Social Health Care is Here to Stay
Jun 4, 2019
Social media has taken the business world by storm - a cost-effective way to reach millions through a well-choreographed online presence. While just a few years ago, most attorneys and physicians would have never dreamed of promoting their practices through social media, today an online presence is vital for success in any industry. Medical practices should not shy away from this opportunity, either, and can learn to control their online images in a variety of professional ways:
ESTABLISH PRACTICE POLICIES
Before diving right in, every practice should acknowledge the impact of social media in the lives of its employees and develop policies that clearly define rules related to work and social media. Some of the guidelines addressed through policy may include:
- No pictures taken at work may be shared socially. This protects patient identity and other personal health information that may have been shared on marker boards, papers in the background, etc.
- No comments regarding the work day, patient load or patient interactions. This protects patient health information and the reputation of the facility.
- No use of social media or other cell phone applications "on the floor," in any patient care areas or in any areas visible by patients and/or visitors.
With some basic guidelines thoughtfully established, let's look at why social media makes good sense for a medical practice.
PATIENTS TRUST HELPFUL CONTENT
An impressive 90% of 18-24 year olds polled indicated that they trust and rely upon medical information found through social media. For this reason, providers and medical facilities should work to publish and share accurate information regarding the presentation and treatment for as many common diseases as possible to increase the likelihood that this content is reliable.
AN ONLINE PRESENCE INFORMS PATIENT CHOICES
41% of people of all ages use social media to determine where and from whom they will receive care. This means that hospitals who choose not to establish an online presence are not in the running for nearly half of all consumers. Hospitals with an online presence as well as biographies and appointment information for each medical provider inherently have an increased chance of booking these patients. Furthermore, in this instant-gratification age, hospitals who use some variety of online platform to connect patients directly to their providers for follow up questions or concerns boost their chances of booking new patients even more significantly.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS COLLECTIVE WISDOM
More than half of all people polled would like to see their medical providers look to social media for insight that will help them better treat conditions and diseases. Social media is a platform in which people feel comfortable sharing honest information regarding their ailments, diagnoses and frustrations with medicine. Providers who look to social media may find information not readily available through studies that can ultimately improve their ability to treat and satisfy patients.
Social media can be a vital tool for physicians and medical practices when used professionally and appropriately. Medical professionals who choose to get on board should do so wisely with equal doses of foresight and enthusiasm to help build both their reputations and relationships with patients.