10 Professional Health Care Social Media Tips

Kevin PhoWe recently sat down for a chat with Kevin Pho, an internal medicine physician who specializes in health care social media. He is the co-author of the book Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices.

Kevin is also the founder and editor of KevinMD.com, a blog that shares stories and insights from those working in the health care field. As a future health care provider or administrator, you need to know how to promote your facility’s expertise, protect your reputation (or those of the physicians in your office), and increase patient access to accurate information.

You can read our full Q&A here, but if you’re short on time, here are the top 10 things you need to know and think about…

  1. 70% of internet users now look for health information online; information that can be inaccurate or harmful. You need to be able to guide them to reliable online sources for health information.
  1. Patients use social media to research reputations. Almost 50% of patients research doctors online, so each provider needs their own social media presence. Why? Because patients will likely Google individual providers rather than the practice.
  1. At a minimum, you should establish an online reputation with LinkedIn, the professional social networking site. A LinkedIn profile is no more than a digital translation of a resume.
  1. Not worrying about your online reputation isn’t an option. Many sites allow patients to rate physicians. If you don’t invest in social media, you risk being defined by rating sites.
  1. Social media can make you and your office more accessible to patients. Using a platform like Facebook can help you reach a wider audience & make patient education materials available.
  1. Always be as professional online as you are in face to face situations with patients.
  1. Remember patient privacy; whatever you post online should be appropriate if said aloud in a crowded hospital elevator.
  1. Consider online posts to be written in ink. Online activity lasts forever; posts can always be looked up in Google archives, even after they’ve been “deleted”.
  1. Don’t get into public arguments online. Respond to any negativity offline by posting a standard message asking the patient to call the office, where the situation can be managed privately.
  2. If a patient (or future employer) searches for you, they can also discover your personal profile on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc… As a future health care professional, always think about what you post, and try to protect and enhance your personal and professional reputation.