The Aruba Chronicles: Best Practices in Health Care Social Media

ArubaSmThis week I’m in Aruba presenting to physicians, certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners at the Symposia Medicus 17th Annual Conference on Clinical Issues in OB/GYN.

Thanks to a great client, Lisa Miller, CNM, JD, and Jim Goodrich, executive director of Symposia Medicus, for helping to make this happen. And thanks to the 140 providers who will attend the conference who have motivated me to sharpen my thinking as I’ve developed presentations on the critical role social media can play for OB/GYN health care professionals.

I have long felt that expecting and new moms comprise one of the most natural of all healthcare communities, and this conference is a perfect time to help these providers understand the amazing opportunities available to them.

The first session, titled Best Practices: How Hospitals & Clinics are Using Social Media to Create Loyal Patients & Build Successful Practices, outlines seven best practices that lead to success.

Count the costs

Before you begin any social media effort, make sure you are aware of the resources in costs, time and energy. Many physicians are lured to social media with the prospect that social media is “free.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Although setting up a Facebook account is free, the time and energy spent to successfully build a Facebook community is a significant investment.

Establish clear objectives

Before you do anything, identify clear objectives and develop a strategy to accomplish them.

It’s not about you – it’s about your patients

Don’t make the mistake of making your social media efforts all about you. Every blog, every Facebook post, every tweet, every YouTube video should start by asking the question “Do my patients really care about this.”

Start small and grow gradually

Don’t mistake numbers of followers for engagement. The most vibrant social media communities start wit a few followers/likers, create as much engagement as possible, and grow gradually – always keeping in mind that engagement is the key, not numbers.

Share interesting, useful information

This is how you keep your patients coming back to your blogs and Facebook pages for more. Dr. Natasha Burgert, a Kansas City, MO, pediatrician who uses social media in her practice, has an interesting yardstick: Whenever she gets the question three times from different patients, she blogs about it.

Stay the course

Successful communities don’t grow overnight. Earlier you established clear objectives. Remember what those are, and continue to do the things necessary to accomplish them, a step at a time. Social media is a drip-drip-drip strategy, not a flood.

Evaluate your success

Regularly evaluate how you’re doing and make adjustments as necessary. Some things work better than others, and it’s okay to adapt to changing realities.

These seven steps can help health care providers build vibrant communities that make a difference in the lives of their patients.

How we help

Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.

2 replies
  1. Christopher Eugene Ott MD
    Christopher Eugene Ott MD says:

    Pleasure to meet you Mr. Hinmon. Perhaps I will see you in Rochester next time, where it will be 92 degrees cooler. @OldDocOtt

    • Dan Hinmon, Principal
      Dan Hinmon, Principal says:

      Thank you for your comments at our breakout session, Dr. Ott. It would be great to run into you in Rochester, no matter the weather. Good luck on instituting social media in your practice.


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