Health Care Communication with Social Media
May 13, 2013
HEALTH CARE COMMUNICATION WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
The demand for transparency and consumerism in health care has opened the doors for the involvement of social media. There is an increasing use of social media for communication between consumers and health care providers. The use of social media has advantages as well as disadvantages. Medical information can be disseminated quickly, over distances, and cost effectively through the use of social media like Facebook Pages. Marketing of health care products and services is made possible through the use of ...view middle of the document...
7). An important piece of advice for communication between providers and consumers is for the provider to remember that social media is a two-way street. Comments and feedback should not be ignored. The use of social media can offer educational benefits to consumers. They are able to learn about the health care provider and any related business or background.
The policy of the AMA addressing online professionalism led to the report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs which states “The internet and tools such as social networking sites… provide a medium for communication that is faster and farther reaching than other media: (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), 2010, p. 2, para. 4). Social networking communication differs from other forms in the “speed of communication, reach, searchability, and the capacity for content to endure” (CEJA, 2010, Ethical Analysis, p. 3). A single inappropriate post can reach millions.
Media and social networking can change communication in health care in many ways. One important way is how it could affect the health care providers’ responsibility to reporting the behavior of colleagues. Health care providers should not only self-regulate, they are also obligated to report unprofessional or unethical behavior of their colleagues (CEJA, 2010, p. 4).
Social media communication has led to confidentiality violations by individuals who have posted photos or information of patients. There can be a tendency to have difficulty with maintaining confidentiality over social media due to the fact that “internet users often experience a lack of inhibition and feeling of anonymity” (CEJA, 2010, p. 5). Social media sites are not private and this fact is paramount to the maintenance of confidentiality. There are mistaken beliefs that can lead to HIPAA violations which include the beliefs that posts are private; that once a post is posted it can be deleted; that a post about a patient is alright as long as the patient’s name is not mentioned; and that if something is posted by a patient it is alright to share that post or comment on it.
Facebook was founded in 2004 with the mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected (Facebook, 2013, About). According to a PowerPoint presentation from Amy Rushby (2013), as of December 2012 there were reported to be over one billion active monthly Facebook users. Businesses, organizations, and brands can use Facebook Pages, as opposed to personal profile pages, to communicate to the public. They can promote, feature, advertise, offer service, and educate through this channel of social media.
Facebook uses a particular algorithm called Edgerank to determine what and how high up on the news feed information is displayed. “Any action that happens within Facebook is an Edge” according to WhatisEdgeRank.com, (2013). The sum of the edges is made up of Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. The...