Category Archives: Healthcare social media

The Social Web + “Real” Health Reform

Mashable, one of the top media outlets covering the web and its impact on global society, posted a terrific piece on how the social web is effecting real change in how doctors and patients engage and communicate with each other.

Patients have long used the web to seek out information on health and medicine. Personally, I think search was invented so we could look for how to figure out why [insert body part here] started hurting. So I wasn’t surprised to see that there’s been a more than 30% rise in web usage by US physicians in the last eight years.

My only question is this: why are so many doctors and other healthcare providers still reluctant to participate in the online conversation?

It’s true that, due to HIPAA compliance issues, healthcare has to use some real discernment when communicating on the web. Yet even those practices who are nervous about putting themselves on Twitter or Facebook could get some serious mileage out of building a secure patient portal to facilitate how patients schedule appointments, renew prescriptions, ask questions, report numbers (blood sugar, etc.), and review their records.

Yes, the web can make your activity transparent. However, a secure portal helps doctors, and their teams, be even more effective at helping their patients. Adding a social media presence to help educate the community at large is a good idea, too.

Not engaging online can cost a practice patients, and revenue. If you don’t know how to go about building an online presence for your practice, we can help. Need a secure patient portal? We can help there, too.

You don’t have to call us. Just make sure you call somebody – because your patients are talking about you. What are they saying? If you don’t listen, you’ll never know…


When Opportunity Knocks…

I’m a health activist in addition to being a healthcare communications & IT consultant. I’m passionate about putting patients, clinicians, pharma, device manufacturers, and every other part of the medical care delivery system in the same room, shaking well, and seeing how that can improve healthcare.

A great opportunity appeared. I said “yes” – follow this link to read what happened.

3 Reasons Doctors Avoid Social Media – and Why They’re Not Valid

1. Using social media puts me in violation of HIPAA rules
Not true – doctors and other healthcare providers can use social media tools without risking arrest by the HIPAA police. The important caveat: do not engage with individual patients about their care. If they ask you a question about their medication on your practice’s Facebook fan page, ask them to contact you through your practice’s patient portal.

2. None of my patients are using social media
Not true – a 2008 Deloitte survey revealed that over 70% of patients (all patients, not just those 18-40) want online access to their doctors. A 2009 Pew Internet Research study showed that 83% of all US adults online regularly seek out healthcare information on the web. 24% of patients have sought out information on medical care review sites. Tell your own story, don’t let Angie’s List do it for you.

3. It takes too much time
Not true – it takes 20 minutes a day to manage social media for a small practice group. Make it a team effort by including your nursing team and your front office staff in your social media strategy. Develop a social media plan, a good social media policy that includes clear “rules of engagement”, and build a passionate patient community around your practice.

Social media IS media today. Use the power of social media tools to educate your patients, your community, and your peers. Look for our white paper later this month, Social Media, Healthcare & HIPAA: How the Web Is Changing the Culture of Medicine.

Your patients are talking – are you listening?

Health 2.0: the WellCentrix Philosophy

Here’s a short position-paper webinar on how we see Health 2.0 benefiting all sides of the healthcare industry: providers, payers, and patients

Social Media + Healthcare: Adopt or Die?

“Die” in the post headline is admittedly hyperbole – but it’s also simple truth.

If you’re in healthcare, and using HIPAA as the reason not to participate in social media, are you driving a stake through the heart of your brand?

  • Patients are using social media to manage their health and health care. The e-patients movement, sites like Patients Like Me, and the rising demand for PHRs (to go along with the EMRs mandated by the Health Care Reform Act) are all internet-famous.
  • The Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic have both embraced social media as a community and brand-building tool. Smaller hospital groups like Bon Secours have done the same.
  • Women make pretty much all family healthcare decisions. Women are also a huge portion of the social media audience. Not participating in the discussion = silence.
  • Social media and mobile apps for healthcare are on the rise, for both patient-to-provider and provider-to-provider communication.

Not participating in the discussion = silence.

Health care providers who don’t work to understand how they can use social media to engage with their patients and their communities are missing the boat.

Your patients are talking about you.

If you listen, and join the discussion, you’ll see some great results: more patients, more revenue, more recognition.


We’ll be sharing our insights and discoveries about healthcare communication, marketing, IT, patient engagement, and more here on the WellCentrix blog.

We’ve got a wide array of talent, and a deep pool of thought-leadership.

First up: a cautionary tale about hospital PR. Context: Laguna Honda Hospital (San Francisco) is facing allegations of misuse of a fund intended to help patients pay for treatment, including that hospital staff had used some of the fund to pay for meals and airline tickets for themselves.

Whatever the truth is, getting into a fight with a reporter – in public – is NOT the recommended approach: