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Analyzing Big Data from Social Media to Improve Health

Analyzing Big Data from Social Media to Improve Health | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Health-related data is not only created from scientific research and clinical practice, but also from a variety of social media and personal smart devices. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms like Twitter, mobile health apps, and fitness wearables, data from these non-traditional sources offer important insights into health-related issues through big data analytics (BDA), and may be a way patients can add to their medical records in the future. The information generated from these sources can be classified into 4 types: quantified self-data, location based information, social networking data, and data from search queries.

Quantified Self-Data

Quantified self-data is composed of data from devices, sensors, and self-reporting. This type of data has positive implications to daily health because it enables users to make data-driven decisions regarding their lifestyle by being engaged in tracking behaviours like food consumption or physical activity. Glooko is an example of a device which monitors blood glucose levels and allows diabetics to optimize their treatment plan by integrating their food intake and lifestyle data using their smartphone. Quantified self-data provides richer and more detailed information on health risk factors, enables personal data collection over longer periods, and helps device companies to examine trends in their user’s lifestyle and health to improve their devices.

Location-based Information

Location-based information is data derived from global positioning systems (GPS) and open source mapping and visualization projects. BDA of this information provides insight into environmental and social determinants of health, and can be useful as a monitor for disease outbreaks, allergens, pollutants, or water quality near a specific location.

Social Networking Data

Twitter, Facebook, and health-related social networking sites have become key sources for health-related BDA. In a 2011 study on Twitter, it was reported that 8.5% of English-language tweets relate to illness, and 16.6% to health. Analytics of Twitter has been used to assess disease spread in real time such as the Influenza A H1N1 outbreak, to discuss non-emergency health care, and to facilitate crisis mapping during emergency situations like the Boston Marathon explosion. Other social networking sites like Facebook use BDA to monitor how patients use social media to discuss their concerns about their illness and gain ‘word on the street’ perceptions regarding health issues.

In contrast to Twitter and Facebook, health-related social networking sites like FluNearYou.com provides information on the spread of infectious disease through crowd surveillance, while the site PatientsLikeMe.com allows users with similar experiences to compare treatments and symptoms through the sharing of personal health data.

Data from Search Queries

BDA mines search queries to help clinicians and epidemiologists conduct analysis on and between patient populations to help identify disease trends and improve population health. Google and Yahoo search engine queries have been found to be highly predictive of a wide range of population-level health behaviours, and have also been able to predict the epidemics of the flu, Dengue fever, seasonality of depression, and prevalence of smoking.

 

Hansen, MM, Miron-Shatz, T, Lau, AYS, & Paton, C. Big Data in Science and Healthcare: A Review of Recent Literature and Perspectives. Yearbook of Medical Informatics, p21-26, 2014.

Paul, MJ & Dredze, M. You Are What You Tweet: Analyzing Twitter for Public Health. Proceedings of the Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, p265-272, 2011.

Big Data Analytics in Health White Paper by Canada Health Infoway:

https://www.infoway-inforoute.ca/en/component/edocman/1249-big-data-analytics-in-health-white-paper-executive-summary/view-document

https://www.glooko.com/

https://flunearyou.org/

https://www.patientslikeme.com/

 


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Texting the Teenage Patient

Texting the Teenage Patient | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Doctors are making house calls via texting, blogs and social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

 

"The teenager’s cellphone buzzes. Her doctor, Natasha Burgert, is texting her: “Better morning with this medication?”

 

Another teenager opens his phone. “Everything is great,” reads Dr. Burgert’s discreet text. “Go ahead with the plan we discussed. Please reply so I know you received.”

 

And on the morning of college entrance exams, a teenager who suffers from a roiling stomach reads Dr. Burgert’s texted greeting: “Prepared. Focused. Calm. Your body is healthy and well. Good luck today.”

 

Dr. Burgert, a pediatrician in Kansas City, Mo., is making house calls. She is among a small but growing number of practitioners using social media to engage adolescents. Her patients read her blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She even follows a few of the teenagers’ blogs, commenting occasionally.

 

During checkups, Dr. Burgert no longer gives teenagers brochures with advice on healthy living — which usually led to glazed expressions and teeming wastebaskets. Instead, a whiteboard hangs in her exam room, with hyperlinks and QR codes to sites with teenager-friendly material on sexuality, alcohol and drugs. The teenagers can photograph the board with their phones, storing the information to peruse in private." (...)


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Denis Granger's comment, October 12, 2012 3:53 AM
Exactly what we are providing in that website for doctors and patients relationsship : www.entrepatients.net
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Social Media Helps Solve Health Mystery That Doctors Couldn’t Explain

Social Media Helps Solve Health Mystery That Doctors Couldn’t Explain | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Social media helped the Bigelow family find a reason for their daughter’s mysterious health condition after years of ineffective testing.

© REUTERS/ TOBY MELVILLE

Almost 72% of Britons Believe Quality of Health Services to Drop

Although doctors had determined through genetic testing that Tess had a mutation on a USP7 gene, they couldn't be certain whether the 6-year-old girl's symptoms, which included developmental delay, gastrointestinal problems and periodic seizures, were a result of the congenital DNA shift.

When the doctors gave up, claiming that they wouldn't be able to make a diagnosis, the child's parents shared their situation on social media, in hopes that one day they would find other people whose children have similar symptoms.

The wait wasn't long. That same evening they received a phone call from Dr. Mike Fountain at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who had been studying USP7 and had found seven other people with that particular genetic mutation.

A lab colleague of Fountain's had noted Bigelow's story after a user posted it on Reddit.  

"Someone who shared the lab with Fountain saw it and said, 'Isn't this the gene you work with?' And he said, 'Yes, it is,'" Tess' father Bo Bigelow told ABC News.

Fountain explained that the mutation in the USP7 gene prevents cells from recycling proteins correctly, a necessary means to securing normal functioning of the body.

"You wind up with a neuro-developmental disorder," Bigelow explained in his blog. "You have intellectual disability and probably autism and seizures."

Tess currently has the mental capacity of an 18-month-old. Unfortunately, there is no cure for her condition, but the girl's parents are hoping for some sort of experimental treatment now that, at least, they understand the underlying cause.

© REUTERS/ PAULO WHITAKER

US Health Agency Adds Peru to Zika Virus Travel Warning List

According to Bigelow, researchers at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital have been very helpful, as well as Drs. Fountain and Christian Schaaf, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor. The child's father said that learning the reason for Tess' condition was a great relief.

The family has been able to make small changes, that help Tess with vision and skin problems. They also managed to get in contact with another family who have a child with a USP7 mutation, a connection possible through the utility of social media.



Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160506/1039161119/social-media-health-mystery.html#ixzz48T6bOtmE


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Santé : l'exploitation des données soumise à une consultation en ligne

Santé : l'exploitation des données soumise à une consultation en ligne | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Le gouvernement, à l'initiative de Marisol Touraine, recueille l'avis des internautes sur l'exploitation et le partage des données de santé.
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Social Media in Oncology: Does It Help Patients?

Social Media in Oncology: Does It Help Patients? | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

The growth of social media in medicine, particularly oncology, has been impressive. The uses to date have varied from live reporting of meeting presentations to community development and support in any number of diseases. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting had over 74,000 tweets in the month surrounding the actual meeting dates, leading to over 330 million impressions. An "impression" is a tweet that has been delivered to a feed. To relate it to the statistic above, tweets from the ASCO annual meeting were delivered to over 330 million feeds. The 2016 American College of Cardiology conference has had over 31,000 tweets leading to over 197 million impressions. This is just a small sampling of all the information that comes out of conferences.

Using social media for disease/treatment community development and support is also expanding. From dedicated Facebook pages to live Twitter chats, patients now interact with providers and advocates, often in real time. As I write this column, Symplur, a company that monitors and analyzes social media activity in medicine, reports 127 recurring Twitter chats in the upcoming week. Topics vary from rheumatoid arthritis, autism, and movement disorders to various malignancies, among many others.

Now that social media has a firm foothold in medicine, it becomes reasonable to ask whether it is having any impact on patient care or outcomes. This question has been raised in any number of supportive activities in medicine. There are certainly reports that online support groups benefit patients,[1] but the definition of benefit has tended to be somewhat nebulous at best. The first question to ask is, what is an appropriate thing to measure?

 
Now that social media has a firm foothold in medicine, it becomes reasonable to ask whether it is having any impact on patient care or outcomes.
 

In oncology, our usual measured outcome is survival, although quality of life is often co-reported. Quality of life, however, is rarely the primary outcome looked at in any intervention. There have been suggestions that support groups can improve survival in breast cancer, but at least one randomized trial failed to show any impact on survival in breast cancer patients.[2] Is survival the only outcome that we should measure? Can we accept improvements in quality of life as an actionable outcome? What if we show that patients who are involved in social media communities are more likely to be compliant with their care or be more open to clinical trial participation? Would that information be persuasive enough to have granting organizations, institutions, and payers be more open to providing support and recognition to the physicians and support staff involved in these activities?

Answering these questions will take a level of analysis and research that requires external support. To even get to the level of information and structure that granting organizations will be open to reviewing requires some firming up of ideas. There are physicians who are mulling these questions and starting down this path.[3] One such group in development is the Collaboration for Outcomes on Social Media in Oncology (COSMO). This group, of which I am a member, is looking at this with a blank slate, other than initially defining the best questions to ask. We have no hesitation—should the data point in this direction—saying that no positive impact can be determined by these efforts. We also have no problem saying that others may have thoughts on questions to be asked or approaches to take. In the spirit of crowdsourcing, we welcome any input. There are rumblings of an abstract to be presented at the next ASCO Annual Meeting suggesting improvement in survival with the use of patient navigators. Possibly the same could eventually be found with patient involvement in social media.


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Social listening could be right medicine for pharma companies

Social listening could be right medicine for pharma companies | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t currently taking full advantage of the wealth of patient-generated content on social media channels. Deloitte’s Becca Ramble and Katy Balatero outline how these companies can set up successful social listening programmes to uncover patient insights while managing and mitigating risk.  

Social networks and online communities play an important role in consumer health management, serving as hubs where patients and caregivers meet to ask questions, share information, and compare experiences with treatments and medications.

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2015 Survey of US Health Care Consumers found that 52pc of consumers actively search online for health-related information.

Patient-generated content on social networks can highlight the needs, wants and decision considerations of patients and healthcare providers.

This data can be a valuable source of insights for pharmaceutical companies seeking to understand how best to reach, engage, and support patients and healthcare practitioners.

Sharing, but not listening

Companies across a variety of industries are engaging in formal social listening activities.

Social listening involves monitoring social media channels to devise a strategy to help you better influence consumers.

Companies are using insights gleaned from social data to identify market opportunities, inform product and service design, strengthen customer relationships, build engaging customer experiences, manage PR crises, and much more.

Multiple departments, including marketing, customer experience, human resources, corporate communications, sales, and others, are tapping into paid, owned, and earned social media.

These companies recognise that social media listening means tapping into the world’s largest focus group, providing access to current and potential customers and the information they share.

Many pharmaceutical companies have a social media presence. They manage owned social channels, including corporate branded Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts, and Twitter handles, to share corporate communications, investor relations, event announcements, and press releases. These companies broadcast information and listen on their managed channels, but often their activities end there.

Most are not looking beyond their own channels to understand how, when, and why patients and caregivers are sharing experiences with specific drugs, therapies, diseases, and conditions. Many of these companies are interested in listening and engaging but, when faced with the regulatory risks and considerations, including the discovery and reporting of adverse events, feel that the risks may outweigh the benefits.

While these are real concerns, a thoughtfully-executed social media listening strategy can be used to inform many areas across the business while effectively managing the regulatory risks and considerations.

It’s not all bad

Pharmaceutical companies fear that opening up social listening around their products will expose them to posts where authors share an “undesirable experience associated with the use of a medical product in a patient”, and that they will need to invest heavily in resources to manage adverse event reporting.

In the US, the FDA outlines four criteria that must be present for an adverse event to require reporting:

An identifiable patient: The post contains sufficient information to lead the reviewer to believe that a patient is involved.

An identifiable reporter: The post contains sufficient contact information to allow follow-up by the reviewer, including an email address, telephone number, or mailing address.

A specific medication: The post must mention a specific medication by brand name, or the chemical name of a medication if the compound is unique to one specific pharmaceutical brand.

An adverse event: The post describes a reaction that a “reasonable person” would consider to be an adverse event, such as death, hospitalisation, vomiting, swelling, or any side effect that is either unknown or unexpected with the medication.

However, studies have shown that less than 2pc of all posts mentioning pharmaceutical products and brands contain indicators of potential adverse events.

The structure and nature of most social media posts do not include the level of detail required to meet all four of these criteria. For example, forum threads where participants discuss experiences with a drug but use anonymous usernames or do not provide contact information would not qualify as adverse events. While any pharmaceutical company that engages in brand monitoring should expect to see some adverse event content, Pharmaceutical Commerce wrote that “the volume of adverse events is not likely to exceed what can be handled through existing adverse event reporting channels established for traditional/offline reporting methods”.

The art of social listening

By designing listening and monitoring efforts with their business goals in mind, pharmaceutical companies can develop and deploy strategic listening programmes while managing and mitigating risk. There are several approaches:

Using social media listening and monitoring technologies: Social media listening and monitoring tools allow companies to curate the social media content they need for their specific business goals. By using carefully-curated social media queries, the company can reduce their exposure to unintended content and minimise risk. Many of these tools include functionality to support tagging and reporting activities, if and when an adverse event is discovered, that can streamline the workflow and support the digital paper trail needed for compliance.

Developing visualisations and dashboards: Trend lines, pie charts, and other data visualisations aggregate social media content and organise it by subject matter, such as brand mentions, product groups or types, or patient journey segments. This approach serves up insights and analysis without requiring review of individual posts, thereby removing access and exposure to posts where adverse events may be present.

Exploring unbranded content for insights: Many patients post online about diseases, conditions, or therapy experiences without necessarily mentioning a specific drug or brand. Listening at this level can provide pharmaceutical companies firsthand access to trends, perception shifts, sentiment, and more, while minimising exposure to conversations of brand-related adverse events.

Regardless of the approach, the representatives of the pharmaceutical company who will be accessing and reading individual posts should be trained on adverse event identification. If they are exposed to a post where a potential adverse event is surfaced, it will help them perform due diligence to research the presence of the four FDA criteria.

Reaping the benefits

As brands seek to differentiate themselves through their marketing, products, or communication, a deep understanding of their audiences can play an integral role in meeting those objectives. Social media listening and analysis can inform strategies with actionable information about what people need and want, the language they use, and where they are gathering.

There are many benefits that make social media efforts worthwhile, especially if these programmes are approached with a clear understanding of and management strategy for the risks and regulations involved.


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Journée mondiale de l'asthme : comment Twitter peut aider les urgences - Sciences - Numerama

Journée mondiale de l'asthme : comment Twitter peut aider les urgences - Sciences - Numerama | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
En cette journée mondiale de l'asthme, ce mardi 3 mai, une étude révèle l'aide que peut apporter Twitter pour aider le personnel médical à anticiper une hausse du nombre d'asthmatiques se rendant à l'hôpital.
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Les données médicales d‘1,6 million d'Anglais analysées par Google

Les données médicales d‘1,6 million d'Anglais analysées par Google | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Un programme développé par DeepMind, une entreprise propriété de Google qui se spécialise dans l'intelligence artificielle, doit aider les médecins à améliorer leur diagnostic et les soins.

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Big data : Pourquoi l'industrie pharmaceutique va devoir changer

Big data : Pourquoi l'industrie pharmaceutique va devoir changer | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
S'appuyant la masse extraordinaire de données issue des objets connectés de santé, des réseaux sociaux et du séquençage génomique, le big data appliqué à la santé apparait comme le nouvel eldorado des laboratoires pharmaceutiques.

Optimiser les essais cliniques, personnaliser les traitements et accompagner les patients, réduire les coûts de la R&D... ce nouveau marché s'annonce aussi prometteur médicalement qu'économiquement.

Mais les big pharma ne le conquerront pas sans les géants du web et les start-up biotech.

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IBM, Google… Pourquoi ils aspirent les données de santé

IBM, Google… Pourquoi ils aspirent les données de santé | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Les data de santé sont un enjeu capital pour les géants tech dont le savoir-faire algorithmique peut révolutionner le diagnostic et le traitement.

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Hospitals' social media efforts boost reputation, patient loyalty: study

Hospitals' social media efforts boost reputation, patient loyalty: study | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Hospitals are putting more and more energy and resources into growing their social media presence, but do those efforts bear fruit when it comes to reputation and patient loyalty? New research says yes.

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Social Media Policies: Setting Clear Expectations

Social Media Policies: Setting Clear Expectations | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Love it or hate it, social media is a fact of life. It can be a great means for medical practices to raise awareness, educate, and engage patients.


However, it's also easy to find stories about social media gone wrong in healthcare. Many of these involve HIPAA violations by staff who don't understand the inherent lack of privacy in social media posts. ProPublica, an investigative news organization, recently reported on more than 30 incidents where staff inappropriately shared images and other patient information over social media networks.

In light of the horror stories, there is a temptation for practices to construct a "defensive" policy focused solely on restricting staff use of social media; essentially "What you don't say can't hurt us." Instead, you should seek a balance that not only protects patient privacy and discourages public relations gaffes, but also allows those who know your practice best — its staff — to show pride in their work and promote it. Designing a good social media policy for your practice can tip that balance to the positive.

Here are some ways to help you get there:

1. Keep it simple. Staff will view a policy that is too long and tries to cover everything negatively — if it's read at all. Further, because social media is constantly evolving, too much specificity will virtually guarantee your policy will quickly become obsolete.

2. Be clear about your goals. To provide context for your social media policy, put the focus on what you are trying to accomplish. These goals may be things such as maintaining patient confidentiality, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, protecting the practice from negative outcomes, enhancing the practice's professional image, and ensuring a productive and focused workplace.

3. Don't reinvent the wheel. There are many easily adaptable, great policies available online. You can find many examples here and can even view policies by professional sector, including healthcare of course.

4. Get beyond the "thou shalt not." See the positive as well as the negative. Don't be so afraid of the worst-case disaster that you stop staff from telling your practice's story. The average adult Facebook user has about 300 friends, meaning that even in a small practice you could easily reach thousands of people with a positive message. Imagine someone saying, "I'd love to tell my Facebook friends about the money we raised at the local charity event, but our social media policy won't allow us to post on work-related topics."

 

5. Don't just dictate, educate. Beyond the policy itself, staff may need help in thinking through how this all works "in real life." Again, there already are some great resources to give you a running start on this. One example is "A Nurse's Guide to the Use of Social Media." You can offer real examples and scenarios that help your staff understand the repercussions on using social media to represent your practice.


6. Listen and respond to feedback. This allows you to not only hear concerns staff may have, but also get a sense whether they understand your social media policy. Initial staff reaction to a social media policy may not be warm and fuzzy. Most staff will easily understand rules on using practice equipment and network connections for personal use during the workday. However, you may get pushback on "restrictions" outside of work time. Point out that HIPAA violations hurt patients — and they can have negative legal consequences for not only the practice, but also the individual staff member. Be upfront and explain that your policy covers both staff social media activity at work and off the clock. Respond to any concerns by communicating the practice's expectations of staff professionalism, both on and off the clock.

7. Back it up. Enforcement and sanctions may be unpleasant, but they are an absolute necessity. Having a policy but not enforcing it may be worse than no policy at all, since this sends staff the message that you're not serious. It also can create liability for the practice if you have a policy in place and make no effort to ensure that it is followed. Your medical practice's sanctions for policy violations — especially those involving HIPAA — should be documented and consistently applied to all staff.

If you are successful, your social media policy and staff education efforts will offer bright-line guidance prohibiting illegal or unethical activity, while also encouraging staff to share their successes at your practice. That is a win-win for patients, the practice, and staff.

- See more at: http://www.physicianspractice.com/mobile/social-media-policies-setting-clear-expectations/page/0/2#sthash.L8VknODq.dpuf


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Réseaux sociaux : replacer l'humain au centre du partage

Réseaux sociaux : replacer l'humain au centre du partage | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Réseaux sociaux : automatisation du partage , infobésité... Faut-il prendre autant de soin à écrire du contenu que dans la manière de le partager ? 

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Pascal Faucompré's curator insight, March 31, 2:04 AM

Le partage sur les réseaux sociaux n'est pas seulement une notion de bienséance, mais aussi une valorisation de votre expertise, de vos centres d'intérêt...

Ahoefa Nathalie Agbagla's curator insight, March 31, 5:56 AM

Le partage sur les réseaux sociaux : une question de savoir-vivre et de savoir-faire ?

Bien réflechir sa stratégie de contenu, en fonctions des réseaux utilisés et des cibles pour rendre visible (et crédible !) son expertise.

Valérie Sanchez's curator insight, April 1, 2:14 AM
Excellent article !
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Social Media is Good for Your Practice

Social Media is Good for Your Practice | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

The Affordable Care Act has changed the dynamics of operation of the entire healthcare industry. As the industry gears itself to evolve with it, social media is just one of the changes we can expect to see.

The “social revolution” in healthcare came with the use of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs and Twitter. The freely available web-based platforms have transformed the way we all communicate as a society. Use of these social media tools to connect with people and to broadcast health messages has grown extensively and continues to trend upward. Through community-building, rapid dissemination of information, easy modes of message amplification and high power of engagement – social media has changed the traditional marketing approaches in the healthcare industry.

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social media tools, guidelines and best practices, social media and other emerging communication technologies can connect millions of voices to:

Increase the timely dissemination and potential impact of health and safety information.Leverage audience networks to facilitate information sharing.Expand reach to include broader, more diverse audiences.Personalize and reinforce health messages that can be more easily tailored or targeted to particular audiences.Facilitate interactive communication, connection and public engagement.Empower people to make safer and healthier decisions.

As the number of people turning to the Internet to make their health decisions is increasing at an exponential pace, social media tools can be used by healthcare providers as an effective way to foster engagement and expand reach and provide easy access to credible, science-based health information. An important serviceable trait of using social media is that it helps to reach people when, where and how they want to receive health messages. As the information can be presented in multiple formats, it improves the availability of content and helps make messages more credible and effective. This may influence satisfaction and trust in the health messages delivered.

Every patient interaction you have on various platforms like patient-review websites, blogs posts, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is an excellent opportunity to let the world know about service excellence at your practice. Through these interactions, you can get to know the mind-set of patients. You can utilize this medium to address the issues patients may have faced at your practice, apologize for any inconvenience caused and assure them that nothing less than the best healthcare services will be provided.

More and more hospitals, healthcare providers and health authorities have opened accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to reach and target their potential clients. According to a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, nearly 95% of US hospitals are on Facebook and 50% have a Twitter account.

Social media has changed the dynamics of the physician-patient relationship. Maintaining a virtual relationship with patients on social media has become imperative for physicians and other healthcare providers. Each post you make on social media platforms can be a good chance to convert potential patients. If you have a reasonable following on social media, you can reap trifold benefits of simultaneously connecting with new patients, existing ones and other visitors who can be future potential patients.

The patient-physician relationship is nurtured when physicians provide reliable quality information, respond respectfully and in a timely manner, preserve confidentiality and facilitate access to care. Social media acts as a catalyst by helping physicians accomplish these goals through facilitation of information sharing and improving accessibility to their providers. These factors collaboratively enhance the patient experience and build a relationship of credibility and trust.

From the digital and technological trends in healthcare, it’s evident that the healthcare industry is in a phase of radical transformation. Social media, mobile apps, customized websites, blogs, groups and forums have brought a shift that can be well-described as a “tech-tonic” shift in healthcare marketing. Forward-thinking social media marketing approaches provide a tremendous opportunity for healthcare providers to increase their online visibility, create brand equity, develop a positive online reputation – the key essentials to outperform competition and sustain consistent growth in the new era of healthcare: Health 2.0.

 

This entry was posted in Social Media and tagged digital marketing, healthcare marketing, social media, social media marketing, social media presence by admin. Bookmark the permalink.
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Improving Your Medical Practice's Web Presence

Improving Your Medical Practice's Web Presence | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

When it comes to online marketing, we hear one question from physicians and practice managers again and again: “How do I improve my web presence?” It’s a great question, as McKinsey reports that SMEs with a strong presence online typically experience growth twice as quickly as those without. But before you can actually increase your web presence, you need to define what “web presence” actually means — a task not quite as simple as it may sound.

While it’s often defined as a practice’s total online real estate — web site, social media accounts, blogs, etc. — a more actionable definition is comprehensive online visibility. Are you featured prominently in search results and local directories? Do you see strong engagement from ads and social media marketing? And perhaps most importantly, are you creating the most frictionless path to your website for the largest possible number of prospective patients?

And that’s why web presence is so tricky. It’s more about accuracy, efficiency, and location than sheer size of effort, and that requires the successful management of a variety of channels simultaneously. But when you present your content to the right audiences at the right times, your practice won’t go unnoticed. 

Get Your Message Seen: Search and Social

According to Google, 77% of patients use search before booking an appointment. When a health-related search is made — “local ear doctor,” for instance — your practice needs to be at the top of the list to gain maximal exposure. The easiest way to improve your search engine visibility is with paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which uses Google AdWords campaigns to target prospective patient groups by search queries, keywords, location, and a number of other variables. 

However, medical practices should also practice search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Usually, this involves populating your website with topical and targeted content (often in the form of a blog), which will also boost your organic search rankings over time and contribute to your reputation as a credible and trusted source for health-related information. 

Social media is also playing an increasingly important role in your healthcare’s web presence and online visibility: according to PwC, 61% of consumers and 90% of 18-24 year-olds trust social media information posted by healthcare providers. Indeed, 74% rely on it for purchasing decisions. Facebook advertising is generally the most cost-effective way to reach those potential patients, as its targeting abilities far surpass those of any other social channel (especially for mobile users). For medical marketers, rolling out a variety of Facebook ads is easy, and its analytics suite makes it simple to continually optimize messaging.

Make sure you also create a Google+ business page and verify your listing with Google. This is a necessary step if you want your medical practice to appear in Google Maps search results.

Ensure Accuracy and Consistency of Information

At the same time, you need to ensure that each of your listings displays accurate and up-to-date information, especially when it comes to names, addresses, and phone numbers. This includes the usual places — on your website, social media accounts, and paid search messaging — but don’t forget to update online and local directories as well, such as Google My Business API, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Angie’s List. It never hurts to encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews, as long as you’re not actively soliciting them. You can also remove negative Yelp reviews if they violate terms of service or inaccurately depict your services.

This is important, because not only do patients frequently peruse such sites when seeking care — 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations — but Google indexes these sites such that more highly-rated practices receive more favorable search rankings. If incorrect information is tainting your practice’s online reputation, you may simply not appear in patient’s searches.

Growing a medical practice’s web presence is an ever-evolving process, and your methods should keep pace with changing online best practices. However, the goal should always be to first identify where your presence would have the biggest impact online, and then test and optimize your content strategy for that audience segment. Web presence will likely mean something slightly different for every practice, but success means capitalizing on those differences to differentiate yourself from the competition.


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Social Media in Oncology: Does It Help Patients?

Social Media in Oncology: Does It Help Patients? | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Using social media for disease/treatment community development and support is also expanding. From dedicated Facebook pages to live Twitter chats, patients now interact with providers and advocates, often in real time. As I write this column, Symplur, a company that monitors and analyzes social media activity in medicine, reports 127 recurring Twitter chats in the upcoming week. Topics vary from rheumatoid arthritis, autism, and movement disorders to various malignancies, among many others.

Now that social media has a firm foothold in medicine, it becomes reasonable to ask whether it is having any impact on patient care or outcomes. This question has been raised in any number of supportive activities in medicine. There are certainly reports that online support groups benefit patients,[1] but the definition of benefit has tended to be somewhat nebulous at best. The first question to ask is, what is an appropriate thing to measure?

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Answers to Health Questions: Internet Search Results Versus Online Health Community Responses

Journal of Medical Internet Research - International Scientific Journal for Medical Research, Information and Communication on the Internet

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Answers to Health Questions: Internet Search Results Versus Online Health Community Responses

Journal of Medical Internet Research - International Scientific Journal for Medical Research, Information and Communication on the Internet

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Facebook, Twitter Helping Boston Institutes Enroll Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients Across US

Facebook, Twitter Helping Boston Institutes Enroll Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients Across US | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are using social media and patient advocacy groups to connect directly with metastatic breast cancer patients around the country and study what makes them genetically unique.

Within the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project, researchers are using Facebook, Twitter, and patients' own online networks to cast a wide net, enroll a diverse cohort, and investigate the genomic characteristics of "outliers" — those who have had extraordinary responses to cancer therapies and those who are traditionally underrepresented in research.

Although genomic advances have led to the discovery of new, molecularly defined treatment strategies in cancer and to the development of a number of precision drugs, the genetic markers of interest are often rare, showing up in as few as 1 percent of patients.

For example, Pfizer in 2011 received regulatory approval for Xalkori as a treatment for the 5 percent of non-small cell lung cancer patients who have ALK rearrangements. Four-and-a-half years later, Pfizer received approval for Xalkori in NSCLC patients with ROS1 rearrangements based on data from 50 people — an impressive number when one considers that the marker characterizes 1 percent of tumors.

Given the rarity of druggable markers in cancer, researchers are taking to social media to broaden their search. "It's really hard to find patients with any particular phenotype that you might be interested in if you're only looking at a single institution or city," Nikhil Wagle, assistant professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told GenomeWeb. Wagle and his colleagues wanted to figure out ways to identify patients with the genomic and phenotypic characteristics that could help them answer the research questions they were investigating, without having to wait for them to walk into their institutions.

An oft-cited statistic is that around 85 percent of cancer patients receive care at community hospitals, which places the research and investigational approaches at major cancer centers out of their reach. "So, the vast majority of adults with cancer have not had their tissue studied. The tissue in pathology departments is used for clinical purposes, but then they get stored," Wagle said. "No one has really ever asked those patients if they would be willing to have their tumor studied."

The historically low clinical trials participation rate — around 5 percent — among adult cancer patients in the US was another motivating factor for the project. "That's an incredibly low number, and even among those patients, not everyone on the trial gets their tissue biopsied for study," Wagle noted.

His team decided to test out whether by using social media they'd have more luck enrolling patients into the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project. There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, but the patients are engaged and connected. Importantly, there is a strong network of advocates supporting patients.

Half a year before the project launched in October 2015, Wagle's team partnered with advocacy groups and patients with a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook, as well as individuals who write blogs, newsletters, and have extensive email lists. The project now has its own Twitter hastag (#mbcproject) and Facebook page. The study investigators, including Wagle, are active on social media to get the word out.

"Where we have seen the most traction is when other patients put something on their own Facebook pages and Twitter feeds," Wagle said. "This has started to spread even more organically as a patient-driven movement over the last several months." 

Patients interested in joining the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project fill out an online form and provide information about their cancer. They also give consent allowing Broad and Dana-Farber researchers to contact healthcare providers to gain access to their medical records, including previous lab and genetic test results, and any stored tumor samples.

Participants also receive a spit kit in the mail so they can provide a saliva sample and researchers can compare their tumor genomics to their "normal" genomic data. Investigators at the Broad will perform deep exome sequencing and RNA sequencing on tumor samples, and standard exome sequencing on saliva samples.

Sending spit kits to study participants' homes is becoming a popular strategy in genomics research. 23andMe ispiloting such a service as an easy way help researchers incorporate genomic data in their investigations. One of the largest autism studies launched last week is similarly allowing participants to sign up online, and is mailing spit kits to their homes as a way to lessen the burden of participating in research.

In the first six months that the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project has been open, 1,800 men and women from all 50 US states, and even some from other countries, have signed up. More than 95 percent of patients have completed an online survey, answering questions about their metastatic cancer diagnosis, the treatments they received, how they did on treatment, and demographics.

More than 1,000 people have given researchers consent to collect their medical information and leftover tumor samples. More than 200 participants have mailed their saliva kits back to the project, and researchers are just starting to sequence patients' tumor tissue.

So, far Wagle's team has procured tissue and medical records for dozens of patients. He noted there have been a few cases where the tumor tissue was already used up, or the sample was more than a decade old and no longer stored at the institution.

Collecting information this way, Wagle and his colleagues want to explore the genomic characteristics of extraordinary responders. The National Cancer Institute is also studying these types of patients and defines extraordinary responders as patients who've had a complete or durable partial response to treatment in studies where less than 10 percent of participants responded.

Extraordinary responders have been a research interest at Dana-Farber for some time. Two years ago, a Dana-Farber-led team performed whole-exome sequencing on a bladder cancer patient's tumor DNA and pinpointed two concurrent mTOR mutations as likely responsible for the patient's 14-month complete response on the combination of Novartis' Afinitor (everolimus) and GlaxoSmithKline's Votrient (pazopanib). Four other bladder cancer patients in the same study had stable disease for four to five months. The two mutations identified in the extraordinary responder hadn't previously been reported in human cancer, the study authors said at the time.

Within the 1,800 patients who have signed up for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project, Wagle's team has already identified a few patients who report impressive responses to the chemotherapy capecitabine. "We don’t have a biomarker for capecitabine, or [know the] reason why a small group of patients have extraordinary responses to that drug," he said.

Another group has shown extremely good outcomes on platinum chemotherapy. "We suspect based on other data that people who have DNA damage deficiency in their tumors might be particularly responsive to platinum chemotherapy," Wagle said. "But maybe there are other genes beyond BRCA1 and BRCA2 that might be mutated in the cancers and we should be able to discover those."

Wagle and his colleagues hope to focus on understudied metastatic breast cancer subgroups, such as women younger than 30 or 40 years old. It's not common for younger women to get metastatic breast cancer, but when they do, they tend to have a particularly aggressive form of the disease. Similarly, researchers hope to learn more about the 5 percent to 10 percent of patients who have metastatic or stage IV breast cancer from the outset.

"We're also particularly interested in using this approach to reach out to communities of patients who have been underrepresented in prior genomic studies, in particular minorities," Wagle said. "It's a real priority for us to be able to understand the underlying genomics of African-American and Latino women's metastatic breast cancer and really try to make the study representative of all the people who get [this disease]."

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project is being internally funded at the moment, and investigators are still figuring out budgetary needs. There is no target enrollment goal, though Wagle hopes that several thousand patients will join in the first few years. In the coming months, Wagle's group will use social media to enroll patients into other projects focused on rare cancers, such as angiosarcoma, which affects the inner lining of blood vessels.

"Now this infrastructure and network we're building is about patients sharing their data and samples in order to help accelerate research," he said. "But once we build the infrastructure and once this process is in place, a great next step could be to help patients enroll in clinical trials or help identify the right therapies for them. That's certainly something we're thinking about."


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Use of social media in first-hand diagnosis and predicting healthcare resource needs with machine learning

Use of social media in first-hand diagnosis and predicting healthcare resource needs with machine learning | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
On April 22-23, Tieto and OuluHealth network hosted a joint hackathon in Oulu, Finland, with 40 participants inspired to generate new innovative healthcare solutions based on data and openness, both in architecture and mindset. Team HyvTek came through as the winner of the Integrations stream, with their Snapchat-based solution that makes it easy for patients to get in touch with the healthcare professionals. Team Zohan was selected as the winner of the Analytics stream. Zohan presented a concept by which machine learning is used to predict healthcare resource needs.

OuluHealth network operates as a healthcare innovation engine in the Oulu region. City of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, that are part of the network, joined forces with Tieto to arrange the hackathon. Oulu University Hospital’s TestLab (OYS TestLab) also served as the event arena. The competition challenges were planned to respond to real healthcare needs. Participants used open data from City of Oulu’s #6Aika project and open interfaces from Tieto’s Lifecare patient data system as their primary tools during the 24-hour event.

Jury found the winning ideas responding well to the key criteria of the competition: having patient in the centre, demonstrating innovativeness as well as interesting use of data and Lifecare system’s certified open interfaces. In team HyvTek’s solution the person seeking for treatment takes a photo of his injury with mobile phone and uses Snapchat to share it swiftly with respective healthcare where professionals can use the photo to conclude the nature of the injury and provide the customer with homecare advice, prescription of basic medication or a doctor’s appointment, for example. Team Zohan used its 24 hours to tackle a clear challenge that is core to healthcare: predicting resource needs. In their concept, Zohan managed to demonstrate smart use of machine learning algorithms as response to the challenge.

Both teams received a monetary reward of 1,500 euros. In addition, team HyvTek’s Snapchat idea was given special recognition by Oulu University Hospital and team Zohan was awarded a special prize by City of Oulu.

“Our aim was to find innovative and practical ideas by which we could develop services to customers as well as the use of data in healthcare management. Equally importantly, we wanted to motivate and support young developers and professionals to continue in the interesting field of healthcare. We were positively surprised of how much was achieved in only 24 hours: a good number of ideas whose innovativeness I as a healthcare professional found truly inspiring. Some of them may be developed further and end up being used in real-life”, explains Sirkku Pikkujämsä, head of healthcare services, City of Oulu.

”We want to develop healthcare and welfare solutions with increasing openness and actively in ecosystems. Hackathons offer one way of achieving this: they are practical, solution-oriented and efficient in bringing together different capabilities and perspectives over a given topic. Our event in Oulu turned out a success, and I want to thank our partners and all participants for making OuluHealth TietoHack happen. At Tieto, we are planning to arrange similar events during the year”, states Johan Höglund, head of Healthcare & Welfare, Tieto.


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Researchers explore role of social media in promoting mental health, wellbeing in children

Researchers explore role of social media in promoting mental health, wellbeing in children | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

University of Leicester researchers to identify the benefits and challenges of promoting mental health through social media

A new project led by the University of Leicester aims to explore the role social media plays in promoting mental health and wellbeing in children.

The research, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust and led by Dr Michelle O’Reilly from the University of Leicester’s Department of Sociology, will examine how 12-18 year olds engage with social media and how it can promote their own mental wellbeing.

The study will shed light on young people’s views of social media as impacting negatively or positively on mental wellbeing, how they use social media to seek health informationand the barriers to using it as a psycho-educational tool.
While previous research has indicated that social media can both promote mental wellbeing as well as damage it, the research team suggests that the relative anonymity the internet provides has the potential to reduce the associated stigma of discussing mental health issues and can allow young people to freely explore information that could be beneficial to their wellbeing.

Dr O’Reilly explained: “It is globally recognised that mental health is an important issue and that adolescents particularly are a group in need of support.

“There is a great deal of unmet mental health need and as social media is a popular medium for communication in this age group it has great potential for mental health promotion.

“It is hoped that this project will provide us with an understanding about adolescent social media use so that in the future we might be able to develop an intervention that will promote mental wellbeing in this group.”

The research will use focus groups with adolescents, teaching staff and mental health professionals to identify the benefits and challenges of promoting mental health through social media.

 

 


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A startup’s guide to 23 digital health accelerators in Europe

A startup’s guide to 23 digital health accelerators in Europe | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
It’s no surprise to anyone that startup accelerators are continually cropping up across Europe. There are now well over 100 programs accepting applications in the region.
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Online Marketing for Healthcare Practices

BARQAR CEO, Brad Smith, shares tips and best practices for building a healthcare practice through social media, digital marketing and online reputation.

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Nurses and social media: where do we go from here?

Nurses and social media: where do we go from here? | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

I recently attended an in-the-flesh meeting of tweeting healthcare professionals, organised by the ‘We Community’.  It was a vibrant day, with lively conversations around the role of social media in healthcare.

The subject that interested me the most, was this:

©We Communities

This question generated a lot of debate around my table, largely as it raises a number of issues around the role of nurses in social media.

We asked:

Should we be trying to improve peoples’ lives through social media?Do people want healthcare professionals to try and improve their lives via social media?Where do nurses stand in terms of duty and accountability?

Needless to say, we didn’t necessarily answer the question!

I recently wrote about the value of social media, especially twitter, for nurses.  It is an excellent space for engaging with the healthcare community and maintaining professional development.  But what about beyond that?

Should we be trying to improve peoples’ lives through social media?

As a nurse, I have a tendency to try and help others wherever possible.  Twitter is an amazing platform to communicate health information, share knowledge and demonstrate our value as a profession.

But what about beyond that?  Given the small number of nurses (compared to the number of UK registered nurses) who actively engage with twitter, is there scope to do more?  Or are we indirectly improving lives by being engaged professionals, passionate about nursing?

Do people want healthcare professionals to try and improve their lives via social media?

Writing in Forbes recently, Reenita Das talked about disruptive influences in healthcare. She reports that a key element of contemporary healthcare is patient to patient, or peer support.  It could be argued that patients and service users are ahead of the game when it comes to technology.

From the early days of the internet, self-help forums and online communities have flourished, providing the public with unprecedented access to information and support. This extends to social media where tweet chats are numerous and hashtags for every disease or illness imaginable connect people in an instant.

Are we being presumptuous in thinking we have a potential role in improving peoples lives via social media?  How can we add value in this space?

Where do nurses stand in terms of duty and accountability?

A recent We Community tweet chat on professional boundaries provides a great summary of some of the issues nurses need to consider when using twitter.  Several nurses have been the subject of NMC conduct hearings in recent years, in relation to social media.

It would be a brave nurse indeed who used social media to offer individual advice and support to the public.  I would consider it an accountability minefield.  However, the NMC Code stipulates that we are to “act in the best interests of people at all times.”  So where does that leave us?

If we go back to the original question, how can we improve peoples lives and services through social media?  The Code may actually provide us with some of the answers.  Take these three points:

“Share your skills, knowledge and experience for the benefit of people receiving care and your colleagues”“Always practise in line with the best available evidence”“Uphold the reputation of your profession at all times”

Any nurse engaged with social media in a professional capacity will know that these three elements make up the core of what we do in the digital world.  Are we then already improving peoples lives and services through social media?  If we are, where do we go from here?

As I pointed out earlier, the vast majority of registered nurses don’t appear to be actively engaged with social media in a professional capacity.  Maybe what we should be asking is ‘how do we engage our non-digital colleagues in improving peoples lives and services through social media?’

Clearly it’s a personal choice and a contentious issue.  I’ll be the first person to advocate switching off after a busy shift.  But what do you think?  Should more nurses engage with social media or is it too much to expect given the challenges they face day-to-day?  


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The Importance of Social Media for Medical Educators & Physicians for Their CPD

The Importance of Social Media for Medical Educators & Physicians for Their CPD | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is everywhere you look.

It is so much more than just sharing funny pictures and videos with friends and family. Conferences use hashtags to promote workshop sessions on Twitter, articles related to one’s position, industry, etc. are being shared and discussed on LinkedIn and Facebook, the list goes on. Social Media is an easy way to share with others what you are doing and what’s worth knowing – and for a physicians and educators who are constantly on the run, social media can help them get more done than ever before

Below are a few great resources to show the data collected from studies to show the importance of social media in the Med Ed world and why it’s not going anywhere:

“The use of free online educational resources by Canadian emergency medicine residents and program directors” – Purdy E et al (CJEM)
– From the survey conducted, it was determined that free OERs were used by residents most frequently for general EM education (99.5%)
– OER modalities used most frequently included wikis (95%), file-sharing websites (95%), e-textbooks (94%), and podcasts (91%)
– Residents used wikis, podcasts, vodcasts, and file-sharing websites significantly more frequently than PDs“A survey of the current utilization of asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the United States” – Mallin M et al (Academic Medicine)
– Of the survey conducted, 97.7% of respondents reported spending at least one hour per week engaging in extracurricular education, and 34.5% reported spending two to four hours per
week (P < .001)
– Time listening to podcasts was the most popular (reported by 35.0% of residents)
– Residents endorsed podcasts as the most beneficial (endorsed by 70.3%)“Dermatology podcasting: An untapped resource for continuing education” – Henley J et al (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology)
– Conversely, podcasting presents an opportunity to broaden the distribution of existing audio, video, and digital pictures in a convenient and efficient manner“Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education” – Kamel Boulos MN et al (BMC Medical Education)
– If effectively deployed, wikis, blogs and podcasts could offer a way to enhance students’, clinicians’ and patients’ learning experiences, and deepen levels of learners’ engagement and
collaboration within digital learning environments“Utilisation of internet resources for continuing professional development: a cross-sectional survey of general practitioners in Scotland” – MacWalter G et al (BMC Medical Education)
– From the conducted survey, it was determined that the majority used the internet on three or more working days per week or more frequently (n = 361, 94.3 %) with one of the three most
common reasons being CPD purposes (n = 308, 80.4 %)
– A majority agreed that ‘reading information online’ (95.0 %) and ‘completing online learning modules’ (87.4 %) were the most valued online activities“Five Strategies to Effectively Use Online Resources in Emergency Medicine” – Thoma B et al (Annals of Emergency Medicine)
– The FOAM movement has figured prominently in the proliferation of blogs and podcasts made available online by practicing clinicians
– Tools such as podcast content have been developed that can assist learners to navigate the flood of information
– Educators and learners should consider adopting these tools to customize their online medical education and personal learning network
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Les nouveaux rôles des patients à l’ère des technologies numériques

Les nouveaux rôles des patients à l’ère des technologies numériques | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it
Dans les dernières années, les technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC) ont été appelées à jouer un rôle plus important dans les réseaux de santé, notamment dans la perspective d’…

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How to use social media for your medical practice

How to use social media for your medical practice | #DigitalHealthcare | Scoop.it

Social media is the online method for sharing information to an audience. When using social media for business purposes, virality is important. The more of your content that is viral, the greater your online presence is. Many physicians have successfully used social media to create awareness of their practice and gain new patients.

Why use social media?

Gain new patients: In a recent survey, 41 percent of patients admitted social media channels influence their decision when choosing a health care provider. The digital era has made it easier than ever to find out if a company is in good standing. Gone are the days of calling the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce to see if a business has a good reputation. Online reviews have been a large determining factor for patients who are choosing a physician.Educate your existing patients: The average patient spends 52 hours per year searching for health information online. Maintaining a solid online presence creates a feeling of trust and authenticity for your patient. This will also establish you as an expert and leader in your field. Your patients should be able to turn to you for information instead of searching countless, and sometimes unscrupulous, websites to find answers to their health concerns.Build relationships with patients: Effectively managing your online presence allows you to respond to negative comments about your practice that are posted (or written) on social media platforms. A patient may have had a bad experience at your practice and decided to share that experience all over cyberspace. Responding to that comment allows you the chance to respond to the issue and reinstate their trust in you. Make sure to have an active profile on Healthgrades.com to see what your patients think of you.

Important tools to implement

There are many free social media tools you can utilize to more easily maintain your presence. Hootsuite is one of our favorites. It allows you to simplify the posting process by scheduling your posts in advance. We suggest taking 30 minutes out of your Monday morning to schedule your posts for the week.

Not sure when to schedule your posts? This is where SocialBro comes in. Their free version has a “Best Time to Tweet” feature, analyzing when most of your followers will be online. SocialBro calculates percentage estimates of online users for every hour of the day. This data could be very useful in scheduling your posts for the week.

Importance of employee advocacy

Do you want more online exposure for your practice? Ask your employees to share your posts! Employee advocacy can increase your social reach 10 times more than your original post. Employee advocacy not only benefits your practice, it benefits your employees as well. Sharing your quality content will build their personal brand in addition to generating exposure for your practice. Potential patients are more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know. When your employees share your post, it creates a sense of trust, grows your influence, and increases your thought leadership status.

Tailor your content to each platform

LinkedIn’s social platform consists of business professionals looking to network with coworkers, potential employers, and thought leaders. Join one of the many health care groups to engage in discussions that are important to you. Make sure to engage in discussions to grow into a LinkedIn Influencer.

If you already have a personal account, Facebook allows you to set up a business page for your practice. Invite your patients and Facebook friends to like your page and encourage them to invite their Facebook friends. Create wellness promotions or seasonal offers for potential patients to come check out your practice. For example, if it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, hold free screenings in your office.

Twitter is an informal social media outlet. Twitter, limited to posts of 140 characters, allows for hashtags to identify topics for users to search. Read about the Healthcare Hashtag Project to view trending health care topics. Think about hosting a weekly, hour-long live chat or a tweet-up to answer questions your patients may have.

Share interesting content and create your own

Finally, content is key! Continually generating content, whether it is your own or shared by another source, is important to keep your name top of mind. If you do not have a blog, use LinkedIn’s “Publish a post” feature. It can be found on Pulse, LinkedIn’s publishing platform, which you can access from the LinkedIn menu at the top of the page under Interests. Aim to generate weekly informative articles to create awareness on health care topics relevant to your community. Consider adding imagery to your content for an eye-catching post, since it’s proven that images improve engagement of your audience.  

Whether you implement some or all of these strategies, you will be well on your way to improving your online presence and likely building your practice. You will create an online community that will inform, educate, communicate, and motivate current and potential patients.


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