Is your organization still developing a social media policy or looking to revise the one you have now?
Ed Bennett writes a blog, "Found in Cache: Social media resources for health care professionals." On his site he includes a Healthcare Social Media Policies List, with policies from a number of hospitals and health care organizations.
We picked five policies we found easy to read and understand, and in some cases pretty engaging, to share with you here. We've picked highlights. If you want to read the words the attorneys probably insisted be added to the policies, or to read more about the information we included here, visit Bennett's blog.
We wouldn't be surprised if you'll find some things here you can use in your policy. The attorneys, though—we can't help you with them.
Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System
We really liked Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System CIO Will Weider's blog.
In it, he says the policy is a "draft"—and that was back in 2009. Yes, organizations do take their time with things of these sorts, don't they?
What we liked was that though Weider posted the legalese version of the policy, he also posted another version, "an employee guidance which is intended to be an easier read in plain English."
We think you'll agree these are written in plain, easy-to-understand language.
- Don't betray our patients' trust (and don't get arrested).
- Don't get fired.
- Don't cheat your employer.
- Don't think your Facebook posts are private.
- Don't jeopardize your reputation and/or future employment opportunities.
- Don't alienate your co-workers.
- Ministry loves the Internet.
- We need a tech-savvy workforce.
- The best advertising used to be word-of-mouth. Now it is word-of-keyboard.
- Share your knowledge.
Favorite morsel of wisdom: (Don't alienate your co-workers.) Remember, you have to work with these people. Use common sense. Remember what your mother told you about gossip.
Danbury Health Systems
One of the things we noticed as we looked at these social media policies is that some of the organizations just don't seem to have kept up with technology. The policies don't cover the many types of social media in which people engage today.
Even so, the hospitals had some good pointers within their policies. Here's some of what we found about blogging in Danbury's policy.
Danbury offers these guidelines to employees who "participate in personal blogging":
- You're personally responsible for your posts.
- If your blog post has something to do with work, make it clear that the views expressed in the blog are solely your personal views.
- Respect copyright, fair use, and financial disclosure laws.
- Do not disclose confidential or proprietary Danbury Health System information.
- Do not cite or reference business associates or co-workers without their approval.
- Ask your manager if you have any questions about what is appropriate to include in your blog.
- Be respectful to the company, our employees, our customers, our partners and affiliates, and others (including our competitors).
Favorite morsel of wisdom: Internet postings that are authorized by Danbury Health Systems must comply with the Information Technology Group—Internet Standards policy. (Oh, yeah, that thing. Seems like every organization has one, but does anyone ever read those anyway?)
Kaiser Permanente has six pages of policy related to social media, but it's clearly written, nicely "chunked," and in a font big enough to read. Those of us who have served on way too many information technology project teams may wish it wasn't chunked like this—4.0, 4.1, 4.2 …—but, all in all, we liked it.
We especially liked these clear-cut blogger rules:
- Identify yourself.
- Take responsibility.
- Respect copyright laws.
- Be yourself.
- Speak in the first person.
- Add value.
- Be accurate.
- Know your fellow bloggers.
- Don't pick fights.
- Be the first to respond to your own mistakes.
- Use your best judgment.
- Be professional.
- Be mindful of the world's longer memory.
Favorite morsel of wisdom: One of Kaiser Permanente's core values is "trust and personal responsibility in all relationships." As a company, Kaiser Permanente trusts—and expects—its workforce to exercise personal responsibility whenever they blog or participate in any social media medium.
Mayo's rules are clear and precise, and we really like the "main thing Mayo employees need to remember."
- Follow all applicable Mayo Clinic policies.
- Write in the first person.
- If you communicate in the public internet about Mayo Clinic or Mayo Clinic-related matters, disclose your connection with Mayo Clinic and your role at Mayo.
- Use a personal email address (not your mayo.edu address) as your primary means of identification.
- If your blog, posting, or other online activities are inconsistent with, or would negatively impact Mayo Clinic's reputation or brand, you should not refer to Mayo Clinic, or identify your connection to Mayo Clinic.
- Be respectful and professional to fellow employees, business partners, competitors, and patients.
- Ensure that your blogging and social networking activity does not interfere with your work commitments.
- Ask the Department of Public Affairs if you have any questions about what is appropriate to include in your blog or social networking profile.
Favorite morsel of wisdom: The main thing Mayo employees need to remember about blogs and social networking sites is that the same basic policies apply in these spaces as in other areas of their lives.
We liked its approach. Vanderbilt has a really nifty social media toolkit, which included 13 best practices.
Here is a sampling from the list of 13:
- Listen first.
- Think it through.
- Add value to the discussion.
- Be respectful.
- Be relevant and accurate.
- What you say can and will be used against you… FOREVER.
- Not a one way conversation.
Favorite morsels of wisdom: 13 things to do or not to do. It really is about common sense. (We really liked the "… can and will be used against you …" one!)