Physicians today often find themselves asking, "Who has time for social media?" Since most providers are focused on the chaos of reimbursements, busy practices and healthcare reform, it's no wonder that social media time is not a high priority.
But if you’ve been paying attention to society, business, and commerce over the last few years, you would know that social media has developed a very effective purpose in helping professionals communicate, engage in professional development and build meaningful reputations in their fields.
Social media is also a very effective way for physicians to manage their online reputations, which has become more and more important in today’s competitive healthcare marketplace.
Many physicians will argue that engaging in social media could be beneficial, but also brings about a certain amount of risk. Dr. John Mandrola negates this argument in his MedCity News article titled, Doctors and Social Media: It’s Time To Embrace Change.
Dr. Mandrola writes, “But I ask: What medical intervention, what shot at making things better, comes free of risk? A rule of doctoring is that to do good a doctor must risk doing harm. A distinguished heart surgeon once consoled me—after I had caused a procedural complication—that if I didn’t want complications, I shouldn’t do anything.”
Dr. Mandrola sees the “risk” argument as a confining attitude that many physicians often take – keeping them trapped in the same outdated rituals that have perpetuated the healthcare industry for years.
“In the hyper-connected world of 2014, medical professionals have reached a fork in the road. One path is a road well traveled. On this familiar route, we continue to keep our heads down, stay in the weeds, out of trouble. Don’t wiggle; don’t rock the boat; check the boxes; fill out the forms and accept what comes. Don’t dare engage in the online conversation. Choosing this path is like not treating a disease: less ownership confers less personal risk.”
Dr. Russel Faust provides five great reasons in his Whitepaper, Social Media Guide for Docs, 12 Tips For Beginners.
- You will gain market share– yes, it will help grow your practice!
- You will be recognized as an authority in your area of practice (which will also growyour practice).
- You will be better connected with your patients: compliance with your diagnostic and treatment regimens will improve (healthier patients, reduced readmissions).
- Your patients will arrive to appointments better- educated, and take less time: it will streamline your work flow!
- Your patients will be less needy outside of your clinic: they will require less time on the phone with you and your nurses.