It has taken them longer than most of us, but many doctors are now using social media tools to stay in touch with their patients, promote their services and generally improve their practice. And they are being successful at it, prompting their colleagues to get on board.
There have been some serious privacy concerns for physicians even considering using social media. They were worried about security issues as well, and the possibility that utilizing social media would prove too overwhelming. These were legitimate concerns and proved tricky for many to navigate.
As time has gone by, however, and social media has become more accepted and more mainstream (also more user friendly and secure) many doctors have discovered they can adequately balance an effective social media marketing campaign with their day-to-day practice. This has proven to be both easier than they expected and more lucrative.
Patients are now better able to communicate with their physician’s office, share information, learn more about their condition (perhaps); new techniques or ways to take better care of themselves. The use of social media has also made the doctor’s themselves more accessible to the communities they serve, improving their reputation while adding revenue to their bottom line.
Not every physician is on-board the social media train, however. There are still a fair number of doctors who remain reluctant when it comes to social media usage. And they are not only ones still avoiding social media. Other professions as well, lawyers and investors for instance, are still looking askance at social media for similar reasons: security, privacy of clients, etc.
Perhaps now that the medical profession is finding positive uses for social media and reaping the benefits as a result others will find their way as well.
Far from Silicon Valley and East Coast high-tech hubs, Kansas City pediatrician Natasha Burgert offers child-rearing tips on her blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, and answers patients’ questions by email and text messages.
“These tools are embedded in my work day,” Burgert said. “This is something I do in between checkups. It’s much easier for me to shoot you an email and show you a blog post than it is to phone you back. That’s what old-school physicians are going to be doing, spending an hour at the end of the day” returning patients’ phone calls, she said.
She recently received a typical email — from a mother wondering how to wean her 2-year-old from a pacifier. With a few thumb clicks, Burgert sent the mom a link to a blog post offering tips on that same topic.