How Can Social Media Impact the Patient Experience?
Social media is a vital part of any business’ operation. For medical practices, though, it plays an important role. Social media can have a huge impact on the patient experience, giving patients new avenues of interaction with physicians and helping to set the tone for future visits.
Setting Patient Expectations
Visiting a new doctor can be daunting. Without prior experience with the individual, a patient can have a hard time setting his or her expectations. A good social media presence, however, can help a patient learn a great deal about the person or people who will be treated him or her. Social media sets expectations and allows patients to become more comfortable before coming in for treatment.
Putting Minds at Ease
Looking at social media often means looking at more than just the physician or practice. When a patient can see that others have gone through the same problems and have been helped by the same people, they can have their minds put at ease. While anonymous internet reviews can help patients narrow down their choice of doctors, having access to a social media account can help patients put real faces on those who help and how have received help.
Maintaining a Sense of Community
In an increasingly isolated age, it’s nice to have some kind of connection to those who care for you. While the era of house calls is long since over, having the ability to see a practice’s social media helps to connect the broader community with the practice. This, in turn, helps the patient to feel like they are working with another part of the community, a group of people who care about the same things they do and who want the best for them.
Providing a Point of Contact
Social media by its very nature is a process that invites crowd participation. For patients, a good social media presence can represent a point of contact outside of the office that provides an alternative method of staying in touch with the physician. While certainly not an alternative to contacting an office directly, the existence of a social media outlet provides patients with a unique chance to interact with caregivers and staff and solve problems outside of the normal patient-facility dynamic.
Social media is an important tool for any doctor or practice. Whether the goal is to help patients feel more comfortable or to better engage with the community, social media is a vital addition to a practice’s engagement plan. As further tools are developed online, social media will become an ever-more important part of medicine.