For caregivers seeking to recruit patients to their practice and connect with existing patients, social media is a viable medium because of increased communication. But using social media also increases the likelihood of a positive return on investment (ROI), said Russell Faust, M.D., CMO for digital media consulting firm Anicca Media and a practicing ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgical specialist during a Physician’s Practice webinar.
While social media in health care is known to raise red flags concerning security, privacy and the proliferation of data breaches, it can also produce monetary gains for providers that put effort into social platforms, such as a friendly website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
For example, Faust pointed to the example of Robert Zaid, a family medicine practitioner at PrimeCare of Novi (Mich.), who calculated his ROI with the help of his website. Zaid uses a clinic intake form that allows him to determine the number of new patients coming to his practice each month due to his online presence, Faust said. Additionally, Zaid knows how many times a new patient returns during a one year span and also knows what the average billing code is for patients.
Although Faust refers to Zaid’s website as “ugly” (in terms of layout and appearance, not navigation), Zaid’s estimate of his own ROI for having the site was $125,000 annually. Additionally, only $60 was invested into the website from the start, which helps show the magnitude of ROI. The point, said Faust, is that even a “traditional marketing campaign, even the most successful” cannot be matched by social media.
To further illustrate this point, Faust added that he invests around $200 to $300 per year on his website and sees a ROI in the “thousands-percent range.”
Faust also stressed that communicating with patients should occur where they spend much of their time, which is increasingly in the “digital world.” Patients want to be able to see as much as possible in social media platforms and websites because of transparency, said Faust, adding that patients who can see images and positive testimonials arrive at medical facilities feeling like they already have a strong relationship.