Social Media & Healthcare: Thinking beyond doctor blogs & physician tweets

April 27, 2011 by Sarah Legg

No more are doctor blogs the go-to option for healthcare and social media. I recently read this article about Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. What appealed to me about this article were the innovative ways in which Swedish is using social media to connect with current and prospective patients.

My favorite initiative was the all night “sleep cast” where Swedish Sleep Medicine Associates hosted a web cast during the time when those with sleep issues were most-likely to be online-at night. The web cast drew more than 10,000 viewers who wanted to learn more about sleep-related illnesses and issues. To promote the webcast, the hospital utilized traditional media outreach, plus newer media such as the Twitter handle @GoSleepSeattle. I liked that it created awareness of the practice, allowed for patients to “see” what sleep medicine is all about, and most-likely resulted in new patients for the practice.

Of course, as with any healthcare-related marketing program, there are certain threats and legalities to keep in mind such as state licensing laws and HIPAA laws. I can’t wait to see what else hospitals and physicians’ clinics will do as social media continues to grow as a viable marketing tool in healthcare.

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