Alert Solutions Blog

Using Social Media to Boost Patient Engagement at Your Medical Practice

Posted by Nina Caliri on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 09:06 AM

If your medical practice has yet to employ social media to engage with patients, you may be missing out on an easy and inexpensive communications tool.

While creating content and scheduling regular posts for social media can take planning, the payoff can be worthwhile. Used effectively, social media communications can boost patient engagement, help gain their trust, and improve overall patient retention while also optimizing exposure for your medical practice.

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“Social media holds a lot of promise in developing a sense of community,” notes Sara Heath on PatientEngagementHit.com. “By connecting patients with other patients at the same care facility or receiving guidance toward the same health goals, social media can help build a network of people supporting each other toward better health.”  

Chances are your patients are already using social media to find healthcare information; in U.S. research last year, 91 percent of internet users said online communities play a role in their health decisions and 87 percent share health information via Facebook post. And those who represent your future trade, younger patients from 18 to 29, are even more apt to rely on social media.

That’s why it behooves your medical practice to develop its own social media presences to share information, offer health reminders, and motivate individuals to take care of their own health – all while fostering good patient engagment.

A few guidelines to consider as you get started:

  • Use social media as part of a comprehensive patient communications strategy that also delivers texts, calls and emails. An efficient patient notification system from Alert Solutions can take care of that by seamlessly incorporating a patient communication solution into your existing practice management software.
  • When posting, try answering common health questions in general terms. Address follow-up queries by answering them outright, referring the questioner to another info source or directing him to a private patient portal.
  • Consider asking physicians to tweet, blog, record videos and participate in disease-specific online discussion forums – these social media posts can provide valuable opportunities to share health information and promote patient engagement.
  • To avoid liability issues, double-check outgoing social media posts to ensure unsupported advice isn’t offered and patient-specific information isn’t shared. Common examples of HIPAA violations committed through social media have included gossip about patients without naming the patients, the sharing of patient photos without written consent, and the accidental sharing of private info through seemingly innocuous photos.

Talk to Alert Solutions for more ideas about optimizing your patient communication strategy today!

patient communication

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing, patient engagement

Improve Patient Engagement at Your Medical Practice with the Help of Social Media

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

Patients who are more engaged in their health tend to have higher patient satisfaction rates and experience better health outcomes. But finding the time and resources to implement patient engagement strategies can be a challenge for busy medical practices.

Many healthcare providers are now turning to social media as an effective and budget-friendly way to increase patient engagement. Consider these 3 ways social media can improve patient engagement at your medical practice.

1. Improve Patient Engagement by Sharing Resources
socialmedia.jpgGood patient engagement continues outside of the exam room. Reaching patients in their everyday lives, instead of just during office visits, increases their levels of patient engagement and patient satisfaction. Over 70% of patients turn to the internet for health information, but don’t always find reliable sources. Social media platforms allow you to become a reliable source, all while building credibility for your practice and educating patients about their health.

2. Improve Patient Engagement by Building Patient Trust
Most patients visit their healthcare provider only several times per year. Consistent social media updates can keep your medical practice top of mind and achieve a new level of trust and patient satisfaction year round. In addition to sharing health-related information, also consider sharing practice updates. Providing a regular look inside your medical practice will create more engaged patients focused on getting more out of their healthcare.

3. Improve Patient Engagement by Increasing Patient Communication
Social media can also serve as an effective patient retention tool. While patient communication solutions are the most effective way to keep patients coming back, your medical practice will also benefit from the ability to quickly share a social post reminding patients about seasonal services. For example, consider sharing a reminder that flu season has begun and you are available for vaccinations.

Did you know? Alert Solutions provides many patient communication tools for medical practices through multiple automated channels including email, voice, and text. Learn more.

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, social media marketing, patient retention, patient engagement

3 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Medical Practice

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

Medical practice managers and their providers are seeing the value of an active social media presence. For the healthcare industry as a whole, social media has become a powerful tool that brings many benefits.

From marketing to communication, profiles on mediums like Facebook and Twitter expand reach beyond a website alone.

Here are three ways social media can help your medical practice in 2017:

1. Engage Patients with Helpful and Relevant Content 
Patient engagement can be enriched by using social media.  Sharing medical resources and research findings can better educate patients to make more informed decisions with their health.  Thought-leadership is demonstrated by sharing new content from reputable sources.

2. Attract New Patients to Your Medical Practicemedicalsocialmedia.png
Social media is a powerful healthcare marketing tool that can attract new patients for full appointment schedules.  Ratings and reviews are shown directly on your Facebook profile for potential patients to see.  Although the cost of attracting new patients is higher than retaining existing patients, social media is a great way to do so.

3. Improve Patient Communication
Social media is a great opportunity to improve patient communication - just be cautious.  No patient-specific health information may be communicated.  Responsiveness is essential for improving patient communication on social media; Reply to timeline posts or direct messages in a timely manner to let patient’s know you’re paying attention.

Did you know?  90% of millennials said they would trust health information shared by others in their social media networks.

In addition to social media, a multi-channel patient communication strategy is ideal for every medical practice.

Download our Guide to Patient Communication to read more tips and tricks.

Download the Patient Communication Best Practice Guide!

Topics: Marketing Trends, Medical, patient communication, social media marketing, patient engagement

3 Simple Ways to Increase Patient Engagement with Social Media

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

Many medical practices have increased their social media presence lately.  Not only does it provide great marketing opportunity, it also allows office staff to engage with patients in new ways.

In addition, patients are welcoming their healthcare providers on social media more than ever before.  According to Cardinal Web Solutions, a recent survey found that over 90% of millennials would trust health information on social media.

Is your medical practice maintaining a social media presence?

The following are three simple ways to increase patient engagement using social media:

1) Let everyone know you’re there.socialmediapresence
If your patients don’t know about your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media page, they can’t connect with you!  Let your social media presence be known by including invitations on your website and in your office.  Some medical practices even promote their social media pages using links in other communication channels, such as icons in email templates.
 
2) Practice good thought-leadership.
Once your social media presence is established, don’t stop there.  Patients may be less likely to interact, and more likely to unfollow/unlike, if your social media page(s) appear inactive or stale.  Keep a recurring schedule so you don’t forget when to post new content.
 
3) Make sure your patients know you’re paying attention.
Be responsive to questions, comments, or concerns posted to your social media page(s). On Twitter, explore hashtags and weigh-in on conversations with other industry experts.  This could even allow you to collect valuable reviews and feedback that can be repurposed for testimonials.
 
Many medical practices find that the time spent on social media is well-worth their efforts.  However, proceed with caution! Due to HIPAA regulations, medical practices may only use social media as means of informational communication.  No patient-specific health information may be discussed.
 
Looking for more ways to improve patient engagement? Download our best practice guide today!

Download the Patient Communication Best Practice Guide!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing, patient engagement

Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns: Expand your Reach with Social Media

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, May 08, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

Businesses utilize various forms of communication for marketing campaigns.  Multi-channel marketing plays a large part in reaching the largest audience possibly through preferred communication channels of email, voice and SMS text messaging.

multiIn recent years, social media has become a great additive to these multi-channel marketing campaigns.  Not only is social media an additional channel to expose the original marketing message, but it can also be used as the icing on the cake, so to speak.

A marketing campaign can now be used in conjunction with social media.  For example, an email marketing campaign for a product that then offers a coupon if you ’Like’ the Facebook page.  Or Domino’s television commercial that promote a “Big Night In” which has become a hashtag trend on Twitter.

This allows for the original campaign to be seen by an audience who then can share the offer or trend with their social media peers.  Although a consumer may not have seen the original campaign, they may become aware of the brand, product or promotion through social media.  A Twitter user may have a friend who posts about their #BigNightIn.  They may decide to ask their friend what their big night in is, or what that refers to, leading to the explanation of the Dominos television campaign.

Alert Solutions offers businesses the opportunity to create a compelling multi-channel marketing campaign that can also be broadcasted across social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.  You can reach a larger target audience, quickly and reliably.

By adding a Twitter hashtag, Facebook offer or any other connection to social media you can “ice” your multi-channel marketing campaign and expand the reach of your multi-channel marketing campaign.

How do youintegrate your multi-channel marketing campaigns to social media?  Share your thoughts on our blog.

To learn about multi-channel marketing download our brochure.

Download Now!

 

Topics: multi-channel messaging, social media marketing

Property Management – Using Social Media to Drive Rental Success

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

Social media has been gaining more ground as a business tool throughout the past few years.  From sharing news, events and simply increasing exposure, social media has opened up a new way to communicate with customers.

One example of how social media can be an asset to a business is in the property management industry.  Property managers and landlords can utilize social media to win over prospective renters and  strengthen communication with current tenants.

According to a recent PropertyManager.com article, here are some ways that property managers and landlords can use social media as a tool for success:socialmediapropertymanagement resized 600

1. Answer Questions on Twitter
Twitter users will often ask questions, trusting their connections will have the answer. Setting up searches for these conversations and questions will help property managers build uptheir reach and give you greater knowledge into what potential tenants want to know.

2. Post Photos of Apartments on Pinterest
Pinterest users will happily share photos of beautiful homes, including creatively arranged apartments.  You can also share photos of amenities in your rental community and your local neighborhood.

3. Host Meetups in Your Complex
If you have an area in the rental community that can be used for parties or meetings, you can host your own Meetups — events organized online that take place offline. Target Meetups towards the demographics most interested in your rental community and local area to maximize the use of this channel.

4. Create a Blog
As the property manager of a rental community you know what’s happening in the neighborhood.  Sharing that information will be useful for tenants and prospects to gain an understanding of the local area and may peak their interest in your rental community.  In addition, a blog will give you greater content to share on social media and improve your search engine results.

6. Share Through Google+
Sharing through Google+ can help improve your search engine rankings.  Share news and photos that your followers may want to share with their own circles.

7. Develop Facebook Pages for current tenants and for prospects
Facebook pages are a great way to communicate.  Property managers can share rent specials, community news and photos of available rentals.  You may also want to develop separate Facebook pages for current tenants and for potential renters, sharing information that would greater appeal to either segment.

Check out our other blog posts to see what else is going on in the property management industry.

Check Out More Blog Posts!

Topics: property management, tenant communication, social media marketing

Social Media: How Can it Benefit Your Medical Practice?

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 14:01 PM

Social media and the Internet have drastically changed the way we communicate in today’s world.  Many people no longer prefer to connect face-to-face or even over the phone, but rather over social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

In regards to healthcare, social media and the Internet have also become a vital source of information for patients and families.  People search for answers from others and from online resources to come up with their own diagnosis, remedies, etc. 

So if this is how patients are communicating, why aren’t more medical practices utilizing social media?

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Medical practices understand that with all communication methods, utilizing social media for patient communication can have some obstacles.  However, medical practices should see social media as an opportunity when used correctly and understand how to overcome these obstacles.

Here are some social media obstacles seen by medical practices that can be avoided, revolving social media into a great patient communication opportunity.

1.       Risk

Like all communication methods, social media can run a risk for medical practices.  Many medical practices avoid social media for fear of violating regulations such as HIPAA.  The solution to this issue is simply to utilize social media as a mean of informational communication. 

Patient communication does not necessarily have to be specific or a diagnosis, as patient information should never be shared over social media.  Medical practices can utilize social media to spread information about good health, general health tips or information for upcoming events, such as flu clinics.

 2.       Time

With an already busy schedule, many doctors and medical practices do not see that they have the time to manage social media as well.  By ignoring such a popular communication platform this could be a large mistake.  Patient retention and patient satisfaction rely on patient communication. If a patient feels ignored or is not finding the answers they need from their doctor or medical office, they will find the answer somewhere else. 

Medical practices that utilize social media are giving their patients another way to communicate with them.  Even if the conversation is not able to continue over social media, a quick post to a Facebook page or a response to a patient’s tweet takes a very short time and could go a long way in patient satisfaction.

Ultimately, some medical practices look at social media and ask themselves if it is worth it.  According to a recent article, many healthcare providers are finding the benefits outweigh the costs.  Medical practices are finding that blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter feeds and Facebook are useful in addressing common questions and maximizing patient communication. 

Dr. Alice Ackerman, a pediatrician and college professor from Virginia Tech University, explains that after a year of blogging she had an average of 4.5 readers per day.  One day, however, a reader sent her the following tweet –

“Dr. Ackerman is the person who changed my mind once I read her blog and her links. I had no idea that info existed.”

For Dr. Ackerman this tweet proved that her social media use had benefitted at least this one person and that alone was enough to outweigh the cost.

Check Out More Blog Posts!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, social media marketing

Health Insurance Companies Tweet Their Way to Increased Customer Service

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 @ 14:11 PM

What do you do when you have a question or concern regarding your health insurance?  Do you make a phone call? Send an email?  Although these are viable options, customers are beginning to find one communication medium especially effective when trying to contact their health insurance company or receive information: Twitter.

Twitter, along with other social media sites, has become a viable way for businesses to interact with their customers.  Twitter allows a business to reply to customer complaints, answer questions and gather information about their customers. 

For example, a customer of Aetna, an insurance company, recently tweeted regarding a hospital charge and her coverage, complaining that Aetna did not cover an appropriate amount.  Aetna quickly responded via Twitter and telephone, clarifying the charges made and the coverage,which resolved the situation quickly.  This not only helped the affected customer, but allowed Aetna to diffuse the situation and show excellent customer service.

More and more health insurance companies, like Aetna, are increasing their social media presence.  Some benefits of using social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, as a communication method include:twittericon resized 600

  • Increased Customer Service

  • Quicker Resolution of Customer Issues

  • Easily Inform Customers of Upcoming Changes, Events, etc.

  • Effective Brand Management

  • Viral Sharing of Advertise Promotions, Specials, etc.

Especially since health insurance coverage can be a complicated thing for customers to understand, Twitter feeds range from simple statements to more complex issues and questions.  The tweets include anything from financial woes, health care coverage questions and complaints.

This allows health insurance companies to respond with the appropriate resources or further contact information.  Since the tweets are public, there is also a sense of accountability brought onto the company.  Not only can everyone view the question or complaint, but also how the company responds, handles or resolves the situation.

Although not every response can be handled through Twitter, the social media site is still a prime gateway for health insurance companies and customers to initiate a conversation via phone or private message.  By utilizing Twitter as a customer service tool, health insurance companies will be able to respond more effectively and efficiently.

Learn more about communication in the healthcare industry.

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing

Using Social Media as a Communication Tool in the Healthcare Industry

Posted by Cassie Breen on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 15:10 PM

In recent years social media has become a vastly used communication channel for companies in all industries.  This includes the healthcare industry, although there are some guidelines that must be followed for medical practices, doctors, etc. who choose to use social media as a communication tool.

A major concern of utilizing social media in the healthcare industry involves HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and more specifically, it’s Privacy Rule.  This is the first comprehensive Federal protection for the privacy of personal health information. 

Companies required to abide by HIPAA must ensure they do so when utilizing social media as well.  For example, an emergency room doctor in Rhode Island discussed a patient’s case on Facebook. The text contained enough detail to allow the patient involved to be identified, resulting in a violation of HIPAA’s Privacy Act and the termination of the doctor involved.

There are ways that those working in the healthcare industry can use social media as a tool while avoiding legal and regulatory entanglements.  Here are some examples:

1.       Information Creator:  Blogging is a great social media tool to relay information in your area of expertise.  This requires pre-existing knowledge and research, but can be a great way to interact with and inform people.  Press releases and best practice guides are also examples of how information can be relayed in this process.  Any of these writing materials can then be spread throughout social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.

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 2.       Information Curator:  A curator collects, organizes and helps to reach understanding on a body of knowledge or information.  This technique allows you to use medical news, journals and articles that are published in your field to inform people.  Share these findings with your social media “followers.”  Your viewers, patients, etc. will then see you as a source of where they get there information.  This means you must ensure that the information you are sharing is relevant and trusted.<<Get some ideas and check out more healthcare blog posts here. >>

3.       Conversation Contributor:  As well as maintaining your own social media profiles, become involved in conversations happening on other social media pages.  For example, if a medical association posts a healthcare blog on their Facebook page, you could add your expertise by commenting on their post.  If you have written your own article or blog about the topic, sharing that as a comment as well will show your credibility to the conversation.  This will help develop traffic to your own social media profiles or websites and will help establish professional connections.

Applying any of these techniques can assist you in developing a social media strategy that keeps guidelines in mind.  However, utilizing all three techniques is the best way to help maximize social media exposure in the healthcare industry.

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing

Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Top Priorities for 2013

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

According to a recent article on Marketing Profs, email marketing and social media will be top spending priorities for businesses in 2013.

55.5% of businesses say they plan to increase email marketing campaign spending in 2013 and 52% plan to boost social media spending.

Email Marketing Campaigns
Email is still evolving despite continuing claims that email marketing is dead or dying. Below are a few suggestions on how to keep you email marketing campaigns relevant as other technologies evolve.

-Mobile OptimizationEmail Marketing Campaigns
In 2013, the majority of your subscribers will open your email on a smartphone. A responsive email marketing design allows you to auto-adjust the layout, content, and text size of an email to tailor it to a specific screen size.

- Delivering Relevant Content Is Still Key
Delivering highly relevant content is critical to the success of your email marketing campaign efforts. Relevant emails are read and produce revenue. Irrelevant email marketing campaigns end up in junk folders, marked as spam, or, worse yet, lead to unsubscribes.

- Rethink How Your Email Marketing Campaigns are Structured
A triggered email marketing campaign is a critical tactic in any businesses arsenal, but in 2013, you'll need to take an extra step to make your triggers go multi-channel. An ideal triggered marketing campaign is automatically generated based on a change in a subscriber's behavior using a multi-channel messaging approach.

Social Media
Social media has been building in impact, with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn topping 1 billion, 500 million and 175 million users, respectively.

Social Media IntegrationBusinesses integrated social media into their communication plans of 2012 and reached different segments of their audiences in new ways.

Keep an eye out for increasing social media focus in 2013, particularly geared towards targeted purchasing and revenue generation. And don’t forget social media integration.

Here are a few ways you can easily integrate social media into your existing, and more development, email marketing campaign plan.

1. Put Social Media Icons In Your Email Marketing Campaigns
2. Add Facebook and Twitter Widgets in Your Blog Post
3. On Opt-In Pages, Invite People to Check Out Your Social Media Pages

Topics: Marketing Trends, social media marketing, email marketing

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