(e)Merge - Helping medical practices grow


(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends:

  January Update


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. 



December's Highlights:


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!


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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!


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Where's (e)Merge?

January 19th

MGMA Birmingham

January 20-21

Academy of Plastic Surgeons Conference - Tampa, FL

March 8-11

SXSW Interactive Conference - Austin, TX

March 18-20

MGMA Virginia


What's (e)Merge?

(e)Merge is a medical practice growth consulting firm specializing in providing innovative, patient-centric marketing initiatives and medical mystery shopping services that enhance patient experiences to increase referrals.  Our programs are designed to strategically achieve sustained patient volume growth for medical practices and health organizations.


Give us a call!





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