hospitals and their social media policy


I did not think I was going to write so quickly a follow up to my last week’s post on social media in the hospital area, but my interest was peaked this week by a poll I saw via Twitter (@reedsmith).

The polls asked the question whether the organization/hospital had a social media media policy.  The result was somewhat amazing.

72% of the people who answered (25 answers) the poll said they did have a policy.  This number is very high but due to the fact that on average only 1 in 3 has a policy.  The fact that this poll was run through Twitter probably skewed the results.  The users are already on social media and thus somewhat likely to have a policy.

Looking at some publicly published policies, the areas that are covered can be summarized as:

  • Clear definition on where the medical facility stands when it comes to social media and what usage during and off work-time.
  • Commenting guidelines and rules
    • Focus on positive comments
    • posts with abusive and offensive language will be removed
    • posts with personal attack  will be removed
    • All spam-like posts will be removed
  • Blogging guidelines including the use of disclaimers in both directions (medical facility and the commenter)
  • Identity and affiliation with the medical facility
  • Use of code of ethics including all other applicable policies
  • General rules of conduct (add value, be smart, be authentic, etc.)

Though it is great to see that there are good examples of social media policies being put in place?  There are in my opinion 3 major components missing in these types of policies:

  • What are the clear guidelines to deal with negative comments?  What is the plan?  Who is the go-to person/department?
  • What monitoring is being done to make sure this policy is being “enforced”?
  • How has the policy been communicated to the employees?  Just put on the intra-net does not do it.

So as a conclusion, I think that having guidelines for your employees is great, but they need to communicated and monitored effectively so. People must know what can and can not be done and what to do in cases of emergencies.

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One Response to “hospitals and their social media policy”

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