I have recently been researching ways healthcare marketers can up the ante across their social media marketing channels. It is both surprising and encouraging to see the innovative practices that are happening. Steve recently wrote a post about how doctors are using social media to connect with their patients, which was great. These next five things are all about groundbreaking techniques to incite community sharing and education.

1. Live tweet procedures: I find this truly interesting. If a patient is nervous about how his/her appendectomy is going to go, perhaps it would be helpful to find information not only on Twitter, but on YouTube. Though many patients might be put off by this, there could be a tremendous potential to educate through social media channels. Not to mention doctors’ expertise on full display would be great for their online reputation.

2. Train medical staff with and on social media: The incorporation of social media into staff training could facilitate more excitement and retention (since that’s probably what they’re doing most of the time anyway). By, say, setting up a Quora question for your staff to answer, you could better prepare them to answer online questions from current and potential clients later to grow your business.

3. Fundraise: This is a great opportunity for hospitals and larger medical nonprofit marketers. Try setting up an informative Facebook landing page (tab) that has a video that tells the user to what he/she is giving. Then imagine they can use PayPal to give to the cause. Social media fundraising is effective because of its ease, but also because it’s easy for people to share what causes they care about and encourage others to give as well.

4. Notify patients about health alerts and concerns: Are you an ENT doctor? Well, wouldn’t it be great for business to be able to alert people to high tree or grass pollens in their area? What about new strands of influenza? Using social media to call attention to any health concerns will be appreciated by your patients and perhaps cause an uptick in preventative visits.

5. Accurately answer questions: We know many people seek out health information about diagnosis and treatment online–take a look at our online health inquiry infographic. Now that fans of Facebook brand pages can send private messages, it is a great way to directly give accurate information to patients. Bonus points if they can schedule an appointment online with the appropriate physician.

Read more: Healthcare Marketers: Using Social Media Conversations in Content Marketing