Patient & Community Engagement

HealthWorks Collective recently posted an article about patient and community engagement through social media, as part of a person-centered healthcare series.

LifeBridge Health is a comprehensive health care organization that is committed to creating a healthier community, one person at a time. They believe that the more informed and educated the community is, the healthier they may become. They use social media on a daily basis to keep people up-to-date about their programs, services, community events and health-related news.

More organizations are taking advantage of this free form of communication by using social media to reach out to their community and to solicit feedback. Social media has become the quickest, most convenient and viral way to spread news. Below are the four main ways that LifeBridge Health uses social media, with examples from their social networks.

To educate about services, programs, events, screenings and lectures

Patients and visitors want to be informed about what you can offer them. The idea is that if patients and guests are up-to-date about how to take care of their health, then they will become healthier or maintain their already good health.

Here is an example of an event LifeBridge Health promoted on their Sinai Hospital Facebook page. This was the grand opening of their new Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital. The post generated 30 likes and several positive comments.

Here is an example on Twitter of a promotion for a speed and agility camp. They used hashtags to generate buzz to other people who may be interested in the same subject, and then link to the post on their community calendar, which directs visitors back to the main LifeBridge Health website.

To promote physicians and staff as health experts

Patients and visitors want to be treated by highly qualified and experienced health care professionals. Social media is a great way to promote your physicians’ experience and strengths.

The LifeBridge Health blog shared a post that featured infectious disease expert Dr. John Cmar, who discussed the importance of having a good relationship with your primary care doctor.

It is a good practice to continually interview, mention and post about your physicians and specialists. It helps to keep your patients and visitors satisfied because they feel confident that they are being treated by the best in health care. Videos also provide an introduction to patients for a doctor they may later meet during an appointment.

To manage reputation and deal with service recovery

Unfortunately, not everyone will like your practice or have a positive experience with it. With the advancements in mobile technology, anyone can go online immediately and post about their negative experience. It’s important to address complaints online as soon as you see them in order to support and maintain a positive reputation.

Here is an example of both a positive and negative comment on Facebook and how LifeBridge Health handled it.

LifeBridge Health received a negative comment on Twitter, but replied with a solution. They provided a phone number so that unsatisfied patients can voice their concerns to customer service.

Quick recovery shows that you are paying attention to your patients and fans, which is sometimes all it takes to make someone feel better about a bad experience.

To engage and interact in online communication

A crucial part of your marketing efforts is to keep people taking about their brand. It’s important to create constant online buzz about your services, staff and programs. The more engaged you patients and guests are, the more you can prove to them that you offer the best care.

On their Northwest Hospital Facebook page, LifeBridge Health created a fill-in-the blank status update to engage their fans and see what they had to say about the hospital.

On their LinkedIn account, they have several staff members who use a different form of online engagement. By providing testimonials of their experience at LifeBridge Health, they reinforce that it’s a good organization, but they also encourage potential employees to seek them out for more information.

Social media is a speedy, low cost and effective way to inform patients about their health and to keep them engaged with your practice. Staying connected and relevant online lends a positive experience with your practice before a patient even comes in to your office.

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