An increasing number of physicians are venturing onto the web, and, in particular, into social media. Recently, my client Dr. M was advised by a consultant to update his practice’s website, create a Facebook page for his practice and join Twitter. The marketing consultant cautioned Dr. M that there are legal concerns for health care providers associated with the Internet and social media. While social media can be a beneficial marketing tool, it is important for physicians to have in place a specific media policy that addresses the proper ways to use this outreach both in and outside the workplace.
Explore this issue:May 2011
A website is an excellent and relatively inexpensive avenue to use to brand your practice. When potential patients are looking for a physician in a particular specialty and in a specific location, many turn first to Internet search engines. Whether the search uses terms like “ENT and Dallas” or “Dr. Jack Smith, Otolaryngology and Dallas,” you want your website to pop up and be viewed by the searcher. At a minimum, a practice website should include the four W’s:
- Who (biographical information about the physicians employed by the practice);
- What (the practice’s specialty);
- Why (your opportunity to shine, by telling potential patients why they should select your practice); and
- Where (address, telephone number, e-mail).
Tweeting, Blogging, Posting
The terms “Facebook,” “Twitter” and “blog” are words no longer spoken only by teenagers. These social media outlets offer free ways health care entities and physicians can use to disseminate information and market to a new audience.