Capitalizing on Digital Doctor-Patient Communication in 2014 – Key Statistics

Social Media Statistics Healthcare Marketing

Doctors and patients don’t communicate well, at least according to a recent poll released at the World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetes Federation in Australia. The trouble with the perceived results is the simple fact that a better doctor-patient relationship leads to better care, better outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. But according to the study, only 29% of polled patients said their healthcare teams asked their opinion on treatment regimens.

In addition to the findings was the fact that 84% of polled healthcare professionals said it would be helpful if their patients prepared questions in advance of the consultation.
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Should Physicians be Utilizing Facebook?

At Quaintise, we understand that as social media tools become ubiquitous with healthcare marketing and advertising, fears will increase as to their true purpose and possibilities. These tools (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) are synonymous with big brands such Coca Cola, Starbucks, Ford, Red Bull and even Disney, but are also making waves for medical organizations such as Cleveland Clinic and WebMD. And as social media tools have become a pivotal piece of the entire healthcare marketing puzzle, it’s our job at Quaintise to quell any fears that our physicians and specialists might have.


Personal vs Professional Page

An aspect of social media that many physicians and specialists often overlook is the line between professional and personal. While Facebook does have guidelines for setting up multiple accounts under the same name, it does allow you to set up a professional presence as well as a personal one. Our healthcare marketing experts do not touch your personal profile and highly suggest that you do not respond to personal friend requests from patients or personal messages. All questions, concerns and friend requests need to be dealt with on a professional level, directly from your professional page.

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HIPAA Changes the Game for Healthcare Marketing

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA to anyone in the healthcare field, received an update this past week with the release of a new 536-page ‘HIPAA omnibus final rule.’ The momentous update clarifies patients’ rights as they pertain to health information. It also increases penalties and ultimately updates an outdated Act for a modernized, digital world.  Let’s take a look at the main provisions in the 2013 update:


For Patients…

The greatest change in the HIPPA omnibus final rule comes for patients, and increases their instant access to their own digital health records. In the past, an ‘individual (was) entitled to receive a copy in the form or format requested if readily producible.’ However, if the physician did not use digital formatting, you got a hard copy and that was the end of it, if you could get that hard copy.
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Real-Time Relationship Building in 2013

In healthcare marketing we often talk about building your business brand, building trust between your brand and your audience, and cultivating relationships through all forms of media. In 2013, the next generation of brand building will be in real-time; a quick-paced facet of marketing, and incredibly personal. Sure, when a Fan has a question or concern on Twitter it’s wonderful to have a quick response and follow up with some reputation management, but in 2013 you will have to do a great deal more to get the audience to pay attention.


Real-Time Relationship Building

In 2012, real-time relationship building meant connecting with your brand’s audience on their level; on social media outlets such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, even Google Plus, Google Local and Yelp. In healthcare marketing, it meant answering medical questions by not only following HIPAA regulations, but by providing as much relevant information as possible.

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Healthcare Marketing in the Age of HIPAA Fears

The acronym HIPAA alone causes physicians and some healthcare marketing agencies to shudder in fear. The thought of running a successful Facebook campaign for a medical organization is nearly, well, unthinkable for many healthcare marketing agencies in Los Angeles. However, it’s not as scary as it sounds or seems, it just takes some social media knowhow and common sense.


Last week we discussed some tips for running a successful healthcare marketing campaign on Facebook. Today, I want to talk about some added considerations when contemplating HIPAA and Facebook marketing for medical practices.

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Facebook and Physicians – Following HIPAA Regulations

healthcare marketing scottsdale

There has been a lot of talk recently regarding HIPAA, healthcare marketing and physicians on Facebook. And, to be honest, most of the talk has been untruthful and negative. Yes, physicians can increase their brand presence on Facebook and create engaging content for their patients and audience while still adhering to HIPAA regulations. The key to HIPAA-approved healthcare marketing on Facebook is a bit of common sense, mixed with a bit of know-how.


1. Think Before You Post – Never, ever throw up a Facebook post without special consideration. Is it an appropriate post? Is it related to the medical field and your brand? Is it relevant to your audience? Does it mention patient names, locations, symptoms or specific diagnosis? Imagine standing in your office waiting area and announcing the status update to everyone who is listening. Would anyone in that room be offended or know who you were talking about? If not, it’s good to go!
2. Ask Permissions – Yes, you can run contests and post user generated stories that patients have provided, but it must be done in accordance with HIPAA. For example, just last year Children’s Hospital LA launched a campaign to collect patient stories to use in a “Share Your Story” campaign. The ultimate goal of this campaign was to increase brand visibility and improve their overall reputation by sharing inspiring and positive stories. In order to remain HIPAA-safe, they required patients to follow a three-step-process that involved reviewing a “Use and Access” Statement, reviewing hospital HIPAA policy, and finally filling out a secure web form where they could include their story and photo to be reviewed by hospital staff. It was a highly successful healthcare marketing campaign that maintained HIPAA regulations. If you plan to publish or make public any patient information, it is a must that you get permissions first.
3. Keep It Professional – As a physician with an engaging Facebook account you will no doubt receive many questions related to healthcare. For example, we manage the online social presence for Arizona OBGYN Affiliates. This thriving Facebook page receives the occasional personal health question from Facebook Fans and users. In remaining congruent with HIPAA, we kindly give the questioner an overview of their health situation and offer them a direct phone number to a location closest to them. Keep in mind these questions often come through Facebook Messages, which are private between the questioner and the doctor. However, even in these private situations it’s best to remain vague and yet offer as much actionable help as possible.


HIPAA is not entirely as confusing or ‘scary’ as many physicians and medical offices believe. In fact, if you simply use a bit of common sense, offer advice and healthcare information yet remain distant from specific medical happenings that occur at your offices, you will be fine. As always, contact the experts at Quaintise for more information on following HIPAA regulations while maintaining an engaging, popular and thriving Facebook presence.


About Quaintise and Facebook Marketing

Quaintise uses Facebook, as well as many other social platforms, in all healthcare marketing plans. With Facebook, anything is possible. Want to increase website traffic? Perhaps you’re looking to increase patient referrals? Maybe it’s time to augment your brand with improved brand visibility and awareness. With social media marketing that adheres to HIPAA regulations, and the experts at Quaintise, the sky is the limit. Visit our LA QDigital location at 10100 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 300, Los Angeles, California 90067, (310) 736-1752 or our main headquarters in Scottsdale at 7150 E. Camelback Road, Suite 444, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251, (602) 910-4112.