By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Social media has become so pervasive in American society that it’s impossible to ignore. Yet some physicians still dismiss it as the home for cute pet antics and baby birthday pictures. Mildly amusing, perhaps, but not professionally useful.
Social media (SM) is a nearly indispensible tool in healthcare marketing and communications plans. Yet relatively few doctors are widely recognized (and thus admired) as authoritative SM rock stars.
The benefits of a social media strategy…
The nation’s healthcare system continues to reinvent itself nearly as fast as the Internet has reshaped social interaction. The fact is, some of the most successful doctors, hospitals and health systems benefit from an aggressive social media strategy. And patients and prospective patients might be the primary beneficiaries. Here’s how and why SM-savvy doctors are using an integrated strategy today:
OUTCOMES: Educated, engaged and empowered patients experience better outcomes. When a patient knows what’s going on in their care, they are more actively involved (and more diligently follow) their treatment plan or disease management. Social media tools are an important means to closely connect provider and patient.
PHYSICIAN CME: Doctors interacting with professional colleagues are better doctors. Social media enables physicians to access continuing education, share ideas and knowledge, collaborate with other providers, and gain more immediate awareness of advances in science in medicine.
REPUTATION: Social media builds and extends an online presence. Professional reputation relies on a level of awareness, among patients, among fellow professionals, or both. Social media facilitates an online presence that helps define and direct a positive identity, reputation and visibility.
EDUCATION: Authoritative information promotes healthy living and lifestyle habits. Social media influence is pervasive and persuasive as a trusted source for the general public.
WHERE THE PATIENTS SEARCH: Patients look online first for health and medical guidance. The Internet in general, and social media in particular, represent healthcare’s digital front door. It only makes sense to meet, engage and attract new patients where they are searching for help.
In addition, read how social media is changing healthcare, and get started with the 10 commandments for success in the art of social media.