In a recent article of the HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization) Risk Management section, Social Networking Digital Ethics were discussed for professionals dealing with “clients” and the healthcare issues.

Tips for the use of “social networks” such as: Facebook, Twitter, Blog usage by healthcare providers and insurance carriers were addressed:

Protection: Don’t post information related to a client.

  • Avoid use of pseudonyms or leaving out the names for others may “figure out whom you’re talking about”. (HIPAA violation)
  • Presenting cases at educational conferences- your presentation may end up on YouTube! (Get a signed release from your client).

Privacy: Don’t become “friends” with your clients via Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social networks.

  • Make sure your privacy settings on the social network are set
  • If you allow your clients to follow you on Twitter or a blog, you need to recommend they use a RSS feed to maintain their privacy and protection

Policy: Establish “rules” for your clients and make sure they understand

  • Don’t contact me via Facebook; don’t follow me on Twitter or a blog.
  • Don’t text or have phone conversations when I am communicating with you.

Privacy, Protection, and Policy are the keys to digital ethics and may protect you and your license.

Author: Deborah Goza, MS, RN, COHNS, CCM