Reasons for Physicians to Use Social Media In Healthcare

As in all areas of life, social media also permeates healthcare. As practice leaders, hospitals and facilities, and providers wrestle with strategies for capitalizing on the communication forum, some have found success while others continue to struggle.

For each person that has made the attempt, though, valuable experiences have been gained, some worth sharing.

Such is the case for Mike Sevilla, MD. Sevilla is a blogger who provides perspective through the eyes of a family medical practitioner. He was recently featured by Power Your Practice in a post titled “6 Ways Physicians Can Leverage Social Media.”

In the piece, Sevilla offers advice to physicians about the need to engage in regular and ongoing social media activities.

Physicians, he says, must begin to interact with patients and the public through a variety of social channels including blogs for no other reason than because patients are beginning to demand it. Without the outside the office interactions, patients begin to disengage from their physicians and seek alternative sources who are willing to meet them where the live.

Seville offers a few compelling reasons for physicians and their practices to engage socially, including:

There are a few things Sevilla fails to mention in the piece, though.

For example, social media is more than about building one’s own brand and developing recognition for one’s own efforts. Engaging in social media is about creating relationships with others; specifically, patients.

As such, when using social media tools in the healthcare setting, you must stay close to your customers. Social media can, and should, be used to generate conversations with the public and build relationships with those you are serving. In doing so, you gain ground in each of the areas Sevilla mentions above.

In addition, physicians and practice leaders may consider using social media as an educational tool for patients. With less than 10 minutes of face time with a physician on average, patients can turn to their social media tools to learn more about a certain procedure, to ask generalized questions or to learn how the practice’s online patient portal, appointment setting or how billing and payment processes work.

Also, consider using your Twitter feed to ask questions of your patients. Conduct informal surveys asking for feedback about visit times, practice hours or services offered. Set up a weekly or monthly lunch-hour Twitter chat where a physician takes generic questions from the public or set aside a week each month to provide health and wellness tips about certain conditions.

The results of these efforts may surprise you. And soon, you’ll discover that conversations on social media are two way rather than one sided. Perhaps you’ll even have your own strategies to share.