Social Media and Health Care: Improving the patient experience – digitally!
Let’s face it, we live in a digital social world. Brands of all types have made their mark on Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram – but where are the health care providers?
- Oh, there are a few out there, but many are adverse to jumping on the social media wagon and here’s why avoidance is a mistake.
Your patients are there and they WANT to engage. Using platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to brand your practice is a given, but are you posting content that is ABOUT them vs. about you? 80% of your content should have nothing to do with the services you offer. How much can you really write about Breast Exams or Colonoscopies or wait times in the ER? Ask questions! Ask for Feedback! Talk about preventative care, families and lifestyle. Patients also want to see the team from the doctors to the intake folks and everyone in between. Who are they? Why would I as a patient want to engage with them? Trust them with my care – my life? It’s all part of the customer experience.
- Improve Patient Communication. We all know that social media is not the place to talk about personal health care issues, but it is the PERFECT place to address broad questions. The key is to have a Social Media Manager and/or Patient Advocate managing social feeds. If indeed a personal health question arises, the Manager can direct the patient to a secure portal or have a health care provider call him/her to discuss concerns. As with any business, there will be Frequently Asked Questions that appear and best practice is to create an FAQ page on your website to direct patients or prospective patients to.
- More Satisfied Patients. It really all goes back to communication and transparency. Patients want to feel they are involved in their health care decisions AND they want providers who are willing to help them along the way. There is also the connectivity factor – connecting patients with other patients who share the same illnesses – almost like support groups but online. It’s perfectly OK to have a private MONITORED Facebook page for a variety of topics/groups such as Cancer Survivors, Sports Injuries, Heart Attack Survivors or those currently going through some life changing issue or chronic condition. When the Health Care Provider CARES and is involved, patient satisfaction will naturally rise. You are developing a community that your patients can be a part of.
- Education – Teach and Learn. It’s a given that social media is a great venue to educate your patients, and video is by far the #1 channel to do it. Not only is video engaging but it shows the true personalities of the presenters – doctors, PAs, NPs and other providers. Offering educational videos on everything from pre-op to post-op procedures to stretching exercises and healthy menu planning – the sky is the limit! Every physician is an “expert” and has a point of view. Social media allows physicians to easily share that expertise with the world and further engage current patients as well as attract new ones.
In the end, it’s all about putting you and your practice/group/hospital out there and allowing your patients to learn, teach, and engage.
Your patients are begging for this – where are you on the social spectrum?