Healthcare Digital & Social Media Fundamentals #socialmedia101

Healthcare Basics – We must do these six things to be proficient in digital and social media!

I have been thinking and reviewing all the work we have done with our healthcare clients over the past ten years and I have realized many parallels in our conversations. The Digital Health explosion now encompasses more than social media and digital communication; the innovations are endless from the B2C to the B2B perspective.

The more and more we work with the healthcare consumer, I realize that there are six items hospitals must embrace to be competent to compete for today’s digital consumer. Hospitals have to do a six basics things to just become proficient.

Here are six areas hospitals and healthcare systems have to do just to become current in-order to engage the consumer in their healthcare journey.

  • Must Have Mobile First Website and Web Presence
  • Physician Finder(s)
  • Reconcile and Engage with Online Reviews
  • Correct and Align Digital Directories
  • Embrace Social Determinants of Health
  • Provide Social Media/Commenting/Privacy Policies that are Consumer Facing

So here is my list explained and broken down! Enjoy…the images come from the #HCIC17 hashtag Twitter stream and my previous blog post!

1) Must Have Mobile First Website and Presence

Here is a slide from Healthcare Internet Conference that states “65% of interactions with health care providers will come from mobile devices.”

Ok…why is it that when I go to a hospital website on my phone I am still pinching and sliding. If there are two devices every healthcare consumer has, they are a television and a mobile phone. They like to consume information from both and many times simultaneously. We have to make that user experience seamless and effortless.

Bottomline…if your website is not mobile first, you are considering your web presence as a billboard or post card and not an essential business function of your healthcare organization. This means your main website, microsite, and any other web platform that engages the consumer.

2) Physician Finder

You must make it EASY for your healthcare consumer to find your providers. You must have an efficient physician finder front and center on your website guiding the consumer to a landing page that displays:

  • Physician name and credentials
  • Physician photo
  • AIDET Video
  • Current Ratings/Reviews (Preferably HCAHPS scores)
  • Address and contact information

But there is one more thing some miss but is a huge necessity, you have to make sure your website is SEO driven so when the consumer uses Google to search for a physician in your network, your website appears at the top of the search. Secondarily, you must help your physicians claim their profiles on places like Doximity, HealthGrades, WebMD, and ShareCare.

3) Reconcile and Engage with Online Reviews

Yes, we must face it…we must reconcile and respond to online reviews. This includes Google, Facebook, and Yelp for starters. Consumers like to read third party reviews and if a healthcare organization does not engage or respond to reviews, the consumer beings to draw conclusions including lack of transparency and lack of willingness to have a conversation.

We have found in a recent study of over 150 hospitals in Texas that if a healthcare organization claims, engages, and responds to each review; they can increase their average rating by one point in a five point scale. This is a huge perception driver and huge opportunity to answer questions and address online issues that might flip a negative review into a strong brand ambassador, ultimately a happy patient experience. We want people to leave great reviews including those HCAHPS.

4) Correct and Align Digital Directories

Please tell me you want the healthcare consumer to be able to find your location? Yes, be able to locate that physician practice or be able to call the number listed on Google and it not take you to vascular services when they were looking for the billing department. Nothing is more frustrating than for the healthcare consumer when trying to call or locate someone and the information is incorrect.

Healthcare is already obtuse, why make it more complicated. It is necessary to make sure all search engines, social media outlets, navigation systems, online review outlets have your correct contact information. No more putting your head in the sand, you want people to find you…so clean up those digital directories.

5) Embrace Social Determinants of Health

Our hospitals have a diverse populations, many different nationalities, countries of origins, languages…we are the melting pot of our community. We serve all and we must put our best foot forward to ensure every person that walks through our doors is provided the same level of service regardless of their race, gender, and ethnicity. It starts with how we communicate digitally to our consumer.

If we notice we have a large population of individuals in our community that are German, do you think you should make sure the website not only can be translated into German, but the service communicated online meets their background.

This makes me think of a story a colleague of mind shared from their hospital. A woman had come to the ED in labor and was ready to deliver. She was from an ethnic background where her religion required the provider delivering the baby must also come from the same religious background and faith position. The hospital had a person qualified on-call and was able to come and deliver the baby. We must serve our population and we must communicate to these populations that we are staffed to provide the best possible care to everyone.

Here is the digital opportunity, we must identify and know these pockets of communities in our surrounding areas and make sure we are using all our digital communication tools to correctly educate and inform these populations we are here to serve all.

Provide Social Media/Commenting/Privacy Policies that are Consumer Facing

You must build the sandbox. You must build it so others can see how to engage with you online. When we work with healthcare organizations, the first thing we tackle is the social media policy, commenting policy and privacy policy. Before we start any initiative or campaign, these policies must be consumer facing on the website and are easily assessable.

We encourage groups to make one section on the website to house all these items in one toolkit. This is not only for the consumer but also for internal stakeholders. We spend so much time training physicians, medical staff, and employees how to manage branded social media properties but also their personal social media properties; this tool kit is home base for these discussions. This toolkit provides guidelines how to use social media, engage with the healthcare consumer, but also for the consumer to engage with the healthcare brand.

Build the sandbox, set the standard, give them a place to see how to connect. Here are a few that I think are great examples: