Social Media, The Guidelines For Improving Employee Communication Within Healthcare Structures

Social Media, The Guidelines For Improving Employee Communication Within Healthcare Structures

Social media are an important opportunity to make healthcare companies more effective and efficient and to improve the employee-patient relationship . However, there are also many critical issues, especially in the privacy sphere . The strength of information sharing has on the one hand pushed the citizen to seek answers in a very short time, on the other “obliged” health communication operators to change the way they manage information and use different tools and platforms also to manage emergencies or ministerial directives.

Social Media, The Guidelines For Improving Employee Communication Within Healthcare Structures

Efficient and innovative communication in Healthcare Marketing is a precious resource and operators are becoming increasingly dependent on the use of social media and messaging apps to communicate and share information with patients but also within the staff itself. However, messages composed and sent in seconds can have serious and lasting professional, legal and regulatory repercussions.

The dangers of social media use (or misuse) for healthcare professionals can be serious. For example:

Professional and personal boundaries can become distorted;

  • Users operating under a pseudonym have not guaranteed anonymity and comments can often be traced to identify the user;
  • The information sent is far-reaching and instantaneous;
  • Permanence: even after a comment or message has been deleted, if saved, circulated by another user, or if a Screenshot has been taken, proof of the comment still exists.

So what are the directives to adopt to manage social media?

Below are some of the main guidelines for employees and students of healthcare facilities who have an active presence on social media , which includes personal blogs and other websites, including social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or others.

  1. Employees must scrupulously comply with the directives internal to the health facility in which they work, including for example not sharing confidential or proprietary information on the clinic, always maintaining patient privacy. Among the policies most pertinent to this discussion are those regarding patient confidentiality, government affairs, mutual respect, political activity, confidential e-mails and Internet use, social profiles in the first place.
  2. Employees (but this point also applies to patients) who use social profiles and decide to communicate some health content related to a performance or to the medical staff, must always write in first person , making it clear that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the clinic in question. In these cases include the disclaimer to the text: “ The opinions expressed on this [blog; website] are mine and do not reflect the opinions of my employer “would surely help avoiding problems related to the violation of privacy.
  3. For employees who identify their work affiliation with a specific structure, all their actions / comments on social channels should be consistent with its professional conduct standards . Today many social networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn, require users to register with real names. In addition, the profiles generally include personal information (for example, locations, training institutions attended, employer).
  4. Employees must be professional, accurate and honest in their internal and patient communications ; on digital platforms errors, omissions or unethical language can lead to responsibilities both for the employee and for the structure itself. It is recommended to always be respectful and professional with colleagues, business partners, competitors and patients.

The directives also regulate interpersonal relationships between employees

  • Internal staff must ensure that their social media activity does not interfere with work commitments . Many companies and nonprofits block access to social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter with a corporate firewall. Perhaps it is better instead to rely on the common sense of employees by asking them to limit personal social networking to break times.
  • The increasing use of social media has affected all aspects of society and has also influenced the relationship between doctors / hospital staff and patients. Patients also use social media to document their experiences within healthcare facilities, including their experiences with nurses and other healthcare professionals. The different medical facilities should strongly discourage ” friendship ” between them on social media sites .

    Staff generally should not initiate or accept friend requests except in unusual circumstances, such as the situation in which a friendship precedes the interim therapeutic relationship.The same goes between managers / supervisors and employees of the structure: obviously the former can accept friend requests if initiated by the employee if he does not believe this will have a negative impact on the employment relationship. A supervisor who invites an employee to connect on Facebook could put the employee in an embarrassing situation. Employee “supervisor” requests do not appear to carry the same potentially coercive baggage.

  • Healthcare facilities, especially larger ones, should not support people, products, services and organizations in their social profiles . The same applies to employees who work in the facility and who identify their work affiliation with that particular facility.
  • As a last point, the question of the social account emerges : unless approved by the management center of the health facility, the personal social media account, the name, the handle and the URL must not include the name or logo of the medical company . This does not apply to the official page of the structure on Linkedin where all employees are connected via the company logo and role held within the organization.

Social Media, The Guidelines For Improving Employee Communication Within Healthcare Structures

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