3 ways healthcare brands use Twitter to improve health

By Nick Reese

As people continue to use technology to understand, manage, and improve their health, hospitals and other healthcare brands are using Twitter to create an online relationship that goes beyond the bedside.

Whether a small clinic, leading hospital, pharmaceutical manufacturer, or healthcare technology provider, all healthcare brands can use Twitter to build healthy relationships with patients and customers.

Listening at scale

Listening is one of the most important things a doctor can do. It’s no different for healthcare brands. People are having conversations on Twitter about both their health and your business. Twitter provides healthcare brands the opportunity to listen and respond to patients as they share their health struggles, steering patients to the resources they need to improve their health.

In addition, if a patient has a poor experience with your brand and shares it with the world, it’s important to respond in a timely manner. This makes the patient feel heard and gives you the chance to learn about issues impacting your quality of care, such as customer service or long wait times. In addition, by responding you show the public at large that you value communication, a core tenet for any healthcare brand.

Healthy engagement

There are vibrant communities for education and support around specific causes. Healthcare providers can build their brand in these communities by providing content designed to engage, interact, and inspire.

Depending on your focus and your market, you may want to consider specific Twitter handles for each community. For example, medical device manufacturer @Medtronic has separate Twitter handles for diabetesspine carevascular diseaseENT, and cardiac. Each is able to provide specific tips, advice, stories, and support specifically for those patients while getting the relevant products in front of their most likely consumers.

Humanizing care

Twitter gives doctors a chance to nurture relationships with patients outside of the exam room. Doctors and other caregivers should be encouraged to use their own Twitter profiles to connect with patients, share interesting health-related content, and even answer questions. In addition, these providers should feel free to share their personal stories, family photos, and other thoughts to help patients get to know their caregivers better.

This not only helps nurture the doctor-patient relationship. It helps build new ones by giving the doctor a social presence many others still lack. When new patients are looking for a doctor, they often have little more than a name, a short bio, and perhaps a referral to guide their choices. A healthy, active Twitter feed can give a new patient the chance to get to know the doctor, their personality, and interests.

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