Every time I make attempts to use a marketing firm to grow my healthcare IT business, the first thing they want to do is stick me out on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. I am not a medical practice, but I am a Business Associate. So I have to ask the question…does social media belong in your practice?

With all of the HIPAA laws on patient privacy and security, do you really want to mess with social media? Are patients going to find you because you are on Facebook, or you tweeted that “its time to get your flu shot”? I can’t answer that question. I can however tell you that when I do HIPAA training for medical practices, a lot of time is spent on social media and how you can innocently post something that can be considered a violation. For example: a Nurse posts a picture of a beautiful little baby. Violation. Mentioning that your “ex boyfriend or girlfriend” came into the practice today. Even though you didn’t mention their name…violation.

As a Physician or Practice Manager, do you want the responsibility of social media in your practice? Does it reach a market you are trying to get to in order to get new patients? Marketing firms will say yes, HIPAA consultants will say no. My personal opinion is to encourage your staff not to post anything on social media about work. Leave your personal social media for your personal life, and try not to include your work life. I know that sometimes it is truly innocent. Still, why even risk it.

If you want to market your practice, there are other ways. I think I would forego the twitter account and pass on the Google+. I think this may just be a case for some good old fashioned marketing.

What do you think?