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Is Social Media an Effective Healthcare Marketing Tool?

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, May 11, 2011

After the incident, social media experts at Emory reevaluated their social media policy to target some key questions and areas for improvement:

  • What if someone exposes their personal information to us in a public arena such as Twitter?
  • What if we aren't careful and diligent in our response, could we further compromise that person's privacy?
  • What if we can't help?
  • What if we don't respond? But most importantly, what if we do?

Since the incident, Emory Healthcare has worked out a list of emergency numbers for urgent situations. They are working to address these "what ifs" to improve process efficiency in social media communication.

"We also know with certainty that without Twitter on April 25, 2011, a family would have felt more hopeless and helpless than they already did. They would have had one less avenue through which to gain answers and options," adds Griffith.

 
Westerly Hospital: Facebook Fail

One HealthLeaders story that has been gaining traction with our readers centers on a Rhode Island physician fined $500 for posting online about work experiences. The emergency department physician at Westerly Hospital was terminated after the incident.

The hospital board determined that she had "used her Facebook account inappropriately to communicate a few of her clinical experience at the hospital's emergency department."

Apparently, there is still much confusion in the healthcare world surrounding the appropriate use of social media, especially with regards to patient privacy.

According to a social media and compliance survey from the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) & the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE):

  • 42% of respondents reported that their organization has had to discipline an employee for behavior on social media sites (up from 24% in 2009)
  • Increased incidents has not been matched with increasingly systematic approaches to monitoring compliance
  • A gap exists between policies and adequate procedures, posing a significant risk
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8 comments on "Is Social Media an Effective Healthcare Marketing Tool?"


Isabel McCan (6/27/2012 at 4:10 PM)
Although there is no cut and dry way to gauge the amount of revenue that a social media marketing campaign can bring to a health or wellness company, social media is still an undoubtedly useful tool for health professionals. Not only can health practices garner new potential customers by spreading word about their business across the many platforms of the social media circuit, they can also keep these new fans or followers up-to-date about any events, news, or anything interesting and relevant to their business. By using well thought-out social media tactics like these, it is much easier to cultivate customer loyalty. Also, health companies can not only use social media to reach out to existing and potential patients, but they can also find other like-minded professionals with whom they can connect and collaborate with. So despite the ethical lines that health practices must be careful not to cross while creating content online, there are still many ways that social media can prove fruitful for a health practice. Here is an article we posted on our site that give six (of the many) reasons why health practices should engage in social media: http://www.feelgoodnow.com/feelgoodsocial/bid/154833/6-Reasons-Why-Health-Practices-Should-Be-On-Social-Sites

Erick Kinuthia (3/21/2012 at 1:34 AM)
In this current world and economy if a doctor is not in the social media bandwagon is missing a lot on potential patients. Erick Kinuthia Team MDwebpro

Brandon (10/29/2011 at 3:02 PM)
Emily, I am pretty sure that the second paragraph states the stance the article takes on the effectiveness of advertising through social media.