Skip to main content

6 (Specious) Arguments Against Social Media In Health Care

From Junto - A Gathering Of Marketing Professionals, here are the most common arguments against social media in health care:
"Social media opens the door for a HIPAA violation."
"No control over what people will say about us."
"There's no return on investment."
"People don't go online when picking healthcare providers."
"Our doctors don't care about social media."
"Everyone will be on Facebook instead of working."

"These roadblocks are, with few exceptions, categorically false.
The article calls health care "notorious for being 5-7 years behind the curve for marketing and communications innovation."  I think that's being kind.  15-20 years is more like it.

Why so far behind the curve?
  • Few hospital CEOs demand ROI accountability from the marketing team.  Fewer still mean it when they say it, enough to get out of the way and let it happen.
  • For many CFOs, marketing is little more than a "slush fund" to be tolerated when times are good and slashed the minute times get challenging.
  • And it's not uncommon to hear a physician opine that "people don't go online to pick a provider" when what they really mean is "I don't go online and don't understand why anybody else would either..."  Here again, CEOs often take the path of least resistance.
  • And it takes an intrepid, confident marketer to say "Yes, there IS a return on investment and I'll stake my job on it!  And I'll prove that physician wrong!"
Above all, I think the control issue is paramount.  A generation of physicians and hospital CEOs built careers and a sense of power from being in charge of the conversation. Social media democratizes all of that - the information, the discussions and, yes, the power.

What they're missing, I think, is that these social media conversations occur with or without them, just like they always have over the back fence, at PTA meetings and in the stands at kiddie soccer.  So if they're occuring anyway, isn't it better to have a voice, to be part of the conversation instead of an ignorant, listening-impaired bystander?


Popular posts from this blog

Being Disrupted Ain't Fun. Deal With It.

Articles about disrupting healthcare, particularly those analogizing, say, Tesla's example with healthcare's current state, are frequently met with a chorus of (paraphrasing here) "Irrelevant! Cars are easy, healthcare is hard." You know, patients and doctors as examples of "information asymmetry" and all that. Well, let me ask you this: assuming you drive a car with a traditional internal combustion engine, how much do you know about the metallurgy in your car's engine block? I'll bet the answer is: virtually nothing. In fact it's probably less than you know about your own body's GI tract. Yet somehow, every day, us (allegedly) ignorant people buy and drive cars without help from a cadre of experts. Most of us do so and live happily ever after (at least until the warranty expires. Warranties...another thing healthcare could learn from Tesla.) Now, us free range dummies - impatient with information asymmetry - are storming healthcar…

Becoming Consumer Friendly In Five Easy Steps...Or Not

An article at offers hospitals 5 steps to becoming more consumer friendly.

If you still think there's a secret sauce to your hospital becoming more "consumer friendly," these 5 steps are as good a place to start as any.  Unfortunately, it's a little like that old Steve Martin comedy bit where he says he'll teach you how to be rich. The first step is to go find a million dollars.

Step 1 from the article is realizing that "...a Medicare beneficiary with chronic conditions is different from a young mom who brings her kids in for an annual check-up." This is market segmentation for beginners, and, yes, one size decidedly does not fit all. I'm sure your marketing team's been saying this for a while.

Steps 2-5: have a strategy, metrics, a champion and resources. OK. Hard to argue with any of those.

But those things, alone or together, won't overcome culture. They're important components to be sure, but insufficient without a …

My Take On Anthem-Cigna, Big Dumb Companies and the Executives Who Run Them

After last Friday's Appeals Court decision, Anthem's hostile takeover of, er, merger with Cigna has but a faint pulse. Good. Unplug the respirator. Cigna's figured it out but Anthem is like that late-late horror show where the corpse refuses to die. Meanwhile, 150 McKinsey consultants are on standby for post-merger "integration" support. I guess "no deal, no paycheck..." is powerfully motivating to keep the patient alive a while longer.

In court, Anthem argued that assembling a $54 billion behemoth is a necessary precondition to sparking all manner of wondrous innovations and delivering $2.4 billion in efficiencies. The basic argument appears to be "We need to double in size to grow a brain. And just imagine all those savings translating directly into lower premiums for employers and consumers." 

Stop. Read that paragraph again. Ignore the dubious "lower premiums" argument and focus on the deal's savings.

$2.4 billion saved from a p…