Physicians Should Be Part of Online HealthCare Discussions
The Risks of Not Participating in Healthcare and Social Media
The Internet has forever changed the way our patients will approach healthcare. Digital or social media is NOT a passing fad… get past that. Widespread access to the Internet has opened doors to health information that previously was available only to physicians. People all over the globe, engaged current, or future patients and their caregivers are more informed than ever — and more empowered then ever. As such they will be taking a more active role in making decisions about their health — and curating their health related content. Perhaps even more important … they will have a far better understanding about you… and what your previous patients have to say about you.
Having a digital presence nestled in a Web2.0 compliant platform, itself rooted in social media — also enables you, your institution, and your practice!
I have covered these as I reflected on
- “why” physicians should engage, as well as when I discussed
- how to prepare offline for your digital roll-out.
At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication. It is about fostering your relevance as a physician and educator (@doctornatasha) beyond the four walls of your practice. Establishing a digital footprint, rooted as a social media presence is about educating, engaging, growing your audience, improving outcomes, improving compliance and potentially improving the bottom line of your practice
Healthcare-Social Media and the Physician-Patient Relationship
Healthcare and social media, and the power it grants to a worldwide audience means that meeting the needs of today’s patient requires adjusting to the new standard of physician-patient relationship
Dr. Farris Timimi, the recently named Chair of the Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Center For Social Media (of which I am very proud to be a member).
“This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job,” says Mayo Clinic cardiologist and Medical Director of Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media, Farris Timimi, M.D., when discussing the role and use of social media in health care.
Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that upwards of 98% of the online health related discussion take place without the input of a healthcare professional.
Aside from the obvious downsides to the public at large …. do you understand the…
Downsides of Not Engaging in Online Healthcare Discussions?
By not establishing a deep digital presence, and by not engaging your audience, you are losing out on your ability to:
- Foster your relevance
- Extend your knowledge and educate those far beyond the four walls of your practice
- Humanize your practice
- Connect with people who insist on the ability to digitally engage with their doctors
- Enable mechanisms to improve information transfer, education, compliance and adherence to chronic disease or post-surgical protocols.
- Enable an efficient office practice enhanced by simple web platforms and practice generated content.
Many patients are becoming very web savvy. They are being turned off by much of the commercialized nonsense that exists online today. They are hungry for information and they are searching for information. Whether you agree with this trend is not particularly relevant. Patients are searching for information on Facebook. They are interacting with one another on Twitter. 12 to 15% of patients who enter my office mention the Internet, Facebook, or my website as the reason why they are present in my office. A properly constructed web presence will also enable numerous efficiencies that will contribute to the bottom line of your practice as we face ongoing fiscal instability in the healthcare space. A patient who has actively explored your website, watched your videos, and read through your comments and content will be very well prepared for their visit. This will result in a far more effective and efficient visit and will also contribute to improving the patient’s experience — and thus their desire to recommend you to their friends and acquaintances.
Lastly, I personally feel that to ignore the intersection of healthcare and social media, is to ignore your own potential relevance as a healthcare practitioner over the coming years.
Learn more about Physicians Should Be Part Of The Online Healthcare Discussions at Howard J. Luks, MD.