Internet has emerged as a strong source of information these days. In fact, people consider Google as the best solution to all of their problems. People suffering from specific health condition will Google info about it to gain more information. For instance, if you notice a strange growth on your foot, you will Google “strange growth on my foot”. The search efforts will help you provide with a long list of websites offering information on the issue.
Although this is a great thing, many websites are not properly managed by medical professionals. Hence, the information offered may be misleading or even outright wrong. Most doctors and medical institutions do feel that it is their responsibility to provide the right information to their clients, and address online patient inquiries. They want people to get the right information to live healthier lives.
Social media for physicians collaborate and share knowledge through online forums and chats. For instance, doctors interested in social media and healthcare may easily join the Twitter conversation which is specifically targeted to the topic they wish to offer information on. A medical professional from one part of the world can easily communicate with his peers everywhere across the globe and discuss topics of interest. And this is just the tips of iceberg of benefits to physicians on Twitter.
Best Practices for Medical Social Media Marketing
Social media is a powerful tool for medical practitioners. However, there are some rules and regulations to be followed to ensure best practices. Here’s what experts suggest physicians while using social media marketing:
Adherence to Guidelines
You must know about HIPAA guidelines in detail. Privacy regulations work towards providing ample protection for the disclosure of the name of a patient as well as “individually identifiable health information”. Additionally, these guidelines are built to ensure prevention of information of patients.
It is true that doctors and medical staff are already using social media. However, it is still important that you provide basic training on how precisely online networks function. They need to know how things work and do’s and don’ts while using social media to prevent unintentional disclosures of patient identity. It is also quite beneficial to teach doctors about various ways to leverage social media for online medical marketing and relationship building.
Authorization in Writing
You must get written authorization from patients whenever you wish to use their personal/medical/ professional information online.
Since you will be busy with patients and other research work most of the time, it is wise to designate someone who can constantly monitor all of your online activities from your clinic or hospital. This way, it is easier to keep a check on social media presence and prevent it from being a victim of any foul play.
No Direct Communication
It is important that you strictly avoid direct online communication with patients. The social media must be used to provide general info for the public. All diagnoses and recommendations should be saved for practising in person.
By James Parky