The development and use of social media has changed the way people receive messages. Effective use of social media requires responsibility. Many medical professionals are unsure of how to use social media in responsible and effective ways. There are certain things as a doctor that you must respect in order to keep your patients happy. Here are a few tips on avoiding social media disasters:
- Protect your patients confidentiality. Keeping patients’ information private, safe and secure is crucial. Anything pertaining to a specific patient’s health is not good content for social media. Doctors must adhere to all HIPAA guidelines.
- Allow for feedback from patients. Social media is supposed to be used as a means of communication. This means that you should respond to comments and thank your patients if they say something positive. This helps them to feel more connected. They way you respond to negative comments is just as important as the way you respond to positive ones. If someone is displeased with your services, blocking or deleting the comment can cause more trouble. It is best to respond to negative comments professionally, and assure the patient that their negative experience was an isolated incident and provide promise for a more positive experience in the future.
- Keep up with the changing times. Having a social media presence takes time and effort. Regularly posting and maintaining a constant presence across different avenues of social media is the best way to keep in touch with patients.
- Separate your personal life from your business life. Stay professional! This means set up a page for your business and your business only. Avoid “friending” your patients on your personal Facebook account. They won’t be offended if you decline, everyone has to have boundaries to stay professional!
- Don’t prescribe medication online. Prescribing medication should happen within a medical office. Online medication differs from state to state, so be sure you’re versed in the guidelines. It is recommended that doctors do not discuss treatment or medication of any type over the internet pertaining to individual patients.
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