When it comes to social media, HIPAA fines are real and can be quite large. Using social media as a practice does of course present some upfront risks, but many fail to remember what their employees are doing online also can hurt the business. As a healthcare organization, it is imperative to address a social media policy with your staff. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 73% of all adults online are using at least one form of social media.
Do you currently know what your employees are posting to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds? Recently, I spoke with a friend about this very issue; as a nurse at a well known healthcare organization in the area, I assumed she would have been addressed by management about a blanket social media policy for the organization. However, when I mentioned this to her, she seemed confused and said, “How does what I post matter?” This seems to be the average response from healthcare employees. Many don’t link the fact that what they are posting could have a negative effect on their employer.
You have likely heard a story from someone or read about a healthcare organization obtaining a fine due to employee interactions on social media. Whether it is an unsolicited photo of a patient or a comment about an interaction with a customer at the office, these types of posts violate HIPAA regulations and can bring about major fines. The best way to combat these fines and penalties is to create an action plan and be proactive with your employees. If you have not done so already, think about creating a social media policy for your employees to sign and adhere to.
There are several great examples of social media policies online that you can work with and adopt as your own. Social media is a great tool, both personally and professionally, just be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid any blunders!
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