How Health Care Providers Can Use Digital Platforms to Engage Consumers and Build Trust

How Health Care Providers Can Use Digital Platforms to Engage Consumers and Build Trust

Businesses that ignore social media channels for mar­keting and PR do so to their own detri­ment. An equivalent holds true for health care provid­ers. Indeed, the past five years have seen explosive growth within the number of hospitals that use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to en­hance their reputation and build their brand.

Hospitals make the simplest of use of social media, alongside their own websites and blogs once they provide useful infor­mation and have interaction consumers. Social media can play an important role in creating an identity, branding, and building trust and loyalty among health care consumers.

Even before considering Facebook and other outlets, the primary step is to make sure that a hospital's website is optimized to be as functional and effective as possible. Alongside SEO, appealing design and great content are fundamental. A hospital or health system's website is usually the consumer's first exposure to the provider.

At Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), a specialty hospital de­voted to the care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions, our goal is to be a valuable and trusted resource by providing compre­hensive information in our specialties of orthopedics, rheumatol­ogy, and rehabilitation. We continually update the web site with fresh content, photos, and videos to take care of consumer interest.

While many of us within the NY metropolitan area are fa­miliar with our hospital, the challenge is to draw in patients from across the country and around the world that may benefit from the highly specialized care the hospital provides.

The HSS website plays a key role within the marketing campaign. The goal is to speak that the hospital's doors are hospitable the foremost difficult and challenging cases; that the sheer volume of procedures and laser specialize in orthopedics are unmatched; that folks who have lost hope could get a second chance at HSS.

How does one communicate these messages? to start out, reputable third-party endorsements are prominently featured on the house page. One such example is the hospital's No. 1 ranking in Orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

Another major feature on the house page is "Back within the Game," an interactive portal that invites patients to post their own photos and private stories about how HSS helped them get "back within the game" of life. The feature went survive Groundhog Day, 2015, and by the one-year anniversary of the location, quite 1,200 patients had posted their inspiring stories and photos.

"Strategic postings, photos and links to videos can raise awareness of a hospital's specialties and enhance its reputation"

Each physician at Hospital for Special Surgery features a profile page with information about his or her practice and specialties; education and qualifications; and links to news reports and videos during which the doctor has been featured. a number of the videos are posted on YouTube, as well.

The hospital's blog features useful information on topics starting from injury prevention to hip fractures to medication choices for treating atrophic arthritis. Blogs are a superb thanks to featuring hospital experts. A blog on revision joint replacement surgery, a rather esoteric topic, prompted 30 comments, with many consumers asking about booking a meeting. Hospital staff responds to comments and question. The HSS blog has had quite 900,000 unique visitors since its inception.

The hospital's eConsult second opinion service is differently to potentially reach people outside of the NY metropolitan area. Second opinions are provided, for a fee, by an HSS expert specializing within the consumer's particular medical condition.

Hospital for Special Surgery's audience isn't only con­sumers but health care professionals, as well. Physicians often refer patients to HSS for specialized care. The hospital's eAcad­emy may be a digital platform for the distribution of educational and academic programs through live streaming and offerings on-demand. Most of the content is freed from charge.

In addition to their own websites, increasing numbers of health providers are using Twitter, You­Tube, Instagram and other plat­forms to succeed in consumers. Surveys show that the utilization of Facebook among hospi­tals has soared since 2010, with good reason. Strategic postings, photos, and links to videos can bring up awareness of a hospital's spe­cialties and increase its reputation.

But that's not all. Good content can make an establishment seem less clinical and more accessible. the simplest Facebook accounts aren't advertisements for a hospital; they contain interesting information and links to draw in followers and increase loyalty.

Facebook chats are another opportunity to succeed in potential patients. For instance, the Hospital for Special Surgery partnered with the nonprofit S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. Both publicized the chat beforehand, leading to excellent participation. Hospital rheumatologists and therefore the foundation's director of social services answered numerous questions on lupus.

YouTube, with its strong showing in online searches, is a superb venue for patient stories and videos featuring experts. The challenge is to form one's content to stand out. Twitter is often used not only to speak with followers but to watch what people are saying about the hospital.

Indeed, increased visibility via social media channels is not the only benefit. Hospitals can acquire valuable information with reference to patient satisfaction. Comments on Facebook and Twitter enable organizations to gather information in real-time. By obtaining feedback via social media on what patients want and wish, hospitals can make changes for the higher. Hospital for Special Surgery has staff that monitors comments, replies when appropriate.

When searching the name of a physician or hospital online, Healthgrades.com is usually on page one. Consumers are increasingly getting information from Healthgrades, Vitals.com and other websites that rate doctors and hospitals supported patient reviews. These sites, too, can provide institutions with valuable insights.

State and federal websites, like Hospital Compare, supported the HCAHPS patient survey, which isn't only useful to consumers when choosing a hospital. the knowledge can help providers see where they have to enhance and the way their scores compare to those of their peers.

One can only hope that social media networks and therefore the availability of such a lot of information online will cause greater accountability on the part of healthcare providers, and ultimately, to raised patient care.

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