Ethics and Social Media


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Presentation by Tarang Jain, PT, DPT, CEEAA, PhD Candidate, University of Kansas Medical Center

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Ethics and Social Media

  1. 1. Ethics and Social MediaTarang Kumar Jain, PT, DPT, CEEAA
  2. 2. Objectives2  Define social media/networking & its purpose.  Discuss the types of social media and list the statistics associated with various social media platforms.  Identify the ethical and legal issues associated with social media use.  Associate the ethical decision making analysis in relation to using social media.  Discuss considerations for developing a social media strategy for PT clinics.  Finally, identify social media dos and donts/steps for safer social networking.
  3. 3. Social Media3  “Social” – refers to instinctual needs humans have to connect with other humans  “Media” – what we use to make connections with other humans  “Social Media” – how we can use technology effectively to reach out & connect with other humans, create a relationship, build trust  Media used for social interaction  2 way communication - interactive dialogue  Moving from monologue (one to many) to dialogue (many to many)  Changing people from content readers into contributors and
  4. 4. Social Media Landscape4
  5. 5. Social Networking5  “Its the way the 21st century communicates today.”  A social network service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building & reflecting social relations among people who share interests &/or activities  Essentially consists of a representation of each user (profile), social links, & other services  Most are web based; interact through internet, email, instant messaging(chatting), or phone applications  Social networking accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the U.S.
  6. 6. Relationships between Social Media and Networking6 SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIAL NETWORKING  Social media is disseminated through  A focus on building social interaction social relationships  Based on user among people participation and user-generated  Building online content communities  A shift in how people  Interactive discover, share, and communication among read news and participants information
  7. 7. Why Social Media/Networking Matters for Physical Therapists?7  Become a better clinician  Contribute to the body of physiotherapy knowledge  Make professional connections  Influence healthcare conversations  Get educated  Promote better health among the public  Sell your services  Peer review research
  8. 8. Popular Social Media Platforms8
  9. 9. Facebook9
  10. 10. Twitter10
  11. 11. Linkedin11
  12. 12. Google+12
  13. 13. Ethical and Legal Issues13  Despite the range of positive uses of social media for both individual PT‟s and the profession as a whole, there are also a number of ethical and legal issues associated with its use  Social media sites, with user created content, are vehicles to share professional and private information  The concern with the rapid increase in rates of use is that knowledge regarding the potential dangers implicit in this digital behavior is not growing at the same speed  The increased rate of casual use couples with a lack of knowledge regarding the functionality of social media and platforms, begs for more uniform education on managing digital dangers.
  14. 14. Ethical Issues14  Physical Therapists should be mindful that social media activity can blur the boundaries between personal & professional lives  The line separating freedom of speech and inappropriate posting may be unclear.  Applicable ethical principles relevant to clinical care & social media:  Patient – Clinician Relationship  Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy – HIPPA, FERPA  Maintaining Confidentiality  Self-presentation (Implications of the nature and scope of information available online)
  15. 15. Ethical issues continued…15  Ethical questions can be categorized according to 5 primary criteria:  Who is viewing the social media information?  How is the social media information accessed?  For what purpose is the social information used?  What are the criteria one uses for making judgments about social media information, and  What is the nature of “relationships” in social media
  16. 16. Legal Issues16  Corporate use vs. Employee use of social media  Some unlawful activities that may be associated with use of social media  Freedom of speech  Search and seizure issues  Copyright infringement and other intellectual property rights  Breach of individual publicity and privacy rights  Obscene or defamatory content/statements  Several legal risks associated with employee use of social media  Claims of discrimination, disparate treatment of employees, hostile work environment, defamation claims, and
  17. 17. Digital Natives vs. Digital17 Immigrants DIGITAL NATIVES DIGITAL IMMIGRANTS  Students  Teachers  Fast  Slow  Young  Old  Future  Past, or „legacy‟  Multi-tasking  Logical, serial thinking  Images  Texts  Playful  Serious  Inductive learning  Deductive learning  Digital  Analogue  Action  Knowledge  Constant connection  Isolation  The applicability of ethical guidelines might be very different for digital natives and digital immigrants.
  18. 18. Ethical Concerns andRecommendations18 Challenge Recommendation Managing your identity • Perform “electronic self-audits” to monitor your online presence and professional image • Maximize online privacy settings for personal profiles and social networking sites • Develop “dual citizenship” online with separate professional (public) and personal (private) networking profiles • Develop a professional biography for patients and others to preferentially find when using search engines Using social media in a • Understand that all posted content should be considered public professional manner and permanent • Encourage online behavior of PT‟s, PTA‟s, aids, and office staff to mirror the standards of behavior maintained in the clinic • Refrain from posting potentially identifiable vignettes online unless you obtain patient consent Communicating with • Preferentially use secure messaging for electronic communication patients electronically with patients or, where not available, provide informed consent for and professionally e-mail • Avoid direct communication with patients via third-party platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
  19. 19. Ethical Decision Making19 Framework  Get the Facts  What are the relevant facts of the case? What facts are not known? Can I learn more about the situation? Do I know enough to make a decision?  What individuals and groups have an important stake in the outcome? Are some concerns more important? Why? What‟s the usual and customary action? What are legal implications regarding this issues?  What are the options for acting? Have all the relevant persons and groups been consulted? What is their belief/value system? Have I identified creative options?
  20. 20. Ethical Decision Making20 Framework…  Recognize an Ethical Issue  Could this situation be damaging to someone or to some group? Is there any barrier keeping one from doing what they know is right? Does this decision involve a choice between a good and bad alternative, or perhaps between two "goods" or between two "bads"?  Could the situation be labeled as ethical distress, ethical dilemma or locus of authority challenge?  Is this issue about more than what is legal or what is most efficient? If so, how?
  21. 21. Ethical Decision Making21 Framework…  Use Ethics Theories or Approaches to Analyze the Problem(s)  Which option will produce the most good and do the least harm? (The Utilitarian Approach)  Which option best respects the rights of all who have a stake? (The Rights Approach)  Which option treats people equally or proportionately? (The Justice Approach)  Which option best serves the community as a whole, not just some members? (The Common Good Approach)  Which option leads me to act as the sort of person I want to be? (The Virtue Approach)  What principles of personal, professional, and global ethics are at stake?
  22. 22. Ethical Decision Making22 Framework…  Evaluate Alternative Actions  What are the alternative actions that could be done? What are the constraints in performing a specific action(s)?  Determine what are the ethical issues bearing including consequences (economic, psychosocial, social, legal- administrative, and clinical) on the possible alternative course of action?  What‟s the benefit/risk ratio for each alternative? Are there any non-ethical considerations like rules that automatically invalidate alternatives?  Benefits outweigh risks, then consider option  Risks outweigh the benefits, then reject option  Considering all these approaches, which option best addresses the situation?
  23. 23. Ethical Decision Making23 Framework…  ACT  How can my decision be implemented with the greatest care and attention to the concerns of all stakeholders?  Evaluate the Process and Outcome  How did my decision turn out and what do the people involved have to say about the decision?  What were the most challenging aspects? How did this situation compare with others encountered/heard about?  What have I learned from this specific situation?
  24. 24. Developing Social Media24 Strategy  Determine the purpose of social media campaign and marketing strategy.  Research your audience and the most appropriate social media channels to reach to them.  Set up your accounts and determine the best tools to manage those accounts.  Develop Social Media Policy and feel free to provide the policy to your patients/clients  Example of Keely Kolmes, Psy.D.  “My Private Practice Social Media Policy”
  25. 25. Social Media Strategy…25  Broadcast messages that resonates most with your audience and relay offline campaigns on the internet  Train internal staff on your clinic‟s social media policy and how to manage those accounts using the tools.  Develop metrics and institute tracking devices to gauge success (return on investment – time, money).  Determine how to deliver promotional content and campaigns through the channels.  Monitor changes in social media technology, channels, and tools and make adjustments
  26. 26. Do‟s and Donts for social26 networking  Do’s  Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content  Maintain appropriate professional boundaries  Create and maintain separate personal and professional online identities  Bring unprofessional content to the attention of a colleague or appropriate authorities  Be aware of effects on reputation with patients and colleagues and the impact on the profession
  27. 27. Do‟s and Donts for social27 networking…  Don’ts  Do not post identifiable patient information online  Do not present yourself as an official representative of or spokesperson for a place of employment.  Do not display vulgar language  Do not display language, photographs, or videos that imply disrespect for any individual or group because of age, race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  Be cautious about presentation of content that may reasonably be interpreted as condoning irresponsible use of alcohol/substance abuse  Do not post potentially inflammatory or unflattering material on another individual‟s website for e.g. – “wall” on Facebook
  28. 28. 28 “We‟re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.” Pete Cashmore, Founder of
  29. 29. References29  American Physical Therapy Association. 2011. Succeeding and protecting yourself in social media. Available at Accessed June 4, 2012.  Association of Corporate Counsel. The risks of social media usage in the workplace. 2010. Available at Accessed June 5, 2012.  Association of Corporate Counsel. Workplace challenges associated with employees‟ social media use. Legal Resources. 2010. Available at Accessed July 5, 2012.  Australian Physiotherapy Association. 2011. How social media can enhance your career.  Avari J. Safe social networking. Forbes. Available at Accessed July 5, 2012.  Brill, D. Social Networking: Facing the facts. Medical Observer. Available at networking-facing-the-facts. Accessed July 4, 2012.  Computer ethics-computer ethics in the workplace. Net Industries. 2011. Available at Accessed June 8, 2012.  Facebook. Facebook glossary. 2011. Available at Accessed June 10, 2012.  Facebook. Statistics. 2011. Available at Accessed July 5, 2012.  Gagnon, K. Professional development in 140 characters or less: Using social media to network, learn and collaborate. Presented at: 3rd Annual MidWest Student Conclave. Kansas City, KS: 2011.  Lagu T, Greysen SR. Physician, monitor thyself: professionalism and accountability in the use of social media. The Journal of clinical ethics. 2011;22(2):187-90. Epub 2011/08/16.  LinkedIn. About us. LinkedIn Facts Center. 2011. Available at Accessed June 5, 2012.  LinkedIn. Get the most from your professional network. What is LinkedIn. 2011. Available at Accessed July 6, 2012.  Merriam Webster. Social media. 2012. Available at Accessed July 5, 2012.  Microsoft. Practice cyberethics. Safety & Security Center. 2011. Available at privacy/cyberethics-practice.aspx. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  30. 30. References30  Ogg E. Twitter CEO: We have 100M active users. GigaOM. 2011. Available at 100m-active-users/. Accessed June 19, 2012.  Practical Law Company. Checklist: Employee use of social media. Available at Accessed July 7, 2012.  Quist N. Social media and interpersonal relationships: for better or worse? The Journal of clinical ethics. 2011;22(2):191-3. Epub 2011/08/16.  Schaffer N. What is LinkedIn and why should you join. WindMill Networking. 2009. Available at Accessed June 20, 2012.  Shore R, Halsey J, Shah K, Crigger BJ, Douglas SP. Report of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs: professionalism in the use of social media. The Journal of clinical ethics. 2011;22(2):165-72. Epub 2011/08/16.  Social Media Vistor Growth. Available at Accessed July 6, 2012  Snyder L. Online professionalism: social media, social contracts, trust, and medicine. The Journal of clinical ethics. 2011;22(2):173- 5. Epub 2011/08/16.  Thompson LA, Black EW. Nonclinical use of online social networking sites: new and old challenges to medical professionalism. The Journal of clinical ethics. 2011;22(2):179-82. Epub 2011/08/16.  Twitter. Guidelines for law enforcement. Twitter Help Center. 2011. Available at for-law-enforcement. Accessed July 6, 2012.  Wiley Online Library. 2012. Available at Accessed June 4, 2012.