What about medical doctors using social media?
No, wait, isn’t that prohibited?
Not really, although like anything else in life somethings are permitted while others are not.
Lets talk about this!
We’ll start by going over whats actually prohibited.
Full disclosure, I’m not a lawyer (This is proof that, contrary to popular belief, the legal profession does have some standards.) but I have learned a few things along the way.
What doctors can’t do is practice medicine or prescribe drugs via social media.
That still leaves a lot of latitude for what doctors can do with social media. (And I’m not talking about just looking at cute cat pictures.)
Before we continue, I recommend that any doctors considering the use of social media in their practices should consult with the ethics guidelines of either the American Medical Association (AMA) or whatever other professional body that they are associated with.
Finally, if still in doubt then consult with an attorney.
Why Doctors Should Use Social Media
As in business today, the practice of medicine is becoming increasingly competitive, one might say cutthroat even.
Traditional advertising and networking aren’t as effective anymore (When was the last time you met a doctor who played golf in the afternoon during the week?)
The patients are there.
There’s a lot of digital real estate that a doctor can hang a shingle out on that’s free so why not take advantage?
Using social media demonstrates that the doctor’s current with the latest technologies.
What Should Doctors Do on Social Media?
First, tell everyone who you are, what you do, where you are located and how to contact you.
Next, medicine is still practiced one-on-one, face-to-face, so make it easy for potential patients to get to know you, your staff and where you are.
Use graphics and video Skype with your patients.
Offer useful advice on how to stay healthy and what to avoid to stay healthy.
Be seasonal with your content by weighing in on critical public health issues such as what to do during flu seasons and reminding people to get their shots and by reacting to local health emergencies like a hepatitis breakout.
Share useful information and links.
Engage with people online, they’ll be your new patients.
The doctors that Ive discussed social media with all have one pressing problem, not enough time.
I hated to break it to them but I had to tell them that they’re not just running a medical practice, they’re running a business too.
Social media, like it or not, is a critical skill these days in running that business.
What can overworked doctors do?
Start by assigning a staff member to do some of the work with social media.
Hire an outside service (Like me!) to offload some of the work to.
Develop a social media program (Again, at the risk of blowing my own horn, I can help here.)
Whatever you do, if you’re a doctor, just don’t do nothing.
You’ll lose your practice if you do!
That’s it for now!
Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.
Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.