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5 Exemplary Examples of Healthcare Social Media Marketing Success

5 Exemplary Examples of Healthcare Social Media Marketing Success | Medicine and Technology |

The most effective marketing programs do more than educate; they resonate with the public, eliciting an emotional response that isn’t easily forgotten. With deeply personal subjects often of life or death significance, healthcare marketing campaigns are often particularly powerful. Hospital groups, pharmaceutical companies and charitable causes are increasingly pushing the boundaries to create creative, compelling campaigns which create a lasting impression. Using the right social media channels to deliver the message directly to their target audience is what makes the best campaigns so successful.


Here are five of our favourites from the past few years:

1. SickKids VS

Better known simply as “SickKids,” Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children took a radical approach when sharing the stories of its young patients in a fundraising campaign for the Sick Kids Foundation. Rather than tugging on the audience’s heartstrings by portraying patients as victims of their medical condition or depicting the hardships having a child with a serious illness poses for the entire family, the kids are presented is a series of videos as heroic fighters readying for battle.

Instead of being portrayed as weak or suffering, they are defiant and strong. They are gladiators, boxers, pro wrestlers and comic book superheroes, supported by an army of doctors, nurses, researchers and family members who gird for battle alongside them. The final result is intense, raw and unforgettable.


It’s a new solution to an old problem. Despite rising awareness of breast cancers and the importance of early detection, officials with the Carilion Clinic in Virginia were concerned that not enough women were scheduling mammograms. The clinic added screening locations through the state which would be accessible to all women, regardless of their ability to pay, and launched the #YESMAMM campaign to encourage women to schedule an appointment. The social based campaign helped drive traffic to the clinic site, grew their online community and provided a way to share valuable information with hosted Twitter chats about breast cancer.

3. Movember

When a healthcare campaign goes global and takes over an entire month, you know it’s been a success. Movember started in 2003 as a conversation between two friends in Australia, who wanted to challenge a few friends to grow a moustache. Inspired by friends who were raising money for breast cancers, they decided to make the challenge meaningful by using it to raise money for men’s health issues. The following year they decided to make the movement formal and registered the Movember Foundation, built a website and launched a social media campaign. Now, 15 years later, more than 5.5 million “Mo Bros” (and “Mo Sisters’) have joined the movement, funding more than 1,200 projects in 20 countries and, raising awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate and testicular cancers.

4. The Eyes Of A Child

The brainchild of a French advocacy group called the Noémie Foundation, the powerful campaign titled The Eyes of a Child aimed to change the public’s perception of people with disabilities. In a compelling video, parents and their kids were shown pictures of people making various funny faces, and were asked to mimic them. In each case the last image depicted a person with a disability. While the adults reacted with surprise or shock, and stopped trying to mimic their facial expressions, the children innocently continued playing the game. The campaign’s simple message lies at the root of its success: when we look at the disabled through the eyes of a child, we see the person, not their disability.

5. Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About

When the U.S. government wanted to encourage millennials to visit healthcare.govand sign up for healthcare coverage it took a decidedly lighthearted approach to a serious (and some might say boring) subject. With the help of a very famous spokesperson – then President Barack Obama – and BuzzFeed, it launched a promotional video designed to capture the attention of this traditionally hard to reach demographic. And it worked. The humorous clip answered the question: “What does the President do when nobody’s around?” The answer: the same things everybody else does. He checks himself out in new sunglasses, makes funny faces, takes selfies with a selfie stick, blames the President when something goes wrong and practices for a big speech in front of the mirror. The fact that his speech rehearsal includes a plug for the site and reminds viewers of the sign-up deadline is clever and hits just the right tone for the millennial audience. With more than 15 million views in its first 8 hours, the campaign was a viral sensation.

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How Blockchain, A.I. And Other Tech Trends Will Disrupt Healthcare In 2018

How Blockchain, A.I. And Other Tech Trends Will Disrupt Healthcare In 2018 | Medicine and Technology |
I spoke with Innoplexus Co-Founder Gunjan Bhardwaj about emerging tech shaping the space, top trends to watch and how healthcare will evolve in 2018 and beyond.

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American Institute Health Care Professionals's curator insight, December 20, 2017 11:43 AM

How Blockchain, A.I. And Other Tech Trends Will Disrupt Healthcare In 2018



Good article on healthcare issues in 2018

Please also review our Case Management Certification

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How to Develop a Thriving Facebook Patient Community

For online patient communities with fewer than 1500 members, Facebook Groups can provide a simple, easy-to-access platform. This 7-step checklist will help you…

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17 Common Social Media Marketing Myths… And How To Bust Them!

17 Common Social Media Marketing Myths… And How To Bust Them! | Medicine and Technology |
Even though social media is a common tactic used by marketers across the globe, myths about how and why to use social media persist. Buying into these myths will seriously undermine your social media…

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Cancer and Social Media: How Can We Use It to Improve Care?

Cancer and Social Media: How Can We Use It to Improve Care? | Medicine and Technology |

The ASCO Educational Book is a collection of articles written by ASCO Annual Meeting speakers and oncology experts. Published annually, each volume highlights the most compelling research and developments across the multidisciplinary fields of oncology such as surgery, radiation therapy, symptom management, health services research, international perspectives, and immunology, among other topics.

In collaboration with Cancer.Net, authors of the ASCO Educational Book have tailored their articles for patients and their loved ones so that they may be similarly informed of the latest science in oncology to improve their care and outcomes.

Merry Jennifer Markham, MD, is an associate professor in the division of hematology and oncology at University of Florida Health, where she also co-leads the Multidisciplinary Gynecologic Oncology Program. Danielle Gentile, PhD, is a Health Services Researcher Intermediate at the Levine Cancer Institute of the Carolinas Healthcare System. David L. Graham, MD, FASCO, is the Physician Administrator at Levine Cancer Institute of the Carolinas Healthcare System. He is also an Associate Editor for the ASCO University Editorial Board and a member of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee and Practice Guidelines Implementation Network.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do more than allow users to keep tabs on celebrities and old classmates. Social media also allows oncology professionals to collaborate on research and insights and, in doing so, better treat people with cancer.


Before the era of social media, news about new cancer treatments and clinical trial results might take a while before it reached widespread audiences. But on platforms like Twitter, real-time news instantly reaches broad audiences. In 140 characters or less, oncology professionals can send key findings from research studies or presentations to thousands of followers. These followers can then click a single button to share that information with their own followers, who can do the same. In a matter of minutes, news about groundbreaking research becomes publicly and widely available.

For example, if a doctor can’t attend the ASCO Annual Meeting, she could follow the @ASCO Twitter handle to see real-time information about new research. This information could change the way she decides to treat a patient.

People can read specific news in cancer treatment by clicking on or searching by hashtags, which are words or acronyms following “#”. Common cancer hashtags include:

#AYACSM: Adolescent and young adult cancer

#BCSM: Breast cancer

#CRCSM: Colorectal cancer

#GynCSM: Gynecologic cancer

#KCSM: Kidney cancer

#LCSM: Lung cancer

#LeuSM: Leukemia

#LymSM: Lymphoma

#MMSM: Multiple myeloma

#PallOnc: Palliative oncology

#PancSM: Pancreatic cancer

#PCSM: Prostate cancer

#PedCSM: Pediatric cancer


Getting new information out there is the first step, but it’s equally important for physicians to then figure out how this news relates to their practice. That is, how should a piece of new research change the way physicians treat their patients? That’s where online forums and chats come into play. On Twitter, “tweet chats” give users organized settings to discuss specific topics organized around designated hashtags. Twitter users can send out questions, answers, insights, and observations about the chat’s specific topic. Tweet chats are usually held weekly or monthly and are organized by moderators. For instance, moderators affiliated with the @gyncsm account organize a monthly chat about gynecological cancers using the #GYNCSM hashtag.


By nature, social media sites are networking goldmines. They are called “social networks” for a reason. Tweet chats and forums give professionals opportunities to share insights with colleagues across the globe, while closed Facebook groups like “Physicians Mom Group” or “Hematology and Oncology Women Physician Group” are places for in-depth, personal conversations that foster support and friendship as well as professional growth.

Because every professional connection is a resource for opinions, insights, and knowledge, the more professional connections a physician has, the more informed she will be when it comes to successfully treating patients.


So how can patients and caregivers use social media to contribute to improved patient care? Through #engagement. People who engage with cancer-related topics on social media can gain valuable knowledge and support. This knowledge and support can also help relieve worries and lower stress. Research shows that people with cancer who engage on social media are more likely to follow their treatment plan and see the doctor regularly.


Many patients on social media don’t provide enough of their own insights to help oncology professionals improve their care. If you really want to improve care, don’t just read the content you come find in social media. Respond to it. Retweet it. Like it. React to it. Individually, these actions may seem insignificant, but together, they go a long way in improving outcomes for people with cancer.

More detailed information can be found in the ASCO Educational Book article from which this blog was based.

Social Media 101 for Patients [PDF]Social Media 101 for Advocates [PDF]Using Social Media to Learn & Communicate in Cancer CareCancer in the Age of Social Media

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Building a Digital Medicine Brand #DOYOlive 2017

How your social media presence can help build your business, as a physician, a nurse, and an entrepreneur. 2017 is the year of the video. 


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Evolving use of social media among Chinese urologists: Opportunity or challenge?

Evolving use of social media among Chinese urologists: Opportunity or challenge? | Medicine and Technology |

Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate, and it has been widely incorporated into medical practice. However, limited data are available regarding the use of social media by Chinese urologists in their practice.


From 2014 to 2016, during the China Urological Association’s (CUA) Annual National Minimally Invasive Urology Academic Conference, an anonymous survey on social media usage was distributed to participant urologists.


The results of the survey, which was completed by 665 participants, indicate a conspicuous increase in social media use during the last three years. Regression analysis showed that year (2014 compared to 2016 and 2015), institute location (in the eastern region of China) and age (<35 y) were independent predictors of social media use. Rather than for personal use, an increasing number of respondents said they used social media for professional purposes, and for most respondents, social media has had a positive impact on their practice. However, when posting information on social media, few respondents were aware of the issue of protecting patients’ privacy.


Our study demonstrates a dramatic increase in social media use among Chinese urologists, which provides great opportunities for online academic communication and medical education. However, unprofessional use of social media in the medical practice may bring about potential risks and challenges for the further development of social media in medical practice.


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Why Your Healthcare Brand Should Be on Social Media

Why Your Healthcare Brand Should Be on Social Media | Medicine and Technology |

Social media marketing can be a difficult space to navigate. Success requires timeliness and a certain degree of impulse, but also meticulous planning. You have to be authentic but calculated, consistent but flexible.


These challenges are compounded for healthcare marketers, who run up against an additional wall of regulations and legal issues when trying to operate in the social media realm, including:


Staying compliant in a heavily regulated industry
Operating in healthcare brings its own set of rules that govern what brands are allowed to communicate, who brands are allowed to speak to, and what data or information brands must document and report.

Protecting the privacy of patients
As people have grown more comfortable sharing more of their lives on social media, the line between personal and professional has blurred. Sharing any piece of data about a patient is a HIPAA violation, whether the account is private or not. Ignorance of this fact has tarnished careers for unknowing professionals and led to public backlash against their larger organizations.


For some healthcare organizations, getting involved in social media can seem like too much of a risk. It’s easier — and safer — to just stay away. But that could be a mistake.


While it’s true that social media brings unique challenges to healthcare marketers, it also offers unique opportunities.


For better or worse, social media is a primary source of information for today’s audiences.

To anyone in healthcare, “fake news” is old news. Since the days of traveling snake oil salesmen, myths, false information, and “miracle” cures have plagued the healthcare space for time immemorial. Today, social media makes it easy for misinformation to spread widely and rapidly.


Becoming a trusted source of real and reliable information can make your brand invaluable to patients. Just look at Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic. These brands have used social media to power their content marketing efforts and built a reputation for trust, credibility, and leadership as a result.


Social media marketing is essential to building an accessible brand identity.

Sixty-three percent of customers turn to a business’s social media channels to find up-to-date information about that business. People expect to be able to find brands on social media.


[“A website establishes that a brand exists, but a social media page establishes that the brand is active.” - Inc.]


While a handful of notable exceptions do exist — Trader Joe’s and Apple, for example — 88% of companies include social media in their marketing strategies. Especially relevant to the healthcare industry, the 50–64 age bracket has seen some of the steepest social media adoption in recent years, and baby boomers are the most likely to share content on social media.


Social media builds human connections with patients.

It may sound counterintuitive — building a human connection through a digital channel — but used the right way, social media has the capacity, more than any other channel, to do just that. Healthcare is a service everyone inevitably needs at some point, but no one looks forward to needing.


In the words of Paul Matsen, marketing director from Cleveland Clinic, “healthcare is bought, not sold.” No one ever wants to need a hospital, but if a healthcare brand can build a strong and positive relationship — via social — with people when they’re healthy, those people are more likely to turn to them when they do need care.


Social media offers direct, widespread, and immediate communication.

Because of its immediate, wide-reaching, and direct nature, social media is also an invaluable tool for communicating with large audiences during a crisis or when advocating for a cause.


For example, during the peak of the 2016 Zika epidemic, the CDC used social media channels to share information with affected communities and doctors, post tips for preventing the disease, and host #CDCchat sessions to answer questions in real time. Crises such as the Zika outbreak leave frightened communities vulnerable to misinformation, but social media presents healthcare organizations with the opportunity to share crucial information directly with the people who need it most.


So how does a healthcare brand overcome the challenges of social media to be able to take advantage of the opportunities? Here are some practical tips:


Always be listening.

Sensitive situations are going to happen. A staff member might overshare on Facebook after a tough day at work. An unhappy patient might take to Twitter to air a grievance. A physician might unknowingly post a well-intentioned but rule-breaking selfie on Instagram. The key to effectively managing these situations is catching them early. Social Studio can help brands listen for key terms and brand mentions across social media channels and show cross-channel activity in a single dashboard, making social media management easier for teams with limited resources.  


Establish best practices for social media use.

These should govern teams managing corporate accounts as well as provide guidelines for staff members using social media in their non-professional lives. For teams managing brand channels, a policy should include a chain of command and guidelines for publishing content, responding to comments, and reporting adverse events. For employees, ground rules should cover the legal requirements for healthcare professionals communicating on social media — even in private channels — as well as any organizational policies the brand has in place.


Use a platform to manage multiple accounts.

Managing multiple social media accounts through a single platform offers several advantages. It allows different teams to work together to create consistent messaging for social media campaigns, analyze data and build cross-channel social advertising campaigns. Security is also a major concern for many healthcare institutions. For a healthcare brand, getting hacked could mean compromised patient data, the potential spread of false or noncompliant information, or an embarrassing PR mess. None of these situations is fun to deal with, especially if you’re powerless to stop it as it’s happening. Managing accounts through a single platform not only protects your account passwords, but it also allows you to see all activity at once and shut down accounts if necessary.

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Should We Use Social Media to Diagnose Diseases?

Should We Use Social Media to Diagnose Diseases? | Medicine and Technology |

AI and machine learning is opening up possible new avenues in disease detection — but just because we can do something, does that mean we should?

Last month, I wrote an article called “3 Amazing Ways Google Search Data is Improving Healthcare,” that discussed the notion of using search engine data to diagnose illness before patients are even aware that they might be sick.

I recently came across a Wired article by Dr. Sam Volchenboum, the Director of the Center for Research Informatics at the University of Chicago, and a co-founder of Litmus Health, a data science provider for early-stage clinical trials, that explored this idea in depth. Here are a few of the key takeaways from his piece.

Data, Data Everywhere

From a data science perspective, says Dr. Volchenboum, the world is effectively becoming “one big clinical trial.” Internet search, social media, mobile devices, wearables, etc. are generating a steady — and staggeringly large — stream of information that “can provide insights into a person’s health and well-being.”

We’re not quite there yet, but it’s entirely possible that in the very near future, platforms like Facebook and Google will be able to alert someone to the possible presence of a disease before they’re even aware of it. While, in theory, this kind of technology would have the potential to save lives, Dr. Volchenboum aptly points out that when it comes to electronic patient health data, it’s never black and white.

How Does it Work?

In order to create a predictive model, a platform like Facebook would have to start by working backwards. Dr. Volchenboum explains, it would generate “a data set consisting of social media posts from tens of thousands of people will likely chronicle the journey that some had on their way to a diagnosis of cancer, depression, or inflammatory bowel disease.”

Then, using machine-learning technologies, a researcher or provider could analyze all of those disparate data points, taking into account the “language, style, and content of those posts both before and after the diagnosis.” This would allow them to create models capable of identifying similar behavior, which, in theory, would suggest a similar outcome down the road.

While such “early warning systems” are not yet in place, the underlying technology necessary to develop them certainly exists — the advanced predictive and machine-learning algorithms powering Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms basically use the same concept, but simply employ them to different ends.

A Double-Edged Sword?

I agree with Dr. Volchenboum that yes, we should start leveraging the vast amounts of consumer data in ways that benefit society as a whole, but that we also need to be very careful if and when we attempt to do so.

As we all know, the companies behind today’s biggest digital platforms detail how they plan to use consumer data in their terms of service; but as we also all know, few people actually take the time to read the terms of service. So, while these companies may be covered from a legal perspective, they’re not actually providing a functional window for patients who may be concerned about where their data ends up.

If this is the path we ultimately go down (and I’m quite sure it will be), we need to make sure it’s a highly transparent, opt-in system for those patients interested in participating. That means spelling it all out in terms that patients can actually understand, ensuring their data remains protected, and, if they choose not to participate, respecting that decision and keeping their data private. As patients continue to take a more active role in their health and treatment decisions, it’s likely that many would be in favor of this kind of technology — we just need to make sure it’s built upon a foundation of trust and respect.

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The top five social media tools for physicians

The top five social media tools for physicians | Medicine and Technology |

Whether you are an avid tweeter, write a blog, or are a novice to professional social media, your online presence has the power to connect you with potential patients just down the street or colleagues working on similar research across the world.

Having a strong online voice is part of your brand. Any communication by or about you, such as your name being listed on your practice's website, is part of your brand.

Taking control of how you are perceived by others helps to build your professional reputation. Whether you want to expand your practice, find colleagues to collaborate with, or are looking for career opportunities, your reputation is key to achieving your goals.

In a recent article on branding, we brought you tips on how to define and establish your brand. Here, we delve deeper into how to capitalize on the most useful professional social media platforms for physicians.

LinkedIn: Bringing the world to you

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, with more than 500 million registered users worldwide.

Half of these users are college graduates, and 45 percent report household incomes of $75,000 or more per year.

Kevin Pho, M.D. - an internal medicine physician and co-author of the book Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices - sees several benefits from having a LinkedIn profile. "LinkedIn is a low-threat, low-resource, high-yield action," he said.

Unlike physician rating sites, a social media profile offers more control over how you are presented, Dr. Pho explained. Also, LinkedIn profiles are ranked highest out of all social media platforms, reducing the impact of negative news or physician rating sites.

After registering at, create the most thorough profile possible, recommended Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., in an article published on

The more complete your profile is, the higher it ranks. The basic information to share is your education, medical expertise, areas of interest, professional experience, the address and phone number of your practice, and links to your website (if you have one).

To make the most of your LinkedIn profile, follow these simple steps:

Upload a picture of yourself looking professional but approachable.Personalize your headline.Add keywords, including the name and location of your practice.List at least five of your strongest skills as a physician.Search for colleagues already on LinkedIn and invite them to connect.Join LinkedIn groups that match your interests.Be active by commenting on others' posts and sharing articles of interest, including your own.Finally, customize your profile URL, and include it in your email signature.

LinkedIn allows you to build up a substantial network of connections, communicate directly with other members, post updates, share stories from other outlets, and importantly, track who has viewed your profile.

Doximity: Catering to HCPs

While LinkedIn is low in physician resources, Doximity is high.

Similar to LinkedIn but exclusive to healthcare professionals in the United States, Doximity connects more than 800,000 of them - 600,000 of which are physicians.

"Doximity has emerged as the core professional profile for doctors and one that's totally within the physician's control," said Bryan Vartabedian, M.D. - director of community medicine for the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition for Texas Children's Hospital in Houston - in his blog. "It's the first place I go to update my professional status as it changes."

Creating your profile is easy; you can automatically upload your CV. Conveniently, Doximity keeps your CV updated by scanning the web for information about your latest achievements.

It doesn't stop there. Doximity profile updates are also immediately reflected in U.S. News & World Report physician profiles.

Including your clinical interests allows you to receive the most relevant referrals and news from their DocNews newsfeed. The site also lets you know when your work is being discussed in online conversations.

In addition to connecting physicians with job offers, the site offers CME/CE credits, a residency navigator, and an annual salary survey.

For communicating with your patients, a free digital fax and messaging service provides HIPAA-secure communication from any mobile device. Another tool displays your office number when you call patients from your cell phone.

Between its far-reaching network and well-conceived resources, Doximity expands your influence while boosting your practice on the most practical levels.

Twitter: Big impact in tiny bites

With 328 million active users, Twitter is well suited to physicians who want to network, learn, or teach.

The microblogging site lets you make an impact in 140-character posts called "tweets." Quotes and attached media are excluded from the character count. While anyone can read tweets, only registered users can post them.

Tweets often include photos and links. Hashtags (such as #cancer) identify terms and help to organize information. The names, or "handles," of other users are preceded by the @ symbol (such as @mnt).

Physicians usually follow other physicians, allowing them to interact with colleagues interested in the same news, advances, or advocacy.

"On Twitter you can follow thought leaders in any area of medicine and healthcare," Dr. Pho explained. "I have a Twitter list that has 40 healthcare thought leaders that I follow dozens of times a day. To me it's one of the most powerful ways to stay up to date in my area of medicine and healthcare."

Twitter can also bring you the latest news from major medical journals, including pre-published articles as well as policy updates and educational events.

The platform is especially useful for getting insight into patients' perspectives, as many patients and advocacy groups tweet regularly.

Through Twitter, you can even attend medical conferences virtually, by following attendees' tweets. Sharing research findings is easy and can lead to new collaborations.

In 2015, the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) took to Twitter for vaccine legislation.

Up for debate was a bill that would end personal belief exemptions for vaccines. Going up against thousands of Twitter comments opposing the bill, the CAFP formed a coalition with pediatricians and public health officials, tweeting to educate patients and the media.

The result saw California become the third state to ban personal belief exemptions for vaccines.

To add your voice to Twitter, sign up for a free account on Then, create a profile that includes your name, credentials, and a picture. Search by using hashtags to find the topics most pertinent to you.

Begin by following the physicians and thought leaders who interest you, and "retweet" the most insightful ones. Once you start tweeting your own thoughts and links to original articles, be ready to field the responses.

A record of all your tweets is conveniently stored on your home page.

YouTube: Patients see you in action

While Twitter plugs you into the latest research and gives you a forum to share yours, YouTube can be even more personal.

A short video introducing yourself allows potential patients to start getting to know you before even making an appointment.

YouTube videos can also be a way to educate patients about your services, without any overt marketing.

Orthopedic surgeon C. Noel Henley, M.D., uses YouTube videos to put patients at ease about their upcoming surgeries.

On his blog, he said, "This week, my patient requested a specific procedure. We agreed it should be done, and [...] I fired up my iPad in the office and showed him a 2-minute video of the procedure I created and uploaded to YouTube using free software [...] He was crystal clear on the procedure and prepared for what will happen in a few weeks."

In addition to educating and reassuring existing patients, a YouTube channel can also bring new clients to your door. Using video clips, you can explain illnesses, perform exercises, or demonstrate early detection techniques.

Dr. Henley wrote, "YouTube sends my practice website a large percentage of my best monthly traffic. Last month, the visitors from my YouTube channel stayed on my website longer than most people, and viewed more pages than average."

"This makes sense: a person who watches one of my videos is already interested in my information and wants to know more - before they arrive on my website. If you want to be found by patients, you need to be on YouTube before your local competition figures this out."

To get started, sign up for a free YouTube account. Search for channels relevant to your field, and see what the competition is doing.

Once you're ready to try your hand at it, invest in a high-quality camera. Ensure that you have enough lighting and excellent audio. Choose a setting appropriate to the topic. Videos can be edited with a free tool such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

To get the most out of your channel:

Add a professional profile picture to help legitimize your channel.Link back to your practice website, to your other social media accounts, and to similar YouTube channels.End the video by encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel and directing them to your website.Take advantage of YouTube's free tracking tool to see which videos are most popular. This shows you what additional videos and web pages your viewers might like.Hootsuite: Tying it all together

When using multiple social media platforms, one simple tool can make you much more efficient: Hootsuite.

While both free and paid versions are available, the free version allows you to manage three social media profiles and track follower growth.

It also shows you which content you post is most popular, lets you schedule content to post, and integrates two RSS feeds that find and share content from sources you choose.

Dr. Pho turns to the tool to monitor Twitter conversations, as well as any mentions of his handle and his name, and to manage pages and posts on various social media platforms.

"The free version is powerful enough for the majority of physicians," said Dr. Pho. "It's an essential social media tool and I highly recommend it to any physician using social media."

As you ease into social media, start small. Dr. Vartabedian noted, "It doesn't take much. Share your successes and tell some stories on a LinkedIn page and a Twitter account, and you're off to the races."

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Dorothy R. Cook 's curator insight, September 25, 2017 1:34 PM

Social Media used for numerous different reasons. 

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Choosing a physician on social media: comments and ratings of users are more important than the qualification of a physician

Choosing a physician on social media: comments and ratings of users are more important than the qualification of a physician | Medicine and Technology |

Social media provide users with descriptions, comments and ratings from others in order to facilitate decision making. In this study we want to assess how users make decisions with help of the tools provided by social media. In order to do so, we simulate a physician rating website in which participants had to choose one physician among four options in a task of 20 trials. For this, we used a choice-based conjoint design which allowed us to experimentally observe which features of social media have more impact on the decisions of the participants. Furthermore, personal characteristics of the participants, such as executive functions, cognitive styles and personality traits were measured. We found that the subjective features of social media, like the comments and ratings provided by other users, have the greater impact on the decision of the participants when compared to objective characteristics such as experience or specialty. Regarding the personal characteristics, we found that the executive functions cognitive flexibility and categorization were higher for those participants who preferred objective features (e.g., availability, specialty, experience of the physician) than for those participants who preferred subjective features. The results of the current study help to understand how users make decisions with social media tools. We also stress the importance of the comments and ratings of users in decision making on social media. Furthermore, we suggest to consider these results in the fields of recommender systems and information retrieval, in order to improve the human-computer interaction in platforms that use recommendations as an important part of the decision-making process of users.

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Do you know what your doctor has shared on social media? 

Do you know what your doctor has shared on social media?  | Medicine and Technology |

How much information should doctors and medical professionals share on social media?

The ethical and legal pitfalls facing health professionals in an age of instant‚ global communication are akin to a minefield.

The furore around low-carbohydrate high-fat advocate Tim Noakes is a case in point.

He emerged victorious after a long and bruising disciplinary after giving dietary advice to a breastfeeding mother on Twitter.

Academic dismissal‚ employment termination and deregistration from professional boards are some of the sanctions faced by health professionals abroad.

Brenda Kubheka from the School of Public Health‚ Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand says a whole new generation of medical students have emerged with digital footprints and established social media habits “unimaginable to their seniors”.

Writing in the South African Medical Journal‚ she cited a study that found 52% of undergraduate medical students admitted to having “embarrassing photos on Facebook”.

But‚ she warned‚ the same laws and codes of conduct apply in cyberspace as they do in the real world in a paper titled‚ Ethical and legal perspectives on use of social media by health professionals in South Africa.

“Failure to uphold ethical standards on social media exposes patients to embarrassment and psychological harm‚ thus undermining the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence‚” she wrote.

Social media is a valuable tool for health promotion due to its massive reach. Group-based communication using WhatsApp enables medical professionals to communicate about shift work‚ traffic issues and‚ for example‚ share pictures of patients when requesting second opinions from colleagues.

Kubheka’s paper offers some useful pointers on cyberspace etiquette for medical professionals. They include:

– Think carefully before accepting friend requests from patients or sending friend requests to them‚ because of the risk of blurring professional and personal lives.
– Sharing patients’ photographs‚ even for educational purposes‚ might constitute an invasion of privacy.
– Do not take photographs without obtaining informed consent from patients.
– Share generic information online. Avoid responding with direct medical advice to individuals.
– Making negative comments about colleagues and patients on social media can be viewed as bullying and unprofessional.

“Professionals ought to ask themselves before posting on social media whether sharing certain information is legally and morally defensible‚” said the paper.

It recommended that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) “develop social media guidelines and train medical trainers in this specific area”.

Medical schools were also encouraged to address social media issues.

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Five Reasons Why Physicians Need to Use Social Media

Five Reasons Why Physicians Need to Use Social Media | Medicine and Technology |

Physician participation in social media is a health care imperative according to Dr. Kevin Pho, a practicing internist and the founder, a leading online health portal; however, many physicians remain skeptical about the value of social media.  At an Ethics Forum hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society on December 2, 2011, Pho suggested several reasons why physicians need to embrace new ways to communicate with their patients.

A social media epiphany

Pho began blogging in May, 2004 as a way to share links to health care resources and talk about health care reform.  In the fall of 2004, when the Merck drug Vioxx was recalled, Pho’s office was flooded with patient phone calls.  In response, Pho decided to write a blog post about the recall.  When one of his patients mentioned that the blog post had reassured and comforted him, Pho recognized the tremendous potential of social media.    He realized that patients want health information but are overwhelmed, frustrated, confused and even frightened by what they find online.  Health care professionals, Pho noted, can play an important role by becoming a reputable source of online information or by directing patients to reliable sources.  

Making the case for social media participation

Pho offered five reasons doctors should participate in social media:

Provide context.  Pho pointed out that every day new health stories are published.  Social media is a powerful way for physicians to provide context and meaning to the news items that patients read and view.Dispel myths.  Online health information can be medically and factually inaccurate.  To maintain physicians’ standing as health care authorities, Pho emphasized that it is critical for doctors to use social media to counter myths perpetuated by inaccurate health information.Influence the health care debate.  Pho cited the results of a Gallup survey which concluded that patients trust physicians regarding health care policy. Participation in social media gives physicians a way to express their views and influence the formulation of policies that will shape how medicine is practiced.Choose social networks carefully. There are many different social media networks today. Facebook has been the most popular for a long time, but others are gaining traction too, such as Instagram. It’s a good idea to buy Instagram likes and invest in other social networks, since they are changing the marketing landscape for the healthcare profession.Connect with mainstream media.  Experience with social media can provide physicians with the skills they need to connect with mainstream media.  For example, Pho noted that writing his blog gave him the confidence to write op-eds for mainstream news publications.Hear what patients have to say.  Social media gives patients a place to express their frustrations and concerns about health care.  By listening to patient feedback on his blog, Pho has changed the way he practices medicine.  He now offers same day appointments, doesn’t take his laptop into the exam room and makes sure patients receive their test results.

Rules of engagement

Prior to using social media, Pho suggested that physicians consult guidelines, such as those prepared by the American Medical Association or the Massachusetts Medical Society.    He emphasized that patient privacy always comes first.  He also offered these pointers:

Tiptoe into social media.  Start small by establishing a presence in a single social media community.   Expand your presence as you get more comfortable.Stay professional.  Pho advised that rules for online and offline professional behavior are identical:  behavior on the web is no different from behavior in the exam room.Think twice before you hit enter.  Pho reminded attendees that what you post on the web is permanently indexed by search engines so post thoughtfully not impulsively. Manage your online reputation.  According to Pho you can’t get delete a negative online review but you can downplay its significance by creating a healthy online presence.  He noted that any page you put in your own name such as websites, blogs or social profiles on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, will rank more highly in search results than reviews on third party rating sites.  Additionally, he suggested being proactive by asking patients to submit reviews. He noted that most reviews are positive.  He also encourages doctors to Google their name at least once a week to continually monitor and protect their reputations.

 Pho closed by noting that the true value of social media for physicians may be its ability to strengthen and preserve relationships with patients.

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How social media is connecting people living with illness - Health

How social media is connecting people living with illness - Health | Medicine and Technology |

Three years after she was diagnosed with endometriosis, Marissa Brennan turned to Facebook for support.

"When it comes to endometriosis, there's a lot of people that think they understand or think it's only a 'small' disease that affects you a couple of days a month," she said.

"But day-to-day coping can actually be really difficult."

What started out as a search for more information, led Marissa to an online support group of Australian women living with endometriosis.

"I read through other women's stories, and it was really nice to realise that there were other people going through the same things as me," Marissa said.

Finding an online community where people understood her experience allowed Marissa to reach out and get support in a way she had not been able to before.

Even though endometriosis affects one in ten women, it has long been poorly understood, can be extremely isolating, and on average takes a woman seven to ten years to get an accurate diagnosis.

Advocates say women are often forced to become self-taught experts, managing symptoms that include pelvic pain, heavy or irregular periods, bowel and bladder symptoms, and fertility problems.

"In the group, you feel like you're around like-minded people that understand ... like there's this big support network that's available just at your fingertips when you might need it," Marissa said.

Support groups on social networks

The 25-year-old Brisbane nurse is one of thousands of Australians living with an illness who turns to social media to connect with others who understand her plight.

"Closed" or "secret" Facebook groups allow people connect privately with others who might be going through a similar experience.

The groups often have a set of unique terms and conditions, and require members to answer a series of questions before joining. For example, "do they live with X illness or care for someone who does?".

"It's safe space where people can talk without feeling judged, and look for support and reinforcement that they are doing the right thing and doing everything they can," Marissa said.

Dr Melanie Keep, an e-Health researcher at the University of Sydney, said recent years had seen a rise in the number of illness support groups on social media, as well as online discussion boards and patient-specific platforms.

"These groups play an important role in allowing people access to peer support that is otherwise limited by time and geography," she said.

Usually the groups are run by one or more voluntary members, or by an organisation advocating for the same cause.

Dr Keep said there was significant variety from group to group.

"There might be emotional support from peers. And there could also be practical support, like being able to drive somebody to an appointment," she said.

"All of these things can be facilitated through an online group."

Dr Keep says some people turn to online communities for support because they find it difficult to talk those close to them.

Dr Keep said research suggested people who actively engaged in online support groups — whether by regularly posting or responding to what others posted — tended to "get more out of it".

But Dr Keep and her colleagues recently investigated the effects of online health communities on members who engage less actively, and found the experience was still largely beneficial.

"We found that even people who 'lurk' feel like they're getting something out of the process, either by sharing minimally or by what they view," she said.

Sharing resources and supporting others

Kristin Gillespie, 54, has lived with mental illness for most of her life, and now helps to run a closed Facebook group for Australians living with psycho-social disability.

Kristin said the announcement of the NDIS prompted her to connect with others who were also grappling with how the scheme would work.

"I'm very much a believer that people with disabilities need to stick together … and peer support is enormously beneficial and powerful if it's done well," Kristin said.

According to Kristin, the group, which now has more than one thousand members, provides peer support and practical information about mental health and the NDIS.

"We have a huge range of stuff in the group. Sometimes we might be discussing how things operate at a nuts and bolts level, or we might be discussing one person's lived experience," she said.

"We have articles about things like self-care, causes of mental illness, or we might share artwork. It's quite varied."

For Kristin, one of the biggest benefits of the group is that people can participate from anywhere in Australia.

"People who suffer from serious mental illness tend to be very isolated, and many of us have to live in more rural or remote locations simply because we can't afford to live in the city," she said.

"It enables us to connect with other peers in a fairly safe environment, and that's actually quite hard to do."

Minimising potential risks

In both Kristin and Marissa's groups, administrators have posted clear guidelines around who to contact if someone needs urgent help or support.

Dr Keep said online support groups often develop group guidelines to ensure discussions are healthy and respectful. These can include:

Who the group is for (e.g. patients, carers)Behavioural guidelines (being respectful of other members)No advertising or promotional contentWhere to access urgent help or support

Dr Keep said for people considering joining an online support group, it is important to read a group's guidelines and note their privacy settings. Also, shop around.

"Look at a number of different communities, look at their terms of conditions and their rules of engagement," she said.

"Does it have a good sense of community? Or are people putting each other down? Do people get positive, supportive messages when they're responding to others and making their own posts?"

It is also important to be aware of the risks of misinformation or false advertising, especially given patient support groups on social media are rarely run by qualified medical professionals. So while they can be a good place to get support and make connections, you should seek medical advice from your doctor.

But the benefits of online support groups can be significant, Dr Keep said, especially for people not able to access support offline.

"I think the support that people receive out of these online communities outweighs the potential risks, especially when there are systems in place to try and prevent those risks," she said.

"It's the value of talking to someone whose been through it all before, and can make things less scary, however awful it may be," she said

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This is why keeping the power of the internet in the hands of users and citizens is critical. Please contact your senator and congressman to ensure they know preserving the internet as it was designed to function matters to all of us this is not a partisian issue.Tell your leaders to vote to support the internet as the title II 

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Using Social Media In Your Practice - 

Using Social Media In Your Practice -  | Medicine and Technology |

Technology continues to grow and expand. In today's evolving society, individuals look to social media to be informed and connect with one another. If you are interested in enacting a social media strategy for your practice, it is important to know the pros and cons to these platforms. This article explains reasons to use social media, current popular platforms and tips for connecting with your audience.

Why Should You Try It?

The most popular platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and LinkedIn. For physicians, the primary reason to use social media is for marketing purposes and to keep people informed. For instance, a medical practice can use social media to:

Reach out to new patients and increase their target demographics;Develop and increase brand awareness and product/service availability for new and existing patients;Develop patient loyalty and a positive referral base;Improve patient retention; andIncrease communication with patients.

It is also important to be aware of the platforms currently in use. For example, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are a few of today's primary outlets, whereas AOL chat rooms, Myspace and Google Plus have lost popularity. Using a platform that no one else is using will not help you market your practice. Identify which platforms your patients use, create a practice-related group and invite them to join. However, do not overextend your presence across all of the sites. Instead, choose a few platforms to connect with your patients.

Furthermore, it is also a good idea to advertise your practice's availability, build patient relationships in a HIPAA-compliant fashion and provide updates about services and promotions. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram have paid advertising options on their platforms. It may be difficult to evaluate their effectiveness, but it is possible to target your audience and limit costs by placing a cap on the ad after a certain number of clicks.

Why Should You Not Try It?

There are plenty of good reasons not to use social media. For one, it can be difficult to evaluate your return on investment because determining whether or not a social media presence actually brings in new patients or helps retain existing ones is hard to ascertain. Furthermore, patient privacy is extremely significant and should not be violated. If you don't follow the best practices, potential violations of HIPAA could arise with social media usage. Additionally, you potentially run the risk of irritating or offending followers if you express personal opinions on social media. This could affect your practice's online presence and client relationships.

What are the Best Practices?

You should assign one person in your practice the role of monitoring your social media presence. Here are some tips on how to use social media professionally and effectively:

Set Guidelines and Stick to Them
Let HIPAA be the core of those guidelines.Have a Good Reason
Use it for a specific reasons, such as engaging with patients or marketing your practice.Be Professional
Develop a social media presence and persona that represents your professional self.Pay Attention to Security Settings
This will limit who can view and interact with your posts.Use it Regularly
Sporadic use is not effective. You can take advantage of platforms that allow you to schedule posts for future dates and times.Link to Relevant Content
This can be original content or permissible content from another source.Be Brief
Social media posting should be similar to chatting at a cocktail party, not delivering a college lecture.Do Not Provide Medical Advice
You should never, under any circumstances, provide specific medical advice on social media. This could lead to legal liabilities. Instead, refer followers to visit your website or to make an appointment for a consultation.Is it Worth Your Time?

Like most things related to marketing, it is important to pay attention to what does and does not work. If social media starts to become a chore that takes more time than it returns in benefits, seek other marketing strategies. Clearly, your first responsibility is to tend to your patients and medical practice. Social media is simply a tool to explore for enhancing patient relationships and growing your practice

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Here’s a more effective way to test for HPV

Here’s a more effective way to test for HPV | Medicine and Technology |
A Kaiser Permanente study found that a new way to test for HPV has the potential to increase efficiency and decrease waste.

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American Institute Health Care Professionals's curator insight, November 10, 2017 3:47 PM

Here’s a more effective way to test for HPV


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Guidelines for the Use of Patient Videos on Social Media 

Guidelines for the Use of Patient Videos on Social Media  | Medicine and Technology |

Members of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Division of Plastic Surgery have developed a proposed set of guidelines for plastic surgeons relating to the use of patient videos on social media.


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Ten simple rules for doctors on Social Media

Ten simple rules for doctors on Social Media | Medicine and Technology |

How should doctors behave online? This is a funny question, isn’t it? Medical establishment loves rules and hierarchy. Social media does not.


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CMPA - Using email communication with your patients: legal risks

CMPA - Using email communication with your patients: legal risks | Medicine and Technology |
While the use of email between physicians and patients has many potential advantages, physicians should be aware of the legal risks and consider precautions to help mitigate those risks.

Patients should be informed of, and agree to assume, the risks inherent in this form of communication. As well, physicians should review any applicable statutory (e.g. privacy legislation) or regulatory authority (College) requirements that may affect the use of email. Some privacy commissioners (e.g. Ontario) have indicated that the use of email to communicate personal health information should generally be avoided, but if required in the circumstances, appropriate technical safeguards and security procedures must be implemented.

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The best ways to use social media for marketing your medical practice

The best ways to use social media for marketing your medical practice | Medicine and Technology |

With nearly 2 billion active monthly users, it’s safe to say that Facebook should be a part of your business and marketing strategy. If you’re in the medical industry, it’s even more of a necessity.

By using Facebook to interact with patients, physicians can highlight procedures and products — and, most importantly, they can build trust with their current and potential patients. While likes and reactions are great, the goal is to create posts that engage and inform. That way, you can more easily spread your brand, authority, and expertise to patients that are trying to find it.

Getting your posts shared is easier said than done, right? To help break down just how to craft updates that will keep your patients engaged, here are some helpful practices to integrate into your social media business plan.

Develop a consistent voice

The first step in planning your social media strategy is to make sure you stay consistent with your voice. Having a list of prepared responses ready for commonly asked questions will help your team engage with users to build your brand. This is especially important when dealing with sensitive topics in the medical industry like procedure specifics, insurance, or recovery questions.

Connect with your audience on their time

According to data from Pew Research Center, 76 percent of Facebook users check in and use the platform every day, and 55 percent visit several times per day. With this in mind, you definitely don’t want to go days without updating your practice’s page. You should also be strategic about when you’re posting in order to get the biggest reach. Use scheduling tools (available on most platforms) to post throughout the week at different times of the day, and track which time slots get the most engagement.

Keep posts short and watch the jargon

According to HubSpot, the ideal length of a Facebook post is around 40 characters. Have a sophisticated new procedure that you’re proud of? Go ahead and post about it — just keep it simple and write for your audience. That means steering clear of medical jargon. Colleagues may appreciate an update that has standard medical abbreviations common to your practice, but this could potentially turn off future patients.

Vary your tone now and then

Although the bulk of your posts should focus on how you can help solve customers’ problems, don’t make every post promotional. Your patients don’t need to read about every service or product that you offer; they just want to know that you’re listening to them. Have fun with some of your posts. Discuss topical health issues and connect to the local community. Use Facebook Live to show off your team in action. Just remember to mix it up, giving your patients both fun and educational content to explore.

Always be present

By being present in your social media campaign and responding to patient inquiries, your current and potential patients will trust you as someone who genuinely cares about them. According to a survey conducted by Convince and Convert, 42 percent of users expect a response within an hour on social media. To keep everyone on the same page, set an internal response time goal, and hold team members accountable for maintaining that time.

Highlight community service

Promoting your work in the community is a great way to humanize your online presence. Have a flu shot drive coming up? Are your employees participating in a fundraising campaign? Create an event page to drive users to take action offline, link to informative articles about the campaign, and post images and videos that highlight your team’s participation in the event. It will further align your practice as a contributor to your local community.

Use Facebook promotions and ads

It may seem like Facebook ads are unnecessary — why pay when you can post for free? However, by using Facebook’s Ads Manager and the Audience Insights tool, you can target the users you specifically want to reach, from age to income level. Whether your focus is on brand awareness, lead generation, or website traffic, Facebook promotions and ads can help you reach your target demographic, allowing you to engage with more qualified leads.

Furthermore, the organic reach of Facebook posts has gone down markedly over the last few years.

Analyze your results

Set smart, achievable goals, and make a point to analyze them every month. How do users interact with your posts? What types of posts get the most reactions and comments? Measure key metrics like engagement and reach to determine what works, and throw out what doesn’t.

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NHS medic posts confidential patient data of new mums on Facebook

NHS medic posts confidential patient data of new mums on Facebook | Medicine and Technology |

The confidential patient data of 31 new mums at a scandal-hit NHS hospital was posted on Facebook by a medic.

Sensitive details were revealed by Italian researcher Luigi Carbone, who was working on a study to
improve detection of pregnancies with a high risk of pre-eclampsia.

Mr Carbone uploaded a photo of his laptop screen to Facebook on July 2 with the status update: “#SUNnyDAYOUTSIDE #research #workhardplayhard.”

But clearly visible on the screen was a spreadsheet containing information about 31 women who gave birth at the hospital in June. Their names, NHS numbers and details of their baby’s birth could all be seen.

And because Mr Carbone’s Facebook settings were not set to private, any member of the public could view the information.

The post remained live for more than a week before it was spotted by the social media team at North Middlesex University Hospital.

Bosses there have even admitted Mr Carbone should not have been given access to information about patients who had not agreed to take part in the research project.

READ MORECharlie Gard 'taken prisoner by the state and NHS' as family spokesman blasts authorities preventing him from travelling to US
Facebook post reveals patients' sensitive info

A spokesman said: “Some of the patients on the spreadsheet had consented to take part but a few had not.

“This is against the rules of research governance and we are taking steps to ensure this can’t
happen in future.”

The hospital said this would include tightening procedures ­regarding the release of patient ­information to researchers.

The hospital has suspended its participation in the study until further checks are carried out.

A spokesman last night apologised to patients concerned.

He said: “We have contacted each of them to explain what has happened and to say sorry. We have reported the data protection breach to the Information Commissioner and the Care Quality Commission.

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10 Tips for Physician Websites 

10 Tips for Physician Websites  | Medicine and Technology |

Physician websites aren’t completely different from other websites. But there are some things that are special about physician websites. When you work on your practice website, consider these special factors.

You may not have much competition. Plenty of physicians in private practice have no website at all. Plenty more have outdated, poor quality websites with generic content and little information about the doctor or doctors in the practice. Be sure to check out your competition online and make sure that your website offers the best experience.Your website is your first impression. While patients may read about you at HealthGrades or see your social media pages, their first impression of you is likely to be based on your website. If you have an outdated, unprofessional website, potential patients will conclude that you have an outdated, unprofessional practice.Pay attention to web best practices. Your website doesn’t have to be trendy, but it shouldn’t have a splash page, a Flash introduction, or buttons that say, “Click Here.” Make sure that your website follows HIPAA regulations and that it is accessible under ADA requirements.You may be surprised by how important your photo is. Patients may not have a complete understanding of what your certifications mean, but they are very likely to have feelings about you based on your photo. Make sure you look both competent and warm. Consider using other photos besides just headshots, too. Pictures of physicians and staff interacting can help prospective patients imagine themselves having a positive experience in your office.Be sure your website is mobile-friendly. Both Google and patients appreciate a mobile-friendly website. It’s a good plan to have your phone number and a map to your office at the top of the mobile version of your website.Physician websites aren’t just for marketing. Your practice website can and should introduce your practice to new patients. But your website can also do a lot for your current patients. Provide health information they can rely on, link to your patient portal, and make it easy to book an appointment.Make sure essential information is easy to find. Patients want to know whether you’re accepting new patients, what kind of insurance you accept, and what kinds of health issues your practice works with. Your front desk staff would rather they didn’t have to answer those questions. Have the information readily available, not hidden on a FAQ page.Include forms to streamline check ins. Speed things up for your patients and your office staff by making forms available online so patients can fill them out ahead and time. Have PDF forms your patients can download and print out or interactive forms they can fill out online and upload.Have information sheets available as PDFs, too. If there are information sheets you often hand out, such as instructions for at-home exercises, nutrition guides for prenatal patients, or instructions for using home health gear, upload these to your website. That way, you can easily send patients a link to the information they need, and they can download or print the information themselves.Encourage your staff to direct patients to your website. Whether they encourage patients to read a blog post that’s relevant to their concerns, help them find the patient portal, or draw their attention to a check -in button, your front desk staff can help get patients in the habit of using your website. This increases the value of your service — and brings more traffic to your site, too.
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This Is How Patients Choose New Doctors (and How to Use It to Your Advantage) 

This Is How Patients Choose New Doctors (and How to Use It to Your Advantage)  | Medicine and Technology |

Finding a new doctor is more than just a snap decision, and while your digital marketing efforts should aim to streamline the decision process, it’s still just that—a process.

This blog article aims to give you a glimpse into the decision-making process of patients as well as how to use this process to your digital marketing advantage.

This Is How Patients Choose New Doctors (and How to Use It to Your Advantage)CLICK TO TWEET

How Do Patients Choose a New Doctor?

The first thing you should know is that it isn’t a quick sell.

There are steps in the buying cycle:

AwarenessResearch and ConsiderationThe BuyAdvocacy



Awareness for medical practices can come in so many forms. A friend could tell a consumer about a new office. They might see an ad. Or, maybe they have a need for your services, so they perform an online search.

They could ask for a recommendation on Facebook. While this may seem unlikely, I’ve seen it happen in my Facebook feed. And, 41 percent of patients said that information they found on social media has influenced their choice of doctor.

Research and Consideration

During the research and consideration stages, people either engage with your business online or find content about you that helps them determine if they should choose you.

For example, a prospective patient might call in to check if you take their insurance or are accepting new patients.

Or, they might read online reviews of your practice. Don’t underestimate the power of reviews. Eighty-four percent of patients said they use online reviews to evaluate physicians.

Since 88 percent of insured Americans say that whether a provider accepts their insurance is an important factor in their choice of doctor, this is a huge part of the decision-making process.

The Buy

This happens when a prospect makes an appointment. The appointment is crucial not only because they are in the office and you are taking care of the patient, but because their experience is going to shape whether they come back or not.


The next step is advocacy. A new patient has experienced your office and becomes an advocate by telling others about their experience. This can be through contact with friends and family or leaving online reviews.


Why Is the Patient Decision-Making Process Important for Your Marketing Strategy?

If you make sure your medical practice is in front of consumers through every stage of the decision process, you will increase revenue by creating long-term patients who will become loyal patients and advocate for your business.

How can you get your medical practice in front of consumers through every stage of the buying cycle?

You first need to be found online. This includes working on your ranking in local search results and making sure your online presence is accurate (and that it gives consumers a positive view of your business).Depending on your budget, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes online advertising, local search marketing and review marketing can help you do this. Building your local search presence and creating online ads will ensure that your practice shows up when patients are looking for a doctor while review marketing allows you to highlight what’s great about your practice through patient reviews.You need to ensure your patients have a stellar experience in every communication and engagement point in time (from making the appointment to checking in and verifying insurance and co-payment to the experience with the doctor, checking out and even the billing process). This is important because patients will talk about your practice online and to their friends.Bonus: Tips to Build a Better Doctor Marketing Strategy

Give Video Marketing a Try

Video marketing can easily convert to traffic and leads. It also gets your point across effectively and humanizes your marketing as well as giving prospective patients a better idea of the benefits of your facility.

And since YouTube traffic to hospital websites has increased 119 percent year-over-year, you should have a YouTube channel that links to your website.

What types of videos should doctors create? Video content such as interviews, patient stories and behind-the-scenes looks at your facility and equipment should do the trick. These will answer questions prospective patients have during the research process.

Don’t Forget About Millennials

Millennials are a diverse group. They range from 18-34 years old, which makes it difficult to market to the entire generation. Still, Millennials have a lot of buying power.

Millennials share one important commonality with other generations: they value attentive doctors who listen well.

Consider what one respondent told Nuance in a study.

When I needed to find a new physician, I looked for a doctor within my insurance network and then turned to online reviews. Based on the comments, I ruled out several doctors, including one I was originally considering because someone mentioned they felt rushed and treated like a paycheck during their appointment.

More than half of this generation will Google health information before seeing a doctor, according to the report.

So, to be there for Millennials when they are searching for physicians, you’ll need to have a review marketing strategy that helps you get new positive reviews on a regular basis. You’ll also need to make sure you provide a pleasant patient experience and that your practice is showing up in online searches.

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The Future of Medicine is Online and Social 

The Future of Medicine is Online and Social  | Medicine and Technology |

Having your regular, yearly exam over Facebook isn’t a future too far off. An interconnected world is becoming increasingly useful to both professionals and patients. Today, social media is more than just liking pictures of your grandma’s dogs; it is helping rural patients receive diagnoses, helping them take their medication correctly, and moving outdated medical centers into the 21st century. On the other hand, digitizing patient records also carries hidden dangers.


There’s a future in a socially driven medical world. Where innovation take us this year depends on how fast people want to move forward, and how fast people can be trained to reduce information loss.


Telemedicine has been around for a long time, it’s broken through the confines of the telephone, moved onto Wi-Fi, and allowed doctors to talk with patients, answer their questions, and even recommend their next moves. There’s even a free app where you can just ask doctors questions. Moving telemedicine forward helps patients avoid needless hospital visits, gives doctors access to rural patients who are chronically underserved, and helps reduce cost, which is very important in American medical care. This would be especially effective if telemedicine moved away from phone calls and specific apps, and onto mainstream social media since people still use apps, but not many apps, and not with any frequency.

Taking Medication Incorrectly

Incorrectly taking medication is a big problem in America. 75 percent of Americans have trouble taking their medication as directed; that’s a huge amount of people who are not taking what they need to get better in a way that will make them better. Having an outlet on social media, or on an app where patients can confirm their medical information, will help them take prescriptions correctly, especially with reminders that pop up, or if it could alert the user to warn about medications that should not be mixed. This is especially helpful for people who don’t want to wait for a pharmacist to be free in order to get drug information.

Upgrades to Systems

Upgrades to online medical sites can help clients pay their bills, get an appointment, or help staff retrieve records faster. Using social media to make upgrades to a medical site could be life-saving; not only does social media allow you to directly relate to your followers, but it can help you specialize onsite to regional needs. This is huge in a global market, where some areas may not be able to run a larger website or might need a slightly different focus in order to clearly navigate.


You can even individualize web pages based on different accessibility needs. For example, that colorblindness page probably shouldn’t be full of red and green, and a page for the deaf could offer audio alternatives. Getting that feedback, in real time, from your users, is one of the benefits of upgrading a medical site from real-time social media feedback. If users have different needs, live with different internet speeds, or speak different languages, social media feedback is invaluable.

Information Security

With a growing communication network also comes the need for increased information security and digital backups.


Even with backups, about a third of users will lose some of their data through an error with backup methods, meaning that data recovery tools and software are very important — especially when in the medical field. If your primary records are kept online, be sure to have a backup on the cloud and a reliable data recovery tool/resource available if that information goes down; medical records are private, so your recovery resource should be prepared beforehand and discrete. Nothing could be worse than getting a client’s records, losing them, and accidentally giving them medication they are allergic to.  


Information security vulnerabilities are a huge liability in digital records, whether you’re talking to patients on social media or just digitizing records. There’s a ton of ways to make your online records safer, not just on social media, but in general. Encrypt files when you send them, verify identity before you send records, keep your servers safe, and ensure human errors stay at a minimum (most data attrition is from human error).


There are a few things you can do to reduce human error in your digital world. This is key in the medical industry where human error could cause someone to accidentally leak medical records, violate HIPAA regulations, and potentially lose their job — all because a hacker now knows that Mr. Johnson is allergic to mushrooms. There’s a variety of ways to train human error out of the system and discourage it from happening. For example, this could include standard practices like keeping private cell phones out of main server rooms, because cell phones are an easy security target. They could instead be tucked away in cell phone lockers. You can also train your employees to not download sketchy links in their email, use strong passwords, and let them know where and when they can use the internet for personal time. Nurses looking at Facebook on their lunch break? Not a big deal. Doctors answering questions while logged into the hospital account on a personal device? Kind of a big security risk.


Social media is great. It can help our medical community move forward by addressing more patient needs, help patients take their medications, and provide live feedback on how patients and doctors are reacting to the digitization. With digital upgrades comes more security risks. Social media can help patients and doctors alike, but it is essential to not let innovation endanger patient records.

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Social Media use within medical education: A systematic review

Background: Since the early 2000s social media has become a major part of our daily lives, and over the past decade it has found its way into the medical profession. Despite its ubiquity, only 5 systematic reviews exist on the subject of social medial use within medical education. The reviews conclude that there are positive correlations linked to social media use however the studies are restricted by the same limitations: a lack of quantitative data and the fact that social media research fast becomes outdated. This review will therefore examine the latest studies in order to identify which questions remain to be answered and what areas need further development in order for social media to become a credible resource within medical education. The information gained from this process will be amalgamated to create a valid questionnaire which will produce quantitative data.

Methods: A systematic review of Pubmed, Cochrane, PsychINFO, ERIC & Scopus was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The search was from 1st January 2014 to the 12th January 2017 and included keywords linked with social media and medical education. 27 papers were identified: 12 qualitative and 15 quantitative. From this data a questionnaire was drafted and put to a focus group in order for it to be validated.

Results: Six major themes were identified and analysed: community & interactivity, communication & feedback, learning theories, social media vs traditional didactic lectures, role of faculty and professionalism. Quantitative data was limited but highlighted the efficiency of social media use especially when Facebook and Twitter were used. After the analysis a validated questionnaire was produced.

Conclusion: Social media can be a useful tool within the medical curriculum if implemented correctly. The final questionnaire can be used to generate quantitative data on the following questions: which platforms are most effective and for what purposes? How beneficial is social media to teaching? and What do students understand the benefits/disadvantages of academic social media platforms to be?

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