Category Archives: Technology

How to choose a social media platform

Social media platforms massively changed how people connect and share. In June 2017, Facebook announced that there are 2 billion registered users.  Worldwide, there are 7.5 billion people.  Approximately 27% of the human population is on Facebook.  Across all social media platforms, there are 2.8 billion users.  That’s 37% of the human population on social media. In the United States, 83% of Americans have at least one social media account.
Given these numbers, healthcare organizations of all sizes should use social media as part of a strategic recruitment plan.  Before moving forward, organizations should consider certain factors when identifying what role social media will play in recruiting efforts.

Platform Choice
There are dozens of options for social media platforms. Before deciding, leaders should research the benefits and drawbacks of each.  Organizations should also consider how they will use social media in their recruiting efforts.  These answers will help drive the decision making around platform choice.
Facebook has the most users, and it offers powerful targeting options.  Many organizations enjoy the ability to target certain audiences with their Facebook ads.  The platform recently started offering Facebook Jobs.  Since it is still new, many organizations (and candidates) haven’t fully embraced it yet.
As the most popular professional social media platform, LinkedIn is used by many healthcare recruiters.  When users are on LinkedIn, they are usually seeking to connect professionally.  Although smaller than Facebook, LinkedIn has an audience of over 500 million users.
Choosing a social media platform will naturally limit the available audience.

Users Location
Location does not matter if an organization aims to increase their number of followers.  Although many marketers consider follower count to be a vanity metric, there are still some organizations who want to have a lot of followers.  Instead organizations should work to engage with their followers. A highly engaged smaller audience can be more powerful than a large disengaged audience.
Generally, healthcare organizations will want to build an audience that includes a large number of people from their local region.  Most jobs in healthcare require employees to be on site.  By building a local audience, recruiters can more effectively use social media to target candidates who are in their local area.
Although an organization will want to have a mostly local audience, out of area visitors can provide an important resource.  Perhaps these people used to live in the area, and still support the organization.  People in this group could also share information and refer people (and qualified candidates) to the organizations.

Statista. Most Famous Social Network Sites Worldwide as of April 2017, Ranked by Number of Active Users (in Millions.)  Accessed June 26, 2017.
Walters, Kendall. 125+ Essential Social Media Statistics Every Marketer Should Know, Hootsuite, 30 November 2016. Accessed June 26, 2017.

Should My Clinic Have A Social Media Account?

In today’s world, it seems that everyone is on social media.  The potential audience is gigantic, and many organizations consider joining social media as a way to expand their reach.  Unfortunately, many do not realize that simply creating an account isn’t enough.
Instead, social media requires commitment. People are more likely to “follow” pages that have consistent posts with helpful information.  In your organization, someone will need to regularly manage and post to the account.  If the organization’s social media page looks incomplete or abandoned, visitors will move on.  Before committing to a clinic social media account, take time to identify the desired goals are.

How do your current patients find information?

Ultimately, you want to be active in spots where your patients are.  If your target patient population does not use social media to find their information, it may not be the right primary channel to invest in.  Instead, social media efforts could come secondary to other marketing efforts.

Who will follow your social media account?

Answer this question with as many specific as possible.  Healthcare organizations usually target their social media content either to patients or caregivers. It’s possible to have a successful social media account that targets patients or caregivers.  An internal medicine clinic may target patients directly.  A geriatric medicine clinic may target its social media content to appeal to the patient’s family, instead of directly to the patient.

How will this account benefit your practice?

Connecting with current and potential patients should always be the primary goal of clinic outreach efforts.  Social media could be the best channel to help accomplish that. Write down your specific goals for social media.  Are these realistic?  Do these make sense? Before creating an account, you should ensure that your organization is comfortable with the potential return on investment.

How will this account benefit your (potential and current) patients?

When done strategically, social media accounts have incredible power to connect and share information.  Describe what information your organization would share on its social media account.  Write down a list of subjects that you’d cover.  List how frequently your organization would post.

For people, businesses, and healthcare organizations, social media is a powerful tool that hold the promise of expanded reach and influence among target audiences.  Yet social media accounts take time and energy to maintain.  If you’re struggling to answer the questions listed above, it may be a sign to postpone creating an account.

Security Updates, Consilidation, and Obesity Rates Feature in our 6/10 Healthcare News Roundup

Obesity rates rise among women, no change in men

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the national obesity rate in 2013-2014 reached 35% among men and 40% among women. The 40% number for women represents a linear increase since 2005, while obesity rates for men have remained relatively stagnant. Study authors suggest that insufficient data exists to make an accurate assessment of the causes for these trends, and recommend further studies be conducted.

Western State Hospital, Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital, agrees to ramp up safety measures

Western State Hospital has a reputation for being a dangerous work environment, where employees and patients have been subjected to violence in the past. Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently replaced the hospital’s CEO, Ron Adler, with an experienced manager of state mental health systems, Cheryl Strange. Federal Regulators and Western State Hospital have hammered out a detailed plan to correct the safety concerns.

Gray’s Harbor doctor encourages male patients to have uncomfortable conversations about men’s health

Dr. Stephen Reznicek, of Grays Harbor Community Hospital, has been building a top-tier urology clinic on the fourth floor of the hospital. The clinic helps to meet the huge demand for urology services in the area. The clinic anticipates future growth the an expanding medical team, including a new urologist later this year.

Dr. Reznicek places an emphasis on non-invasive solutions for men with prostate and fertility concerns. One of the first hurdles to overcome with new patients is just starting the conversation. Urologists recommend regular check-ups, especially as men grow older.

Study finds that criminal activity is leading cause of healthcare data breaches

A recent study published by the Ponemon Institute has revealed that half of all privacy and security data breaches in healthcare are attributable to malicious criminal attacks. The remaining 50% of data breaches can be blamed on employee mistakes, third-party errors, and stolen computers & devices. Data breaches can result in medical identify theft, as hackers are able to acquire names, social security numbers, and other confidential information about patients.

In an interview with HealthcareITNews, Seattle Children’s Hospital IT security manager David Severski notes that security technologies need to be adapted to protect against these malicious attacks. “If you are not applying a data-driven, scientific approach to managing your resources, you are managing at best by instinct,” he added. “And in a competitive business world, instinct is not enough.”

Skagit Regional Health acquires Cascade Valley Hospital

Cascade Valley Hospital was the last independent hospital in Washington’s Snohomish County. Cascade Valley began looking for an opportunity to consolidate in 2013, when it became apparent that the independent hospital needed an influx of financial support to continue serving their rural community. A previous agreement to join PeaceHealth fell through in 2014. Patients in the region can look forward to expanded services and updated equipment.

Telemedicine is here to stay and morphing before our eyes!

Study: National telemedicine service expands healthcare access.

A study of adult users of a national telemedicine service found that it appears  to be expanding access to patients who are not connected to other providers. Its  users were younger, more affluent, had no established healthcare relationships  and were less likely to have a follow-up visit, according to research published at Health Affairs.

Read more: Study: National telemedicine service expands healthcare access – FierceHealthIT

Security for Smartphone Healthcare Apps

I don’t use my smartphone for mobile banking. 75% of the major U.S. banks have mobile banking apps (per Corporate Insight). 50% of smartphone owners use mobile banking. But the only vendor that claimed real security (BlackBerry) is going out of business. Not even corporate and government systems can stop security breaches from hackers and careless employees. So I’m not ready to trust my bank account numbers to Apple, Samsung and Android.

So what about healthcare smartphone apps? The tsunami is already on its way. Who owns the liability? Corporate espionage so you can short sell stocks before the press knows the founder has pancreatic cancer. Or a billionaire recluse or diva who just gets angry when their privacy is violated. How can your hospital protect itself? Someone’s gonna get sued. Often it’s everybody and the plaintiff lets the court decide.

I’ve had a great high tech career (yes, 1971 looks really low tech from here, but it really was high tech in its day) and own oodles of gadgets and computers (do people still say oodles?). But, as an entrepreneur for over 20 years, I’m more comfortable in business ventures where I’m not likely to be sued. I hope your lawyers are in the loop.