This post by Paul Levy is interesting. He comments on a Boston hospital that has shut down employee access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The administration cites violations of the hospitals electronic policy and potential HIPAA violations.
But Paul Levy, CEO of the Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess, says ‘not in my house.’
But is shutting out social media such a bad idea? Is there ever a time when it’s a good idea to keep healthcare employees a little disconnected? Whether or not the prohibition of social media in a hospital is appropriate depends upon who’s house you’re talking about. While I’m not privy to the inner workings of the Beth Israel Deaconess, I would venture to guess that Mr. Levy has created the appropriate measures to insure social media is used in a safe and constructive way. For a hospital behind the curve, however, stopping to regroup may be the right thing.
While the dangers of inappropriate use of social media in a medical setting may be obvious to some, I would suggest that it isn’t the case with the typical 21-year-old employee. Real time connection between the hospital and the world comes with real risk. Irrespective of how strongly we may believe in importance of social media, the confidence and safety of patients is priority one. And regarding the cited Boston hospital, I think that until the right measures are in place I too would pull the plug.
Guidelines for the safe and appropriate use of social media in the health arena are the foundation for its wide acceptance. Privacy infractions stemming from casual adoption will only embolden the naysayers. The transition to real-time socialization in healthcare will come. Every hospital will come to the table on their own terms.