When you create an online space, you can meet your patients where they are and better understand their wants and needs. Here are a few tips.
Today’s patients are increasingly empowered to take their healthcare decisions into their own hands. They’re informing themselves, especially relying on social media, since they trust their peers to provide genuine use cases for which treatments are working.
While it’s essential to allow patients to advocate for their own health, it’s equally important to make sure they receive medically sound information. This creates an interesting dilemma for the healthcare industry, as online sources of information can have wildly varying degrees of accuracy and easily lead to patient misunderstanding of diagnoses and treatments.
One solution might be for you to become more involved in the online space to meet your patients where they are and better understand their wants and needs.
Four ways your social media involvement can help support your patient’s journey
Social media can help you reach a broad swathe of people to help drive awareness of your practice and which services you offer. Generating quality free educational content (e.g., why good hearing promotes healthy aging) can help pre-symptomatic patients become more receptive toward proactively taking care of their hearing health.
Surveys suggest that a large portion of people scour social media to search for information on medical symptoms they experience.1 Improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help make you more discoverable to these people so that they can find you and get answers to their questions, further positioning you as an expert.
46% of people seeking an online diagnosis say that the information they found online led them to think they needed the attention of a medical professional.2 41% of people who sought help say that a medical professional confirmed their diagnosis.3 Interestingly, even after receiving a diagnosis, many patients continue their online research to check for social proof, looking into online reviews or health care service rankings to ensure that they find the best practice for their treatment.
Once a prospect has become your patient for audiological support, they will continue on their own journey towards better hearing. They may need support with managing their well-being in the long term, including emotional support. You can stay involved throughout this stage and offer a social community for them and their loved ones, such as HearingLikeMe.com. This engagement will also allow you to ask for shareable social content, testimonials, and referrals.
How can your practice adopt these strategies?
Despite how promising each option is, they can also be time-consuming and might require niche expertise to get it right the first time. If you’re not familiar with the social media platforms, it can be resource-consuming to get started and maintain.
If you are a Phonak partner, I have good news for you. Phonak partners receive exclusive support for social media content creation and marketing. This frees up time and effort to focus on the hearing needs of patients in your practice while bringing in more patients through authentic outreach.
We invite you to read previous blog posts by Dr. Chase Smith, Standing out with social media (Part I) and Establishing your personal brand (Part II).
- Hochberg, I., Allon, R. & Yom-Tov, E. (2020). Assessment of the Frequency of Online Searches for Symptoms Before Diagnosis: Analysis of Archival Data. J Med Internet Res. 6;22(3):e15065.
- Fox, S. & Duggan, M. (2020). Information Triage. The Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/01/15/information-triage/.
- Fox, S. & Duggan, M. (2020). Health Online 2013. The Pew Research Center. Received from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/.