Many medical practices — doctors’ offices, dental practices, emergency care, and even hospitals — are hesitant to join social media because they’re worried about what could possibly go wrong, especially around the areas of HIPAA and patient privacy. But they’re also worried about what kind of information they can share online. Here are four do’s and don’ts for medical practices to follow on social media, while steering clear of any potential problems.
1. Don’t reveal patient information.
Of course, and you already know this, but everyone in your office needs to know it. Doctors never revealed patient information when they got their first fax machine, their first email account, their first website. Social media is no different — follow the same rules and behaviors you do for the other technology.
2. Do share important health information
Sharing information from newspaper articles and health journals about the importance of exercise and good nutrition are always helpful. Articles on the importance of too much sun or not enough vitamin D are good. Anything you can do to help your patients stay well is worth sharing.
3. Don’t get too technical with your information.
Remember, you’re trying to find new patients, not impress other doctors. Your blog and Facebook page are not a suitable place to share the article you wrote for the medical journals, and it’s not really the place to engage in medical discussions with colleagues. Use a network like LinkedIn for those discussions.
4. Do limit your social media presence
A medical practice doesn’t need a wide social media footprint like, say, a digital marketing agency does. Stick with Facebook and Twitter, where most of your patients are anyway, and share the things that will be of interest to them.