This panel discussion addressed what healthcare organizations should consider when forming social media policies from a legal, organizational, and patient perspective.
Some Great points:
- Hospitals have to plan for how they will communicate policies internally (compliance training, new employee orientation, available documents, regular reenforcement)
- There are really two policies that need to be addressed: one for internal expectations (those who will post on behalf of the organization) and one for the public (what to expect)
- Worrying about how much time will be waited during the workday shouldn’t be the reason a hospital hesitates to become social. Good employees will know what is appropriate and bad employees will waste time whether it’s Facebook or a crossword puzzle.
- Social media isn’t for everyone. Some conservative cultures are not a good fit for being social, especially if policies originate from the IT or HR department. BUT before an organization decides not to participate, that decision should be made AFTER evaluating what benefits are being passed up and what risks are realistic.
- There is still a great disconnect at the senior level about how effective social presence can be.
- Smaller practices run a risk by not being out there where the public is expecting them to be. They will become irrelevant.
- There is a great opportunity in social communication. Information can minimize unnecessary office visits, for example.
- Social media policies should be as advanced as an organization’s comfort level, and it should take into consideration the culture.
- Policies should make clear who is authorized to represent the institution. When employees want to start a page or profile, find a way to get them involved (not only in posting, but in forming the policies and then communicating them). These are the people who will be positive communicators and expand reach at the same time.
View the discussion:
Recorded Discussion from February 19, 2013
Our subject of the crowdsourcing was Kathy Nieder of Baptist Medical Associates. Kathy had been trying to set up a communication device for physicians in her system during the implementation of a new EMR system. Primarily she wanted to post EHR discussions, how-to videos, and Tips & Tricks. She had been trying to develop a Sharepoint site but was meeting with some frustration.
By the time the hangout took place, Kathy Nieder had gone in a new direction that was working quite well. Kathy’s approach seemed like a good idea to others in the hangout too, and links and websites were shared before the hangout closed.
Shahid Shah Technology Strategist for Netspective Communications
Dylan Wolf SharePoint developer at Trident Resource Corp
Gary Levin, Founder of Digital HealthSpace
Mark Browne CMO of Covenant Health
Kathi Browne, Host of Health Care Hangouts
Recorded on February 17 2013
Contagious content has the power to introduce new information in ways that can change behavior. It can relieve fear, call people to action, or simply provide good information to a large population. It can help form reputations, or sometimes repair them.
Kathi holds Health Care Hangouts every 3rd Sunday for interesting discussions on social media, apps, and other technology that help people communicate better in healthcare.
Hospitals and practices are slowly recognizing that social presence is not only important, but necessary, to cater to healthcare consumers who are shopping. While the older generation of past tended to trust physician referrals and recommendations without question, younger generations are turning to the Internet to research a provider’s reputation and impression (Smith & Jones Healthcare Consumers: The New Reality White Paper). This trend is not likely to change course, so healthcare providers need to proactively build a trail of breadcrumbs that lead to THEM. Here are some first steps.
1. Ask happy patients to tell their friends.
Point people to a place where they can express their appreciation for others to find. Make it easy for them. This is an example of a sign that includes QR codes that launch the HealthGrades survey page for each physician. Facebook is another place where people may prefer posting, but directing patients to Facebook is only smart if that is where they are most comfortable. (NOTE: Young parents and the elderly tend to use Facebook for medical referrals more than young adults or working professionals). Facebook doesn’t get the attention of search engines like major review sites like Google Local and HealthGrades do.
2. Offer those small conveniences that make a difference.
Making an online appointment may not seem that important, but to a person who works a late shift and sleeps when your office are open, this is a welcomed convenience. The same holds true for downloadable forms and the ability to print one off without having to show up early just to fill it out before an appointment.
3. Create quality content that is worthy of sharing.
You don’t have to own a production company to put out something patients can appreciate. Identify a topic that might be useful to address and then record one of your staff addressing it. Keep it short, upbeat, and simple to understand. For example, a two-minute video on heart attack symptoms for women (and another for men) might be a wonderful video to release around Valentines Day to share with elderly loved ones… especially if you include a checklist to refer back to.
4. Engage with the public regularly and don’t neglect your social pages.
Too many healthcare entities set up Facebook or Google+ pages and then expect the pages to run themselves. The point of a social presence is to have two-way communication. Be generous with thank-yous when someone expresses appreciation, congratulate friends and community members when they are recognized, and don’t be afraid to address a negative comment with sincerity then it is deserved. Medical facilities are only as good as the people who work inside, so celebrate and recognize each one as you would a member of your family. Share those celebrations with your local community.