A panel of experts a the SXSW conference discusses the intersection between health and social media. Specifically looking at the topic of building trust for healthcare systems.
Building trust is a critical step in developing a relationship with your patients and therefore increasing your patient volumes.
The Panel featured:
- Doug Ulman, CEO of Livestrong: Focused on the power of health based communities online
- Greg Matthews from Humana: shared how a health insurer can innovate internally
- Jenn Texada from MD Anderson: shared how she and her communications team use social media tools to interact directly with patients for customer service
- David Hale from the National Library of Medicine: Presented an innovative new database to help identify unknown pills
- Fabio Gratton: shared how to build a movement
The aim of the final session was to brainstorm ways that healthcare organizations could overcome the barriers and build more trust and credibility.
They settled on 10 Steps to Build Trust (and volume)!
- Listen to and implement ideas from the community.
- Have shared values on good health.
- Answer your patient’s or customer’s concerns directly.
- Aggregate or curate useful information.
- Serve as a resource or guide for the community.
- Set expectations on what you do and why.
- Focus on setting a clear mission for employees.
- Communicate results and outcomes.
- Recognize both sides of the issue or data.
- Build trusted long-term relationships.
Right now people are talking about your doctors, your hospital and maybe even you. You have to join the online conversation or reputations will be severely damaged.
A book you must read: The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove. This book explores the legal and practical ramifications of information dissemination on the internet.
Professor Solove is the preeminent scholar on how the information age has impacted the line between written and spoken gossip. His examples in the book are fascinating and sobering for anyone… especially marketers.
A Pediatrician at a mid-western Academic Medical Center accosted me after a meeting. “A mother of a new patient said to me after an appointment, ‘You are exactly like the comments and ratings for you online. Thanks for your help.’ ”
He asked for clarification; she said she recently moved from California and her young son has asthma so she wanted a great doctor. She searched online and found him.
The doc then went online and told me he was stunned at the volume of information patients were sharing about him and other doctors.
“They described my waiting area, staff friendliness, the wait times, the lag time for appointments and dozens of other quote-unquote facts” he said in angry disbelief.
Your next steps:
- Read the book… or at least scan it
- Engage a decent spider analytics program to monitor where your doctors and hospitals are being discussed. These programs scan the web for key words, names and phrases that may relate to you
- Construct a plan to get into the conversation both offensively and defensively
- Consider hiring a company that has a specialty in online reputation for consulting (novices can possibly do more harm than good) and maybe management if the job is bigger than your staff
This may be the most important new capability your team must develop this year. The reputation of your doctors and health system depends on it.
You don’t have to be a technology pioneer to reap the advantages of being considered a thought-leader… you just have to test programs and then leverage the PR.
Have you seen the ads for Cisco in which actress Ellen Page televisits her doctor in Denmark from Nova Scotia? Check it out. Evidently, the days of virtual doctor’s office visits are here.
In fact, with just about everyone being able to Skype with their grandchildren, we in healthcare can no longer act like we are oblivious to everyday technological advances. That makes us look like we are too out of touch to understand the latest complications in healthcare.
Also worth checking out is the Virtual Practice Project at Mass General. They have found that patients are taking to televisits like a duck to water. Patients are managing the visits right out of their health portals (read more about portals).
Of course you can’t turn-your-head-and-cough over the computer, but current systems do capture health data like blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart rate.
You need to set up a trial or small pilot program of something televisit oriented and then leverage the publicity. This is low cost and very effective marketing.
Here is the big marketing advantage:
It Builds The Reputation of the Hospital as Competent and Current
The press will eat it up and you will enhance the hospital reputation for very little cost. You gotta love that. Skype me if you want to discuss…