Social media has changed the way businesses run, including business in the field of optometry. This has both benefits and downfalls. Social media is great because it is a quick and easy way to reach a lot of people at one time. It can increase business and give the optometrist (such as one from Optometric Associates PC) exposure. Positive reviews can boost business, and negative reviews can encourage change. However, it is difficult to manage social media interactions at times due to the blurry line between personal and professional relationships. There many things that patients need to know about the professional and ethical boundaries an optometrist must display in their social media interactions.
I thought we were friends?
Regardless of how you perceive your relationship with your optometrist, the actual relationship between the two of you is strictly professional in nature. You may talk about your children, your job and your salsa lessons at your appointment but at the end of the day the relationship ends there. If you try to become their friend on their personal page on any of the social media platforms, your request will likely be ignored.
Don't take it personally. Chances are, your optometrist really does care that you just ran your first half-marathon. At your next appointment, they may even ask you about your running. Optometrists, along with other medical professionals, are discouraged to develop personal relationships with patients. Fifteen years ago, you wouldn't consider calling your optometrist up on the phone and having a casual chat about your favorite TV show or mail them pictures of your children in the bathtub. Even though the way we communicate has changed, there are still standards an optometrist upholds. Having relationships with patients can hurt their professional judgment and even damage their career.
Instead of sending them a friend request, try "liking" their business page or "following" their business. This way you can still show your support for them and get news and updates about their optometry practice.
I've got something to say! Why don't you answer me?
If you have a question or comment about something related to optometry, your optometrist's business or your own personal medical issues, posting on social media may not get you a desired response. Optometrists are busy and can't monitor their social media accounts constantly. They have other patients to deal with. Depending on your optometrist's practice, they may check their social media pages daily, weekly or even less.
If what you posted is related to your personal care or treatment, your optometrist cannot discuss that with you via a public forum. If (or when) you get a response, it will probably just tell you to call the office. Your personal health information is protected. Even if you don't care, your optometrist does!
You will get the fastest response by simply calling the office. Your optometrist can also interact with you via email in many cases as long as they can verify your identity and make sure information is transmitted via a secure connection.
Don't break up with your optometrist because of social media!
Knowing the limitations an optometrist has when it comes to social media is beneficial. It is important not to take it personally if you think you are getting "ignored." Your optometrist appreciates you and the business you bring them. They are required to have boundaries to protect their patients, themselves and their business.