Entice Docs with Digital Communication Tactics

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , March 24, 2010

The social media conundrum
The use of social media to communicate with and attract physicians can be controversial. It's not always easy to track, could cause legal problems, and no one is sure if doctors even want to be contacted in that way.

In the October issue of Healthcare Marketing Advisor, I wrote about how Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA, set up a Facebook page to recruit gastroenterologists.

"When recruiting gastroenterologists we traditionally would do print ads in different medical journals and direct mail," says Cathy Connolley, Geisinger's associate vice president of marketing. "But this time we weren't getting the types of responses that we were looking for."

So the Geisinger marketing team created a Facebook page in that includes photos, recruitment event information, and links to the system's site. The highly-targeted "Geisinger Health System Professional Staffing" page now has 52 fans, but it's hard to directly link any of those fans to new hires.

Neither Memorial nor Abington have used social media to communicate with physicians, but Dilts says she wouldn't rule it out.

"The outreach that we do for candidates has to be multipronged," she says. "We've not gotten into the social networking as yet. It's creating buzz throughout the healthcare industry just like any other industry, but it's not something that we've exercised yet."

Wherever you fall in the social media debate, having a digital communication strategy is crucial to recruiting new doctors, increasing referrals, and keeping current physicians happy. (Now e-mail this column around to your docs to see what they think.)

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