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New research suggests social media can help improve healthcare

New research suggests social media can help improve healthcare | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
New research suggests we’re more comfortable sharing accurate details about our health and lifestyle on social media than with our own health care providers! As bizarre as this sounds, this new trend may help improve our medical care and treatment.It’s believed that medical records are outdated and full of conflicting information. Eva Ho, a partner with the early-stage venture capital firm Susa Ventures and a former executive at both Google and Factual, tells the USA Today, “With the federal government now requiring all patient data to be digital, there's a big opportunity for companies that can integrate health data from a variety of sources and ensure its accuracy.”A recent study shows that tracking a Facebook user’s “Likes,” in conjunction with other public health records, can produce data that can predict various health outcomes. And, according to the study done by New York-based MKTG, these outcomes, “were two or four more times more accurate than those based on medical or socio-economic date alone.”Some of us are already doing this, whether it’s sharing their exercise activity on Facebook or tweeting how many steps they’ve taken from their wristband. But, there are also some of us who strongly disagree with the idea of making such personal information public. Dr. Leslie Saxon, chief of cardiology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine, is not one of them. One of Saxon's lectures is titled, "Privacy is Bad for Your Health," and says, "We need indiscriminate, continuous, multisourced data streams to realize the great potential of digital health."The idea of combining your social media and your medical record to create better healthcare, better diagnosis and better treatment only works if you willing to share it. So, is healthcare going digital?
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4 Ways Healthcare Marketers Should Utilize Social Media

4 Ways Healthcare Marketers Should Utilize Social Media | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |

Social media is no longer a marketing afterthought for companies and organizations. Every major brand is present across the major social media platforms, and they are actively planning strategic campaigns around social activity. Companies from every industry have made the leap into social media, but healthcare has lagged behind. Why is this?

Part of it is a lack of understanding about what social media is and how it integrates with current healthcare marketing efforts. Part of it is a fear of how it affects patient privacy and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA. What many healthcare organizations don't realize is that these obstacles are all easily overcome and shouldn't stand in the way of building up social media strategies.

While many businesses cut back on advertising during a recession, plenty of research suggests that businesses should actually spend more on advertising during those times because consumers continue to watch ads. Thus, there's this lovely void of which businesses can take advantage. Why am I telling you this? Because right now, the social media landscape in the healthcare industry is a bit like a recession—there aren't very many players in the game and, quite frankly, the bar for doing it well is set pretty darn low.

Of course, before you begin any social media campaign, always remember that in order to comply with HIPAA regulations, as well as medical ethics codes, you must protect the privacy of your patients at all times. Don't share any information about patients, or information that could potentially identify patients, such as physical descriptions or mannerisms, etc. With that in mind, here are four ways that healthcare organizations - from patient-facing to B2B - should be using social media.

1) Give Your Organization a Voice

Healthcare companies can come across as a bit sterile, which is great when they're talking about about the cleanliness of the equipment, but not so great when communicating with patients and the public.

Use social media as a way to interact and engage with your patients or customers. Show a bit of personality. Humanize your organization. Respond to reviews and inquiries.

2) Educate Your Audience

Social media is a great way to spread the word about public health issues. Think about unique campaigns that you can run to raise awareness of an issue, such as last year's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You want to limit self-promotional posts and instead focus on ways that you can help your audience, since this is not about selling a produc or a service.

Remember, there's a lot of misinformation on the Internet about health and fitness—think about ways in which your organization can combat this and use social media to positively impact patients and the public.

3) Advertise

Apparently, Americans spend more time online than we do sleeping each day. It's kind of a no brainer, then, that advertising online is a good way to reach your audience. Plus, as I mentioned above, not too many healthcare organizations are buying up ads, so the cost to play may be lower than it is in other industries.

Use social media advertising to raise brand awareness for your organization, or to drive leads towards premium content downloads so that you can nurture them into becoming patients or customers. Your social media ads need to be relevant, well-written and accompanied by an image that will grab your audience's attention.

4) Give Your Audience Content They Can't Get Elsewhere

The sky is the limit here - video tutorials for how to use at-home healthcare monitoring devices, product demos for equipment that you're selling to hospitals and infographics with tips and fitness exercises for wheelchair-bound patients.

No matter which industry segment your healthcare organization is in, whether it's patient-facing or B2B, whether you're a company selling state-of-the-art stethoscopes or a hospital performing cutting-edge surgeries, you have something unique to offer your audience. When it comes down to it, this is what will get you shares, likes, retweets and favorites.

Social media isn't so scary once you get started. If it helps, monitor other healthcare companies on social for a month or two first. See what they post. Make notes of what resonates with you and what feels a bit off.

From there, you can build your own voice and start engaging with your audience on social media. Trust me, like those businesses who run ads during recessions, your healthcare organization will be reaping the rewards for years to come.

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Tiziano Galli's curator insight, April 15, 2015 3:21 AM

Alcuni autori, come quello dell'articolo qui riportato, individuano da tempo alcune ragioni valide affinchè anche l'healthcare finalmente e seriamente - invece che stare lontano dai social - "entri nell'arena" e cambi atteggiamento verso i social.


D’altra parte, dico io ma non solo, anche settori che tradizionalmente hanno anch'essi il problema di contenuti sensibili di riservatezza e privacy come quello bancario e assicurativo navigano in mare aperto sulla rete facendo marketing.


E tutti i maggiori brand si "sporcano" le mani dialogando con i net-surfer prendendosi la responsabilità di rispondere alle critiche e a promuovere marchi e prodotti.

Forse allora, fatta salva la necessità di preservare la privacy dei pazienti ad ogni costo ci sono almeno 4 ragioni o “modalità” per giustificare una maggiore iniziativa.


Rimando all'articolo per i dettagli ma riassumendo::

1) Dare Voce alla propria organizzazione - Umanizzare l’ azienda parlando con il proprio target rispondendo alle domande e agli stimoli Farsi “raggiungere”

2) Educare la propria audience - creare campagne di promozione sociale e di informazione… combattendo la disinformazione che spesso domina la rete prendendo parte alla valorizzazione e certificazione delle notizie veicolate
3) Advertising - pur dovendo rispondere a modalità e restrizioni di leggi locali, esistono ampi margini di manovra che riguardano la pubblicità istituzionale e, certamente esiste la necessità di valutare come aggredire altri ambiti trovando soluzioni plausibili e legali. Certamente il paziente spende molto tempo in rete e una parte di questo, è sfruttato dai brand per veicolare promozione attraverso i social.
4) Preparare contenuti esclusivi che la propria audience non puo’ trovare altrove - questa è forse, viene riportato, la maggior opportunità che il settore Healthcare ha a propria disposizione per attrarre il proprio target. Non ci sono limiti a contenuti interessanti ed esclusivi.

Questo riassunto è, grosso modo, il senso di un atteggiamento mentale già valido per gli US e del tutto condivisibile e realistico anche per le nostre parti.

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ABOUTPHARMA DIGITAL AWARDS 2014 | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
“ABOUTPHARMA DIGITAL AWARDS 2014 #Aboutdigitalhealth (@ioTiSeguo premia i progetti di comunicazione digitale nell'healthcare - unico in Italia #aboutdigitalhealth)...”
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Social Media in Healthcare: Privacy and Security Consideration

Via Giuseppe Fattori, Celine Sportisse, Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
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Pharma Marketing Blog: Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2014: I ...

Pharma Marketing Blog: Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2014: I ... | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
“ Aside from the surprising 22% allocated to "digital," these executives claim that only 8% of their budgets go to print, radio, and TV ads and only 27% is devoted to sales. These numbers are surprising when you compare them ...”
Via Ricard Robledo, Claudio Bini
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Infografía: Médicos nativos digitales | PM Live

Infografía: Médicos nativos digitales | PM Live | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
Datos clave Sobre la forma en Que se Cambia el BSG de los Médicos de la Tecnología digital, La Manera Como Los Medicos utilizan la Tecnología Cambiando no está digital, y pronto habra Más Profesionales de la Salud 'digitalmente Nativos "que Los Que Han Teñido Que adaptarse a Las Tecnologías Nuevas. This infografía Elaborada porción LBi Salud y Publicado originalmente en El Directorio Información contains clave Sobre de Como Los Medicos estan utilizando digital.
Via rob halkes, Ignacio Fernández Alberti, Pere Florensa, Claudio Bini
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1st Italian Digital Health Summit

1st Italian Digital Health Summit | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
1st Italian Digital Health Summit
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8 Essential Social Media Tools Doctors Should Be Using Right Now

8 Essential Social Media Tools Doctors Should Be Using Right Now | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |

1. LinkedIn

Doctors should not limit their LinkedIn interaction to only building their professional contacts list. Instead, doctors can create a company page that reflects their practice and opens another line of communication for patients.

2. Facebook

Facebook is a giant in the social media realm, and for good reason. The site offers a simple platform that that can be used to share patient testimonials, reminders or any public information. By consistently sharing on the site, doctors can keep their name and practice on the forefront of their patients minds, all while increasing their exposure to potential patients.

3. YP

The Yellow Pages no longer arrive in book form through the mail carrier service. Instead, the brand has reinvented itself into an online search engine for businesses. Doctors should take advantage of this and list their practice in the catalog. This is also a tool that does not need to be used extensively, instead doctors can set a plan to check their profile once every month and make note of any reviews left.

4. Yelp

Similar to YP in that it hosts business profiles, Yelp varies in that it is used heavily by individuals looking to read reviews and ratings on a particular restaurant, cab service or doctor’s office. Doctors should make a profile and monitor reviews posted on Yelp more consistently (as they are updated more frequently than other rating sites). If doctors happen to find a negative review, they can amend their practice to improve or respond to the patient directly online to resolve the issue.

5. Twitter

This is a tool that can be used depending on the doctor. Much more personal than Facebook, Twitter allows a doctor to share his/her personality in a professional setting. Some ideas to tweet about could include medical term definitions, health-related quotes or breaking news in the health care industry.

6. YouTube

Just as individuals share videos with friends through YouTube, physicians and other health care professionals can share brief, medically-focused videos to inform patients.

7. Angie’s List

While Yelp and YP are open to the public, Angie’s List is a subscription-based site which offers reviews that hold a little more weight than those posted on free sites. Creating a profile is free, which means doctors should take advantage of this and increase their exposure.

8. Google+

Google+ has been overlooked by most due to its slow integration into the public’s social circle. However, due to Google’s recent jump into the world of telemedicine, doctors should build a presence on the site now more than ever.

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Tiziano Galli's curator insight, May 3, 2015 8:42 AM
Il mix di strumenti si adatta meglio al mercato US ma 1,2,5,6 e 8 vanno bene anche per noi e vari altri strumenti potrebbero sostituire o aggiungersi a quelli qui riportati. Ne faccio un elenco e ne paarlo nel mio libro... Medici pazienti e Social Media...
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Facebook punta ai servizi 2.0, la sanità verso la svolta social - Corriere delle Comunicazioni

“Negli Usa il 90% delle persone si fida delle informazioni trovate in Rete. E il social network pensa a community di persone che soffrono delle stesse...”
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As Patients Turn to Web Communities, Physicians Must Take Notice

As Patients Turn to Web Communities, Physicians Must Take Notice | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
Approximately 1.1 billion people have Facebook accounts, and the number of social media sites and users just keeps growing. Whether this trend forges relationships or increases isolation is an ongoing debate, but in the realm of medicine, social media that goes beyond the Yelp-like physician rating sites might enhance the patient experience and benefit physicians and their institutions as well, according to a group of experts who recently addressed the topic at a panel for gastroenterologists. “As physicians, we can no longer ignore [social media]; we have to understand how patients are wanting to connect with us,” said M. Bridget Duffy, MD, chief medical officer at Vocera Communications, an information technology company that develops mobile communication devices and services for use in health care and other industries. Dr. Duffy moderated a session on the emergence of social media in medicine at the 2014 GI Roundtable, a conference dedicated to exploring challenges and their solutions for gastroenterology and the field’s future. “Historically, we’ve focused on the intervention, but patients want us to connect with them before they arrive at the clinic or hospital. They want us to understand their preferences; they want a personalized plan and a path to their well-being; and they want a connectivity after they leave,” said Dr. Duffy, who has spent the past 20 years researching ways to improve the patient, staff and physician experience. Dr. Duffy leads the Experience Innovation Network, a group of health care organizations committed to accelerating innovation on patient and staff experience. In addition, Vocera partners with Rock Health, a start-up incubator in San Francisco that mentors and supports medical tech companies dedicated to that goal. Dr. Duffy and her team participate in this mentoring and support, and help connect the companies to providers to test and adopt their novel products and services. “We need to find technologies and process improvements that create consistent, seamless experiences of care, and that empower and engage patients to be partners in their care,” she added. Cancer Connect—A Platform for Patients Social media, by definition, refers to the virtual communities and networks in which people generate, distribute and discuss information. Charles Weaver, MD, an oncologist and founder of Cancer Connect—a popular cancer information website—predicts this is how patients will interact with each other from now on. “The question for all of us is how do we become a part of it? How do we participate, and how do we use it to everyone’s best advantage?” A pioneer of Internet-based patient education, Dr. Weaver got the idea to add a social media component to Cancer Connect after his elder son developed a rare sarcoma. Treatment required a long commute from their remote home in Sun Valley, Idaho, to the University of Utah Hospital. “I got to experience the fear, anxiety, confusion and isolation that any parent or patient experiences when they’re diagnosed with a significant illness,” Dr. Weaver said. Fast forward several years, and Dr. Weaver found his sons engaged on Facebook one afternoon when they should have been doing homework. He was on the verge of scolding them when the younger one said, “‘Think if there was a Facebook just for cancer patients. Wouldn’t it be neat if they could connect with each other? They wouldn’t have to go through what [my brother] went through in a small town,’” Dr. Weaver recalled. His older son chimed in, “That would have been really helpful.” He had, in fact, already been using Facebook to locate and connect with other kids who had cancer. The next day, Dr. Weaver called his programmers to discuss creating a Facebook-type of application just for cancer patients. Now, a little more than two years after Cancer Connect added its social media component, 52,000 people have registered to participate. Some 9,000 patients visit the physician-moderated virtual communities every month. Users “are looking for validation of what their physician told them, for translations of what their physician said, and for support from others who have gone through their experience,” Dr. Weaver said. They “also told us that it was very important for them to give back. In fact, the patients we surveyed rated that as the most important aspect.” Private-Label Communities Cancer Connect’s social media platform is free and open to any patient who wants to join, but it also is used by practices as a virtual home base for their patients. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are just a few of the institutions that use Cancer Connect to supplement supportive care of their patients and patients’ families. For such centers and practices, creating private-label communities has several advantages. On a practice’s website, Cancer Connect is part of the patients’ experience as it relates to that particular institution, an approach that may improve patient retention, increase patient referrals and enhance patient satisfaction, Dr. Weaver said. The model works fairly simply. For example, from Dana-Farber’s home page, a click on “My Dana-Farber” brings the visitor to an invitation to join their online cancer community. “It explains the rules of the community and how you participate in it. From that point on, the patient never leaves the experience of your brand and what you’re providing,” Dr. Weaver said. Once a patient becomes part of Dana-Farber’s online community, he or she can participate in both local and national conversations. They can choose to interact only with Dana-Farber patients, with patients from other centers using Cancer Connect, or both. “The beauty of this is that for [cancers] that are common, you can build a community on your own website because you’ll have enough patients to benefit from the experience,” Dr. Weaver said. “With rare conditions, even a place like Dana-Farber won’t have a critical mass of patients who can support each other, but by sharing the community with other large centers, you aggregate patients so they can get the support they need.” This need, of course, varies from one patient to another. Some visit Cancer Connect communities looking for an answer to a specific question or problem, whereas others desire a stronger connection. “The ones who want a deeper relationship tend to find others who are also looking for a deeper level,” Dr. Weaver said. “People initially join up because they want support and information. Those who stay want to share information and provide support, to give back,” he noted. GI Connection, a New Kid on the Block When Klaus Mergener, MD, PhD, MBA, of Digestive Health Specialists in Tacoma, Wash., learned about Cancer Connect and its offshoot, The RA Connection, for people with rheumatoid arthritis, he quickly envisioned the utility of the concept for gastroenterology. “We have a huge number of chronic diseases,” Dr. Mergener said, from irritable bowel syndrome to cirrhosis. “If we can get a few hundred [GI] patients to start talking and connecting about their illnesses, I think that might be very useful.” He proposed the idea of a GI-specific platform to Dr. Weaver, and the two worked together to develop GI Connection, which is scheduled to go live this summer. “GI and cancer have a couple of things in common,” Dr. Weaver said. “The most important is that both specialties deal with chronic conditions, and people with chronic conditions want to stay connected. “Also, they are both subspecialties that get their patients from someplace else—you’re typically not diagnosed with cancer by an oncologist,” Dr. Weaver continued. “This gives the subspecialties an opportunity to create communities to aggregate around the experience at their center.” Aside from patients with chronic GI diseases, those worried about an upcoming procedure might take comfort in the support of others, too. “Connecting with someone who has had a colonoscopy or multiple colonoscopies and can tell you that it’s OK is very powerful,” Dr. Weaver said. “Sorry to say, but patients put a lot more value on one-to-one interactions with other patients than with health care providers.” Before the launch of GI Connection, Dr. Mergener began raising awareness among practices that he hopes will be early adopters, mentioning the site to patients and increasing visibility with business cards and scannable QR codes. “Charles [Weaver] tells me that once you get up to 100 or 200 patients, involvement snowballs by word of mouth,” he said. Crohnology As Sean Ahrens took the podium at the GI Roundtable to discuss Crohnology, the platform that he developed to capture the experiences of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), he acknowledged that physicians are his toughest audience. “Partly, I think that’s because there is a wave, a front, of patients connecting back toward each other; the case I want to make to you is toward [the acquisition of] medical knowledge,” Mr. Ahrens said. “We are moving from the era of traditional media, where people are receiving information, to one in which they are contributing to the knowledge source.” Mr. Ahrens was 12 years old when he experienced the onset of Crohn’s disease. Now 28, he has gone through a host of different treatments, or as he thinks of them, experiments. “These include physicians prescribing different medications, and me doing things like changing my diet,” he said. Mr. Ahrens began to develop Crohnology as a college student, but the concept for the site gelled a few years later during one of his more unusual self-experiments. Remicade (Janssen Biotech; infliximab) was no longer controlling his symptoms, but he feared making the leap to Humira (AbbVie; adalimumab). Under the supervision of a physician who thought the novel therapy probably wouldn’t hurt him, Mr. Ahrens started inoculating himself with a pig whipworm solution he’d ordered from a company in Germany. “During this treatment, it occurred to me that the very least I could do, as a favor to humanity, was leave a paper trail so that others could learn from this experiment,” he said. It became clear about two-thirds of the way through that the pig whipworm therapy wasn’t working, as Mr. Ahrens’ symptoms remained severe. For the sake of his health, he adopted a specific carbohydrate diet, although he knew that it would compromise the quality of the data. But the experience further supported his theory that patients are vast silos of information, and that there should be a system to capture those experiences and learn from them, instead of dismissing each patient’s experience as anecdotal. In 2011, Rock Health selected Crohnology as part of its inaugural class of start-ups to nurture. The support solidified development of Crohnology’s website and mobile platform. To date, the network has about 5,500 patient contributors with irritable bowel disease, representing 70 different countries. As for that physician audience? Reactions have been mixed. “On the whole, physicians like the concept of connecting patients and giving them emotional and social support,” Mr. Ahrens said. “But they’re also generally of the school of thought that medical knowledge needs to be very carefully collected and dispensed inside the physician system, through rigorous clinical trials.” He views Crohnology as a model that can accrue useful knowledge without the staggering costs of clinical trials. Catching Up to the Consumer Ironically, although the increasing presence of technology has been criticized for creating barriers between physicians and patients, in the right hands, social media technology may be a way to start tearing down those walls, Dr. Duffy said. “I think there is a way that technologies can be humanizing if you pick the right ones,” she said. “That’s what patients are doing through sites like Cancer Connect and Crohnology, using technology to create human connections with others who have conditions like theirs.” One of her concerns with these technological innovations, however, is that physicians, who historically have been a bit recalcitrant with social media in their profession, are falling behind what their patients want and need. “Doctors on the delivery side have to figure out how to find those resources that help restore people to a full life versus just a great technical outcome,” Dr. Duffy said. “And we have to move faster to catch up with where consumers are going.”
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Social media and physician relations

Social media and physician relations | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |

Digital Future of Physician Relations: The Narrative

Posted in Physician Marketing, Physician Relations, Physician Social Media, tagged digital physician relations, linkedin, physician liaison, physician marketing, physician relations,social media and physician relations on July 22, 2014 | 1 Comment »

For the last year I’ve been going around the country, presenting at conference, sharing my perspective on the future of physician relations. Below is the draft of an article I wrote recently that captures some of those views. (This is much longer than most blog posts because it was written as an article for an industry publication.)

The Digital Future of Physician Relations

The digital future of physician marketing is upon us. It hasn’t washed over our industry like a tsunami; rather, it has been a gradual evolution that has followed the slow but steady adoption of health information technology and digital communication tools by physicians. The emergence of the social or digital physician has been documented by numerous studies from organizations such as Manhattan Research, QuantiaMD, and ZocDoc, and written about in peer review publications including the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA).

It is now evident that physicians find value in interacting with other physicians via social platforms. Physician-only online communities like Doximity, QuantiaMD, Sermo and Medscape Physician Connect have become the leading digital gathering places for doctors seeking professional camaraderie, support and guidance. Within these online communities physicians can securely collaborate on diagnoses and patient treatment. Currently, one of these online communities, Doximity, has a membership that is so vast it includes one in three U.S. physicians.

Once it became apparent that physicians are gravitating toward digital platforms, it was only a matter of time before healthcare communicators and strategists recognized the opportunity presented by digital physician marketing.

Step One: Adoption of Digital Communication Tools for Physician Marketing

Many healthcare organizations, hospitals and health systems have taken the first step into the realm of digital physician marketing. This involved the integration of digital tools into the overall physician marketing program. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was an early adopter when it launched its portal for referring physicians. This was just the beginning of its initial foray into digital marketing. Next it added a Twitter feed specifically targeting community physicians, a daily electronic newspaper that aggregated MD Anderson Faculty Tweets, and a Facebook page with oncology resources for health care professionals.

Other organizations like Tufts Medical Center would follow MD Anderson’s lead. Tufts Medical Center has introduced its website – a video repository and resource center for referring physicians and consumers. On the site, specialists and subspecialists speak to specific health conditions, medical procedures and therapies. For the busy community physician, the videos are easily accessible and a convenient resource when considering a potential patient referral. Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children have launched a referring physician microsite designed to simplify the referral process for the physician and allow for a better patient experience. The physician microsite gives referring physicans up-to-date quality information, contact information for the physician liaison team and access to a number of helpful documents that can be downloaded as PDFs. The downloads include a quality brochure, patient brochures, talking points for physicians making a referral, directions to the medical center, and profiles of specialists.

Similarly, Signature Healthcare in southeastern Massachusetts, about 20 miles south of Boston, has launched its own digital platform designed to reach referring physicians. The microsite (, part of a broader physician marketing program, has proven to be a valuable tool for physician retention and recruitment – two important considerations in the highly competitive eastern Massachusetts healthcare environment. Online videos of Signature Healthcare’s employed physicians are showcased on the microsite and leveraged across a number of digital platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Google+ (often ignored by marketers), and Pinterest.

Finally, Cooper University Health Care successfully integrated digital tools into its physician relations program when it created the South Jersey Medical Report. The Report is a full physician marketing program targeting employed and community physicians. Elements of the program include a physician microsite rich with video content featuring Cooper specialists, a dedicated physician Twitter feed, a traditional physician newsletter available as a paper document and electronically, and a mobile application.

Healthcare organizations like Cooper University Health Care, Signature Healthcare, Tufts Medical Center and MD Anderson dipped their toes in the digital communication pool when they integrated these digital tools into their overall physician marketing programs. However, for these organizations and others, there looms an important question regarding how the digital age will impact the structure and function of the physician relations department.

Step Two: Defining Digital Roles within Physician Relations

The physician relations department has always been an aggregator of content relevant to the referring physician. Typically that content, once gathered, was distributed to medical professionals and practice administrators by way of newsletters and collateral material handed out during practice visits. Today, how does the availability of, and the need to distribute, large quantities of digital content impact the function of the physician relations team and, specifically, the physician liaison? One of the challenges facing physician relations departments in the current health care environment is how to handle this abundance of content and the addition of these new digital communication channels, often with fewer financial resources and a reduction in FTEs.

The Digital Content Marketer

In response to these challenges and opportunities, the roles within the physician relations department may need to evolve or change. One new position that seems likely to develop is that of the digital physician relations content marketer. This individual would be the point person within the department responsible for aggregating digital content and for disseminating it across numerous digital channels. Content would be aggregated on a primary platform developed specifically to meet the needs of community physicians. That could be a microsite, the “for medical professionals” section of the organization’s website, a LinkedIn Group or a blog. By continually updating the content, the information would be attractive to search engines and improve rankings.

The digital content marketer could also manage the department’s daily digital outreach to physicians and practices. This would involve using electronic marketing and social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others) to post links to specific pieces of content that referring physicians may value. Of course, the digital content marketer will also have to monitor social channels and respond to Retweets and questions from followers. Active listening would an important part of this job, noting and then responding to requests from physicians and practice managers.

The Digital Physician Relations Specialist

It is likely that the physician liaison’s role will need to evolve as well. Although many physicians are now comfortable with digital communication tools, many are not. We are now only part of the way through this transformative process. This means there exists a significant opportunity to educate community physicians, clinicians and employees of the practice about ways to access information about the medical center via digital channels. An important part of the liaison’s role moving forward will likely involve using practice visits to familiarize these individuals with the digital platforms being used by the healthcare organization and acquainting them with the range of information available.

Another potential future role for the physician liaison involves them becoming digital physician relations specialists. This would significantly expand the reach of the liaison by adding digital communication to their role. Today, liaisons are limited in the number of practices they can visit in a day. However, with the help of social media, they can freely disseminate information about their organizations and reach out to practices far and wide, no longer encumbered by the obstacles of geography and time.

For the digital physician specialist, in addition to the traditional functions of a liaison, a portion of each day would be spent using social media to post content linking back to the organization’s digital hub (website, blog, microsite, etc). They would Retweet information shared by “faculty tweeters” and direct community physicians to the organization’s online resources for referring physicians.

Is It Time for Digital Physician Relations?

The question is no longer about the relevance of digital physician relations. Rather, the question today is whether your organization is going to embrace it now and get ahead of the curve, or play catch-up on the back end. Digital adoption among physicians will continue to grow. They will increasingly turn to digital communication to reach out to other physicians and to help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. They will actively look for trusted online resources that meet their professional needs. For medical centers and health systems looking to engage community physicians, these digital platforms are the next frontier. It is within the digital space, as a new feature of the physician relations program, that the hearts and minds of the new “digital doctors” may be won or lost. Effective communication requires that the information be delivered in a manner that fits within the context of the end-user’s professional life. As physicians’ appetite for digital information grows, so too must our digital mark


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"The question of pharma's social ROI has gone the way of the question of the shape of the planet"

"The question of pharma's social ROI has gone the way of the question of the shape of the planet" | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
Mark Senak writes in his Eye on FDA blog: "The question of ROI [in pharma's use of social media] has gone the way of the question of the shape of the planet. It may still be worth having the discussion if for no other reason than to actually get grounded in your goals and objectives. But in fact, we have all moved on and we are not turning back. It is probably as much good to ask what the ROI is on social media in the same way you might ask what the ROI was on your press releases, your web site, or the electronic socket in wall. In the end, it may not be a question about the return on investment as much as the cost of not doing business."
Via COUCH Medcomms, Claudio Bini
José Manuel Taboada's curator insight, April 17, 2014 5:22 AM

So the cuestion may be to be or not to be in Social.

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What's News in Healthcare Social Media - December 18 2013

What's News in Healthcare Social Media - December 18 2013.
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Rescooped by Media For Health from PATIENT EMPOWERMENT & E-PATIENT!

[VIDEO] Empowered Patient Experience - MTS Internet Baby Ad.

[VIDEO] Empowered Patient Experience - MTS Internet Baby Ad. | novita' nell'healthcare social marketing |
Via ET Russell, Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
ET Russell's curator insight, May 2, 2014 4:29 PM


But I have to admit it does make you think about the endless possibilities of improving the patient experience by empowering the patient.


From a communications and marketing  point of view...happy patient...positive free marketing and brand promotion...BUT...same goes for bad experience!