Taking the Plunge Into Social Media

At times, we find convincing a physician or practice administrator to jump feet first into the deep, unknown pool of social media is more difficult to accomplish than getting a child to eat their vegetables.  Most give short, one-word responses; ranging from, “No.” to “Why?”

So, why do we remain relentless in our push to involve healthcare professionals in the world of social media?  According to the Pew Research Center, “61% of adults look online for health information.”  For years, before social media brought a way to reach these potential patients, information found was often through websites lacking any source of credibility.  When looking for a new physician or medical organization, customers would have to search the phone book or internet for a nearby office; many times blindly trusting the experience would be pleasant.  Now, with the engaging nature of social media, those in need of medical assistance are able to connect with credible physicians and practices around the world for answers.

Social media is also a great way to become a “go-to source” for information.  Establishing an organization as an information bank, full of great advice, knowledgeable physicians and engaging content helps increase customer loyalty and draw in new patients.  The more information provided through social media and content published; the more likely an organization is to appear first on a potential patient’s internet search for a new physician, rather than buried on the fifteenth page of results.

Finally, the best way to improve a practice is to focus on what needs work.  Who better to inform the organization of hits and misses than the patients themselves?  Social media allows an open forum for discussion in relation to the patient experience. Feedback left and questions asked serve as starting points for continual improvement.  Without a source for patients to discuss their feelings towards the experience, the organization’s weaknesses may go entirely unnoticed.

While many will continue to shun the world of social media, the growth and results obtained by those utilizing the resource speak for themselves.  In today’s healthcare field staying “connected” is a means for staying relevant.

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