social media and healthcare medicalSocial media can be a valuable resource for the healthcare professional; it provides a great way to communicate and share information. It can increase your visibility as an expert in your field; it can help you be a resource to your patients; it can help with learning and networking, as well. However, if used inappropriately it can cost you your job.

From the doctor who faced a huge backlash due to Facebook posts he made about chronically late patients to a nurse who was fired for posting a photo of a messy, empty trauma room after a car crash victim had been brought in, the wrong social post can have huge repercussions for many medical workers.

Therefore, here are 4 tips to help you best utilize Facebook and Twitter, etc. and keep your job.  

  • Know and Internalize Your Facility’s Social Media Policy. Every facility has a social media policy. Make sure that you fully understand the do’s and don’ts and understand all possible nuances. If you have any questions, reach out to your facility’s social media manager for clarification.
  • Know HIPAA and how not to violate it. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established to keep patients’ health information private. HIPPA compliance is of paramount importance, and one of the most common mistakes medical workers make is to include identifiable information about a patient in their post. Remember, just because you do not name the patient does not mean that he/she could not be identified.
  • Don’t be insensitive. Once you put something out there, you cannot take it back —ever. Even if you delete the post, someone may have already seen it, been offended by it, and/or taken a screenshot of it for posterity. Most healthcare workers who get into trouble have good intentions, but they just do not know (or understand) how far-reaching social media circles can be, or the world view of their readers. Posts that can seem very “normal” to a healthcare worker involved in life and death situations can upset those not familiar with the hospital environment.
  • Find a social media “mentor”. There are many medical facilities (and the healthcare professionals who manage their social sites) that are social media experts and have learned how to maintain the balance of sharing important information without stepping over any lines. The Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are all great examples of facilities that do an awesome job on their social media strategies.

As social media continues to become a valuable asset to healthcare organizations and healthcare professionals alike, it is important to use it for the benefit of all and not run afoul your facilities’ policies. Snelling is here to help. We have tons of resources for our medical professionals to leverage as they search for their next best-fit job. Visit our Resource Hub on the Snelling website or contact your local office today.  We are here to help.