Social Media: A Blessing or a Curse for Providers?

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Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube…use of social media is growing by leaps and bounds. You can’t go a day without hearing about social media, whether it’s on the television or in a magazine or you are actively using social media. Health-related social media is no different, and for many providers, the potential value of getting their information online is enormous. Before bravely exploring the social media frontier, what do you need to know? After all, it’s a jungle out there!

Employment Issues

Social media challenges both employers and employees. Even if an employer prohibits social media, either in part or whole, at work, employees still frequently post comments, stories, and images that pertain to work or their employer in their off-hours. An inappropriate post can create problems (legal or otherwise) for both employers and affected employees. Inappropriate posts (or pictures) may be publicly searchable, leading to embarrassing incidents. Given the risks, as well as the potential benefit of positive stories shared about a company, employers should develop policies on social media use, appoint appropriate “watchdogs,” and monitor compliance with the policy.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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