Social media has been widely use in our life, it expands to not only for communicate, social society use, it also for education purpose; for instance, some private institutes provide the health care information by uploading video via websites, posting on blogs, and sharing on Facebook or twitter…etc. Siegel (2009) indicated that social media has impacted on hospitals and health care professional significantly, it interacts with patients, market their practices with health care community organizations. Moreover, providers go online to connect with colleagues every day in order to update medical topics, share health tips with patients, attract participants for research studies, and announce exciting developments practices; therefore, this explosion of social networking has built online communities for people to communicate, interact and share information.
- YouTube: A number of hospitals have created channels on YouTube, the video sharing site that allows users to upload videos.
- Facebook, LinkedIn: These social networking sites allow users to create personal pages where they can upload messages, pictures, videos and other content and connect with friends and groups. Facebook has been deemed more social, while LinkedIn’s intent is professional networking.
- Blogs: Doctors and patients are using these online diaries and journals to talk about their medical experiences and share their thoughts on health care issues and treatments.
- Twitter: This micro-blogging service allows users to share their personal home page, where they can be read by followers. Earlier this year, surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit tweeted real-time updates about a surgical procedure; video of the surgery was later posted on the hospital’s YouTube page.
However, health care provider organizations must be aware of certain legal risks. Firstly, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, which provides the protection of the privacy of health information and regulates how certain covered entities use and disclose patients’ protected health information (PHI). HIPAA covered entities are obligated to develop and implement appropriate safeguards designed to ensure that patients’ or clients’ PHI is adequately protected and is not used for any purposes in violation of the Privacy Rule. Furthermore, PHI disclose is permitted, only with is used for advance treatment; but not for patient’s name, address, and more personal detail. The most important circumstance is that, organizations decide what information is going to share on their social network sites, as violations of the Privacy Rule often incur severe civil and criminal penalties. The risk of improper PHI disclosure is especially high where many employees are permitted to post to the sites or where visitors to the sites are permitted to ask detailed, personal questions or add anonymous comments to the postings.
Health Care organizations should increase online presence by considers some steps to help safeguard their interaction on social media:
1. Create Internal Social Media Policies
Providers should enact policies with guidelines and requirements for their employees’ online interactions. These policies should make employees aware of the risks of posting confidential or proprietary information and should set standards for appropriate and professional communications.
2. Include Appropriate Disclaimers
Providers who blog should be sure that their postings cannot be interpreted by visitors as providing diagnosis or treatment, which could violate the prohibition against unlicensed practice of medicine as well as restrictions on corporate practice of medicine. Therefore, all web pages should contain appropriate, noticeable disclaimers informing visitors that the web sites are for informational purposes only and do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Site visitors also should be instructed to contact the physician directly for personal questions or to call 911 for medical emergencies.
3. Enact Networking Safeguards
Facebook and other social networking sites allow users to regulate the security features on their individual pages. Physicians with Facebook pages should consider about when accepting invitations from patients or posting personal images and videos, and all providers should closely monitor, or disable altogether, the comment feature on their YouTube, Facebook and Twitter sites.
Finally, social media effects on health care society continue to grow more valuable quality in education purpose, it exists vital issues to remain aware of related legal risks.
Redding,W. (2011). “Legal Risks of Social Media”. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
Andrew J. Siegel. (2009). “Social Networking Sites Present Legal Risks for Health Care Providers”. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
Burrows,M. (2011). “Legal risks of social networking for business”. Retrieved August 29, 2012.