Privacy and Social Media in HealthCare

In Private Practice, marketing and name brand is a very large piece of the puzzle. We want to brand our offices, not necessarily the product. The problem is the product is where much of the advertising money is. With our budgets we try to get the most bang for the buck, 10 years ago the yellow page ads were a good investment, now it is the internet. Google is the number one driving force behind traffic to websites (Pew Research site, with the graph made by Peter Kafka, Media Memo) but the more exposure you have the better, yes? Social Media is another way to get your name out there, it may not drive traffic directly but it can indirectly increase your exposure where Google is concerned.

One of the Social Media avenues is Facebook. Facebook has given another meaning to the word “like”. When I talk with my family and friends on FB we know the lingo of what it means to “like” a page. This is what increases the traffic to the FB page and hopefully to that particular company’s website and office. Many offices were placing the “like” button on their websites themselves. When this button was pressed, the personal information is then fed into FB. FB uses a very clever marketing strategy for advertising within their site, because it can divide us into gender, age, likes (pun intended!) and so on. Then the paid ad only shows up on the targeted advertising group pages. This is great in theory to get to a specific group but it can be very bad when we are dealing with HIPPA and the rules and regulations. Be very cautious on how you use Social Media with your clients or patients as you could be opening yourself to possible lawsuits. What many companies are changing the “like” button to “follow”. There are a few extra steps the consumer would go though to follow the company.

Never give individual advice with names involved that would show on any Social Media page. We can talk in generalities to educate, but we can’t treat, counsel etc like we would face to face or over the phone.


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