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?