June 13, 2011

Healthcare and Social Media.. The ROI is real, but the *Message* Matters.


Editor's Note: This post is by MCCSM Advisory Board member Howard Luks, M.D. and appeared originally on his blog.

Warning… this is not going to be a mind blowing post … but this a message that bears repeating.  This is also a message that  should resonate loud and clear with providers, institutions or members of the healthcare enterprise world  who are ruminating over the upsides — and potential downsides of a wide reaching, multiple digital property~ *social media* presence.

As Ted Eytan found out when he questioned the (anonymous) physicians on Sermo —  many physicians are simply not interested in establishing an online presence.   Why … most state (??with some naiveté??) that “risk” is the overwhelming variable they’re concerned with.  Yet, I imagine some of these very same physicians are the same ones with static Web (-)0.5 type platforms who state that they “are the best”, the premiere practice”, utilize state of the art modalities, etc.  There’s probably more risk involved in their promotional language then a venture along well trodden social media circles where we have *established* and have discussed on multiple occassions what many of the risks entail and how to avoid the landmines that  exist .

Many physicians also state that they are not interested in healthcare related social media endeavors because they do not feel that there is a pot of gold at the end of the healthcare-social media rainbow.

If the past two week scales or even maintains the level of new patients (7-10%) entering my office because of my social media presence AND the information presented on my website … then I can emphatically state that the ROI of your time, resources and the presentation of your content in a transparent, meaningful, evidence based (if possible) manner — will pay off quite well for your practice.  Perhaps even far more important than that (and a more difficult to measure ROI), the patients will be entering your office far better prepared, far better informed, and far more comfortable.   That means they will already have a reasonable understanding of what they might be suffering from, they will be far more comfortable with you because they have seen your videos and are comfortable with your demeanor and presentation —and all this, in the end makes your *job* in the office far more engaging, more productive and more efficient.

So, to recap …. When your blog or website presents meaningful content without the commercialized hype sooooo many marketers are pushing you to use — patients will …

1. Find you ( because of your digital property exposure)

2. Like  you (if they don’t like your videos or content, they’re not coming to your office)

3. Probably *trust* you more than a doc they found in the phone book

4. Interact in the office with you in a far more efficient manner since they already have digested the content you presented to them online — which you can re-visit right then and there to reinforce what you have just told them.

5. Dramatically improve your patient satisfaction scores … (data available on request :-) )

In the end… my presence online is to support the spread of meaningful, trustworthy, evidence based (when available), actionable information and guidance to patients and consumers from around the world.  I am personally not looking at my engagement  from an ROI perspective… I continue to feel that physicians have a moral obligation to fill Google’s servers with quality content to drown out the commercialized nonsense that exists online today … but for those of you in search of bringing patients in your door — the message here is clear. It works… it’s happening … and it’s the message, social media is only the medium — and the risk is manageable.

Choose a message to share 
are the best”, the premiere practice
Healthcare and Social Media.. The ROI is real, but the *Message* Matters.
Editor's Note: This post is by MCCSM Advisory Board member Howard Luks, M.D.

Tags: Metrics & Analytics

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