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.
“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!