QStudent#2: Social Media & Patient Confidentiality

Many believe that social media sites are only limited to Facebook and Twitter, and while these are two of the most common platforms, that is not the case. The Merriam-Webster definition of social media is “forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content, such as videos” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Patient confidentiality is of utmost importance in healthcare. It is what drives our HIPAA laws. Never post any stories, good, bad or indifferent, from clinical rotations or work on any social media site. It is extremely easy for a user to learn of a situation, know your clinical site or place of employment, and find confidential information about the patient(s).  Breaking any of the HIPAA laws can result in heavy fines, expulsion from nursing school, the loss of your license, loss of employment, and the possibility of jail time.

Always be careful and T.H.I.N.K. …

T: is it true?

H: is it helpful?

I: is it inspiring?

N: is it necessary?

K: is it kind?

…. before you post!

The question is: why do you think it is important to protect patient confidentiality and never post any stories or comments, even those that have happy endings, from clinical rotations or work on social media sites? Share your thoughts with us!

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