Social Media is Forever: How it Helps Physicians Educate and Connect With Patients

flckr: woodleywonderworks

flckr: woodleywonderworks

Dr. Jeff Livingston, OB/GYN, is hooked on social media.

As I explained in a previous blogpost, Livingston jumped onto My Space when his teenager daughter told him that would help him reach out to teenagers facing pregnancy and STDs, and he never looked back.

Why? Because, he says, “social media makes your life easier and the care you provide better.”

How? It has to do with the long life of online information. Here’s how Livingston explains it:

Americans want to engage online about their health

Studies show that “Americans in general want to engage online about their health, but they’re recognizing that what they’re finding may not be real, or validated or actionable.

“It’s real important that doctors get involved in getting good content online,” continues Livingston. “That might be writing a blog once a week, creating short YouTube video clips or it might be creating more dynamic content on your website and promoting your website as the first place to get information. Read more

How Doctors Can Avoid Social Media HIPAA Violations: It’s Not Rocket Science

flickr: ttarasiuk

The case of a Rhode Island physician fired and fined for violating HIPAA regulations on her personal Facebook page may have the unfortunate effect of discouraging some hospitals from embracing social media.

It shouldn’t. By following simple steps, the physician and hospital could have avoided the entire fiasco.

Here is what we know. According to the Boston Globe:

Dr. Alexandra Thran, 48, was fired from the hospital last year and reprimanded by the state medical board last week. The hospital took away her privileges to work in the emergency room for posting information online about a trauma patient.

Thran’s posting did not include the patient’s name, but she wrote enough that others in the community could identify the patient, according to a board filing. Thran, who did not return calls for comment yesterday, also was fined $500. Read more

Boost Social Media Engagement by Keeping it Short

Chart from Track Social’s white paper: Optimizing Facebook Engagement


I recently downloaded a white paper by Track Social titled “Optimizing Facebook Engagement.”

Track Social is a large-scale social media analytics platform that monitors the social media presences of more than 10,000 brands on the major social media platforms. The white paper presents the results of a major study and gives 10 keys for optimizing Facebook engagement, including type of content, frequency of posts, post length, timing and content.

One of the findings that grabbed my attention was the impact length of post has on engagement. Notice the image at the beginning of this post. The study found that as the length of the Facebook post increased, engagement dropped significantly. The Facebook post most likely to generate engagement is under 140 characters. Read more

Beyond Marketing: Social Media as a Cost-Saving, Life-Saving Healthcare Strategy

flickr: webtreats

Last week I was trolling ProQuest for recently published dissertations. I do this regularly to try and be on the front end of Internet and social media research. Before being published in journals or books, new researchers’ work is often published in dissertation form.

One of the disturbing trends is the prevalence of new reseachers’ assumptions that social media is a dominant force everywhere for everyone talking about everything. One dissertation published last month even claimed the study was an examination of “why we’re obsessed” with social media. Read more

Hospitals: Five Mistaken Beliefs that Lead to Social Media HIPAA Violations

Photo Credit: Declan

Whether they host social media sites or not, most US hospitals have realized how important it is to develop social media policies for their employees.

But a quick Google search shows that the majority of HIPAA violations related to social media – at least those reported in the media – don’t take place on official healthcare social media sites at all. Instead, they’re posted on personal Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

What were they thinking? Read more