Social media is now so much more than families trying to stay in touch or kids discussing the latest news and fashions.
For healthcare speakers or doctors,social media interaction is the new way to spread your important messages to the public, your clients and patients.
Before you try to engage however, it is important to set up a plan. Ask yourself “What is it that I am trying to accomplish?”
- My target market is….(public, hospital peers, clients, patients)
- Am I trying to educate, get new leads (new patients or clients)
- Am I trying to present myself as an authority in a particular field (Do I have something that I do that is unique to me?)
Blogging is great but don’t embark down this road unless you can devote time to this on a regular basis. Keep in mind, the blog is to educate patients, not to be a continuous advertisement. People might read part of the content once, but they will never be back. The goal is to have continuous interaction or an ongoing relationship.
Consider checking for liability. It is one thing to speak about a medical condition in general but if you are speaking to a specific patient about a specific patient, keep in mind that this would violate the HIPPA laws.
Simple Rules to Live By
To boil this down to the simplest rule to live by, you don’t want to post anything that the reader can recognize as belonging to them or a specific person.
- Don’t discuss a specific patient’s medical conditions in an effort to answer questions. This should be reserved for the telephone or an office appointment
- Don’t post pictures, even if they are babies that you delivered and the photo was supplied by the parents
- Don’t discuss patients specifically online. When people think that you will be talking about them, it is a clear way to lose all your patients or clients instantly!
- Don’t try to be funny. What one person may consider humorous, others may view as offensive
Make everything that you “say” online be easily understood by clients and patients….and then YOU will be understood!
Check your hospital that you are affiliated with as a practicing physician to see if the health facility has a policy regarding participation in social media.
If Facebook is the media of your choice, make sure that you have a separate page for professional use. You don’t want to mix your friends and family with your professional contacts.
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