Why Your Medical Practice Should Excel in Social Media
Patients have come to expect unprecedented access to their physicians, especially through technology-based means; a large part of that is social media. However, many physicians are leery of paddling into uncharted waters that have the potential to open them up to legal risk and possibly blemish their reputation. Yet refusing to embrace social media could ultimately harm your practice. Younger tech-savvy patients expect to see their physicians online. If they don’t, they may choose to leave your practice for one that has a more robust online presence.
One of the best reasons for using social media is that you can reach your patients where they are increasingly active — online. Smartphones and other mobile devices are omnipresent, and, in one sense, just a more sophisticated vehicle for word-of-mouth marketing. Patients continue to ask each other for the name of a good pediatrician or family doctor, but now they are doing that online.
SOCIAL MEDIA DO’S
Once you decide to plunge into social media, make sure you develop a plan. As with any worthwhile endeavor, it helps to have a playbook. Here are just a few factors you should consider first:
- Identify your goals. The first step to creating an online presence should be to define your social media goals as a practice.
- Find your ideal patient.
- Make it fun. Make the learning process fun to remove some of the perceived drudgery of yet more administrative work.
- Set a time commitment. Another hurdle that practices worry about is the time commitment they will have to make to their social media efforts. Busy physicians barely have time to see patients, let alone contribute to social media platforms on a regular basis.
SOCIAL MEDIA DON’TS
Many physicians are unreasonably afraid of establishing a social media presence online. As long as physicians keep common-sense tenets in mind, like not posting protected health information (PHI), they’ll be fine.
However, there are a few social media pitfalls that physicians should be on the lookout for. Here are some things to be mindful of:
- Guard against HIPAA violations. It is important to protect your practice and patients against HIPAA violations. Your “office policy” should dictate that staff are not to comment about patients or office-related matters on their personal social media accounts.
- Don’t blur professional and personal profiles. Physicians should never combine personal and professional social media accounts. They should be kept strictly separate.
- Never give specific medical advice online. It is best to direct patients to call the office if they wish to speak with a physician.
- Don’t acknowledge a physician-patient relationship. Another pitfall that physicians need to be aware of is acknowledging online that a person is their patient. Simply acknowledging that somebody is your particular patient can create a HIPAA issue
If you don’t have the time or inclination to manage a social media campaign, Omni Medical Marketing is here to help. We can get you setup correctly, sync your social sites, provide valuable content related to your vertical, and distribute your content on multiple platforms to manage your reputation and build your brand.