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Professionalism and health care social media


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Social media has the capacity to engage our patients where they are-in social media platforms. Yet all too often we let risk averse behavior prevent our participation and engagement. This provides an apt overview of the moral obligation and benefits of meeting our patients where they are, engaging them in a professional fashion and an overview of the risks and profound benefits heralded by health care social media.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Business

Professionalism and health care social media

  1. 1. Health Care Social Media andProfessionalismFarris Timimi, MDMedical Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social MediaJune 2012
  2. 2. Agenda• What is professionalism?• Is part of being professional being online?• Are online rules the same as offline rules?• Know the risks-know how it to avoid them• Key elements of professionalism in health care social media
  3. 3. Subtext• This is how people communicate• All of your employees are already involved in social media-and you can’t block them• All of our patients are involved in social media• Use of your human bandwidth can either be an asset or a liability-the line crossed is defined by orientation and training
  4. 4. What is professionalism?
  5. 5. Heart and Soul of Medical Care• Professionalism means safe care• Health care is delivered by teams who need to communicate well, honestly, respectfully, confidentiality and responsibly• That team includes all of us in health care-including patients and their families
  6. 6. Core Values• Professional competence• Honesty with patients• Patient confidentiality• Maintaining appropriate relations with patients• Improving quality of care
  7. 7. Core Values• Improving access to care• Just distribution of finite resources• Scientific knowledge• Maintaining trust by managing conflicts of interest• Professional responsibility
  8. 8. Is part of being professional being online?
  9. 9. How is being online part of professionalism?• Unique moment in history-two overlapping trends• Information overload at the same time as evolving information transparency• Less daily time for direct patient care at the same time as more time spent by patients online
  10. 10. Information Overload• PubMed-21 million citations, one new/min• Over 200 Cardiology journals• 335 cardiology guidelines• More and more knowledge is being made available online and in a transparent fashion
  11. 11. Who is the lived expert?
  12. 12. Where did our time go?
  13. 13. Time, the most precious commodity… Direct Care-20% Documentation-35% Assessment/ Vitals-7% Medication-17% Care Coordination-21% JONA, 39, 6:266-275
  14. 14. Why we need to be online• Is it any wonder that 61% of us have sought knowledge and support online?• The value of that conversation is purely dependent on two factors: access to the conversation and the quality of the knowledge shared
  15. 15. Why we need to be online• Yet, all too often, we in health care are absent from that conversation • “Don’t want to be sued!” • “Who will pay for my time online?” • “What about HIPAA?”
  16. 16. Is part of being professional being online?• Each of us are all the lived experts of our own disease• All of us will soon have access to the same shared knowledge• If we are strategic we can partner with patients and walk with them on their journey online as well as offline• We can help shape the conversation, leverage information and ensure that credible content fills the void
  17. 17. What happens when we stay on thesidelines?
  18. 18. The Impact of Silence: Vaccine Hesitancy• Efficiency • Each discussion averages 5-10 mins • By 24 months, 14 vaccines over 8 visits • 80% of primary care providers report 1 vaccine refusal/month; 8% of providers report 1 in 10 parents refused vaccine• Liability • Several law suits brought by parents whose children suffered from vaccine refusal
  19. 19. Vaccine Hesitancy • Health Care • 13 years since Wakefield, dramatic drop in MMR in EU with a marked increase in measles and mumps • EU-2011-major measles outbreak in 33 countries, to include 10,000 in France alone
  20. 20. Is part of being professional being online?• We must partner with patients in content creation, curation and decision making• Leverage the content, leverage the conversation, leverage the good
  21. 21. Advocate for those who may be excluded• Remember the access angels, libraries, houses of worship• Consider mobile capable information• Remember the disabled and chronically ill• Remember those with rare disease who geography isolates
  22. 22. Know the risks-know how it to avoid them
  23. 23. What do we know about behavior online • From a general vantage • From a medical vantage
  24. 24. General Online Behavior• 47% of Facebook users have profanity on their wall• 56% of profane posts/comments come from friends• Most common is derivations of “f-word”, second most common is derivation of “sh*t”
  25. 25. Online Behavior and Job Application• 89% of recruiters and HR staff research candidates online - from this morning’s Tweet to last nights Facebook picture• Over 80% admit to rejecting candidates due to findings
  26. 26. Microblogging: Tweeting Docs• 2011 one month survey• 260 Users, 5156 Tweets• Less than 3% of Tweets were characterized as unprofessional • 0.7%-potential patient privacy violation • 0.6%-profanity • 0.3%-sexually explicit material • 0.1%-discriminatory statements
  27. 27. National Survey of State Medical Boards• 71% of boards responded• 92% of boards reported at least 1 online violation• Most common: inappropriate patient communication online, Internet prescribing without an established clinical relationship and misrepresenting credentials online• In total, these transgressions represented a relatively small percentage of the total board actions in the FSMB database
  28. 28. Professionalism and Social Media• Social Media Tools do not cause professionalism violations• They leverage behavior and errors to a larger audience• By doing so, they “educate” a larger audience of transgressions
  29. 29. Professionalism and Social Media• Previously, if you accepted concert tickets from a vendor, only you and the vendor knew• In a social media platform, if you accept tickets from a vendor, everyone following either you or the vendor will know
  30. 30. Offline Breaches of Professionalism• Legal Departure • Altering a medical record • Performing duties outside scope of care• Ethical Departures • Carrying out inappropriate orders • Failure to support a patient’s basic right to privacy• Practice Departure • Neglecting signs that result in patient suicide
  31. 31. Online Breaches of Professionalism• Legal Departure • Internet prescribing without an established clinical relationship• Ethical Departures • Derogatory or racial comments in a social media platform• Practice Departure • Tweets that represent potential patient privacy violations
  32. 32. Key elements of professionalism in healthcare social media
  33. 33. Social Media and Professionalism• Online behavior should seamlessly merge with offline behavior• Social Media can highlight professional lapses• But it can also empower our mission in domains of practice, research and education• Social Media can facilitate a professional culture
  34. 34. Professionalism and Social Media• Before you take the leap • Develop/Review your organizational social media policy guide • Define your opportunity and operational goals • Remember you represent your organization as well as yourself • Know and review your privacy settings
  35. 35. Professionalism and Social Media• After the plunge • Be real • Be professional • Be respectful • Learn the rules of the road before driving • Just like a good marriage, you will be judged more by how you listen then what you say
  36. 36. Professionalism and Social Media• After the plunge • Foresee and count to 3 • 1-Who is your audience? • 2-Is this appropriate for all ages? • 3-Am I adding value to the ongoing conversation?
  37. 37. General Concepts• Unless it is still in the cache, you can’t put it in the trash• Always surmises that HIPAA applies• Speak on your behalf, not that of staff• Anonymity is really gimmicky• If you chat about your company, identify abundantly
  38. 38. General Concepts• Don’t endorse as a matter of course• Supervisors: Don’t initiate an employee friend request at your own behest• Separate your circle of friends from patient’s you mend• Corporate logo in your username is a no go• Adding a disclaimer is probably saner• Don’t practice on the Internet, regardless of your good intent
  39. 39. Remember• Errors will occur• Develop a social media policy• Provide orientation and training• If a mistake happens, remember it is one game in a season
  40. 40. e-Hippocratic Oath-Scott Albin, M.D.• “What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of a patient, I will keep confidential holding such things shameful to spread online. I will conduct myself online in accord with the professional ethical standards I have sworn to uphold and keep myself far from all ill-doing and seduction”
  41. 41. Professionalism and Social Media• Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry• Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete• Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal
  42. 42. Professionalism and Social Media• Blog:• Twitter: @FarrisTimimi• E-mail: