Posts Tagged ‘physician online presence’
Does your physician practice or medical clinic have a social media policy in place? Have your providers and in fact, the entire care and administrative staff undergone training on appropriate use of social media as it relates to healthcare and patient interactions?
While many healthcare providers are eager to engage with their patients via technology and reap the benefits of a more interactive relationship, physicians (and clinical staff) need to understand what’s appropriate and where to draw the line when it comes to social media.
Social media and medical or health information are a combination worth caution and preparation. Recently released policy guidelines from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) provide more information about what needs to be secured, as well as examples of what is and isn’t appropriate to share (i.e. PHI) via social media. Additionally, a November 2011 ECRI supplement goes into detail about social media and other risk control issues.
The evidence, unfortunately, indicates that physicians regularly breach online professionalism standards, if not also restrictions around PHI (recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and FSMB study). In fact, 92% of state medical boards report they’ve received violation of online professionalism notifications.
Before you post information about a patient or interact with them on Facebook or other online outlets, stop.
- Is the discussion / exchange occurring on a network or smart phone that is compliant with HIPAA and HITECH privacy and security standards?
- Do your staff and providers thoroughly understand your organization’s social media policy?
The world of social media broadens our horizons and helps us to connect more spontaneously. It can benefit you, your patients and your practice if done correctly, respectfully and securely.
Medical practice websites are a given but the old, brochure style site is going the way of the dodo. In the social media age, patients expect interaction from their doctor’s website. An eye clinic, for instance, may have special prices for contacts or glasses available to vision patients promoted not only on their website, but also on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. An oncology clinic may have an informative blog series on “What to Expect” to help chemotherapy patients and caregivers prepare for treatment sessions and aftermath. And nearly all practices and clinics have blank patient information and medical history forms available for download – it’s a simple yet helpful time saving tool.
If you’ve not updated your medical practice’s website lately, consider having an “audit” of your site and your medical group’s online presence. Seek out a web expert who has a solid book of medical and healthcare related websites in their client list. Visit physician practice or hospital websites that appeal to you (and check out the competition!) and share those with the web developer or your marketing project manager. Many times, they can point out why those sites work or why they don’t. Often, the snazziest medical practice sites aren’t search engine friendly, and if Google can’t find them, neither can patients!
Improve Your Medical Practice’s Profitability & Reach
In our interim practice management or clinic executive roles, we look at practice profitability holistically, from efficient processes to best practices in all aspects of operations and marketing. This includes being called upon to help physician groups and specialty clinics update their online presence or develop more effective, efficient medical and patient marketing practices. We help assure online and traditional marketing procedures follow healthcare privacy and marketing regulations, while also helping bring your medical practice’s online marketing methods up-to-date.