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Best Doctors president: Social media offers many benefits to health care firms

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While 86% of Fortune 500 companies have a social-media presence, it’s not enough to simply have an account on the network, Best Doctors President and COO Evan Falchuk said at a webinar last month.

Falchuk is a blogger and social-media activist now — but he did not start using social networks until two years ago. Once he signed up, however, Falchuk says he discovered the benefits of belonging to social networks in short order.

“I definitely think and know that you can get new business for yourself using social media … because you can make relationships you wouldn’t have had otherwise,” he said.

He cited LinkedIn, specifically, as a tool he uses as an “online Rolodex,” for people he meets at various seminars and conferences — finding that connecting with those people online can provide so much more value than simply having a business card tossed on his desk somewhere upon return from the event.

Social media isn’t just useful as a marketing tool, but can also be used internally, which will encourage technologically-savvy employees to want to continue working for a company that “gets it,” Falchuk said.

In a follow-up interview this week, Falchuk said it can often be those in the human resource sector that lead the push for health care companies to do more with social media. Currently, Falchuk said, the number of people in the health care benefits industry actively blogging are fewer than a dozen, though he said he’s trying to corral their efforts into one place to make it an effective resource for others in the industry.

“As you get up into level of benefits leaders, dealing with the big weighty issues of health care …  it’s like a desert — there’s almost no one there. There’s this fear of social media as being this unknown, scary place,” he said.

For benefits and HR professionals, it isn’t so much a matter of privacy issues, Falchuk believes, as merely an unwillingness for those in the industry to put themselves out there in new ways. He remains puzzled as to why those who go to conferences and present on innovative ideas aren’t more willing to share them in the social-media realm.

He believes the pattern will change — simply because it has to.

“(Their) audience is using social media,” he said. “Sending stuff in the mail is very 20th century. (This) has to change in the benefits world because it’s changing everywhere else.”

Image credit: enot-poloskun via iStock Photo