Your Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint: Part 1 – Why?

Author: Howard J. Luks, MD- Posted in: Orthopedic Social Media, Tactial Social Media Guidance 26 Comments


Why doctors should establish a social media digital footprint in healthcare:

  • Establishing a social media (digital) presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for healthcare professionals, medical practices, and institutions.  Many have recognized this fact… yet many more have not. 
  • Doctors who recognize this need seek leadership, guidance, and best practice examples
  • Truly useful tactical how-to’s and guidelines are lacking
  • Human beings are innately social, health is social,  health care is NOT social —and needs to catch up — 
  • Experienced physicians possess an enormous repository of knowledge and experience – why not share that with a wider audience?    

Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint



At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication.   Establishing a digital footprint, rooted as a social media presence is about educating, engaging and growing your audience, improving outcomes, compliance and potentially the bottom line of your practice.

Some simple undisputed facts about social media and technology. 

  • 50% of the world’s population is under 30. 
  • They do not communicate via e-mail or telephone. 
  • Generation Y and generation Z consider e-mail passé. 
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is women over 55 years of age.  
  • SMS, direct messaging, micro-blogging and digital media is fast becoming the chosen communication standard.
  • Drug/Medical related “Likes” on Facebook have skyrocketed. 

50% of the mobile Internet traffic in most countries is for Facebook. One on five patients flock to Facebook for healthcare information.  Imagine what this means for a bad patient experience?  The world has gone digital —social media is here to stay.  1 billion people simply cannot be wrong. 85% of people log onto their Facebook account every single day

Are your patients talking about you? And, most importantly, do you KNOW what they are saying?

When patients search online — on the platforms THEY chose — are they finding your content or information about your practice? 

Do you understand the Healthcare Digital Media Landscape? 

Do you understand the value propositions of establishing a social media digital footprint in the healthcare space?  

Simply put, social networking and digital technology enables individuals, physicians, hospitals, and patients to create online profiles and connect with one another.  Perhaps most relevant to the physicians and healthcare professionals are that the many of these patients are researching their providers and their respective institutions prior to their visit to your office —  they are checking your online reputation, and the message or image you portray. 

Physicians and Healthcare professional, in essence,  are building a brand to any consumer that may be interested.   

You can’t control the conversation but you can be a part of it.

Take a look at the Inforgraphic below…. This is taking place in a single minute — every minute — of most everyday within the digital world….  

Still think it’s a passing fad? Healthcare only lags the Oil Refinery Industry in terms of its social media presence and participation.  

Still think you do not need to establish some form of digital  presence on the healthcare social media stage? 

—Think again — 

Are You Visible? Do You Want To Build Your Online Presence?.


Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint By: Shanghai Web Designers




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26 Responses to “Your Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint: Part 1 – Why?”

  1. Reply Marc Ohmann says:

    I was shocked when my, then 18-year-old, daughter told me she never checked her email because it was too slow. She is 21 now and she still doesn’t check her email. My 18-year-old son is the same way. My kids, nieces and nephews all communicate via Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and text as the preferred methods.

    I’m sure this will change when they get into a business setting as email is definitely a requirement.

    And you are exactly right about the discussion is taking place whether you are part of it or not. Patients search for doctor names online. We see this in every one of our medical sites. Yet it amazes me how many MDs would rather stick there head in the sand and ignore their image online instead of leverage this new medium. Fortunately more and more come around each year as they understand the potential in social media not only for attracting patients but also for engaging peers and maintaining relevancy in their field.

    Keep the articles coming!

  2. Reply Your Healthcare Digital Footprint: why? | Mobile Healthcare | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 8:54 [...]

  3. Reply Your Healthcare Digital Footprint: why? | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 8:56 [...]

  4. Reply Gregg Masters says:

    Well said Howard, and you’ve been paying attention…. Excellent contribution to carrying the message. will have opportunity to use this one today!

  5. Reply Bob West says:

    Brilliant post, Howard! Good enough to make the cut for posting on our (SUNY Upstate) Yammer MedEd 2.1 group site (New Directions Task Force). Let’s hope they read it (two-thirds are M.D.s)!

  6. Reply Your Healthcare Digital Footprint... 101 ---Why --- Howard J. Luks, MD | MDigital | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 7:10 [...]

  7. Reply Gary Levin MD says:

    Great article for the new year…With your permission I would like to use some of this in my blog and also link to it on my G+, FB and Twitter accounts. Let’s try to do a G+ Hangout.. Let me know the best times for you, and I will gladly accomodate you. We now have the capacity to livestream hangouts for those who cannot join the hangout due to the limitation of 10 participants. gml

  8. Reply Planning your Healthcare Social Media Presence - Your Digital Footprint: Part 2 says:

    [...] Luks, MD- Posted in: Orthopedic Social Media No CommentsTweetContact Dr. LuksIn Part I we discussed why physicians and healthcare professionals should consider a social media presence.  The interest, both online and offline was fantastic — As I have alluded to in the past. [...]

  9. Reply Why Establish Your Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint: Part 1 | Healthcare Social Media News | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } (via @drnic1) – Today, 5:30 [...]

  10. Reply Why Establish Your Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint: Part 1 | Creative Lynx Social Media | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 11:14 [...]

  11. Reply Why Establish Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint:? | Pharma Communication & Social Media | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 3:32 [...]

  12. Reply Why Establish Your Healthcare Social Media Digital Footprint | digital healthcare marketing | says:

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } – Today, 4:06 [...]

  13. Reply Jan Beery says:

    So true Howard, so true! Clinicians are treating patients that are much more involved in the decision making process, not only What treatment they receive, but by who.

    They are seeking information that will help them choose who to Hire to help them manage their care.

    Out of site, out of mind…..

  14. Reply Tony Fish says:

    Hello – thank you for using the graphic from my book on Digital Footprints…. agree with the two aspects.

    1. you need to control ( understand the implications) your data about you and what you say about yourself in a digital world –

    2. you cannot control what others say and think in a digital world but you need to be aware of it and respond

    A digital footprint is the combination of what you say and others say, and then how i analyse the data I can get access to = this again is out of your control.

    great topic :)


  15. Reply Simon Sikorski, M.D. says:

    Do you think health care social media has a better chance of getting adopted by younger doctors? I was recently reviewing the docs on Twitter … there’s literally less than 30 docs actually using it on a regular basis. Same docs, same voices – there isn’t much adoption. Similar thing on Facebook – these are mostly accounts set up by website companies, not the doctors themselves. Hospitals seem to be using social media the right way, but then again they have the financial resources to hire someone to do it full-time for them as employees. Not many docs can afford a marketing associate.

    However, medical blogging (which is considered part of social media) is very widely accepted. Doctors who design websites nowadays almost always start a blog – now if we can get them to update them regularly :)

  16. Reply Gregg Masters says:

    Howard, I guess I’m pinch hitting for you at HiMSS 2012, as I’ve been asked to do the ‘Tactics for Establishing a Strong Digital Footprint’ session at the Social Media Center. Will put my best foot forward, sorry to miss seeing you!

  17. Reply Your Healthcare and Social Media Presence: Reputation Management - Howard J. Luks says:

    [...] or simply for advertising their services.  In Part I of this series, we explored “Why you should seek to establish your digital media footprint”.   Part II focused on the offline preparation necessary to prepare for a healthcare social media [...]

  18. Reply Natasha Burgert, MD says:

    Great topic, Dr. Luks.

    I think the reason “why” doctors need to be online is easy – Because our patients need us to be.

    If a doc chooses to take the opportunity to join the online space, the benefits you describe are secondary. Revenue, reputation, outcomes… these come second to helping patients make quality healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.

    I love to be a part of creating my digital footprint. It is exciting, challenging, and meaningful to my patients, and my career. I just think my footprint looks a little more like a high heel….

  19. Reply Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC) says:

    Social media gives you the tools to find where your patients are meeting online, build relationships with them, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Access to health information online is empowering patients and forcing medicine to become part of a more consumer driven market. For doctors to distinguish themselves from each other, they must respond to a digital society which now demands transparency and engagement.

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