Person-Centered HealthCare: Patients and Community Engage Through Social Media
LifeBridge Health is a comprehensive health care organization that is committed to the overall wellness of our surrounding community. We care about our patients, their families and all others within our surrounding community, and we want to make sure that we keep them up-to-date about our programs, services, community events and health- related news. We believe that the more informed and educated our community is, the healthier they may become. This in turn helps us to create a healthier community, one person at a time!
One of the most effective ways that we keep our patients and communities engaged is by using various forms of communications, including social media on a daily basis. Social media is the quickest, most convenient and viral way to spread our news. Who doesn t check their Facebook newsfeed at least three times a day, or tweet about what they saw on their way to work? More organizations are using social media to reach out to their community and to solicit feedback, and that is why we take advantage of this free form of communication.
Betsy Haley, Communications and Social Media Manager at LifeBridge Health, says "We incorporate social media into almost all of our communications - internally and externally- to the surrounding community, patients and our employees. In addition, Social Media has become an essential component in each of our marketing and advertising campaigns. We realize that our audience is online in the social media world, which means we want to make sure LifeBridge Health is there as well!"
Below are the four main ways that LifeBridge Health uses social media to help keep patients, families and our surrounding community up-to-date and engaged with LifeBridge Health. Included are examples from our social media networks.
To educate about our services, programs, events, screenings and lectures
Patients and visitors want to be in-the-know about what we as a health care organization can offer them. This includes everything from what type of cancer treatments we administer to when we will be having a diabetic eye screening.
Here's an example of an event we promoted on our Sinai Hospital Facebook page. This was the grand opening of our new Herman & Walter Samuelson Children s Hospital. The post generated 30 likes and several positive comments.
Here's an example on Twitter of a promotion for a speed and agility camp. We use hashtags to generate buzz to other people who may be interested in the same subject matter, and then link to the post on our community calendar, which brings visitors back to our main LifeBridge Health website.
On Flickr we shared pictures from a recent visit from the Maryland Batman, who is a constant source of excitement and happiness for our pediatric patients. We also wrote about the event and shared a video of it on our blog.
If we can keep our patients and guests up-to-date about how to take care of their health, then the ultimate goal is that they will become healthier or maintain their already good health.
To promote our physicians and staff as health experts
Patients and visitors want to be seen and treated by highly qualified and experience health care professionals. They want the best of the best to help them with an effective treatment plan and quicker recovery. At LifeBridge Health we take pride in our physicians and staff, and accordingly, we use social media as a means to promote their experience and strengths.
One of our favorite ways to promote our professionals is to create videos of them on our robust LifeBridge Health YouTube account. Videos are a dynamic and engaging way to present a lot of information, and it gives our professionals a human aspect. In some cases, medical professionals can be perceived as standoffish and uptight, but we present our experts as regular people who are relatable, and who truly care about improving your health.
On our Pinterest account we embedded a video of cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michelle Shermak explaining the facelift procedure.
On the LifeBridge Health blog we 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.
We continually interview, mention and post about our physicians and specialists. This helps to keep our 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 our reputation and deal with service recovery
It s an unfortunate fact that not everyone will like your health care facility or have a positive experience with it. With easy access to social media on smartphones and tablets, anyone can go online immediately and post about their negative experience. Unfortunately, we can't change that experience, but we will always try to turn a bad experience into a positive one.
We make it a priority to respond to every comment or tweet within 24 hours, whether it s positive or negative. We want LifeBridge Health to continue to have a positive reputation, and responding to all comments helps us to facilitate an open communication with all of our constituents.
Here is an example of both a positive and negative comment on Facebook and how we handled it:
On Twitter we received a negative comment, but replied with a solution. We try to provide phone numbers as much as possible so that unsatisfied patients can voice their concerns to customer service:
Quick recovery shows that we are paying attention to our patients and fans, and sometimes that is all it takes to make someone feel better and happier.
To engage and interact in online communication
A crucial part of any organization's marketing efforts is to keep people talking about their brand. Without constant chatter, good or bad, no one will know about you. At LifeBridge Health we like to create a constant online buzz about our services, staff and programs. The more that we engage our patients and guests, the more we can prove to them that we offer the best care.
Engaging on different social media networks can mean as little as saying a single thank you to as much as constant back and forth replies.
On our Northwest Hospital Facebook page we created a fill-in-the blank status update to engage our fans and see what they had to say about the hospital.
On our YouTube video titled Brachymetatarsia, which has over 5,000 views, we have engaged in several comment replies to show that we are paying attention to what are viewers have to say.
Finally, on our LinkedIn account, we have several staff members who use a different form of online engagement. By providing testimonials of their experience at LifeBridge Health, they not only give proof that we' re a great organization, but they also encourage potential employees to seek us out for more information.
Social media is a fast, low cost and effective way to inform patients about their health and to keep them engaged with our organization. If we can play a role to help keep our community happy and healthy, then our employees will be happy, and that's worth tweeting about!
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