cont_ed_socialnetworking by keralaguest


									Social Networking in Healthcare: Something to Think About
Lori Tetreault, RN-BSN                                              LNA 1 Contact Hour

"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man.
Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for
such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."

                    - Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, French Revolution 1789


        Define Social Networking
        Identify the use of Social Networking
        Identify Social Networks
        Define HIPAA
        Identify risks associated with the use of Social Networking
        Identify steps to safeguard networking interactions

Social Networking is the development of social media sites through web based communities used to
communicate, interact, and share information. Social networks are playing an increasingly prominent role
in healthcare. Healthcare settings and healthcare professionals have quickly embraced social networking as
a way to interact with patients and share healthcare information. Areas of information that are frequently
used by healthcare social networking sites include health and wellness, disease management, treatment
options and physician selection as well as health professional training.

Nurses and nursing assistants are using social networking to encourage and support their peers, to keep up
with nursing and healthcare trends, seek answers to clinical questions, enhance skills and judgment, and to
find jobs.

Social networking can potentially place a nurse or nursing assistant at risk as actions may present possible
ethical and professional boundary violations. As reported, nurses and nursing assistants have faced
disciplinary action for demonstrating unprofessional or inappropriate behaviors on their social networking

Social Networks
As social networking continues to grow, healthcare professionals have many options. Some of the most
popular of the social networking sites include:

Twitter - A micro blog service used for press releasing, announcements and messages.
YouTube - A video sharing site.
Facebook - A social networking site.
My Space - A personal social network site.
Linked In - A professional peer to peer networking.

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Potential Risks

The “right” to express yourself on a social networking page does not mean freedom from consequences.
You are as accountable for what you write just as you are for what you say.

Healthcare professionals including nurses and nursing assistants should be aware of the potential risks
associated with social networking.

When using technology to communicate, interact and share information healthcare workers must be aware
of the potential legal risks. Nurses and nursing assistants should be cautious when deciding what
information to share on social networking sites and to whom they share this information with.

Common–sense practices such as simple recommendations based on nursing or nursing assistant judgment
can be potentially risky causing one to be liable.

As a rule, healthcare professionals should not use social media to share any health information that could
be linked to an individual patient or client such as names, addresses, pictures and physical descriptions.

Violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) could lead to immediate
job loss as well as civil and criminal actions.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule provides the protection of
the privacy of health information and regulates the use of patients’ protected health information.

HIPAA covered agencies are obligated to implement safeguards to ensure patients’ or clients’ health
information is protected and is not used for any purpose in violation of the Privacy Rule.

Nurses and nursing assistants should be aware of the laws and regulations that apply to their everyday
work. Laws that apply in person will also apply within the social networking world.

Things to Consider to Safeguard Interactions

The following steps should be considered to help safeguard online interactions:

        Healthcare professionals should be aware of the organizations policies regarding social
         networking and what uses are permitted or prohibited.

        Use secure websites.

        Personal and professional social networking accounts should be kept separate to distinguish clear
         lines between interactions as a healthcare provider and those of a friend.

        Personal social network sites should not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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      Users should be careful when accepting “friend requests” and other invitations to connect with
       other users or groups.

      Avoid using or accepting personal images and videos.

      Do not disclose any individuals identifying information.

      Be aware of and use privacy settings on social networking sites.

      Always Remember: Information posted online is permanent and can not be deleted once shared
       with others.


         1.   Social Networking and the Medical Practice, Guidelines for Physicians, Office Staff
              and Patients, Ohio State Medical Association 2010.

         2.   Social Media Best Practices for Healthcare, G. Hulme 2010.

         3.   Survey: Nurses highest users of social media for career development, M. Merrill 2010.

         4.   The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit, 2010 Centers for Disease Control
              and Prevention.

         5.   Using Social Networking in Healthcare, K. Innocent, MS,RN
              Nursing 2011 Critical Care, July 2010 Vol. 5 #4, Pages 9-10.

         6.   Healthcare Professionals and Social Networking, D. Britt

         7.   Social Networking Sites Present Legal Risks for Health Care Providers, Pepper
              Hamilton LLP 2009.

         8.   Social Networking in Health Care: Communication, collaboration and insights,
              Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2010.

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Post Test: Social Networking                                        Name:________________________

1. Define “Social Networking”

2. List three (3) uses of social networking.




3. List four (4) social networking sites and purpose of the networking.





4. Define (HIPAA) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

5. Describe how social networking could possibly affect HIPAA.

6. List six things one should consider to help safeguard online interactions.







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True or False

7.    T   F     Healthcare workers could face disciplinary action for demonstrating professional and
                appropriate behavior.

8.    T   F     You are as accountable for what you write just as you are for what you say.

9.    T   F     Laws that apply in person do not apply within the social networking world.

10.   T F       It is appropriate for healthcare workers to provide medical advice on personal social
                network sites.

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