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Doctors Beware: Who REALLY Owns Your Social Media?

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

A social media footprint can either make or break your career as a doctor.

Bitter ex-employees, partners or spouses who still have access to your company’s social media profile can cause irreparable damage online, harming the reputation of your practice, and your Personal Brand.

Using social media for medical news and resources is gaining popularity. It’s now common for a patient to follow their doctor online, often through Facebook and Twitter.

Given the recent boom in the medical industry and the demand for up-to-date news, it's not surprising that healthcare social media accounts get some of the highest engagement rates today.

Approximately 80% of patients now begin their search for a medical practitioner online. - inc.

YESpbm reveals some doctors are using social media to get ahead
YESpbm reveals some doctors are using social media to get ahead

These days information, whether true or not, is spread and consumed rapidly. This makes it challenging to maintain your online presence. Whether you’re a doctor, surgeon, or otherwise employed in the medical sector, you must actively manage your online reputation or face a range of consequences, from loan applications denied, missed advancement opportunities or reduced income, to loss of business and employment. Make no mistake, a great online reputation is essential.

Traditionally, the reputation of a doctor and their practice was spread through word of mouth. Discussions between friends, work colleagues, or acquaintances provided the information required for potential patients to select a medical professional.

Today, the majority of patients and healthcare customers obtain information about medical issues and doctors online. Therefore, maintaining the control and management of your professional social media is crucial due to the extent of its influence.

Doctors who utilise social media, particularly for business, must protect sensitive data.

Protecting your sensitive data, including your social media, now means being extremely cautious of who has control of it, and how much control they have. If the person who controls your social media is, for example a vindictive ex-employee, there is the risk that your reputation will be seriously damaged online, and as a result, that your practice and staff will be affected.

Who has access?

First thing’s first, implement security guidelines for your medical practise, including your professional social media channels. Anyone who leaves the organisation must have their access revoked immediately. There are a number of third-party tools that allow you to manage access and the extent of control given each user, from a single centralised dashboard.

If you don’t follow these guidelines disgruntled ex-employees may retain access to social media accounts following the termination of their employment. They can then create an almighty mess with your name all over it. They may even restrict your own access preventing you from deleting their posts, fixing, or maintaining your online presence.

Additionally, they would be able to delete the accounts entirely, destroying the profile along with it (followers, comments etc.) and the online presence that you’ve built over time. It’s also possible of course that they can use their access to the company’s social media accounts to publish content that you don’t agree with, impacting the online reputation of your business. In one extreme case, a surgeon approached YESpbm for help after an ex-employee took over their social media accounts and made false confessions of a sexual nature.

To prevent this from happening, you should implement or update a social media policy in staff contracts. A social media policy is in writing and can be included in an employment contract. Outlined in this policy are clear guidelines and restrictions such as your full ownership of all company social media accounts, images, comments, followers etc..

YESpbm explores how social media can affect your doctor patient relationship
YESpbm explores how social media can affect your doctor patient relationship

Who has control?

Many people don’t think twice about employees using their personal cellphones for the odd work task. Such as taking before and after photos of clients. Similarly, we don't consider who sets up our social media/reviews accounts to be important. However, you may be surprised to hear that these seemingly harmless actions can turn into a nightmare of wasted time and money.

We were approached by another client who practised through shared consulting rooms under agreement with another surgeon. There was a disagreement between the two, and our client moved to practise elsewhere. After moving, our client could no longer access their own reviews or review website as the profile had been established by the marketing department employed by the other surgeon. As a result, our client ran the risk of fake negative reviews or the deletion of positive ones, and was unable to obtain new reviews until they regained control of their review website.

This was a costly inconvenience as it took several months to resolve, wasting time and money, when it could have all been avoided if our client had set up and obtained full control of their review website themselves. Or employed a specialist, such as YESpbm, to do it for them.

In another case, an employee routinely took before-and-after pictures of patients on her personal cellphone. As a result, when her employment ended, she was in possession of confidential photos of clients. Those pictures could’ve been leaked, implicating our client in the leak itself, and showing him to be indiscrete, which would have had serious implications for his professional reputation. They could have also been withheld from our client ensuring that he couldn’t use them to promote his practise or show the difference his medical expertise made.

YESpbm suggests doctors should be careful with social media likes and follows
YESpbm suggests doctors should be careful with social media likes and follows

The bottom line

The Internet has given both patients and doctors access to real-time information and opportunities. It’s also created new challenges for modern practice.

Doctors and surgeons must accept that patients will now use the Internet to find or evaluate them, as a part of their process in choosing a doctor.

Today's doctors must actively maintain their online reputation And their very Personal Brand by restricting access to their personal and professional social media accounts.

Carefully choose who has access to your company’s social media and remember that it’s vital to have full and ultimate control yourself. YESpbm can help make this happen. We’ve created numerous Personal Brand building opportunities for our clients by providing them with expert advice. Assisting them in gaining full responsibility for their social media and online presence.

Why now take 10-15 minutes and chat with one of the experts at YESpbm to learn how we would protect, and build your own Personal Brand.

Mention this article to receive a confidential 15-minute consultation worth £299. Absolutely free by clicking HERE- Calendar.

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