Most importantly, patient inquiries via social media sites are responded to or acknowledged within a very short time cycle. "That's critical," Matsen says. "If you're in social media and people are reaching out to you, you need to let people know you are listening."
That obligation applies in cases of negative patient comments, as well.
"We always thank the user for reaching out to us and acknowledge their experience," says Joe Milicia, Cleveland's senior manager of public relations and social media, adding, "We approach every negative comment as a customer service opportunity." Patients are guided offline via a private message, phone call, and email exchange, and—with the help of scripted responses—get connected with the appropriate caregiver, he explains.
Case study: Cleveland Clinic's Senior Games campaign
Cleveland Clinic also has invested time and effort into generating engagement and conversation with current or prospective patients around a variety of topics, including evidence-based health, wellness, and clinical content. For the National Senior Games in July, the clinic hosted a Google hangout on eating well, staying active, and managing stress as you age, featuring Michael Roizen, chair of Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute, and Barbara Messinger-Rapport, director of geriatric medicine.
"It's important to engage with patients before they need you for clinical care. You really want to arm them with the information they need to live a healthy life," the Clinic’s Matsen says. When the time comes for patients to consider visiting a hospital like the Cleveland Clinic, they will already "know our brand, trust out brand, and we'll be in the running for an appointment. That's what engagement is all about."
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