To Facebook or Not to Facebook? Hospital Use of Social Media question today.


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Attention Hospital Marketers with Social Media and Facebook. In light of Facebook privacy issues, strategic planning by hospitals is needed to effectively market and communicate with patients in online social communities. Recommendations / best practices for hospitals that are considering implementing social media tools to extend their online reach.

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To Facebook or Not to Facebook? Hospital Use of Social Media question today.

  1. 1. To Facebook or Not To Facebook? The question for hospitals today MyHealthCommunity Social Network, Inc 135 Market St., Portsmouth, NH, 03801 603-553-2997 Copyright © 2010 MyHealthCommunity Social Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved I just found out I’m pregnant?
  2. 2. Tapping into the 400 million potential customers on Facebook Tweeting to your followers on Twitter Connecting with your customers 24/7 It seems like a slam dunk for an organization… Promise of Social Media Yet the decision is not so clear cut today for healthcare organizations.
  3. 3. Avoiding the risk of violating HIPAA, [1] many healthcare organizations have taken a wait and see approach. Turning to these turnkey- social media solutions can be risky for your users. This presentation will examine the significant changes to Facebook and other social media and their effect on your users’ experience. Issues that are specific to a patient or other health care user will be considered . Privacy Risks of Social Media for Health Care ? [1] Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, HIPAA was enacted in part to maintain the privacy of patients' medical and personal information by creating national standards to protect individuals' medical records and other protected health information (PHI).
  4. 4. Examine why choosing only this approach to connecting with your online patients could in the long run be less effective and offer your patient’s a less secure environment. We will explore how best to use these social media tools, matching functionality with security of the system environment, eventually weaving them into a more coordinated and effective social media strategy. Best Path to Success with Social Media
  5. 5. Recently Facebook announced significant changes to user privacy as they were happening . Hospitals had little time to even warn their users to protect their PHI (confidential, personal, identifiable health information per HIPAA). Once warned, users were faced with a complicated and confusing opt-out process to keep private information from being shared with 3rd party websites. And Facebook continued to change the options. One significant change involved Facebook introducing a new “Instant Personalization Pilot Program” defaulting users to allow select Facebook business partners to access personal information of users, aggregate, use and share this information. User Privacy : Who Is In Control?
  6. 6. Privacy policies and procedures are not controlled by the healthcare organizations on Facebook. It is under the whim and control of management of these social media companies. Seemingly harmless to the CEO’s of these companies, these actions can reveal a personal health issue to one’s employer, family member, and social group without patient authorization. It can change the lives of some patients in devastating ways. And it could be in violation of HIPAA. User Privacy : Who Is In Control?
  7. 7. HIPAA practices <ul><li>Hospitals and physician offices typically follow strict policy and procedure when it comes to patient privacy. HIPAA regulation established appropriate safeguards that health care providers and others must adhere to protect the patient privacy of health information . </li></ul><ul><li>HIPAA guides hospitals to release the minimum amount of information to as few persons as reasonably needed for the purpose of the disclosure. </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook’s actions were at the other end of the spectrum in protecting its users’ private information. </li></ul>Privacy Public
  8. 8. Facebook has reset users' privacy settings before. Users found information published to their Facebook “wall” and thus visible to anyone, not just friends, when they thought they had previously indicated in their settings not to have this information published publicly. Defenders of these actions profess that Facebook is not responsible for user privacy but the users themselves. They say users should know anything posted on Facebook can and will become public so users should not post anything that they don’t want the public to see. If this is true, then healthcare organizations must reconsider using Facebook in limited ways so followers of their page don’t inadvertently expose private information . User Privacy : Who Is In Control?
  9. 9. User Privacy : Who Is In Control? The recent actions of Facebook redefined privacy settings for users requiring that they opt out of exposing their personal information to the public. The greatest concern was that they made it so complex to opt out requiring numerous unchecks scattered in various privacy settings. This complexity would be a challenge for the senior users.
  10. 10. Facebook had reset their private instant personalization defaulting them to opt-in status. Users, potentially your patients, must go into their settings and turn off these settings. Unaware users will find that their profile information such as interests, work and school experience has been made public to certain services. The enticement to the user is that they will gain a more “customized experience” on Facebook. User Privacy : Who Is In Control?
  11. 11. Personal Health Information Shared If a patient had listed an interest in diabetes research the assumption could be made that they or family members have diabetes. The user may begin to receive information from Facebook businesses related to diabetes. Question is who else might see this and use this information?
  12. 12. Listing an interest in diabetes research the assumption could be made that they or family members have diabetes. The user may begin to receive information from Facebook businesses related to diabetes. To prevent this exposure, users must uncheck individually each setting to opt out: Users Must be Vigilant in Securing Privacy
  13. 13. Without their permission others are reading the sometimes personal and private information that the Facebook user thought they had an agreement with Facebook to keep private. Facebook and Twitter Get Headlines At the moment, only three sites have this extra ability, which Facebook calls “instant personalization” — they are, the music site Pandora and the review site Yelp.
  14. 14. Facebook and Twitter Get Headlines These changes have not gone unnoticed: “ If Facebook believes that you &quot;should have control over what you share,&quot; it should resolve this by giving users real control over whether their connections can be accessed by apps and pages. Doing so still won't resolve other issues, like the &quot;app gap&quot; that allows your friends' applications to view your personal information without your knowledge or consent, but it would be a step in the right direction .” ~ ACLU April 2, 2010 . “ Twitter has provided the following update to its status blog: “We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to “force” other users to follow them. We’re now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place.” ~ “Twitter Bug Lets You Control Who Follows You,” by Adam Ostrow
  15. 15. Facebook Gains the Attention of Congress New York Senator Charles Schumer pressed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide guidelines for social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, on the dissemination of private information submitted by online users. Schumer wants the Federal Trade Commission to provide guidelines for sites like Facebook and Twitter on how a user's private information can be used. WABC TV (New York) reports that Schumer warns that these changes by Facebook change the relationship between the user and the social networking site . Before now, users had the choice to determine what information of theirs was shared and what was kept private. These new policy changes alter that relationship, and Schumer says there is little guidance on what social networking sites can and cannot do or what disclosures are necessary to consumers. http://
  16. 16. Facebook and Twitter Get Headlines Imagine, board members of your hospital having their event plans exposed to attend prolife or pro-choice events? Privacy loopholes even catch Facebook founder off guard: Ka-Ping Yee, a Google software engineer uncovered what appeared to be a privacy loophole in Facebook’s new strategy of connecting the Web. It seemed that others who were not accepted as a “friend” could view public events that the Facebook user had planned to attend despite the user adjusting their privacy settings. Events can contain revealing information such as home addresses, names of friends, political or religious activities and the like “ Yee demonstrated the flaw by showing how the API – which plugs directly into Facebook's databases – can show you a list of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s planned public events. Yee says that he was very disturbed by the discovery – because there seemed to be no way to prevent the events from appearing on the API, which is publicly accessible, except by saying you were &quot;not attending&quot; an event .~
  17. 17. Implications Under HIPAA <ul><li>If under HIPAA law healthcare organizations and providers have an obligation to protect their patients health information, imagine the responsibility of keeping up with the ongoing changes that these various social media companies make affecting the privacy of users. </li></ul><ul><li>Your organization would need to assess if the changes compromised PHI. </li></ul><ul><li>Educate your users as to the appropriate use of this new tool or changes in order to protect their PHI. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Facebook Takes Steps to Simplify Process <ul><li>Facebook has reacted to the public protests and tried to make it simpler to opt-out but note the last comment on this page: “your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you BLOCK the application.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. To Like Or Not To Like? <ul><li>Today’s Facebook pushes people to decide whether they like a page before they even go onto the page. By liking a page, page owners gain access to your personal information as well as your friend’s personal information... so users unknowingly “like” a page not realizing the exposure that this action may create. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Linking Pages to User Profiles <ul><li>Other issues that point to users rejecting and protesting the recent Facebook pages: </li></ul><ul><li>To access my profile Facebook is “demanding” that I “Like” pages that Facebook has decided I should like from information in my profile. As seen in the example below, there is no “opt out” option. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Will the Real Face Page Please Standup? <ul><li>In this social media environment, some hospitals are proceeding cautiously. Delaying to establish an account, may mean search will be difficult for users to find hospital’s official page. Searching for these hospitals becomes confusing and difficult for the user. How will the user find and authenticate the real face page of your hospital. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Identifying Authenticity Difficult for User <ul><li>How will a user know they are conversing with an authentichospital, doctor or healthcare expert on a Facebook page? </li></ul>No photo of hospital or limited info such as no address contact or mission statementNo posting on wall by Maine Med Ctr. Like button with only 3 “likers”
  23. 23. Confusion in Authentication for User <ul><li>Search problems exist. Official Newton-Wellesley Hospital page has a hyphen in Facebook search name but a consumer would not know this. Some hospitals may try to resolve this by creating pages to redirect consumers. This adds to the confusion. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Confusion in Searching for Hospitals <ul><li>Another example of difficulty for a Facebook user browsing Facebook to find a particular hospital is with Brigham & Women’s Hospital Page titled Brigham and Women’s Hospital News. </li></ul><ul><li>Note appropriate page for Brigham & Women’s Hospital does NOT come up as first choice in search : </li></ul>
  25. 25. The Facts About Facebook that Keep Us Coming Back? <ul><li>People on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>* More than 400 million active users </li></ul><ul><li>* 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day </li></ul><ul><li>* Average user has 130 friends </li></ul><ul><li>* People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Activity on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>* There are over 160 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups and events) </li></ul><ul><li>* Average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events </li></ul><ul><li>* Average user creates 70 pieces of content each month </li></ul><ul><li>* More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month. </li></ul><ul><li>~ </li></ul>
  26. 26. Push vs Pull on Public Platforms <ul><li>Pushing out information to capture the attention of this wide marketplace of consumers is a great role Facebook can play in your hospital marketing approach. Posting comments on your wall about services or a healthcare topic can pull customers in from their fan base and educate page visitors. Short educational videos or announcements about events can be posted on the wall. Comments and “Like or Dislike” provides immediate feedback. </li></ul>
  27. 27. How to Use Facebook? <ul><li>Buzz can be created if enough users jump in and comment or share a link to the wall posting. This viral marketing is what Facebook can help to generate. Post links to your website to share. </li></ul><ul><li>Grow your fan base and encourage user participation. </li></ul><ul><li>Push out information to pull customers in from your fan base. Then redirect back to the hospital website, effectively harnessing the power of the large Facebook community but contain more private conversations for your patients where your policies are in place. </li></ul><ul><li>Offering a secure patient online community providers hospital users with a place for private exchange of images, ideas, and information. </li></ul><ul><li>Participation on Facebook in a strategic way offers healthcare marketers insights on what the Facebook crowd is saying about their organizations. Hospitals can respond and participate in general terms in these conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>Recommend to your followers to discuss personal stories about their care through your website or patient online community . </li></ul>
  28. 28. Concerns Remaining <ul><li>Limited Search Capability </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook’s limited search capabilities would not lend itself to your customers finding their own health needs. The search functionality on Facebook is lacking as users cannot search for a specific disease state, hospital service or health condition and get results that accumulate all posted information, video and images related to that topic. Even searching for your hospital can be difficult as discussed. </li></ul>= X
  29. 29. Meaningful Medical Information Limited <ul><li>Specific health knowledge relating to a patient’s age, sex, and other medical conditions would not be found on Facebook. Searchable discrete data is not available on this platform. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not where a hospital would want to respond to specific patient questions and interact in an intimate way. </li></ul><ul><li>Nor is it easy to respect patient privacy and direct the user to services and programs for specific diseases or health conditions… These conversations call for a more private, protected environment. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Difficulty Obtaining Demographics <ul><li>Demographic specific data collected on users may be questionable as to how Facebook obtained this information. Information, if not voluntarily given, would be a risk for hospital’s to use in marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>Target marketing to specific populations would be difficult unless a hospital created separate Facebook pages for those populations. </li></ul><ul><li>The current threat that Facebook or associated businesses could collect and share data on these social networking sites and the disclosure process by which users are notified that their private information is being shared is enough to keep hospitals at bay until this is fully understood. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Beyond Facebook and Twitter in the Social Media Continuum: Step #1 <ul><li>#1 Use Facebook as a place to find your audience and direct them to the appropriate vehicle of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Take the opportunity during all Facebook wall conversations and postings to redirect the patient to your website and preferably a more private online patient community. </li></ul><ul><li>Feature short teaser videos of events at your hospital or on specific health concerns relating to services your hospital wants to market. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Step #2 <ul><li>#2 Invite patients to private groups and forums that are disease specific or health condition-focused. Facebook would not be the place to openly engage with your patients. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, offering up a patient community with the ability to create an online “home” with privacy controls and security to get trusted expert advice, support on coping with a disease, tips for care at home and lifestyle changes is a responsible approach for healthcare organizations to take. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Step #3 <ul><li>#3 Educate your users when privacy policies change on social media sites that you use to engage with them. </li></ul><ul><li>As a hospital forges into the social media world, it is important first that they do so with the commitment to help protect their users’ PHI and other personal information while using these sites. </li></ul><ul><li>If a hospital chooses to be in the conversation, market, and invite patients into this online social sphere then they need to commit to keeping the users educated on how each user can protect their PHI and personal information. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Step #4 <ul><li>#4 Develop a Well-Thought out Strategic Social Media Plan. Creating a philosophy centered on the goals, objectives and values that your organization brings to the social media space. Use this plan as a springboard to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>measure performance, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>evaluate emerging tool’s effectiveness, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reposition tactics to communicate best to your customers. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. An Online Community for Healthy Living <ul><ul><li>Weaving various communication channels into a more strategic approach to your patient conversation will produce a more open, flexible and safe interaction. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Over time this will lead to a trusted and loyal community base for your healthcare organization. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Conclusion <ul><li>With a responsive strategic plan and infrastructure in place to support effective use of these social media tools, hospitals can optimize their social media investment and assure safe use by their patient community. </li></ul><ul><li>Given the recent concerns raised about Facebook, hospitals entering into this social media sphere to connect with patients need to be concerned. After Facebook announced these changes as they were happening, hospitals had little time to even warn their users to protect their PHI (confidential, personal, identifiable health information per HIPAA). </li></ul><ul><li>With these concerns about privacy and security of personal information that have recently surfaced, shouldn’t you reconsider your social media strategy? Do you want a trusted partner that protects your patients PHI by providing a private, secure environment for conversation and support of your patients? </li></ul>
  37. 37. The Time is now for a Social Media Plan <ul><li>We can help every step of the way; answering your questions, recommending strategies, implementing components and assisting with integration issues. We are MyHealthCommunity Social Network, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>About MyHealthCommunity </li></ul><ul><li>MyHealthCommunity Social Network, Inc. (MHC) is a service and platform company. We are dedicated to serving hospitals and healthcare enterprises with services and platforms to increase patient satisfaction, reduce costs, build your brand and provide patient education through social media. MHC has brought together healthcare and social media experts that understand the hospital industry. Our team is ready to help you get started with a social media solution. </li></ul><ul><li>For more information, contact, [email_address] </li></ul>
  38. 38. Thank You ! [email_address] Visit us at: MyHealthCommunity Social Network, Inc 135 Market St., Portsmouth, NH, 03801 603-553-2997