By Nick Hernandez
By now every physician should be aware of the benefits that can be bestowed upon their practice as a result of social media. Indeed many practices are engaging in one or more social media platforms on a regular basis. Moreover, staff members are most definitely active in social media, and probably use it while at work.
Physicians and practice managers must be smart about training employees on what they should and should not share online. Staff in your practice could incur liability on behalf of your practice as a result of their comments on social media. Because of the confidentiality rules in HIPAA, staff training is important. You should constantly remind employees that they are representatives of the practice.
You should also have some sort of social media policy in place. Here are a few key items your policy should include:
1. Guidelines and expectations. Your policy should set clear expectations for how team members (as representatives of your practice) must conduct themselves online.
Your policy should clearly state that there will be no posting of protected health information (PHI) and that employees are not allowed to use social media in work areas near patients. Be specific in training your employees and inform them to avoid identifying patients in any way on social media — this includes names, unique characteristics, etc.
Some practices do not allow employees use social media for personal reasons on work time. While that is fine as a policy, it does not circumvent the need to appropriately train your staff. Moreover, it can be hard to police. [Read more…]