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4 Reasons to Ban Social Media in Your Hospital

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, August 5, 2013

Like UMMC, Baylor Health began to block social media in 2005 during the rise of MySpace. Leadership was fearful of the powerful draw of social media and its implications on productivity and patient privacy, says Howland.  

"We're living in an age of transparency, and blocking social media is a sign of distrust that doesn't sit well," says Ashley Howland, social media manager at Baylor Health.

Howland recently participated in a HealthLeaders Media webcast about building an appropriate and measurable social media strategy, where she discusses employees being ambassadors of a brand's message. "[Unblocking social media] is a statement for employees that you trust them to use these tools responsibly."

2. You don't care about patient experience

"The fastest, simplest way to stay close to everything you care about," –Twitter

By blocking social media, healthcare organizations also ban patients from everything they care about. That's not a positive message for an industry that is increasingly more focused on patient experience, and it could send patients to a nearby competitor.

"Our guest Wi-Fi access went through our same network, so visitors and patients were facing the same blocking as employees were," says Bennett. "That was a big patient dissatisfier when we did surveys, and it was also a big motivator to make the switch. Our patients demanded it, and at these vulnerable moments in their lives, they needed it to connect with their support system."

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3 comments on "4 Reasons to Ban Social Media in Your Hospital"


Ed (8/7/2013 at 3:30 PM)
It only took them six years!!!! Such progressive organizations.

Kathi Browne (8/6/2013 at 3:03 PM)
These are excellent reasons to ban social sites and illustrated brilliantly by hospitals that implemented them, like um... who were they now?, uh... their names aren't coming to me now... I guess reason #5 might be: You want to slip under the radar and remain relatively unknown.

Christina Thielst (8/5/2013 at 4:04 PM)
These are great reasons to ban social media in your hospital. Unfortunately, if this environment exists, it probably isn't a good place for me to work or to go for healthcare services.