Tiptastic Tuesday: 3 Reasons Healthcare Pros Should Join Twitter

Today, almost 75,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and consultants post 152,000 tweets a day about healthcare policy, research, individual medicines and disease treatments. Twitter allows healthcare professionals to share journal articles, links to studies, blogs and even their own points of view.

Here are three reasons why you should consider joining Twitter:

  1. The opportunity to learn from colleagues.
  2. The opportunity to share your knowledge.
  3. The opportunity to improve public health.

Start by taking small steps: follow interesting healthcare blogs or popular Twitter users. Once you start, you’ll be hooked!

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21 Million Americans Living With Diabetes

According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, approximately 21 million American adults had diabetes in 2010. Diabetes prevalence has drastically increased over the past 20 years, but the proportion of undiagnosed diabetes cases decreased to 11 percent between 2005 and 2010-perhaps due to improved screening and diagnosis.

In an effort for providers to focus on prevention and management of chronic illnesses like diabetes, population health is becoming more of a concern among industry leaders. Research has shown that better management of high risk diabetes patients, such as monitoring blood sugar levels, can improve outcomes among patients.

Hospitals are also turning to social media to help combat chronic illness; social media helps providers develop meaningful relationships that provide emotional support for patients with chronic conditions, as well as establish communities among caregivers, patients and family members.

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Social Media for LTC Facilities

Imagine living thousands of miles away from a loved one living in a long term care facility yet still being able to see daily or weekly updates of them.   Imagine being on your lunch break and seeing live-tweeted pictures of your mother doing crafts in her nursing home.  Well, situations like these are no longer fantasies because for many long term care facilities, this is a reality.  Through the utilization of social media, LTC facilities have been able to keep communication at the forefront of their agenda.  People no longer have to wait to see their family members because social media has made it possible for them to be part of their everyday life.  Having social media for your LTC facility adds value to your organization and differentiates you from your competitors.  Also, any unsolicited posts praising your facility for outstanding care and treatment of a family member is marketing that you cannot buy!

LTC facilities can utilize many of the most popular social media outlets to expand their online reach.   We recommend Facebook, Twitter and/or a blog to share information, news, events, multimedia (like YouTube videos).  Many senior living facilities have even used YouTube to provide virtual tours of their facilities, testimonials from residents, and some have made videos solely for entertainment purposes!  Click here to see one made a couple years ago.  Twitter and LinkedIn can be used to build professional relationships with other organizations and leaders in the LTC industry.

However, one must keep in mind that social media must be used with extreme caution.  There should never be pictures posted that would cause viewers to lose faith in your services or facility.  The following are a few tips to ensure proper use of social media: patient information should always be kept private unless you receive written permission, certain posts should come with a disclaimer, medical advice should never be offered, and online postings need to be monitored regularly to make sure they do not violate any policies.  But, if you choose HMS as your social media consultant, you will never have to worry about any of these privacy violations-we know the ins and outs of both healthcare and social media.

We understand nothing will ever replace face to face communication.  Still, social media can help you, your staff, your patients, and their families all stay connected.  Keep relationships alive and thriving! If you want more information on how to successfully integrate social media into your facility, please don’t hesitate to call us at (203) 294-6659.  Let’s connect!

Social Media for Homecare

Now, you might be thinking, how exactly can social media help homecare?  Traditionally, most people involved in the industry have relied on word of mouth or more recently, a simple website to create buzz about their agencies.  But, the times, they are a-changin and relying on old tactics is no longer a viable option.   The homecare industry needs to adapt to these new forms of marketing because at the end of the day, social media can significantly benefit your marketing endeavors.  And, it’s extremely affordable!

As of now, there are nearly one billion Facebook users, 500 million Twitter users, 225 million LinkedIn users, 100 million Yelp users, and 359 million Google+ users.  Clearly, social media is here to stay and will only continue to grow.  For the purposes of homecare, we recommend sticking to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

In social media, the most important thing is to regularly devote time to it.  For some agencies, this may mean every day and for others, it may mean every couple days.  It all depends on how much information you need to put out and how active your followers are.  And honestly, it doesn’t matter to us, we want to help you reach a wider audience whether you need us to update you social media outlets daily, weekly, or monthly.   The most important thing is to continually engage followers so that they keep their attention on your agency and we can assure you that we will do exactly that.

So what’s there to post about? We’ll use Facebook and Twitter to post about your exceptional staff and to post inspirational stories and pictures (with permission, of course) of your clients and staff.   Perhaps when a potential client is looking into your agency, these tidbits will differentiate your agency from your competitors.  People want to feel connected and these social media platforms will allow them to be a part of your online conversation.  We could even post industry news so that your clients and their families know specifically what they should be paying attention to in the world of homecare, especially when it comes to new laws and policies.  For LinkedIn, we recommend home care executives to build a profile and participate in LinkedIn groups, thus building yourself as a homecare expert which will in turn add value to your agency.

The most important thing to remember about social media, especially for those who work in the medical field is to exercise caution when posting information and never to disclose any personal identifiable information. We know exactly how to avoid any pitfalls when it comes to disclosing information so you will never have to worry about that.

If you would like help setting up and managing social media for your agency or if you would like help setting up a website, please contact HMS today at (203) 294-6659.  We want to take you to the next level.

Social Media for Physician Practices

One of the services we can help you with here at HMS, along with billing, accounting and consulting is social media.  In this social media dependent world, we understand the importance of expanding one’s reach-we do it every day through our blog!

It’s estimated that 67 percent of all internet users connect on Facebook,  and although it’s the most popular with 18-49 year olds, 50 percent of 50-64 year olds also sign –in on a regular basis.  Similarly, Twitter is used by 16% of all internet users, although many businesses utilize both Facebook and Twitter together to gain a wider audience. There’s also YouTube, which allows all users to publicly or privately share videos. With the advent of social media platforms and websites such as healthgrade.com, physicians are becoming more prevalent in social media as they begin to understand the magnetic power behind it.   41 percent of people surveyed say social media would affect their choice when picking a health care provider.

For physicians, Facebook and/or a website can offer the most appropriate tools to connect with patients.  Either could be used for direct announcements such as an office closing or a flu shot reminder.  But they can also be used for something even more important: as a resource.  Instead of using search engines to research, often from unreliable sources, patients can turn to you, a trusted healthcare professional.  You can use social media to post useful health-related information, links to important studies, and any other information that positions you, the physician, as the expert clinical resource needed to help individuals make informed decisions and improve health statuses.  And of course, patients can easily access your office to make an appointment for a personal consultation.

In addition, providers can post testimonials, offers (we recommend sticking to one a week), images of office life, inspirational quotes, and answer important questions.  Some physicians have even chosen to make a personal Facebook page so that patients can speak directly to them; certain physicians include patient stories (with permission and a signed release).

In the end, social media is about telling stories and connecting with patients.  What you post can add significant value to your organization. A satisfied patient is a happy patient and 70 percent of new patient referrals come from existing (happy) patients. If you would like help building an online presence with our social media services or with starting a website, please contact us at (203) 294-6659.  We’d love to help you build a stronger relationship with your patients!

Below are a few resources we have put together for you to learn more about the benefits of social media:

Click here to read about physicians who’ve started using social media in their practices

Click here for a video from the Mayo Clinic’s Center of Social Media

Click here for video about social media guidelines for physicians and medical practices

Click here for a webinar about physicians in social media

An Introduction to Social Media for Healthcare

In this growing technological age practically dominated by the internet, it’s important for individuals and organizations to make their presence known. Gone are the years of dependence on traditional media outlets and what’s replaced it is something on a higher magnitude: social media. Social media allows entities to expand their reach, immediacy, and frequency. It also comes in many forms: internet forums, web logs (blogs), social blogs, microblogging, wikis, social networks, podcasts, pictures, videos, and it’s continually growing.

So what does this mean for you, a healthcare provider? It means you can reach members in your community who can contribute to the growth of your organization. It means you can engage with your patients on a level that has never been achieved before. And it means that you are given a platform as an authority in which you can voice what you believe your patients should know whenever and wherever you are. An added bonus, it’s practically free!

HMS has expert, experienced staff committed to bringing you the tools you need to achieve success and we believe that social media is the up and coming vehicle to assist in meeting and exceeding your goals. In our upcoming series focused on social media, we will break down social media so that you can understand not only how important social media is, but also how you can apply it to your organization to keep moving forward.

Hospitals Turn To Social Media To Build Patient Relationships

Hospitals are turning to Facebook and Twitter, along with other social media engines; in order to improve their level of patient care. By doing this, they are creating “virtual advisory councils” made up of both patients and parents, creating an inside look into the hospital system. These efforts are part of a larger movement, introduced by the ACA to engage patients in their health and enhance the quality of care given by providers. By linking together with the growing social media culture, today’s technology allows hospitals to get feedback on a daily basis, stepping away from traditional means. These fresh ways of customer satisfaction may have an exceptional impact on the quality of patient care.

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