Hospitals Take Note: 92% of States Report Online Violations by Physicians

flickr: Tim Morgan

Do you know what your physicians are saying online? According to a study published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, 92% of state medical boards reported inappropriate online behavior by physicians.

The most common violations were inappropriate patient communication (69%), such as sexual misconduct, and the use of the Internet for inappropriate practice (63%), such as prescribing without a clinical relationship. Many of these online violations resulted in serious disciplinary actions, including license restriction, suspension or revocation.

Although professional organizations, such as the AMA have developed social media standards, the authors of the study (S. Ryan Greysen, MD, MHS, MA; Katherine C. Chretien, MD; Terry Kind, MD, MPH; Aaron Young, PhD; and Cary P. Gross, MD, MPH) noted that licensing authorities lack formal guidelines. They advocate for regulators and physicians to address online practices, and conclude, “our findings highlight the need to promote physician understanding and self monitoring of online professionalism and to create consensus-driven, broadly disseminated principles to guide physicians toward high-integrity interactions online. Read more

Open Access: A Budget-Friendly Tactic to Build Hospital Social Media Content and Credibility

New health-related research can stir up a frenzy of interest on social media platforms (think of how recently antioxidants or probiotics entered the general public’s vocabulary). When a new finding is reported, social media platforms buzz and hospitals often field calls from reporters seeking physician experts to comment on the latest findings.

Although there are many attributes of social media, one drawback is the difficulty in assessing the credibility of health information due, in part, to the vast amount available on the web.

The public is hungry for credible sources of health information. Using Open Access resources is a cost-effective way to locate new health-related information and use it to engage communities and build your hospital’s reputation as a credible go-to social media source.  Read more

A Lesson From My Social Media Sabbatical: Extend the Lifespan of Your Blog Posts


Last month, I took a “social media sabbatical” for nearly the entire month. I was defending my dissertation and needed the extra time to finish the written document and study for the defense with no distractions.

It was when I was absent from social media conversations that I learned an important lesson. The old adage “content is king” is still valid.

A few weeks before I “went dark,” I wrote a blog post on Pinterest, a new social media curation tool. It turned out to be one of the most read posts I’ve ever written. Even now, 12 weeks later, I get a few requests for Pinterest invites from that post each week.  Here’s my take on why it was a success (but I’d loved to hear from some of you who read it to see if I’ve missed something). Consider applying these five concepts to your next hospital blog to help lengthen the lifespan of your post. Read more

Six Tools To Localize Twitter for Your Hospital

One concern I’ve heard from hospital marketing staffs is that social media’s footprint is too wide-reaching to be effective for local hospitals.

They wonder if it is really worth the time and effort, since the only people they are concerned about connecting with are in their local community. My answer is simple: Yes, because people in your local community are using social media.

I do appreciate the concern about this new boundary-less medium. It’s so much easier to manage a medium that has limitations, such as selecting a cable channel covering a certain region or targeting regional editions of certain newspapers. Read more