4 Steps to Creating a Facebook Support Group for Your Patients

There’s no doubt about it. With over one billion active users, Facebook is one of the most popular destinations on the internet, that’s why a Facebook support group is key for your rheumatology practice.

If you’re reading this, you probably have a Facebook account. These days, your feed is likely filled with photos of friends, political rants, links to stories in the news, and conversations between friends and family. Sometimes it gets so crowded that it can be hard to find the information you’re looking for or connect with like-minded people. One of the ways to overcome this is by joining Facebook groups.

A Facebook support group is usually organized around a theme, cause, or interest. They can be private or public, and members join because they want to discuss something specific. There are groups for everything you can think about, from finances to fitness to food. Many medical practices are beginning to create Facebook support groups for their patients, which is an excellent way to help patients connect and share information and resources about their diseases.

If you’d like to create a Facebook support group for your practice, you should consider a few things before diving in. Keep reading for four steps to creating a Facebook support group for your patients!

Make your support group private.

This will protect the identity of your members and allow them to be more open. When you create your group, choose the setting that will enable you the best level of privacy. Your choices for privacy include the following:

  • Public- in which anyone can join and see what others have posted.
  • Closed- in which people must ask to join and can only see posts once they’re approved.
  • Secret- in which members must be added by an administrator and the group does not show up in searches.

Invite patients to your Facebook Support group.

Advertise your Facebook support group as a resource for your patients and invite them to join. They’ll be able to post, ask questions, and talk to one another about local issues and events.

Your staff can also join the group and quickly answer questions about the office, available appointment times, and other general issues.

Share helpful information within your Facebook support group.

The group is a natural place to share general information, such as articles about living with rheumatology, new treatments that may be available, changes to your practice’s hours of operation, and new patient forms.

Medical staff can also start conversations with general questions, such as “What is one thing you look forward to each spring?” or “What’s the best natural remedy you’ve found for your arthritis?”

[Need some other social media tips? Click here!]

Be careful about HIPPA violations!

Suppose someone in your group asks a specific question about their treatment, medical history, or offers up someone else’s personal information. In that case, you must delete their comment immediately and send them a private message inviting them to your practice to discuss their questions in person. This will help ensure that you do not violate HIPAA.

To keep these things from happening, you should have a staff member monitor the group several times a day and educate members on what is and isn’t appropriate to post. Write up a rules document and “pin” it to the top of the group, so it’s the first thing members see when joining. This will help keep your patients and their information safe, while at the same time fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Have you used Facebook support groups within your practice? Do you have questions about anything we covered in this post, or advice to share? If so, head over to our Facebook page and keep the conversation going!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Posted by
  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

What We Offer

We’re adding value to practices across the nation by creating a thriving community of rheumatology managers and physicians.

Membership Benefits

Become a Member

Annual Conference

Conference Registration