(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends:
Greater Means of Communication Could Lead to Higher Risks
Communication is, without a doubt, the basis of Social
Media. Unfortunately, for the millions
of businesses around the world operating Facebook Fan Pages, we are unable to
directly communicate with our fans without the entire Facebook community
viewing our message. As many of you are
aware, Facebook removed the direct message feature from Fan Pages; due to an
influx in misconduct from spamming agencies.
Without this feature, Page Administrators are offered no means of
private communication with fans. For
many business pages, the DM feature is a great option for informing fans of
contest being run and communicating other information not directly mentioned on
the page. While the new feature being
tested merely gives business pages the ability to receive private messages; the
initiative seems to be an olive branch offered from Facebook to the likely
thousands of businesses miffed of messaging privileges revoked.
However, as healthcare professionals, we must keep in mind
the ever present threat of HIPAA violations.
With this new opportunity to connect with fans and perhaps current or
potential patients through direct messaging, we must remember patient
communication through Facebook is prohibited.
Those in violation of HIPAA face penalties including, but not limited
to, large fines (up to $250,000) and imprisonment. Many patients view Facebook as an open forum
and are comfortable inquiring about specific questions they have; Page
Administrators must be sure to provide answers with no mention to Protected
Health Information (PHI) that could potentially expose a patient's private information.
One significant reason HIPAA prohibits patient/provider communication
through social media is due to the insecure nature of the sites. Direct messages are not considered an
encrypted, secure form of electronic communication. According to HIPAA statues, communication
with patients must be encrypted or carried out through software with strict
security measures to prevent any type of information leak. Overall, Facebook is a great marketing tool
for healthcare organizations. Increased
communication brings patients, current or potential, closer to the organization
and allows opinions to be voiced regarding various topics. While it is important to maintain a line of
communication with those posting to your page; it is vital to keep engaging
conversation away from patient specific questions and comments.
This past month, we
had the pleasure of working with
many of our clients to do year end reviews and strategic planning for 2012. We continue to be impressed and honored to work with some
of the most dedicated and innovative healthcare leaders in the country!
Put it into Practice!
A great New Year's Resolution for your organization is to get involved in Social Media this year! Here are five tips to get started...
Become a source of information; provide up to date content on various topics that may be of interest to your followers.
Personalize your pages; whether it be Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, create a background, welcome page and content that is uniquely you!
Keep it professional, while Social Media has a personal feel, we must all remember to use care when publishing content.
Promote, promote, promote! Spread the word, let others know about your new presence to attract a following.
Make the commitment, Social Media requires time and dedication; consistently post, update and reply to followers to get the most out of Social Media at your organization!
How does your Practice Measure Up?
With our exhaustive 130 point mystery
shopping review, you'll know the answer. Give us a call or
email Jamie today to discuss how our mystery shopping
services can ensure practice growth in 2012!