Social Media For Medical Professionals (And Medical Practices) -

Social Media For Medical Professionals (And Medical Practices)

Social media for medical professionals and practices is a great boon. In many countries, including India, doctors cannot advertise themselves freely. Even if the law should allow it, people would frown on the practice.

But the social media channels are fertile ground for healthcare providers to build their brands and practices through indirect means.

As a medical consultant, you can enhance your thought-leadership through your opinion, build your reach through the quality of content you put out and interact with other specialists in whose company you can shine.

There are many benefits for the medical fraternity in using social media. But there are some areas to be extremely careful about, too.

This article hopes to keep you, the healthcare practitioner, aware of the best ways to use social media to great advantage. All areas of your career should win – your medical practice, your professional brand, your patients and your industry as a whole.

Areas where the medical field can effectively use social media

Social channels are great to work with in situations like these below:

Gaining more citizen engagement and participation in health concerns

Doctors, individually and as a group, can use social media to raise public awareness about health and fitness in general – or about certain diseases in particular. They can answer common FAQs from patients and educate people by sharing valuable content.

Monitoring specific healthcare or cause campaigns at certain peak periods

There are times of the year when hospitals may lead disease-specific or cause-specific campaigns, and a lot of public health monitoring on that topic needs to take place. Social media can help combat misinformation and encourage people’s participation. In cases when campaigns are about a medical crisis (like the recent Covid -19 pandemic), they can help in crisis communication.

Professional networking is among the significant benefits of social media

There is so much evolution in medical technology that doctors can often best keep pace by engaging with other doctors. Social media can cut short professional upskilling time. There could also be times when compliances may change, or special research recruitment drives may be needed, when the use of social media can be indispensable.

Patient care is the most obvious and best use of social media

Here, it is not about individual patients and their health issues but about collective education on the support, facilities, education and public health programmes that patients as groups can avail of.

Best practices to follow when medical professionals use social media

The ideas that work best are listed here …

Set some clear goals for your social media usage as a health professional

Are you planning to use social media to increase awareness of your brand and your expertise? Are you hoping to convey your ideas to others in your industry so that you can all effectively lobby for a worthwhile cause? Are you interested in networking across medical specialisations with experts in diverse fields to enlarge your knowledge base? If you know your goals, you can use social media to gain traction on those targets.

Use the most professional online tone of voice and aim to be authentic

The medical profession thrives on public trust. The authenticity of your tone of voice is at the base of such public confidence in you. Know your audience. Take time to listen to their communities on social media. Have a clear message and deliver it with authority. Cover both the pros and cons of any topic. Be unbiased, factual, honest and sincere.

Limit your own screen time if you’re a very busy doctor and your family needs you

Nothing can be worse for families of medicare consultants if they have to put up with their irregular working hours and also their social media preoccupations. You are a doctor, and you should be the one to tell other people when enough screen time is enough.

Areas that medicare personnel should avoid when using social media

These are some of the big pitfalls to steer clear of …

Don’t offer medical advice to anybody online, not even a standard prescription

As a trained doctor, you have already been taught never to provide any casual medical remedies without looking into the details of any case. It’s the same rule that applies to conversations on social media. If someone asks, “Can we take two paracetamol tablets when a migraine starts?” your answer should be: “Please consult your doctor.”

Be careful when posting about patients – maintain doctor-patient confidentiality

Don’t ever be tempted to allude to a case study if it involves an actual case you have been involved with. It’s far easier to lose trust online than build trust. In extreme cases, doctors have even lost their licences to practice after getting careless with their social postings. So, be very careful.

Avoid conflicts of interest with products or brands that may later say you endorsed them

Never take the names of any brands or products in your social posts or interactions. You never know when a product may misuse your small mistake of mentioning a brand in passing as a medical endorsement in the public domain. For example, don’t say: “I got on my XYZ Treadmill this morning, and guess what …” Next thing you know, people will believe you are pushing that brand.

Some great global social networks for medical professionals

Sermo

This site is amongst the most popular for healthcare providers online. Its focus is to connect verified and credentialed physicians from around 150 countries worldwide. It even has a “virtual doctors lounge” that is very popular.

Doximity

This site targets U.S. based physicians in all speciality areas, with over 70% of all U.S. doctors signed up for membership. But its blog is sought after by other doctors from across the world who want to know the latest from the U.S.

Figure1

This resource allows healthcare providers from all over the world to share anonymous images of an ailment, such as x-rays, and compare them to other similar images available on the site. This really helps doctors in remote locations who may be treating patients with rare disorders for which they have no historical data to fall back on. This explains the site’s immense popularity.

WeMedUp

This medical social site has a job board for doctors and hospitals, plus information on healthcare-related events. It stays up-to-date with advancements in medicine.

Some great Indian social networks for healthcare providers

Curofy

This is a healthcare news and updates app. It also allows access to journals, case studies, medical guidelines and video interviews with eminent physicians. There is even a separate sub-section called Curofy MCQ for medical students.

Docplexus

This is the largest network of healthcare professionals in India, with 2.5 lakh members. It enables peer-to-peer discussions, has an informative blog and sends regular press releases to healthcare professionals.

PlexusMD

This is a free app providing access to medical news and career opportunities. It collates news, information, and announcements from 500+ renowned medical sources like Medscape, WebMD, Harvard Medical School, etc.

DailyRounds

This app is a social networking site, medical journal keeper, and a drugs and case database, all rolled into one. It offers substantial coverage of international and national medical events.

DocTutorials is active on social media – detailed, educative, engaging

DocTutorials is present on several social channels, helping students absorb their curricula in a more engaged and interactive way. It also uses social media to keep students, alumni and the larger medical community at pace with the latest in medical science.

Students respond to their Live sessions, participate in quizzes, interact with IBQs and MCQs and view faculty lectures and topical discussions on YouTube. These DocTutorials social handles are really worth a visit:

Instagram

https://instagram.com/doctutorials_

https://instagram.com/doctutorials_ss_

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/doctutorialsss

https://www.facebook.com/doctutorials

YouTube

https://youtube.com/c/DocTutorials

Telegram

https://t.me/doctutorials

In summary …

There are no two opinions about it. If used with care and professional ethics, social media can be a very useful communication tool for medical professionals and practices.

To medical students, especially, social media sites and apps can be great places to get immersed in the culture of top-notch medical traditions. If you’re a medical student, leverage social media – and get inspired to reach for those higher degrees of success.