In the past, many healthcare companies have avoided the use of social media due to the nature of their business. They have even gone to the extremes of trying o keep their employees from using it. Recently, however, many healthcare companies including chiropractic businesses have discovered how to use social media to promote their brand, awareness of what they do, and get the message across to the public, other physicians, and of course their patients.
Social media is primarily used by the younger generation. Many consumers use it to look up information about different healthcare businesses to find out what they are about, see what other people say, as well as to gain an idea of their popularity on the web. People use social media to make decisions on what doctors to see, what hospitals to go to, and even what type of treatment to get done based on information gleaned through social media. Because so many people are so well versed in social media, they expect the providers they wish to see to be equally as competent.
Patients are using social media to connect with other people who may share a rare disease or condition. This is a way for them to share each other’s experiences and do so with people they may have never met otherwise. Physicians use social media to connect with other physicians in order to network, share helpful information, and bounce ideas off of each other. Because social media is a place where consumers, patients, and other physicians can talk about healthcare issues and even improve health outcomes, the risks have never been as high as they are now. There are rules, regulations, and compliance issues that must be taken into consideration.
The main compliance issue with healthcare companies is making sure patient information remains private. Employees must be supervised and online records must be kept secure. Legal issues must also be taken into consideration, as anything on social media that identifies a patient needs to remain protected. This goes for comments made as well as any pictures posted. Healthcare companies must make sure they are obtaining proper patient authorization prior to posting any of this information.
As long as these things are being considered, social media can be used compliantly and efficiently by healthcare companies nation wide. Companies must make sure to put policies in place, follow guidelines, protect patent information, and go the extra mile when it comes to putting safeguards in place for electronic information.