• alleviates the increased demand for healthcare services.
• helps avoid new penalties introduced by the bill.
• reduces costs of taking on chronic disease patients.
• is evolving to adopt new technologies and shifting paradigms in healthcare delivery.
This is the first of a 4-part series of live broadcast discussions. Kathi Browne talked with Randy Roberson (and additional guests Tony Myhra, and Randi Chenkins) to learn about some considerations when forming a disaster response plan.
- Communication is often limited, so alternative communications should be part of the plan. Randy uses a versatile communication device that can communicate via satellite radio frequency, and other alternatives.
- Navigation is sometimes a problem because known transportation routes are compromised.
- Because phones can post to Twitter and Facebook via text or wifi, cell signals aren’t necessary.
- Social media plays a big part in communicating current information to first responders. Past disasters benefitted by being able to locate people in need, navigate routes to respond, reunite families, and communicate general needs.
- Social media information still has to be scrutinized as dishonest parties take advantage of crises and divert resources for self-serving purposes.
- Organizations should have social accounts established and plans in place so responders and the public know where to share valuable information such as road closures, trapped victims, etc.
- Telemedicine is a force multiplies during a medical surge. It has been a successful way to bring medical aid and expertise to a remote disaster site.
- Physicians who want to offer aid during disasters should be proactive in getting credentialed by the necessary bodies ahead of time.
- CERT is another component of local disaster response.
About Randy Roberson: Having implemented the first documented international telemedicine effort during the December 2004 tsunami relief efforts in Thailand and India, Roberson has become internationally recognized for disaster response telemedicine, situational awareness and command and control communications during the medical surge of numerous disasters, including most recently Haiti and Japan. He is also the co-founder of Disaster Logistics Relief (DLR).
Is your medical practice physically fit when it comes to social presence? If you haven’t had a recent checkup, don’t put it off any longer. Negative online comments can hang around for a long time, turning potential patients away. Knowing what is out there and taking control is a necessary part of today’s practice.
How do you compare with other local practices?
Google your specialty and location. Is your own website on the first page? Do other local doctors have more impressive presence or reviews? Do you even show up?
What first impression do you make on the internet?
Google your practice and see how you look. Does anything jump out as being really good or really bad? Posting new content regularly, encouraging happy patients to post reviews, claiming your page on other listing sites, and making online news for community participation can help flush out old news that might hurt you.
Now scroll on down through the search results to see if any reviews appear (you can also add the word reviews to your search). Are your reviews mostly good? Do your physicians even show up?
Are you neglecting your social profiles or engaging with the public?
Too many healthcare entities set up Facebook pages and then think they run themselves. The problem with this philosophy is that one bad comment can pick up speed real fast and tarnish the reputation of a provider. Likewise, if someone is going to take the time to say how wonderful an experience was, don’t you think a thank-you is in order?
Is your website serving a purpose?
It’s no longer good enough to post a page simply to display your practice name and address. Your site should serve a purpose so patients remember you and share your site with others. Some practice sites post health tips. Others offer blog posts that reveal the human side of staff. Some sites provide online appointment scheduling, or form downloads that save time getting seen for the first time. Most offer information on what to do in an emergency when the office is closed and how to contact the office. How are you considering the needs of your patients with your website? Is your competition doing a better job?
Are you reaching your patients where they are participating online?
There is no one-size fits all when it comes to deciding where your practice should interact with patients. Facebook might be a great place for the elderly and new moms, but Google+ or YouTube might be time better spent communicating with career men and women. Don’t be shy about surveying your patients to learn where they want to find you.
A checkup can reveal where you need to give some attention. A little online activity today can prevent leaving the wrong impression tomorrow.
I recently had my annual exam. I just changed physicians due to an insurance change. The doctor noticed I had been driving 2 hours to see my old doc and asked if I used to live there. I told her that when I moved to town, I googled for a physician that prescribed bio-identicals and found my old doc. it wasn’t until this year that I had a reason to search again and find a new one. My new doc hadn’t had a presence until recently.
A recent Pew Internet and American Life Project reported that 72% of internet users searched online for health-related information in that past year. Considering that 81% of all US adults are online, that’s a lot! Is your information up-to-date? Is your information up at all?
You may be hesitating for fear of the unknown, so here are some guidelines in building a healthy online presence:
- claim your practice on sites that list local business, like Google Local,YP.com, etc.
- set up your Linkedin profile and include a link to your practice website.
- provide dissatisfied patients with an avenue to get resolution without posting online.
- ask happy patients to review you online at places like RateMDs, Vitals, Facebook, HealthGrades, etc.
- display links to your review site so patients don’t have took for it.
- google yourself regularly and respond professionally to ALL comments that are made about you.
- monitor your own online profiles for messages that deserve a response.
- link everything you do online to your practice website by including your practice website.
- get involved in your community and participate online as well by resharing and promoting those events.
- use online sites to kindle a relationship with a patient.
- post patient photos without written consent.
- post ANY photo that displays poor judgement.
- post misleading information about outcomes or qualifications.
- give specific medical advice online.
- reveal specifics about a patient, such as recent visit or issue.
- get nasty or lose your cool.
- post personal info like your address, DOB, signature, etc.
Your online presence is your first encounter with many potential patients. Be proactive about getting found. Build your online presence and take control over what people read about you.