Manager’s Talking Points: The Medical Center has opened access to Facebook and other social media sites. It’s important to understand what this means and what is expected of us on-line.
Manager’s Talking Points Discussion: Ask if anybody is on Facebook or Twitter. What do they know about them? Do they participate? What do they like about them? Have they ever posted anything on YouTube? Do they have any stories?
Manager’s Talking Points Patient confidentiality is an absolute. Refer to the policy on confidentiality, PROE-107. Section IV- d: “Violations of the policy, including seeking or releasing patient or any organization information without authorization is subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Unauthorized release of confidential information may include, but is not limited to, reprimand, demotion, suspension and termination.” This applies to on-line communication HIPAA rules also apply. Violations of federal HIPAA regulations can result in fines and imprisonment. New HR policy, HRM 504 – Social Networking/Social Media, establishes guidelines for confidentiality and appropriate behavior on both Medical Center and your own social media networks. Some key passages: Employees must comply with all applicable Medical Center policies, including those about patient confidentiality, compliance, use of photographs and videos, and more. If you publish something about the Medical Center or related matters, make it clear you are expressing your own views, not the Medical Center’s. Never publicly make comments about the care of a specific patient. Use good judgment; what you publish remains in the public domain. If you’re sure, talk to your manager.
Manager’s Talking Points The Medical Center is on Facebook and Twitter, and maintains a blog called “Life in a Medical Center.” You can get to it from the public website, www.umm.edu. We use these sites to spread the word about the hospital, and we can also learn what people have to say about us, good or bad. We monitor on-line comments on social media sites and anywhere on the web to see what people are saying about UMMC. If necessary, we can respond or react as appropriate.
Manager’s Talking Points While we do not have a policy about making Facebook friends with former patients or colleagues, there are some serious issues and risks to consider before you decide whether or not to accept a “friend request.” Facebook exchanges are very loose, informal, sometimes fun, sometimes not. What are your other Facebook friends like? Would you be comfortable with a former patient seeing and reading what they post? Would there be a chance of accidentally identifying the friend as a former patient, possibly violating rules of confidentiality? What if the patient has to return to the hospital? Would that friendship – and the importance of maintaining a professional distance and confidentiality – affect your comfort on Facebook? Depending on how you answer these questions, you may feel comfortable accepting the friend request, or you might consider other ways to stay in touch. Some people have created two Facebook pages, one for personal connections, the other for work-related connections.
Manager’s Talking Points This raises some of the same questions found in the discussion about the former patient. Are you comfortable with your colleagues seeing your interaction with other friends and being part of that interacton? If you friend one colleague, then get a request from another co-worker, will you compelled accept it? What if you don’t like the second person as much? What sort of boundary do you want between your professional and your personal life?
Manager’s Talking Points Opportunity for manager to discuss preferences, etc.: What guidelines to follow within the unit, department, etc.? Open discussion.
Manager’s Talking Points: [Opportunity for discussion]
Manager’s Talking Points Remember: The Medical Center uses a number of tools to monitor what is being said about UMMC online. This means they will be aware of comments that you make on social networking sites if you identify yourself as affiliated with UMMC. Spouse / Boss Rule: Don’t say anything in public you wouldn’t want your spouse or your boss to hear. Please use common sense and behave responsibly when communicating online. Review these policies: HRM 504: Social Networking/Social Media PROE-107: Confidentiality HRM 505: Behavioral Standards HRM 516: Workplace Language Code of Ethics [Questions? Open discussion?]
Social Media at the Medical Center
In January 2011, the Medical Center opened
access to Facebook and other social media sites.
• Patients and families use these sites to keep friends and relatives
informed of a patient’s progress
• More and more professional organizations use social media to
communicate with members
• Physicians and other care providers increasingly use these sites to
maintain informal, non-confidential contact with colleagues
What Does This Mean?
• All systems in the hospital that provide on-line access to
the Internet will now have access to social media
(Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc)
– Desktop and mobile computers (laptops, WOWs) on the UMMC
computer network will get Facebook and other social media sites
– Patients and visitors with mobile devices (laptops, netbooks,
iPhones, iPads, etc) will be able to connect to Facebook and other
social media sites through the UMMS Guest wireless network
• However, it does NOT mean that these private mobile
devices would be able to connect to the UMMC network
(intranet, clinical information systems, etc)
Keep In Mind
• Information you share with friends can be viewed by
others – even if you didn’t intend it that way
• If you identify yourself as a Medical Center employee,
behave on line as you would here
• In order to maintain patient confidentiality and
professional behavior, we have created policies and
guidelines for employee behavior on social media sites
Social Media and Medical Center Staff
• If you participate on any Medical Center social media
sites OR identify yourself as a UMMC employee on any
other sites, you need to act according to employment
• Don't discuss patient information
• HIPAA applies everywhere, including social media
• Follow behavioral and professional standards
• Follow the existing guidelines for confidentiality, appropriate behavior
Social Networking/ Social Media Policy
• A new HR policy - HRM 504 Social Networking/Social
Media – sets guidelines and expectations for employees
on UMMC and their own social media sites
• Comply with all Medical Center policies & procedures:
– Code of Ethics
– Behavioral Standards (HRM 505)
– Workplace Language (HRM 516)
– Confidentiality (PROE-107)
– Computer Network and Internet Access (MOI-015)
Social Media Policy – HRM 504
• When participating in on-line and social media conversations:
– Make it clear you are expressing your own point of view, not the
– Use your own e-mail address, not your work address, when
participating in social media conversations
• Use common sense (that’s not in the policy, just something to
keep in mind at all times)
Social Media at the Medical Center
• The Medical Center uses Facebook,
Twitter, and YouTube to spread the word
about our hospital and gather feedback.
• We welcome your participation and
appreciate your comments.
• To protect our brand and be aware of what
people are saying about us, we monitor
comments about UMMC on these sites and
anywhere on the internet.
• If you include a reference to UMMC on a
social media site, we will see it.
Things to think about
If a current or former patient asks to be a Facebook friend,
can I accept the request?
While we have no policy to prevent employees from becoming
Facebook friends with former patients, we discourage it. There are
many things to think about:
• Do you want them to know your personal information?
• Are you comfortable exposing them to your personal life?
• Do you want your Facebook activity dominated by HIPAA?
• Is it better to keep your personal and professional lives separate?
What Others are Saying
• The American Medical Association adopted a policy for
physicians on social media, encouraging them to:
– Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the
fullest extent possible
– Monitor their Internet presence to ensure that personal and professional
information on their own sites and others, is accurate and appropriate
– Maintain appropriate boundaries when interacting with patients online
– Ensure that patient privacy and confidentiality is maintained
– Consider separating personal and professional content online
– Recognize that actions and content online can negatively affect their
reputations among patients and colleagues, and may even have
consequences for their medical careers
Things to think about
• What if a co-worker wants to be a Facebook friend?
• Again, this raises many questions:
• What are your feelings about work/home boundaries?
• If you friend one co-worker, do you need to friend all?
• Do you want them to see your personal updates?
• Is this a long-term friendship?
• Some staff have made their own decision to not friend
people from work, particularly if one is a supervisor.
• For professional connections, consider Linked In, a social
media site more suited to business relationships.
What can I do?
• Can I check Facebook at work?
• The same rules that apply to other non-work web-related activities
• If your manager allows you to use UMMC computers on your break,
be aware of how much time you spend on line.
• You must also be careful about how much time you spend on social
media and other non-work sites with your own wireless devices.
• Abuse of this privilege can become a disciplinary issue.
Things to think about
• What if a Facebook friend asks me for medical advice?
– There are many reputable sources of information on-line, such as the
medical encyclopedia on the Medical Center website at
www.umm.edu/medref. It would be better to refer people to such
information or take the discussion off-line.
– If the friend keeps asking for help, consider having a phone
conversation or a private e-mail discussion.
What can I do?
• If you want to discuss UMMC on-line, you can:
• Share publicly available information, including what is on our
• Stay positive
• Direct your friends to reliable sources
• Be clear that your opinions are yours, not official UMMC
• Remember that UMMC monitors what is said about us on-
line. We are aware of comments that include the Medical
Things to keep in mind
• Best Advice
• Follow the Spouse / Boss rule (don’t do or post anything you
wouldn’t want your spouse, your boss, or the rest of the world
to read about in the newspaper)
• Behave on-line as you do at work
• Review HRM 504 Social Networking/Social Media
• And always remember:
Use Common Sense
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