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The Army ROTC is part of a government agency and must adhere to the following policies and guidelines as well as Wright State social media policies.


Boonshoft School of Medicine Social Media Policy

Online social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have taken on increasing importance in both personal and professional life. These social media offer unique opportunities for people to interact and build relationships and have great potential to enhance interpersonal and professional communication. As health care professionals with unique social and ethical obligations, medical students, resident physicians, and medical school faculty must be keenly aware of the public nature of social media and the permanent nature of its content.

The Boonshoft School of Medicine has implemented a Social Media Policy to ensure that actions taken on the social Internet by members of the Boonshoft School of Medicine community reflect the school's core values of professionalism, compassion, accountability, integrity, honor, acceptance of diversity, and commitment to ethical behavior.

Scope & Definitions

This policy applies to all employees and students of the Boonshoft School of Medicine, including contractors acting on its behalf, and covers all interaction with social media. It incorporates all Wright State University and Boonshoft School of Medicine policies relating to professional conduct, ethical behavior, and online communications, including but not limited to the Boonshoft School of Medicine Code of Faculty Behavior, the Medical Student Professional Honor CodeHIPAA, and Responsible Use of Computing Resources. Students and employees should follow these guidelines whether participating in social networks personally or professionally or using personal or university-owned computing equipment when doing so.

The terms social media, social web, and social networks comprise Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information based on user participation and user-generated content. Examples include social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, social news sites like Digg, Twitter, Youtube, and other sites that are centered on user interaction. Social media content may take the form of blogs, social networks, social news, wikis, videos, and podcasts.

Official School Business

Only university employees or students authorized by the medical school administration may use social media to portray themselves as representing the medical school or to conduct official business in the name of the school or one of its units. Use of any social media in an official context should have the approval of the school's Office of Marketing and Communications or the Office of the Dean. University or school logos may not be used on any social media site without the express written approval of Marketing and Communications.

Individual Use

Postings within social network sites are subject to the same professional standards as any other personal interactions. Students and employees of the Boonshoft School of Medicine should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate. Professionalism standards are outlined for students in the Student Policy Guide and for faculty in the Code of Faculty Behavior.

Students and employees of the Boonshoft School of Medicine who participate in a social media site, whether in a personal or official capacity, should:

  • Take steps to ensure that they have implemented appropriate privacy settings to avoid inadvertent dissemination of personal information to audiences outside their control. This includes making an effort to ensure that you are not "tagged" in images posted by others that might be seen as portraying you in an unprofessional manner.
  • Include a disclaimer with any posting that relates to their role as a member of the Boonshoft School of Medicine community clearly stating that all opinions belong to the poster alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Boonshoft School of Medicine or Wright State University.
  • Refrain from violating standards of patient confidentiality or communicating about patients in a manner that could in any way convey a patient's identity, even accidentally. Patients with rare diagnoses, unusual physical appearances and/or in specific locations within the community may be easily identifiable even in the absence of names and medical record numbers.1
  • Not express defamatory comments about employees, students, health professionals, or patients associated with the medical school or its affiliates, post images that would denigrate anyone they come into contact within the course of carrying out their roles as students or employees of the school, or depict other students or employees engaging in unprofessional behavior.
  • Not interact with or "friend" individuals through social networks when they are or have been in a physician-patient or similar relationship.

Responsibility

University administrators may look up profiles on social networking sites and may use the information in informal or formal proceedings without providing notice to the individuals involved. The same standards of professional conduct apply to social networking as to any other ethical or professional breach up to and including dismissal from the school or termination of employment.

Summary

Regardless of whether students, faculty, staff, or residents are conducting official school or personal business, they are ambassadors for the school and the medical profession. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying oneself as WSU medical student or employee, those affiliated with the school portray an impression of the institution for those who have access to their social network profiles or blogs. Each member of the Boonshoft community should ensure sure that all content he or she is associated with is consistent with his or her position at the school and with the school's values and professional standards.


Notes

  1. "If the information that is shared is generic enough that nobody can identify a patient in the course of reading (Berkman, Massachusetts Medical Law Report, Social Networking 101 for Physicians, 2009), the post is permitted and is a valuable tool for physicians to share information and skills with other physicians faster than ever before." From "Social Networking and the Medical Practice: Guidelines for Physicians, Office Staff and Patients," published by the Ohio State Medical Association.


Appendix

The American Medical Association adopted the following policy on Nov. 8, 2010

AMA Policy: Professionalism in the Use of Social Media

The Internet has created the ability for medical students and physicians to communicate and share information quickly and to reach millions of people easily. Participating in social networking and other similar Internet opportunities can support physicians' personal expression, enable individual physicians to have a professional presence online, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, provide opportunity to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communication. Social networks, blogs, and other forms of communication online also create new challenges to the patient-physician relationship. Physicians should weigh a number of considerations when maintaining a presence online:

  1. Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online.
  2. When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently. Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.
  3. If they interact with patients on the Internet, physicians must maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship in accordance with professional ethical guidelines just, as they would in any other context.
  4. To maintain appropriate professional boundaries physicians should consider separating personal and professional content online.
  5. When physicians see content posted by colleagues that appears unprofessional they have a responsibility to bring that content to the attention of the individual so that he or she can remove it and/or take other appropriate actions. If the behavior significantly violates professional norms and the individual does not take appropriate action to resolve the situation, the physician should report the matter to appropriate authorities.
  6. Physicians must recognize that actions online and content posted may negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, may have consequences for their medical careers (particularly for physicians-in-training and medical students), and can undermine public trust in the medical profession.

Approved by the Executive Committee, May 12, 2011


Wright State University-Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health

Digital Devices and Social Media Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to help the College of Nursing and Health (CoNH) maintain an environment that is conducive to learning and to protect patient privacy and the integrity of clinical and classroom experiences. This policy is subordinate to applicable laws.

Definitions

Social media is defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Examples include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, and SnapChat. 

Procedures

  • Digital devices, other than those used for note-taking or accessing class-related information, are typically prohibited in classroom and clinical settings. Faculty members may modify this policy as course needs dictate. Specific agencies/hospitals may have different rules, which students must observe during clinical experiences.
  • Students should not communicate confidential, privileged, or proprietary information, particularly including information protected by HIPAA and FERPA. Distributing confidential, privileged, or proprietary information may be illegal and unethical, and may result in disenrollment from the College and referral to law enforcement / regulatory agencies. 
  • Comments or photographs that relate to clinical experiences may directly or inadvertently identify patients and/or patient medical information or other protected information. Students should avoid commenting about or posting photographs related to clinical experiences. Such comments or posts may also violate the College's and the student's contractual agreements with the clinical site, in which case the student may be removed and barred from the clinical site. 
  • Respect copyright and fair use: Always consider copyright and intellectual property rights when utilizing social media sites. Adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Avoid Using Wright State University logos for endorsements: The University logos (usually including CONH students in uniform where the CONH logo is visible) are protected by copyright and trademark law, and generally may not be used for personal or commercial purposes. Unauthorized use of the University's logos may be illegal, and may subject students to legal action. Further, such uses may violate the Code of Student Conduct. 
  • Students should obtain consent before creating and posting photographs, videos, or audio recordings of others. Faculty members have intellectual property rights in the content of their courses (including slides and handouts), and may restrict the right to photograph, film, or record audio during class, and to re-distribute in-class materials for non-academic purposes. Disregarding faculty instructions regarding in-class recordings may violate the Code of Student Conduct. It is almost always inappropriate, unprofessional, and unethical to create video or audio recordings during clinical experiences, as this frequently depicts or reveals confidential patient identities or information, and usually violates policies at the clinical site. 
  • Terms of service: Be mindful of the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.
  • "Friending": WSU-CONH strongly discourages students from "friending" faculty and clinical agency personnel unless there is a genuine personal relationship that pre-dates the student/instructor or instructor/nurse relationship. Acts contrary to this policy can create the perception of impropriety or partiality. 
  • Students who obtain contact information for a patient or a patient's family for healthcare-related purposes must not use social media, texting, emailing, or other forms of communication with or about a patient or patient's family member for purposes not related to healthcare, or for any purposes other than fulfilling the student's assigned clinical responsibilities. Be mindful that "friending" patients may violate professional boundaries and/or confidentiality. 
  • Think (and rethink) before sharing on social media sites: Privacy is very hard to maintain, and never guaranteed, when utilizing social media sites. Before posting anything, think about the consequences of what would happen in the event that it becomes widely known (for example printed in a newspaper, posted on a billboard, or "going viral" on the internet) and how that could impact both the student and the University. Search engines can retrieve posts years after they are created, and communications can be forwarded or copied. If the student posting would not speak the comment in class or to a member of the media, think about if it should be posted online. Remember that many employers now check social media histories of prospective employees, and may not respond favorably to a prospective employee who is indiscreet on social media. 
  • Be respectful and professional: Consider how a social media posting will reflect on the student, the University, and the CONH. Students should avoid posts that are obscene, defamatory, profane, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to another person or entity, including patients, families, faculty, staff, fellow students, and agency personnel. Students are expected to adhere to professional standards including the ANA Code of Ethics. These types of communications, particularly those that amount to criminal harassment, sexual harassment, or threats, frequently lack legal protection, and may result in dismissal from the University or civil/criminal proceedings. 
  • Identify personal views as personal: If a student identifies him/herself as a Wright State University student online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution. For example: "The views expressed on this site are completely my own and do not represent the views or policies of WSU CONH or any of its affiliated clinical agencies." Considering adding this language to the profile or "about me" section.
  • It is inappropriate and may violate class policy, CONH policy, and University policies/codes to access social media sites during clinical, laboratory, or class time. Using social media during clinical time is unprofessional, and may be reflected in the student's clinical grades.
  • Use social media names and URL's that don't identify WSU CONH: Avoid using your WSU email address as your primary contact on social sites. Your social media avatar should not include WSU's name or logo.
  • Avoid providing healthcare advice or provider referrals: WSU CONH doesn't endorse people, products, services, or organizations. If you give or request advice or referrals, clearly indicate that you are not doing so on behalf of WSU or the CONH.
  • Add value to the WSU community with what you post: Be accurate and factual. If you make an error, post the correction immediately within the original post.
  • Students who are aware of any violation of this policy must promptly report the violation to the Dean of the CONH. Failure to report may result in disciplinary proceedings. 
  • Ethical Obligations. The CONH will report social media and/or digital device usage that violates nursing ethics. Violations may result in revocation of a nurse's registration or a State Board of Nursing's refusal to grant registration. 

Violations

  • All complaints regarding possible violations of this policy will be investigated. Consequences for failure to abide by any component of this policy may range from informal reprimand, to failure of a course, to dismissal from the program and referral to Code of Student Conduct or Office of General Counsel. Privacy violations are especially serious: Violations involving protected health information (PHI) will result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. In addition, students may be subject to federal HIPAA fines or prosecutions from the affected individuals or clinical agencies.
  • Financial penalties: Students may be required to reimburse WSU CONH if the university incurs legal costs related to an inappropriate social media posting.
  • Personal liability: Defamation may prompt civil proceedings by the injured party, which may result in an award of money damages against the student, sometimes including punitive damages and attorney fees. 
  • Additional consequences: WSU-CONH may have mandatory reporting obligations to licensing and credentialing bodies.

Disclaimer: WSU and the CONH are not responsible for postings on social media as referenced in the above policy.

Rationale: While the use of cellular phones and other digital devices can provide educational benefit to students, their use must not disrupt the learning or patient care environment. In addition, the increasing use of these devices for accessing and posting information on social media sites must promote a professional image that does not violate policies related to protection of sensitive and confidential information. 

Related Policies

Wright Way 2001; OBN Program Policy 4723-5-12; WSU Code of Conduct, HIPAA, FERPA; CoNH Testing Policy, 

Resources

ANA Code of Ethics, NCSBN White Paper: A Nurse's Guide to Use of Social Media, ANA Social Networking Principles Toolkit

APPROVED BY AND DATE

UG Curr, 05/14/12, 01/16/19; Revised Faculty Assembly, 08/27/14, 4/24/19   

Reviewed Fall 2019