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Social Media Essential for Tucson Health Care Providers

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health care

Whether you are a physician in a large independent practice group, or an executive leading a major health care organization, social media has already changed the world you live in. And these changes are here stay. Concerns about patient privacy arising from HIPPA are well-founded; but patients may elect to share their own stories via social media at no risk to you.

Patients want to tell their stories – it can be therapeutic. Their story is important, and not just to them. Their story is also important to someone else who’s facing the same challenge – the decisions, the fears, the discoveries, the questions, the frustrations. Each story can make a profound difference to someone else. You may never know what will they say about their experience with your organization. But you should.

No matter how rare or how common a patient’s conditions or circumstances, they can find a community of other patients and families online who are telling their stories. They may even become friends and form a support system for one and another. The social media tools are already there to enable them to do this. Countless social media platforms and services have sprung up that are specifically designed for the healthcare industry. These go far beyond Facebook.

Patient stories are important because they describe experiences, satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the medical care and the business processes and services your organization provides. Patients are telling their stories using social media. Are you listening? Have you and your organization told your own story? Does your practice or organization encourage its employees to become effective users of social media, and to educate patients on the many relevant and healthcare focused social media options available to them? Are you guiding your own destiny online?

What’s in it for you?

• Engaging in SEO (search engine optimization) will increase the likelihood of your organization being found on search engines when potential new patients are researching healthcare choices. Called Inbound Marketing, these methods offer the highest ROI.
• Employing “long-tail keywords” to lead local search in practice areas that are profitable and / or underutilized. Aligning keyword strategy with your business strategy.
• Positioning your organization as a leader in social media in Tucson healthcare market shows patients you care.
• Educating yourself and key employees on how the use of social media can support your patients and benefit your business.
• Preparing your staff to inform patients of the healthcare specific social media choices available to them (including www.carepages.com/ and www.patientslikeme.com et al) where they can share their stories, and find support through connect with others.
• Encouraging patients transparently to offer reviews and testimonials, which could serve to generate referrals, or identify areas of service needing improvement.
• Monitoring your organization’s presence on social media sites in order to engage them learn directly about areas where your medical care and revenue cycle processes succeeded or failed in meeting their expectations.
• Improving further your local search rankings, as Google and Bing race to search social media, by preparing for real-time searches of Twitter and Facebook posts.
• Staff and patients communicating favorably about your organization on social media reinforces your marketing and branding, increasing capacity utilization and revenue.
• Capitalizing upon revenue cycle initiatives by bringing more (and more attractive) patients through your improved registration, billing, payment and collection processes.

What do you think?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/redwolf/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


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