As a healthcare professional, you not only have your reputation to uphold but also that of your employer. Understanding the most ethical practices for social networking will ensure you don’t compromise your career, your employer, or your patients’ privacy through your social media channels. Here are three best practices for utilizing social media as a healthcare practitioner:
Familiarize yourself with your company’s social media policy.
Before using any personal social media accounts, it’s important to read your company’s social media policy. First check with your organization’s human resources department about social media protocols for employees. Typically, the policy will outline what types of content employees are permitted to share on social media channels, especially about HIPPA regulations. Adhering to HIPPA guidelines is essential for protecting patients’ privacy and maintaining your professional reputation in the healthcare field.
Keep your social media profiles private.
Whenever possible, it’s advisable to keep your social media profiles in a private setting. Rather than use social media as a way to communicate with coworkers and others whom you work with, it’s far better to use it purely as an outlet to connect with family and friends. Having private profiles will allow you to use social media exclusively for personal recreation, without having to constantly monitor your communications with individuals from your workplace.
No matter how strong your feelings may be about an employer or a specific situation, it’s best to keep any negativity to yourself. Regardless of whether your profiles are private, negative comments and interactions can easily be used against you, as anything published online – even temporarily – can be captured in a screenshot or printed. It’s nearly impossible to know when somebody will use your commentary on social media against you. When in doubt, avoid negativity and stick to neutral content!
As you evaluate your use of social media, remembering the tips above will help you use these platforms most safely and ethically throughout your healthcare career.