Blog

Social Media

Tags: Social Media

17.01.2017

Social media is a way for practices to advertise their services to the public, and target new patients. Practices should try to encourage existing patients to visit their social media sites and provide reviews.

Social media is a two-way street and provides easy access for the general public to find employees personal profiles. Employers need to be aware that the online reputation of the dental practice could be compromised by employees. This may occur through employee’s who do not understand the power of social media and who may not take care to limit what they say online.

Social Media Sites

There is an ever growing list of social media sites.

The common social media sites which may be used by practices include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

All of these websites offer different advantages to aid in promoting the practice.

Posting Online

Staff members must remain professional, respectful, and maintain patient’s confidentiality and privacy at all times.

When creating a post online, on behalf of the practice, ensure to uphold and reflect the practices mission and values. You should also take into consideration the values of your dental profession.

Employees should refrain from sharing their personal feelings and/or beliefs.

Policy

Practices should devise a policy, which is to be provided during the induction process. The policy should set out clear guidelines of social media, and refrain employees from actions that may damage the practices reputation. This policy should apply to the practices social media account, and any employee’s personal social media accounts.

Employees should be made aware that their responsibility to the dental practices does not end when they finish a working day. The public’s perception of the practice may be influenced based on the employee’s behaviour on social media or in public. The employee’s behaviour may be seen as a direct reflection on their work.

The policy should outline an appropriate disciplinary procedure for staff members who violate the terms of social media use. The disciplinary procedure may include contract termination.

Practices may consider adding the following points into the policy:

  • Never disclose personal information which may identify a patient on social media. This information includes any names and/or date of birth, appointment dates or treatment required/carried out. Treatment images may be disclosed on social media or the practice website with the appropriate consent.
  • Never post comments which show the practice, patients or colleagues in a negative frame.
  • Do not discuss legal issues associated with the practice i.e. fraud, theft, GDC or NHS cases
  • Never use any offensive or disrespectful language. This includes any comments or terms offensive for the following reasons: racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, age, gender and/or disabilities. All persons are entitled to their own opinions; however the online discussions about controversial issues should respect and reflect the practices values.

GDC Standard

4.2 You must protect the confidentiality of patients’ information and only use it for the purpose for which it was given

4.2.3 You must not post any information or comments about patients on social networking or blogging sites. If you use professional social media to discuss anonymised cases for the purpose of discussing best practice you must be careful that the patient or patients cannot be identified.

By Charlotte Cash