The first physician I worked with to get on social media was 100 percent against it. I can still recall the conversation on the phone with him as I explained to him a great idea I had for a chat and his Twitter presence. I almost felt guilty for encouraging him to take time away from his prime focus as a doctor to send out a tweet every now and then. After all, it can be difficult justifying taking a physician away from patients/hospital time to tweet. However, as the conversation went on I realized that he was still helping patients by taking the time to manage a Twitter account. I mean, imagine how many more people he could reach by sharing relevant articles and thoughts on social media. When I finally met the physician in person, he was not that interested in the account I set up for him → until the notifications started coming in. Once he could see the impact his statements were having on people he’d never met before, he was a fan of Twitter.
The fact is Twitter is an incredible landscape for physicians. It allows them to amplify their impact on patients and the world around them. Here are five crucial reasons every physician should consider jumping into Twitter:
We live in a world where reputation and leadership is increasingly more important and increasingly more easy to discover. Whether a physician is looking at jobs at another practice/hospital, or they want to acquire new patients, or they want to published somewhere, thought leadership is what will get them there. By publishing thoughts on the medical industry and joining third party conversations, a physician can establish themselves beyond their own network.
Third party conversations are a great way to build thought leadership. Physicians can use relevant hashtags to search for topics they enjoy discussing, and join existing conversations where they can add value.
Patients are looking for physicians more than ever on social media. They want to know what the health grade is and anything else they can find online that might clue them into the bedside manner and expertise of the physician they are considering seeing. Finding a physician’s thought leadership and interaction with current patients online could be the final push a new patient needs to book an appointment.
Take Bedside Manner Online
Physicians that value bedside manner can use Twitter to amplify that patience and kindness online. While it’s important for physicians to be HIPAA compliant, interacting with their patients online can be a great way to make the patients feel connected to their physician and their medical care.
Physicians need other physicians AND other people in the medical industry. Twitter is an opportunity to find and connect with people to bounce ideas off of and learn from. This is an excellent way to discover new conferences, membership clubs and groups physicians can be a part of to help with education and thought leadership.
There are very few places news spreads fast than on Twitter. I remember living in NYC when Osama Bin Laden was killed, and finding a Tweet about it on Twitter before any news outlet had even picked it up. The physicians I work with can easily, quickly find relevant news about their field on Twitter in between patients and on quick breaks. Not only can they instantly know about new advances, they can then effortlessly share them with the network they’ve created on Twitter.
I stand by Twitter being a quick way for physicians to make big gains in the medical community. In a matter of seconds they can find important news, tweet a fellow physician and connect with a new patient.
Are you a physician who uses Twitter? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Marji J. Sherman