Far too often, social media and good judgment don’t go together and bad decisions are made despite all of the training that we put our staff through on HIPAA and patient confidentiality. Those lapses in judgment turn into nurse firings, hospital lawsuits, and PR nightmares.
This is why organizations need a social media policy for unofficial accounts. When you are developing a social media policy for your organization:
- Involve a number of departments, including HR, IT and legal along with marketing, PR and the Web team.
- Keep it simple. Use plain English, don’t go beyond a few pages and leave out the legal jargon.
- Focus on the principles. You can’t address every specific situation that may arise. Don’t try. Stick to overriding principles, give examples and encourage employees to use good judgment.
- Encourage employees to participate! In the end, your employees are the ambassadors of your brand. Empower those with an interest to do so through social networks as well.
A few prudent things to include in your employee social media policy:
- You are responsible for what you write. Remember your boss may be listening and so might your patients!
- Be transparent. Disclose that you’re a hospital employee and your opinions are your own.
- How you conduct yourself reflects on the institution. Even if your opinions are your own.
- Always give others credit for their work. Plagiarism is plagiarism, even on your blog.
- Always safeguard confidential information, particularly patient information.
- Remember: social media is public media, regardless of the security settings.
- Use prudent judgment.
- Productivity matters. Don’t let social media get in the way of your job!