There are plenty of celebrities out there who claim more than a million followers on Twitter and who have fans following their every status update on Facebook. And, that’s fine. Maybe your daughter enjoys knowing what Justin Bieber ate for dinner last night. While entertainment absolutely has its place in social media, have you ever thought about what it would be like to be connected with your doctor through one of these sites? With the move to all of our medical records going digital, the physicians themselves are becoming more visible online as well.
During a Connecting Healthcare + Social Media conference earlier this year in New York, Dr. Mike Sevilla shared six reasons that doctors should engage in social media. With one of the ongoing complaints that patients have about their medical care being lack of open communication with their providers, Sevilla offers convincing arguments and ways to bridge this critical gap.
For example, the doctor shares that blogging or Facebook or some other outlet of online media allows physicians to tell their story. When you humanize the profession, relating how difficult it is to give someone a dire diagnosis or just why you got excited about medicine in the first place, you create a connection with patients that builds trust.
Also, it’s a great way to market your practice. While many people still visit the doctor for the first time based on a referral from a friend or family member, it’s likely that just as many go online and simply conduct a search. Online branding can be very cheap and very effective. And, Sevilla also points out that managing your own image can work to counter some of those doctor review sites that tend to dominate search results and may highlight that one patient who wasn’t going to be happy no matter what.
Are you “friends” with your doctor online? Does this extra venue of communication help when you are sitting in his or her office?