Does your hospital allow or block access to social media?

This new survey by Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media wants to find out so it can prepare a white paper and toolkit based on the findings.

Hospitals have a disjointed attitude when it comes to accessing social media.

Ed Bennett, an advisory board member for Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, bemoans the “blocking versus unblocking debate” at many hospitals that can pit the marketing department against the hospital board, or its IT and legal departments.

“There are a lot of hospitals that invest money and resources into their social media sites to reach their communities, but then they block them for their staff,” Bennett says. “It tells the staff, ‘We don’t trust you.’ It sends the wrong message.”

Moreover, he says, it seems to discredit social media as a communication platform.

“It’s just like saying, ‘Yeah, the telephone is great, but we’re not going to give you one at your desk because you’ll talk to your friends all day.’ We’re just going through another cycle.”

Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media is trying to address the issue by conducting a survey. Bennett, who is the chairman of the employee access task force, is leading the efforts.

In the online survey, each hospital communicator is asked whether his or her hospital opens or closes social media access for employees. The survey takes about five minutes to complete and is open to any hospital communicator.

So far, 130 people have responded. Ideally, Bennett is hoping for a sample size of 400. At this point, there isn’t a deadline for closing the survey.

Once results are final, the team will create a white paper and a toolkit to help hospital communicators make the case for unblocking social media.

Bennett wants to see which social media sites are getting blocked the most. He’d also like to know whether the blocking of social media is an IT, HR, or compliance issue. This information will give him a better sense of the obstacles that communicators are facing.

The white paper is expected to be about 2,000 words, featuring the voices of five to 10 people who are also working on the project. The toolkit is intended help hospital communicators to respond to certain departments that are blocking social media. Both the white paper and toolkit are free.

Lee Aase, director of Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, says this survey is an example of the kind of contributions it wants to make within the health network. By banding together, MCCSM wants to tackle these types of issues hospital communicators deal with.

“By gathering the most data, it will help us understand the reasons why employees are blocked from accessing social media,” Aase says.

To take the survey, click here.

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