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Social Media and Health Care – How Does the Industry Navigate the New Communications Landscape?

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Social Media and Health Care – How Does the Industry Navigate the New Communications Landscape?

Social media has fundamentally changed the patient to patient and patient to provider communications relationship. The advent of transparent, real time social media communication platforms that allow open and honest dialogue presents a host of opportunities for health care facilities to capitalize on positive patient sentiment and build a trusted support community to actively engage with. Patient evangelists can be identified and leveraged to spread good will and build brand equity to help maintain trust and confidence in health care services.

Social media has fundamentally changed the patient to patient and patient to provider communications relationship. The advent of transparent, real time social media communication platforms that allow open and honest dialogue presents a host of opportunities for health care facilities to capitalize on positive patient sentiment and build a trusted support community to actively engage with. Patient evangelists can be identified and leveraged to spread good will and build brand equity to help maintain trust and confidence in health care services.

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Social Media and Health Care – How Does the Industry Navigate the New Communications Landscape?

  1. 1. M2SYS Healthcare Solutions Free Online Learning Podcasts Podcast length – 43:07 Social Media and Health Care – How Does the Industry Navigate the New Communications Landscape? Liz Scherer Health Journalist, Digital Copywriter, Social Media Strategist, Consultant, Blogger and Women’s Health Advocate Ed Bennett Director of Web and Communications Technology University of Maryland Medical System
  2. 2. Topics Covered in Podcast: How is social media changing the patient to patient and patient to provider communications paradigm? What reputation or brand damages can materialize if a patient discovers a duplicate or overlay on their electronic medical record? What action steps can health care providers take to immediately address & rectify bad publicity? How important is it for a healthcare organization to have a crisis communications plan in place and what percentage of facilities actually have one? How important has transparency in health care become now that patients are empowered to seek information and advice on their own?
  3. 3. Topics Covered in Podcast (continued): Are hospitals prepared to deal with the social media positive and negative communication from their patient base or do they still have a long way to go? Examples where hospitals have suffered, lost business, or experienced damage to their brand name due to viral negative stories or headlines on social media. What proactive steps can hospitals take to avoid negative headlines?
  4. 4. Important Statistics • A recent Pew Research Center study says that 1 in 3 American adults have used the web to figure out a medical issue • Roughly 1/3 of patients used tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for research and/or to book appointments • 94% of prospective patients said the reputation of a medical facility is important in hospital selection • 51% of patients say they’d feel more valued as a patient via digital health communications • 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment • 90% of adults 18 – 24 years of age said they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media networks
  5. 5. Important Statistics (continued) • 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a healthcare provider • 26% of all hospitals in the US participate in social media Sources: 1. Pew Internet & American Life Project - http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Health- online/Summary-of-Findings.aspx January 2013 2. Fathom Digital Marketing & Analytics - http://www.fathomdelivers.com/13-stats-every-healthcare- marketer-should-know-in-2013-and-why/ January 2013
  6. 6. • Information sought by patients is influential on how social media has changed the communications paradigm • Clinicians still remain a central resource for patients when it comes to technical issues – still remain at center of communication model • Patients seek peers for information, emotional support, and practical advice on a medical diagnosis, prescription drugs and side effects via social media • Social media is fueling the rise in patient advocacy by those who feel disenfranchised by the system • Rise in demand from a very small percentage of patients to become part of the overall health care provision system • Consumer demand far outstrips supply that health care providers bring to the table in social media • Recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report indicates that consumers trust social media information from Doctors more than they trust information from hospitals, health insurers or drug companies How is social media changing the patient to patient and patient to provider communications paradigm?
  7. 7. How is social media changing the patient to patient and patient to provider communications paradigm? • Number of Doctors participating in social media is still relatively small compared to the number of practicing physicians Did you know? Four years ago, Ed Bennett founded the Hospital Social Network List, a compilation of health-related organizations actively using social networking sites and maintaining officially sponsored accounts.
  8. 8. What Damages to a Healthcare Facility can Materialize through Discovery of a Duplicate or Overlay by a Patient on their Own Medical Record? • Less of a danger, and more of an opportunity to have another set of eyes (patient) on medical records for review and possible correction • Patients tend to often be confused by their medical records and the information it contains for insurance purposes • Not viewed as potential for damage – patients get same quality treatment they always have, but now they have opportunity to see record, read it, and provide feedback – new check and balance wrinkle • Since State laws vary on how medical records can be amended, medical record data isn’t erased, but amended so you can’t overwrite original health record making patient/clinician/institutional relationship important to remain strong
  9. 9. What actionable steps can healthcare providers take to immediately address and rectify mistakes? • Once a mistake is identified, act swiftly and decisively to make the correction • Improved communication between different departments helps to proactively avoid future mistakes • Avoid using social media channels to communicate with patient on sensitive issues regarding their medical records – even if it’s a private message Did you know? Liz Scherer writes a blog called “Flashfree,” geared towards providing evidence-based, alternative , and integrative strategies to manage the medical, emotional, social, and physical challenges of menopause and midlife. Flashfree.me
  10. 10. Crisis Communications Plans • Any reasonably sized hospital should have a crisis communications plan, and most do • The new wrinkle is adding social media communications as part of the plan and thought should be given to determine how it will be used in times of crisis • Roots of how to use social media in times of crisis should be tied into corporate social media communications plan and guidelines that outlines social behavior, etiquette • Importance should be placed on who specifically should be communicating during times of crisis with backups if an individual isn’t available
  11. 11. Importance of Transparency in Healthcare • Increasing demand from patient groups to play a more meaningful role in the patient – provider relationship has spawned the need for healthcare transparency • Social media has shifted patient empowerment from individuals to groups • As access to information becomes easier and more widespread the relationship between patient and provider is changing, many providers aren’t adequately prepared to deal with the information request influx – HIPAA laws, malpractice claims are barriers to information free flow • Physicians and providers using social media still remain somewhat siloed – talking more amongst themselves than directly to patients • Patient demand for greater transparency is high, but not quite being realized • At University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMS), nurse practitioners are primary communication portals with patient support groups – physicians aren’t always information purveyors
  12. 12. • It depends on the hospital • Larger hospitals usually have the staff and resources to address positive and negative comments in a timely manner • Smaller hospitals, which arguably make up the majority of the 5,000+ hospitals in the country, are still not quite up to speed on developing a social media action plan and team to address it • Most larger hospitals use social media monitoring tools like Radian 6 to actively listen to channels & instantly respond • Smaller hospitals on tighter budgets can use free tools like Google Alerts to monitor social media for positive and negative patient sentiment • Employee culture is key asset for all hospitals to prepare for social media patient communication – employees need to be empowered to be eyes and ears of organization • Additional key is to engage with patients, not just acknowledge – social media is not meant to be a bullhorn Are Hospitals Adequately Prepared to Address Positive and Negative Social Media Patient Communication?
  13. 13. Examples where Hospitals have Suffered Brand Name Damage Due to Social Media • New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital Jay Z and Beyonce baby scandal • Taught the important lesson that once a scandal is active on a platform, it is wise to address and contain it before it spreads to other platforms • St. Louis’ St. John’s Mercy Medical Center OB/GYN doctor patient complaint debacle • Showed us that it’s important healthcare providers study all the facts before taking action, ensure fair treatment of employees while balancing sensitivity and concerns of patients ** Having a plan in place on how to deal with social media communication that covers all plausible scenarios is key to timely, effective responses – the problem will not just go away
  14. 14. What Proactive Steps can Healthcare Facilities take to Diffuse an Otherwise Potentially Volatile Situation? • Foster a corporate culture of collective accountability for brand name reputation – every employee needs to have skin in the game • Build up the community of people you are engaging with • This helps to build a community of evangelists that can act on behalf of the organization in times of crisis or when dealing with negativity Example – Children’s Hospital of Boston – over 700,000 in Facebook community • Be consistent in messaging – take a measured approach to communications and maintain uniformity • Have clearly defined goals before you embark on a social media communications campaign – it helps to align goals with tactics
  15. 15. Thank you to Liz Scherer and Ed Bennett for sharing their time and knowledge!
  16. 16. John Trader PR and Marketing Manager M2SYS Technology 1050 Crown Pointe Pkwy. Suite 850 Atlanta, GA 30338 jtrader@m2sys.com 770-821-1734 www.m2sys.com : twitter.com/m2sys : facebook.com/m2sys : linkedin.com/company/m2sys-technology Contact Information

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