The question for today's physician is NOT whether they should be using social media, but the question is when they should start using it. The answer is simple: start using it now. You may have missed the chance to be an early adopter, but you definitely don't want to be dead last to start.
Please allow me to get one thing out of the way before we proceed. The ethical propriety of physician's use of social media is well-settled. You can use it. The AMA says so. Your state board says so. Your malpractice carrier says so. Period. So, please, under no circumstances, ask us that question again. Ever. As in, like, forever-ever. We thank you in advance for your compliance with our request on this point.
Rule Number 1: Check with your insurance carrier. We are 100% sure they will have coverage provisions on your social media use.
Rule Number 2: Have a written Social Media Policy. Again, check with your insurance carrier. We are 99.9% sure they will have a template Social Media Policy for you to customize and adopt.
Now, for the fun stuff.
Social media in healthcare is everywhere. Just take a look around. Mayo Clinic was an early adopter, and has helped lead the pack with practical advice on how to use social media in medicine. From their article:
1. Do not discuss patient's illnesses, medical conditions, or personal information online. Unless you have a patient's express permission to share their information, then do not discuss anything about them online.
2. Use social media to share information that promote quality health care and up-to-date medical information.
3. Address those societal needs that you think are most important, or that motivate you.
4. Recognize that you represent your profession, and help others recognize that they do, too.
5. Promote the humanistic values identified as congruent with medical professionalism. Be honest, forthright, helpful, and compassionate.
6. It is not necessary to separate personal and professional content online. Your social media presence is a reflection of who you are, and expresses your beliefs and your priorities. These are what make you the person and the physician that you are, that define the societal needs that you seek to address, and determine your perspective on any number of issues. To be personal, your social media presence must reflect your beliefs.
8. Do not practice medicine via social media. It seems self-evident, but it is worth making clear. Do not provide any individual, specific medial care or medical advice via social media. Want to use Telemedicine? Then set it up properly and go for it, but do not use social media as a substitute.
9. Presume that everything said online can be found if someone looks hard enough, and is going to be available forever.
Now, get busy posting! Social media is everywhere: helping medical conferences go viral, promoting CME, promoting your practice, and helping patients connect with other patients.
Show your style! Show your brand: the who and what you are about. Show the "culture' of your office. Is there a Friday afternoon tournament at that ping-pong table in the back room by the refrigerator? Then show it! Do your people like to golf/garden/read/yard-sale? Tell something interesting about it! People want to do business with other PEOPLE, not some office space. So, show them YOU.
If you're not having some fun or not sure who you are or what you're about, then that is a whole other topic too broad for this post. We probably need to talk about that over coffee.
Contact us at Caney Creek Studio for a free consultation on how to use social media, video production, and digital marketing to promote your medical practice. Yes, we are that cool.
Jay & Julia Taylor own and operate Caney Creek Studio. Caney Creek Studio is a video production, digital marketing, and social media management agency.