Direct Primary Care (DPC) physicians can use a number of marketing tools for promoting their practice and for educating patients. DPC is a relatively new concept and a DPC practice may need to clarify some information or provide additional details regarding the way the practice operates, to reassure potential and current patients. Social media can be an effective platform for reaching those patients.
Millennials and Gen Zers, those patients in their mid to late 20s and younger, use social media as their primary means of gathering and sharing information. As millennials are approaching their 30s, they are getting married and starting families. A DPC practice that wants to attract this younger and largest generation of patients will need to have a solid social media presence.
Care must be taken when implementing a social media strategy. Online posts can take on a life of their own, with shares and reposts. A DPC’s messages must be professional and appropriate. When initiating online communication where patient information may be at risk, physicians should carefully avoid any HIPAA violations.
Sensitive situations include posting images of patients without their consent, compromising patient confidentiality by posting identifying information, and communicating with patients via a social media platform. DPC physicians should make use of their electronic health record EHR capabilities when communicating with patients, to ensure that any information transmitted is secure.
Social media can reach a large number of people with just one post, but that one post requires careful planning and a bit of effort on the DPC’s part. A staff person may be assigned to post timely, relevant content and to respond to comments. For example, a DPC practice may decide to build a Facebook page that will require timely and consistent monitoring. These social media options do provide the DPC with an effective outlet for education and marketing, as long as they are planned and maintained in a manner that is engaging and professional.