The other day, I had the pleasure of participating in the Massachusetts Medical Society Annual Physician Practice Resource Center (PPRC) talk.
I intentionally attended because I was excited to hear Jennifer Joe, MD, speak on Implementing Social Media in the Medical Practice, a topic for which I have a strong interest. Doctor Joe works in the Emergency and Urgent Care Departments of the Boston VA and is also CEO of Medstro, a physician and medical student community. She is passionate about technology advances and their uses in health care.
In her presentation, Doctor Joe discussed the following six benefits of using social media in the medical practice:
- Free or inexpensive to use social media
- Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are all free to join and participate.
- Cost would come from any advertising you wish to implement on these platforms.
- Opportunity to retain current patients and find new ones
- Using social media enhances patient engagement. Although you will not be discussing individual patients’ health care, providing general information brings value to patients.
- Patients love to have a connection with their physician.
- New patients can comes from patients’ search for health information online. If you are a local provider and you provide that information, chances are those prospective patients will come to you.
- Opportunity to advertise special services
- Present any interest or passion for any specific diseases or treatments
- Ideas include information on allergy season, flu shot announcements, and care for your dry skin starting in Fall
- You may be able to help patients with rare diseases who may be searching for someone who specializes in their diagnosis.
- Opportunity to see what patients are interested in
- Patient engagement and communication are excellent advantages of social media.
- Are events happening around your community that have to do with your specialty or other health care interests? Inform your patients and get them involved. Examples can be walks or marathons for causes and other fund raisers. Patients love to see your involvement in these activities.
- Better connected with patients – compliance with diagnostic and treatment regimen
- A great example given in the presentation is by providing information on self care at home for ear wax and letting patients know when to see they need to see the doctor.
- This lets patients know that you don’t want to waste their time if there are simple things they can do at home.
- Patients will be less needy outside of clinic – will require less time on the phone with the doctor and nurses
- Post your hours and information on physicians who may be away
- Provide policies on insurance billing, medication refills, forms, etc…
We hope you find these benefits helpful if you are thinking about implementing social media in your medical practice. If you are already using social media in your practice, we welcome to share your ideas below so we can all learn.