Why Doctors Should Keep An Open Mind About Social Media

We thought it’d be nice to republish Kerry’s latest healthcare marketing article in the Washoe County Medical Society newsletter… Just in case you missed it. Enjoy!


Why Doctors Should Keep An Open Mind About Social Media

By Kerry Sutherland

Like it or not, social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s not just for socializing teens; everyone including grandparents have joined either Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, started a blog, or all of the above. Social media is also playing a meaningful role in healthcare marketing and has a place in the provider-patient relationship. It provides a means for dissemination of information, can humanize institutions, and is consistent with patient-centric healthcare.

Despite its increasing popularity, I still find that many doctors remain apprehensive and unclear about how to effectively use social media to promote their own practices and connect with patients. If this is you, here are three great reasons to keep an open mind about social media marketing.

Patients are turning to social media to look for health related information. Recent research has found that more than 60% of all Americans have joined at least one social network. In fact, 80% of Internet users have looked online for information about a specific disease or treatment (translating to 59% of all adults). Finally, 40% of Internet users rely on social networking for health info, and nearly all of those people (94%) turn to Facebook.

Modern medicine puts the patient in charge. Social networking sites and blogs are a powerful platform to educate patients, raise awareness of health issues and it offers a forum to collaborate and connect.

Relationships, like communications, are a two-way street. As healthcare delivery systems evolve with patients taking a more active role in their own well-being and begin to expect a more personalized healthcare experience, social media has begun to change how we interact with our healthcare providers and has the ability to humanize that interaction.

And here’s a bonus reason- you might just put yourself ahead of the competition.

I should quickly add that social media isn’t always right in every situation or specialty. But if executed correctly, it can be a means to speak, listen, understand and begin a new relationship or deepen an existing one.

Kerry Sutherland is Principal at K. Sutherland Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency in Reno that specializes in marketing healthcare practices and public health issues. You can email her at Kerry@ksutherlandpr.com, or Tweet her @KSutherlandPR…or like her agency’s Facebook page at facebook.com/KSutherlandPR… or subscribe to www.ksutherlandpr.com/Blog… Or follow her agency’s boards at Pinterest.com/KSutherlandPR.




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