5 Things to Know about Social Media and Healthcare | Binary Fountain

February 13, 2019

5 Things to Know about Social Media and Healthcare

By: Kayla Zamary

social media and healthcareIf you are a healthcare marketer, you know that social media can be a powerful marketing tool for your doctors. Here’s how social media can help healthcare providers.

If you are a healthcare marketer or practice manager, you know that social media can be a powerful marketing tool for your doctors. It allows you to get real-time feedback on your level of care thanks to reviews, as well as the ability to directly interact with your patients.

Before you implement a social media strategy for your healthcare facility, make sure you are following industry best practices by avoiding violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or a potential public relations crises. This will prevent a ton of legal or PR headaches in the future.

Follow these rules that all healthcare professionals need to consider when using social media.

Never Share Patient Information

This may seem basic, but you would be surprised at how difficult this can be–and not just for people managing your social media. Most of your staff will know or be highly trained to avoid sharing patient information, but that doesn’t mean patients won’t accidentally share identifying information.  

And you’re on the hook to remove it.

Politely remind the patient removing protected healthcare information (PHI) is in their best interest – not just yours. If it is a negative review, the conversation may need to go offline in order to best resolve the issue.

PHI can also be accidentally posted when you publish patient experience surveys. When you publish this information, make sure you are removing all:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Diagnoses  
  • Lab work
  • Procedures

Don’t Offer Medical Advice on Social Media

One of the worst things a healthcare provider can do on social media is offer medical advice. Sadly, this happens more often than you think.

We recommend having responses drafted up for some of the most common questions your providers get that help users get in contact with the right department contact who can best answer their question instead of giving medical assistance over social media. This ensures patients can’t get upset with the advice given and increases the likelihood they contact your office or facility for an appointment.  

Make sure you include the provider’s name and phone number for who the patient should get in contact with.  

This doesn’t mean a physician can’t post information about current events in healthcare or your own medical content (in fact, we encourage that). Just don’t reply to a specific question with advice.

Don’t Panic Over Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are going to happen, and when they do, you can only control your reaction. It’s easy to get emotionally invested in what people are saying about your practice online, but negative reactions will only sabotage your trust with your patients.

Respond to negative reviews politely and empathetically. Thank the reviewer for their feedback and promise them to fix the problem in the future.  

You should never remove or delete negative reviews or comments unless you have evidence of a fraudulent claim. We must stress that false claims are extremely rare. You are much better off taking customer reviews at face value.

Plus, it’s an opportunity for your customer experience to improve. Take the constructive criticism and get better at delivering exceptional services.

Focus on Quickly Digestible Content

Physicians may like in-depth medical studies, but chances are that a mom looking at her Facebook news feed isn’t going have the time to read all that. When you are using social media platforms for healthcare services, people want easily understood content like pictures and videos that are engaging to the eye.

For images, we recommend using clean, plain stock images or something that will easily catch the eye. Just make sure all images are appropriate and not just “click bait.” If you do use text posts, keep them brief and to the point. Same thing with commenting on a link you may be sharing.  

Lastly, focus your efforts where your audience is most active. This means doing the legwork in your analytics to figure out where the best ROI is on your social media platforms. You can make the best Instagram post of all time, but if your audience isn’t using the platform (or isn’t engaged) no one will see it.  

A Healthcare Reputation Management Software Can Make It Easy to Respond and Post

In order to get the most out of your social media strategies, we recommend using a reputation management platform. These can help you monitor online reviews on social media and keep track of your physician ratings.

A reputation management platform keeps all of your patient feedback in one convenient place, making it easier to take control of the conversion and quickly respond to reviews.  

Healthcare and Social Media: You Can Win!

Utilizing these social media strategies will help you win new patients and retain the ones you currently have. Remember social media isn’t meant to just ask users for something: it’s meant to build relationships through meaningful conversation.

Don’t be afraid to jump in the discussion by responding to patients, especially if they leave a review.

Interested in learning more? Here are some other materials that may help:

Also, check out our free webinars or e-books for more information and case studies about how we have helped businesses around the world.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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