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10 Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare (And How to Solve Them)

10 Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare (And How to Solve Them)

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Most people think social media is only for young people. This isn’t the case; healthcare professionals can benefit from this platform too. When it comes to healthcare social media marketing, it’s simple to see how it might assist a practice.

Healthcare organizations can engage with patients, provide health education resources, and sell services to a large audience. While there are countless benefits to healthcare marketing through social media, challenges can also arise. 

10 Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare

10 Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare

If platform constraints and “rules of engagement” are ignored or misunderstood, social media issues are likely to arise. Furthermore, if healthcare professionals don’t grasp the limits they have in a health care context vs. running a personal profile, these obstacles become problems.

The following are some of the issues that social media-enabled healthcare providers may face:

Responding to Negative Reviews in Social Media Platforms

Hopefully, there’ll be more positive than negative reviews; however, it’s crucial to know how to respond to negative reviews.

Keeping your healthcare social media accounts professional and compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) will, for the most part, keep you out of problems. People may be upset by a comment made, or they may have been inconvenienced in some manner by your healthcare facility. They may leave a poor review or respond angrily to a post.

As a result, it’s critical to keep an eye on the likes, comments, and shares on your social media channels and respond to any negativity.

[Read: How Online Reviews Affect SEO for Doctors]

Managing Social Media Content

When a practice chooses to use social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it must do so regularly. It is not a “one-and-done” encounter that you can forget about when calendars fill up and front-desk staff become overworked. This is a barrier for many practices because it is a continuous effort that requires someone to commit to completing.

The frequency of your posts is determined by the amount of valuable content your practice has to provide, the number of patients you treat, and how involved you want to be with your audience. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to social media marketing – posting once a day is a good rule of thumb. 

Only do this if you have relevant content that your audience will benefit from. If you don’t have a beneficial post, rather say nothing. Branded hashtags and finding the ideal times to post are also essential.

[Read: SEO for Medical Practices: 7 Mistakes to Avoid at All Cost]

HIPAA Compliance

When it comes to many healthcare organizations, HIPAA compliance is a two-fold burden. Suppliers and administrators are increasingly concerned about being attacked by cybercriminals.

They also fear that they will inadvertently divulge a patient’s HIPAA information. Fortunately, the act gives a set of social media principles and specific guidelines for health care professionals to follow if they are concerned about HIPAA compliance and public health surveillance. Here are the social media rules.

[Read: The Essentials of Healthcare Marketing (A Beginner’s Guide)]

Reputational Damage

Isn’t it all rainbows and butterflies on social media? Not at all. It’s challenging to find support on these platforms.

Anger spreads quicker than anything else when it comes to social media usage.

While these social networking sites allow people to communicate, they may also lead to bullying.

What about from an organizational or professional standpoint? When communicating with companies, internet users tend to be brutal to health professionals. Essentially, people are ready to “call you out”, so you need to be prepared. 

Social connections are crucial; thus, you want to ensure that people view your practice in a good light.

Time Consuming

Keeping track of your accounts, content, and interactions across all platforms takes time. Monitoring your social media activities requires time that you may not have throughout the week, particularly if statistics regarding burnout rates in the healthcare industry are accurate.

You might be able to get away with spending merely an hour or two per week on your accounts. However, you get out what you put in, so investing so little effort will probably not yield much.

[Read: The Pro’s Guide to Managing Social Media in Healthcare]

Low-quality Information

The fact that the internet is available to everyone is a drawback. This is because anyone can upload material on whatever subject they wish.

Hence, people become self-proclaimed experts and distribute erroneous information without conducting research.

As a healthcare provider, you should be aware that many patients come to clinics detailing how they’ve self-diagnosed using search engines.

According to an MIT stat, false information is 70% more likely to be retweeted than facts.

Organization Policies

Various healthcare organizations discourage, if not outright prohibit, the use of social media on business networks due to the sensitive information you’re working with. It can lead to security vulnerabilities in addition to productivity challenges. Make sure you stay secure and protect your patients!


There are countless social media users in today’s world – over 3.5 billion users. A healthcare professional might spend hours examining the various channels to try to figure out which one to start with. 

Rather than wasting time attempting to figure out which platform to start with, devote a significant amount of effort to planning your strategy. Frequently, company leaders would jump straight in, expect results, and then abandon the project.

Lack of Patient Confidentiality and Patient Privacy

When it comes to using social media, professionalism is another problem for many healthcare providers. Confidentiality and privacy of patient information are still just as crucial. Social media is frequently perceived as less serious, childlike, or even less “respectable”.

If you have concerns about this, set up social media guidelines for your practice to follow. After that, check in frequently to ensure that the criteria for what is proper are being followed. This is a serious matter that can cause the community to lose respect for your practice.

Ignorance of Potential Risks

Advanced algorithms on social media cater to its users to supply them with content they will love.

Thus, you may uncover some intriguing material on your feed and re-share it. This could prove to be harmful and might hurt someone’s health. Most people are unaware of whether the information is accurate or not.

How to Overcome Social Media Challenges in Healthcare

How to Overcome Social Media Challenges in Healthcare

Now that you’re aware of the challenges you face when you utilize social media, let’s discuss a few ways to solve them. This includes:

  • Determining your social media approach
  • Keeping patient information anonymous in blog posts
  • Determining the role of social media
  • Monitoring platforms and keeping policies up to date
  • Securing accounts for security reasons

The Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare

The Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare

There will be some serious challenges along the way. To manage your accounts and follow legal guidelines, you have to go the extra mile and pay more attention to your strategy and the policies related to your account, just like anything else in the healthcare sector. If you don’t, you’ll almost certainly trigger a breach, resulting in an HHS fine.

Hiring a healthcare social media marketing agency usually makes things easier for healthcare organizations. These medical marketing professionals know exactly what to do to overcome these challenges and grow your medical brand online.

For more cutting-edge healthcare marketing and SEO tips, visit Digitalis Medical.

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Founder, North Valley Women's Care

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