I recently attended the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR) 2011 Annual Conference, August 14-17th in Chicago. The title of the conference was “Winds of Change: Impacting the Recruitment Landscape.” One of the biggest changes impacting physician sourcing is social media. At the Leveraging Social Media for Physician Recruitment session Jessica Joseph, President and Founder of ematchPhysicians.com and Michelle Perez-Carroll, President of 1-Stop Marketing Solutions went over some of the mechanics of social media and tools to help you leverage your efforts and attract more physician talent.

If you’re one of the many people who are intimidated or just a bit uneducated about the operations side of social media, here are some tutorials for setting up Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts:

Free Social Media Tutorials for HR

I left the session at ASPR with some great tips on tools, like how to use Hootsuite and hashtags. But I also left wanting to uncover a good example of a hospital using social media in interesting and thoughtful ways. Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children in Boston are wonderful examples of using social media in unique ways. Social media is being used more and more these days to attract candidates, maintain brand reputation and positively interact with the community. Here are some examples of the great things Tufts does online.

A Dr. Blog

There are many reasons why blogging is powerful for an organization: SEO purposes, having a voice in the community, and addressing important health topics. When it comes to using a blog to attract talent, one of the best ways to do that is to have a very talented doctor blog for you! Pediatrician Dr. Claire McCarthy of Floating Hospital for Children, or Dr. Claire as she’s known on Twitter, manages one section of “Thriving,” a blog devoted to “all things pediatric healthcare.” Her blog is informational, but it’s also honest, open and funny, which I believe positively reflects on her hospital. Therefore, if you don’t have a doctor blogging, it’s probably worth asking around to see if one (or more!) of the physicians at your hospital would like to write online articles.

Video Killed the Radio Star

How are videos making an impact on the world wide web? Videos can go viral. Take a look at Charlie Bit my Finger video on YouTube and see how many hits that got. You might not get your organization’s marketing team to agree to physicians doing a video spoof on Grey’s Anatomy, but you can still suggest creating a fun video channel for your organization. Tufts Medical Center created “Medican Myths,” which is part of Tufts TV, a website devoted to videos from their hospital. On the Medical Myths Channel Tufts Doctors tackle common health advice that might not be entirely accurate or hot topics, such as Are Vaccines Risky for Children? Floating Hospital for Children has a YouTube channel talking about their standards of care and explaining medical conditions, diseases and more. Most of their videos star physicians, like Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Mark Kelly explaining leukemia. These videos are great for patients and the community and for showing potential physicians what their hospital is all about in positive ways.

Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children are also on Facebook and Twitter. As I learned at the ASPR session on social media, it all has to connect.

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I hope I’ve pointed out a few unique things one organization is doing to engage the community through social networking – things that will spark ideas for you. Here’s an idea from the social media presentation at ASPR, presented by Jessica Joseph and Michelle Perez-Carroll: create a YouTube channel and produce a video with two doctors interviewing each other. It’s a great idea because there are so many things you could do with it…Although, you’ll probably end up with something a bit tamer, perhaps this video of two comedians will inspire you. Have fun!

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The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.