April 14, 2011
A question during a presentation on social media in healthcare about the appropriate use of social media in patient care areas. Social media can be an effective tool for engaging patients online. But what about the use of social media in patient care areas. Should nurses, physicians and other healthcare providers be online interacting with colleagues or family during active patient care? With busy clinics and busier hospital units and greater concern about patient safety, is there time for what administrators might view as a distraction? Would you want your nurse to be updating Facebook while you are waiting for post-op pain medication? Yet there may be some advantages to direct caregivers utilizing social media. How about the oncology nurse interacting with the cancer patient discharged last week? Or nurses within a hospital exchanging ideas about improving patient safety? Yet stories of abusive use of social media in health care persist.
Clear answers are hard to come by. Each hospital will need to develop its own policy and implementation of that policy in the use of social media in patient care environments. But when face time with the patient is the highest priority, social media may need to take a back seat.
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