In the few years I've been preaching the gospel of healthcare social media, the hospital audiences have gone from skeptical to curious to (more recently) preaching to the choir. Hospitals get that the Internet has wheels and might stick around for a while, as will social media.
But then there are the physicians.
Many of the physicians (at least on our medical staff) aren't just late adopters of web marketing and social media--they are still unplugging office phones to plug in and use the facsimile transmitter. Last month, though, skepticism gave way to tentative curiosity. We did our first physician/office staff seminar about web marketing & social media.
Initially, I'd prepared a presentation bulky with Twitter/Facebook/YouTube tips, and our Physician Services director warned, "Too advanced. Most are just now getting around to thinking about getting a web site." Okay. So then I got basic. Here's some of the "basics"
that you can use to help physicians understand why having a web presence should matter to them:
- Because nobody searches the Yellow Pages anymore--pull your ads from the YP and take a look at ZocDoc.com. Then look at all of physician finder apps available for consumers (The Little Blue Book, BCBS, etc.)
- Because Sprint is now offering the iPhone--and the iPhone 4S has Siri, which will find a doctor, schedule an appointment, and make the perfect latte for you with the touch of one button
- Because no web presence=old, out of touch. Believe it or not, many people wouldn't cross the street to use a service that doesn't have a web presence. People want to see what they're getting--whether it's a meal or a physician
- Because your target patient demographic is now the fastest growing segment using social media: "Among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%)." At about 78 million strong, if the Boomers are going online, so too should your practice.
Anyway, the case for physicians having a web presence gets stronger every day. While there were some naysayers at the meetings, there were quite a few other (admittedly younger) physicians who were asking good questions and taking notes. One of them commented to me after, "If the rest of these guys don't want to be online, I say 'great.' More [patients] for me."