The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly digitized. Telehealth means that folks are able to see doctors from all over the country and improved digital literacy can help patients find the right provider for them.
Increased digitization means that social media is a major opportunity for medical firms looking to grow. Doctors’ offices, dentists, and dermatologists alike can use social platforms to secure more patients, provide a better service, and improve customer loyalty.
However, the medical industry comes with its own unique challenges and considerations. Patient privacy should always be a priority and firms need to be sure that their content aligns with their brand image and audience expectations.
PR professionals can help medical firms by running informative, engaging campaigns that are HIPAA-compliant and sensitive to patient privacy concerns.
HIPAA compliant content creation made easy
Content creation in the medical field requires a coordinated, clientele-conscious approach. The pressure of creating campaigns that are both engaging and HIPAA-compliant can cause seasoned PR professionals to seize up and lose time worrying about privacy and lawsuits.
Reduce the risk of HIPAA violations by adding an extra layer to current quality-control checks. Consider giving at least one member of the PR team HIPAA training and run each post by them. This will ensure that the content meets HIPAA social media standards:
- Does the content misrepresent or omit important information?
- Do patients provide written authorization for the use of their Protected Health Information (PHI)? Can they easily revoke an authorization in the future?
- Could the information you share be considered deceptive or incomplete?
Additionally, branded medical content should align with the firm’s overall image. Most medical firms want to appear trustworthy and will not appreciate branded content that is “edgy “ or controversial in any way.
Ensuring that content is HIPAA compliant does take time. Fortunately, PR professionals can speed up content creation without losing quality by:
- Identifying 3 – 5 core categories for all content to fit within
- Pre-defining visual identity and choosing from a branded color scheme
- Gather all PHI-free visual assets on cloud storage for easier access
- Create a calendar for posts
- Draw inspiration from other medical firms when stuck on an empty page
These tips can speed up the content creation process and give PR professionals more time to ensure that HIPAA standards are met. A coordinated approach can improve brand strength and lead to increase patient retention, too.
Branding and patient retention
A strong brand is key to customer retention in any industry. Increased utilization of telehealth means that medical firms cannot rely on local patients to stay with them if better options are available online.
A coordinated, branded PR campaign can improve patient retention and reduce turnover. Start by working with medical firms to establish their identity within the wider market. Does the firm consider itself to be a no-frills family practice or are they interested in cutting-edge technology and speculative treatments? Branding should match these core values and build a narrative about the type of patient most likely to visit the medical firm.
Preliminary market research can go a long way when building a brand. Most medical professionals don’t have the time to research market trends that don’t involve illnesses or common complaints. Gather patient feedback and offer small rewards like gift vouchers to folks who choose to leave reviews.
Attracting new patients
Attracting new patients can be tricky. Most people feel nervous about the prospect of switching between medical firms and want to join a business that is sensitive to their needs. Branding on social media can play an important role in alleviating prospective patient fears and attracting new customers.
Social media managers are creative, empathetic professionals with an eye for audience expectations and aesthetics. Lean on these skills when creating content and use data to assess the effectiveness of each post.
Create campaigns that relate to current events and the stressors that prospective patients may be facing. For example, in the winter, social media managers should run campaigns focused on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and flu as these conditions are more common during the winter months.
Publishing relevant content shows that medical firms are in touch with their patients and care about their health. Use the pre-established brand templates to run campaigns that are informative, professional, and reassure nervous patients.
Most medical firms undervalue the impact that social media and rebranding can have on their bottom line. However, before publishing a series of eye-catching posts, PR managers must ensure that all content is HIPAA-compliant and aligns with the business’s overall image.