What Makes for a Good Hospital Social Media Policy?

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!
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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Social Media by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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