Social Media Use: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

June 13, 2023

ISMIE resource provides guidance on how to reduce social media activity risk

The Good: Social media can be an effective communication channel for physicians and healthcare professionals for educating patients and growing a practice. A recent study reported on how social media has been used effectively by healthcare professionals to provide accurate medical information and to dispel myths and disinformation during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bad: Social media sites are not HIPAA compliant and if not used carefully, sharing on social media carries the risk of unintended release of confidential patient information.
The Ugly: Without a carefully thought-out plan, social media activity can potentially anger your patients, negatively impact your reputation and even lead to professional discipline.
ISMIE provides the social media resource you need that outlines potential risks when you’re using these sites in a professional capacity. Some steps for mitigating risk include:
  • Set a policy for your practice and follow it. Be sure to create rules about what can and cannot be shared on social media, and share these guidelines with all staff.
  • Don’t discuss patients on social media. Keep all conversations about patients confidential and avoid discussing details on any unsecured electronic device, including emails and texts.
  • Assume all social media activity is public, recorded and potentially discoverable.

  • Know what you can control. Remember, you can’t control what people say online, but you can control how you react.
For more information and sample social media policies, access the Social Media and Electronics Guidance for Physicians and their Practices from our friends at the Illinois State Medical Society.
If you have questions, please contact the Risk Management Division by email.
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