There is absolutely no question these days as to whether or not the Internet is here to stay. From desktops to laptops to mobile devices, there is more access than ever to online information, and for medical professionals, this can be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, if your patients are happy with their care, they will write glowing reviews of you and your practice. On the other hand, a patient who perceives an interaction as negative can cripple your practice, and reputation, with just a few keystrokes.
Should Medical Professionals Participate in Social Media?
When working as a medical professional, you take on a role that comes with a few limits as to how you govern your affairs online. For the average person, an embarrassing picture, an off-handed tweet, or a poorly-thought-out Facebook status update can lead to short-term alienation or regret. For a medical professional, these things can cost you your practice and livelihood.
So, there’s no rule against using social media, but it’s important to remember that you represent your practice and profession 24 hours a day.
Before damage has occurred, there are a few important things to think about. Consider the fact the “health grade” websites are trending, according to the article, “Physicians: Protect Your Online Reputation“, and many people are turning to the Internet to research doctors.
This also means that they are combing social media sites in order to ascertain whether or not a medical professional will live up to his or her rating.
As a result, take some time to think before you post, but also, take some time each week to monitor reviews on health grade sites so that you can combat unfair, improper, and false allegations.
Unfortunately, repairing damage done on social media is much more difficult than creating the damage in the first place. Because the Internet allows for virtually instant communication and sharing of information across a multitude of platforms, the social media update you just made, then quickly erased, could be preserved for decades through the sharing capabilities of the web.
If something like this happens, there’s no two ways around it: you’re going to have to own up to your words. In doing so, you may need to work with a professional public relations expert in order to calm things down.
You may not have meant what you said, your statement might have been misinterpreted, but at the end of the day, owning up to a mistake will get you much further than ignoring or denying.
About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include social media and business development.