Face it, we’re in unprecedented times as patients.
Having worked in healthcare for 10 years, HIPAA was always top of mind. Each record faxed, every phone call made.
That was until early last year. Somehow Covid chose not to answer to patient privacy laws.
Now friends, extended family, and even acquaintances proudly share their medical information.
But in the realm of social media, this important (and sometimes confusing) law is holding steady…for now.
How Does Social Media Influence Healthcare
To be honest, I’ve been a bit baffled by how quickly people share their vaccination status. Understanding the conditioning from politics and media play a part, it’s still perplexing.
Covid is now part of most people’s “small talk,” so it’s not something to ignore as a healthcare professional. In fact, joining the conversation already going on inside a patient’s head (or via their mouth) is Marketing 101.
My purpose here is to pass along ways to overcome challenges of social media in healthcare, including good old HIPAA. By the end, you should have the confidence to engage in real, meaningful conversations with your patients online.
To begin, I want to share some relevant statistics:
- The Journal of Medical Internet Research found 80% of U.S. internet users perform personal health research
- 90% of 18-24 year olds trust health information shared on social platforms
- 68% of parents seek health information on social media
Consider these numbers, and their potential to your practice. I’ll give you a minute.
Did some light bulbs go off? I’m sure you now realize more of your prospects are active on social media than not. But without a dedicated presence on social platforms, they’ll only find “the other guy.”
Reasons Healthcare Social Media Is Important
So how does social media influence the medical industry?
With healthcare social media:
- Online referrals reach more people than word of mouth
- Physicians say it improves overall patient care
- Patients are more involved in their care path
- Greater access and timely care for those living in remote areas
- Consumers of healthcare services are more educated on the industry
Testimonials and patient-generated referrals is something I want to highlight from this list. Amazon isn’t the only place consumers read multiple reviews before taking the next step. You can bet each new patient consultation began by first reviewing what others had to say.
So give them great content to work with!
In order for all these to benefit your practice, trust must first be established. The good news is it doesn’t need to involve a physical handshake to see what “cut of man/woman” you are.
Investing in social network management for your private practice can create trust before they ever see you in person. Next, I want to explore a touchy subject for some. So buckle up!
Holistic Practitioners and Alternative Social Media
Did the title of this section cause some anxiety for you? I can guess why.
The words “holistic” and “alternative social media” are generally looked down upon by the medical industry. Without opening up a can of worms, I’ll simply say the pharmaceutical industry is a major contributor to this hesitancy.
Moving on, I want to show how social media can help a healthcare practice. Especially if you’re in the following specialties:
- Other holistic options
In my opinion, nurses are the unsung heroes of the entire healthcare system. Having worked with them for a decade, marrying one, and with many in my immediate and extended family…trust me on this one.
Social media and nursing are seldom talked about, but at the expense of lost revenue. Why do I say this?
Establishing a healthcare focused group on Gab, I’ve met RN’s from across the world who have a wealth of knowledge. They have ideas on how to fix the broken system in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Beyond their ability to educate through expertise, they could act as a quasi-sales force. This may look like offering patient choice while subtly promoting your alternative medicine option.
Getting More From Your Social Media Investment
Your marketing dollars are valuable, and should be viewed as an investment…not an expense.
Along those lines, your social strategy should focus on four distinct areas:
- Patient-centric thinking
- Reputation management
- Informing and equipping
- Listening to your patients
An award-winning health system I worked for in San Diego always put the patient first. At every touchpoint, the phrase “my pleasure” ended each interaction. Apply this to your online communication.
Respond to all reviews, whether positive or negative. And do so in a timely fashion.
Direct patients and medical searchers to reliable sources to help with self-care before, during, and after treatment.
And finally, seek out feedback on ways to further improve the patient experience. Too many physicians neglect this as a way to learn more about what services people actually want.
There you have it!
Hopefully by now you’ve learned something new related to social platforms for your practice. Lastly I want to explain what you can do with this newfound knowledge.
Healthcare Social Media and Elijah Wordsmith
How should you use social media to open conversations and convince prospective patients?
Previously observing day in and day out how busy those in your profession are, time constraints are obviously a major challenge. You barely have enough time to respond to messages in your patient portal.
Where can you pull from to address your healthcare content marketing needs?
Instead of worrying, realize Elijah Wordsmith content writing can help you establish this trust online.
Holistic practitioners who post daily or weekly about pertinent health issues can build up a dedicated following. Even if it takes place outside of Big Tech platforms, patients deserve the healing knowledge you provide.
Don’t leave them hanging!
Take the first step towards standing out online and schedule a discovery call today!