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Does Social Media Work for Pediatricians?

You may think that because your profession is in the medical sphere that social media is not necessary. You’re a doctor, not an influencer, you might say. Plus, using social media as a PR tool for pediatricians can seem impossible. Doctors are already inundated with busy schedules and emails, whether they are a pediatrician in Langhorne or a pediatrician in Ocala. It’s one reason why the medical industry has slowly integrated social media into their businesses compared to other professions.

However, almost 80 percent of all adults in the US have at least one social media account. Many have more than one. And if it’s not already clear, social media is now a standard method of communication, just like email and text. Social media has boosted the careers of many doctors who utilized their social media accounts to educate parents, share news, and also show their personal side. But how well does it really work? Is it worth your time? 

Be a Reliable Source

In some cases, families may be ditching the parenting books and opting for social media accounts for insight. There are many sources of information available to parents, much of which is delivered by non-professionals and isn’t properly vetted. There are self-proclaimed health experts and moms, who may know a lot through experience, but don’t have the medical know-how to back up their claims. One argument for pediatricians posting to social media is they are medically trained. Your posts can give parents a trusted source to go to as opposed to uncertified bloggers. 

Dr. Mona Amin is a mother and pediatrician who started a podcast that aims to inspire and educate parents. She interviews experts, talks to parents, and shares her personal experience as a mother. Dr. Amin discusses the latest topics in pediatrics in an approachable way that is free of medical jargon. Some of the topics she’s covered include breastfeeding insight, how to manage a teething baby, parenting during the pandemic, and creating a healthy bond between dogs and kids. Her Instagram account has over 56 thousand followers. What makes Dr. Mona Amin’s accounts appeal to so many people is that she uses the simple straightforward voice of so many mommy bloggers. However, she is a licensed pediatrician making her insight more valuable. 

Build Better Relationships With Patients

Creating helpful content can aid pediatricians’ reputations as trusted experts. Other than sharing helpful insights, availability, appointment reminders, discounts, reviews, and prescription reminders as valuable content. Studies show that creating a new line of communication with tailored messaging directly to followers. Also, visible peer-to-peer communications builds trust by showing you communication with other professional pediatricians. Parents can also promote your practice by posting their positive interactions with you and your staff. 

Dr. Diane Arnaout is a pediatrician out of Fort Worth, Texas. Her social media accounts are far more casual. Part of Dr. Arnaout’s appeal is her sense of humor and her responses to her followers’ questions. Dr. Arnaout will comment on flu vaccines and importance for children to get vaccinated, how to get foreign objects out of kids’ noses, and other common childhood illnesses and injuries. She always includes a long list of sources with her post. One follower, for instance, asked her about the need to get a booster shot. Dr. Arnaout responded with a straightforward answer. She said boosters are debated, and there is not much research done to support them or not. Boosters are not recommended by the CDC. Simple questions like this can be valuable to the asker and the many people who read the comment.  This shows how social media can aid in building a stronger provider-parent relationship by incorporating a new means of communication.

Guidelines

While social media is beneficial in many ways, pediatricians should hold themselves to a high standard of content and online behavior. It’s important to adopt guidelines to stay professional and respect HIPAA laws before diving into social media. Some considerations include posting timely, relevant information. Make sure not to offer information through online channels that can be received as a diagnosis. Never use your patients as real-world examples. Do not use your professional account as an interpersonal account. Do not speak on behalf of an organization, and do not interject any political beliefs on your social accounts. It may go without saying, but never use profanities or inappropriate language or display unprofessional behavior on social media.   

Social media is an excellent tool to share your expertise with your patients and parents across the world. When there is so much competing and misinformation out there on the internet, sharing your science-backed and trusted insight is beneficial to many. While there are certain guidelines peds should consider before posting on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, doing so can benefit your practice whether you’re a pediatrician in Waimea, a pediatrician in Centennial, or anywhere else across the nation. 

 

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