumerism, it’s easier for them to prove it. They thoroughly vet your organization online before coming through the door. They leave honest reviews and avoid organizations with negative ones.

Healthcare providers can respond by cleaning up their organizations (sometimes physically, often internally), becoming more transparent about services and pricing, and training staff members to meet the needs of the modern consumer.

5. Google’s E-A-T algorithm will grow stronger

Of course, Google is still the number one search engine for those looking for health information or local providers—so you want to be at the top of the search results. In August 2018, Google confirmed that its algorithms now puts a much higher emphasis on EAT:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trustworthiness


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Use Digital Marketing to Target Glasses and Contacts Wearers in Your Area |

Use Digital Marketing to Target Glasses and Contacts Wearers in Your Area | | Social Media and Healthcare |

IN SOME WAYS, IT’S a great time to be an optometrist. In 2017 alone, the average income for an OD increased by about 4 percent. That said, no independent eyecare professionals should turn a blind eye to the technological advances that make it easier than ever to reach customers.

While optometry offices are far from obsolete, online upstarts like Warby Parker and Felix Gray have gained traction. Optometrists are working to combat this shift. One survey found that 57 percent of ECPs have offered more frequent discounts to appeal to customers.

Thankfully, you don’t have to cut your way to profitability; instead, use digital marketing to target people in your area who already have glasses or contacts.

See Eye to Eye With Clients. The advent of social media targeting has leveled the playing field in countless industries. Optometry is no exception. ODs can use digital tools to target customers with precision.

While the medium is important, the people you’re targeting are even more critical. Whether you’re filtering by city, county or zip code, try to stay as local as possible. Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to take your marketing efforts to the next level.Set up your facebook pixel. About 171.4 million Americans use Facebook at least once per month. Many of those people use it to hunt for medical information for themselves or their kids. This is where the Facebook pixel — code you place on your website that uses cookies to track how users interact with your Facebook ads — proves its power. Use a pixel to retarget individuals further down your sales funnel, gathering information that makes it possible to contact people who are interested in your services.

Limit your distinct audiences. Set a dollar amount (it could be $100 or $1,000 per month) for your sponsored social posts, and then stick to that rate regardless of how many distinct audiences you target. At most, you should target three audiences; targeting too many people is as bad as targeting no one.

Amplify your reach. For more chances to convert, you need more eyes on your posts. Promoted Tweets or Facebook Ads can help you reach a larger audience, but you don’t necessarily need to pay for followers. This can be as simple as a call to action at the end of your posts asking readers to share on their profiles.

Make your creative pop. Twitter’s Video Website Card is changing the way brands advertise on the social platform. Pairing autoplay video with a company’s website link, it allows advertisers to create ads that pop. Ads using the tool received twice as many click-throughs as traditional mobile video ads.
Optometry, like most medical fields, isn’t leading the charge of digital marketing. But that doesn’t mean your office should fall behind. Social media marketing isn’t easy, but these suggestions can help you get started.

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3 smartphone medical apps every physician should have | American Medical Association

3 smartphone medical apps every physician should have | American Medical Association | Social Media and Healthcare |

Physicians are constantly on the lookout for technological solutions that give them the right information at the right time.

Smartphone medical apps can be one solution. But with more than 318,000 available health-related mobile applications, according to a report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science—and new ones being released daily—it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Here are the three medical apps that every physician should have on his or her smartphone.

AMA Connect is the best of the AMA, right in the palm of your hand. The free mobile app is available at Google Playor iTunes and provides instant access to AMA tools and resources for earning and tracking CME credits available from the AMA Ed Hub™, including JN Learning™  and STEPS Forward™.

It also connects users to FREIDA™, the AMA Residency & Fellowship Database®. FREIDA allows users to search for a residency or fellowship position from more than 11,000 programs—all accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The app also features the AMA social media feed and the AMA Members Move Medicine profiles. You can also find AMA podcasts such as “DocTalk,” “Moving Medicine” and “Making the Rounds.”

AMA Connect also has exclusive content for AMA members, including highlights from the TEDMED conference.

DynaMed Plus® is available for free for 18 months to AMA members and JAMA subscribers at Google Play or iTunes. A reference tool written by physicians, DynaMed Plus provides answers to clinical questions and access to primary medical literature.

Content is added daily and includes thousands of graphics and images. Physicians can write and store notes on the mobile app and use its split-screen view to multitask.

DynaMed Plus offers:

  • Concise, accurate overviews for the most common conditions and evidence-based recommendations for action—all developed by physicians.
  • More than 10,000 images from THE JAMA Network and other valuable content providers.
  • Specialty content, covering thousands of topics in emergency medicine, cardiology, oncology, infectious diseases, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and many other specialties.
  • Links to 2,500 full-text journals (with MEDLINE Complete).

One reviewer wrote about being impressed with the results of a search for the word “sprint.” Not only did the current recommendations for blood-pressure management based on the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) come up, so did Achilles tendon rupture—a frequent problem for sprinters. 

brief tutorial on DynaMed Plus is available on YouTube. Sign up for your free trial today.

JN Listen™ is an audio CME app featuring podcasts on peer-reviewed articles published in the JAMA Network journals and also featured on JN Learning. Physicians can earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ by taking quizzes based on the podcasts.

The app tracks credits earned and allows for storing, emailing and printing certificates. App users can listen to the podcasts without a subscription, but will need to register if they want to take the quizzes and earn credit. Learn more.

“I subscribed and then earned a few CME points while doing laundry and cleaning,” one reviewer posted.

This app is only available on iTunes.

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Why Doctors Need More Technical Skills than Ever Before

Why Doctors Need More Technical Skills than Ever Before | Social Media and Healthcare |

Doctors are always talked about when it comes to their level of emotional intelligence and patient satisfaction. Those are major factors when it comes to getting a competitive edge in the medical world in the US. But aside from that, doctors require more technical skills than ever before.

WebMD released the 2014 Physician Compensation Report. It revealed that the average doctor earns over $200,000. And it varies heavily by region. Yet if the statistics are looked at, it becomes clear that patient satisfaction and actual results are awful.

People are not happy, and it's not just because of a supposed lack of empathy and spiraling costs. But acquiring additional technical skills can go a long way to remedying the problem in your area.

Increasing Competition


Doctors are businesspeople as much as they are doctors. Like it or not, the US healthcare system is a constant dogfight. Doctors have to know how to market themselves if they are going to get an edge over their competitors.

One way to do this is to improve in the technical department. Enhancing one's technical skills enables them to offer more services to patients. Previously, your regular patients may have had no choice but to go away to someone else, but now they can stay with you. That means more revenue and more business for your practice.

Andy Jensen, CMO at Curve Dental, a developer of dental software, sees a growing trend with doctors expanding their professional skills, "Our customers are adding to the services they can provide their patients. A growing number of general practitioners are now providing basic orthodontic services and sleep apnea treatment, just to name a few. As a result they're able to increase production levels with little to no increase in overhead. The same principle applies to any vocation, really. The more valuable you become to your employer or to your clients the bigger the payoff."

Do More for Your Clientele

Good business and making a living is about keeping your clients happy. Do more for your clientele by ensuring you can meet their needs. Before you enhance your technical skills, figure out what people actually want first. In other words, ask them what services they would like to see.

Once you have a rough idea as to what your patients desire, you should have a clear path learning path to follow.

More Revenue


If you happen to specialize and you live in an area with a skills shortage, you can increase your physician's salary through acquiring skills nobody else has. There are many areas of the country where doctors are free to charge practically anything they like because they don't have a high level of competition driving them into the ground.

The most successful doctors in the country don't make their money from regular checkups and diagnostics. They make their money through the added specialist services they offer. It may be a case of only selling a handful of these advanced services each day, but over the course of a year it adds up to a few thousand dollars.

But there's more...

It would be a mistake to say that acquiring new skills is simply about earning lots of money and being able to charge more for your services; although this is certainly an advantage. To improve your business, you have to enhance your emotional intelligence.

As already mentioned at the top of this article, you have to deliver service with a smile. Your job is to understand the needs of your patients. Part of this can be done through acquiring new skills, but it also requires you to improve your emotional intelligence.

Here is an example of how this works. Back in the 1990s, private healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente was struggling. It was failing to bring in enough revenue to cover its costs. A new medical director was hired and the entire culture changed to one promoting doctors as leaders and healers, rather than business assets.

According to Kyle Bazylo, CEO of, "You must be able to put yourself forth as a healer and leader if you're going to reap the benefits of more technical skills. Today technology and health are more related than 10 years ago."


How Should a Doctor Acquire New Technical Skills?

There are two ways this can be done. To begin with, a doctor who doesn't have time to go back to school can simply employ someone with those skills. They may operate on a contractual basis or they may work full-time for the practice.

Alternatively, you can acquire the skills yourself. It may require working only part-time while you return to school, but the investment will surely pay off. There are more learning options than ever, including learning online and studying from home.

Last Word

Doctors have many reasons to acquire more technical skills. From a patient and business point of view it makes sense. Nevertheless, this desire to enhance your skillset should be tempered with understanding patient needs and delivering an empathetic service that gives a good value for the money.

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