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 diabetes, spine care, vascular disease, ENT, 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.
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.