Social media has woven its way into every part of our lives, including health care. According to MediaBistro.com, 40 percent of those surveyed reported information they see via social media impacts how they handle their health. A whopping 90 percent of those between 18 and 24 years of age reported they trust medical information spread via social media, according to Search Engine Watch. Forty-one percent of consumers reported social media may affect which physician or hospital they choose for care, according to Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group.
APMA has embraced social media. Through our Communications department under the direction of Peggy Tresky, director of Communications, and in cooperation with our Communications Committee chaired by Jane Andersen, DPM, of North Carolina, we conduct significant outreach to the public via social media. Nora Younes, our public relations specialist, oversees accounts on Facebook (both a public and member page), Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. These social media efforts are carefully incorporated into our Spring and Fall public education campaigns, and the success of these campaigns puts podiatry, and APMA member podiatrists, specifically, in the public eye—actually, more than a billion public eyes.
Our Communications team also leads lunch-and-learn events at our Annual Scientific Meeting designed to familiarize members with how they can use social media. Our team, along with a few of our members who are active and successful on social media, will provide this education again for attendees of The National in July in Nashville, TN.
There are many ways to use social media, including calling attention to diseases and conditions of the foot and ankle. If you want to get started before The National, or expand your existing presence, I encourage you to share content from APMA’s social media feeds or link to foot health materials available on APMA.org.
I also encourage you to familiarize yourself with the risks inherent in social media. Keep your professional practice accounts separate from any personal accounts. Also, be aware that while social media may be a great way to publicize your practice and what you can do to help people, as Ross Taubman, DPM, president of PICA, pointed out at our Young Physicians’ Institute last fall, it is not the way you should communicate with patients under your care, due to potential HIPAA violations and malpractice concerns.
How are you using social media to help promote your practice?
James, R. Christina, DPM