Social media, centered on user interaction, is the over-arching term that may take the form of social networks, social news, wikis, comment sections on social sites, videos, podcasts, and blogs.
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.
This policy has been developed to ensure that actions taken on social media 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.
This policy applies to all affiliated personnel (including faculty, staff, and residents) and students of the Boonshoft School of Medicine, including contractors acting on its behalf, and covers all interaction on 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 Code, HIPAA and Responsible Use of Information Technology.
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 must have prior 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.
Postings within social network sites are subject to the same professionalism 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 follow these guidelines:
- 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 or medical record numbers.
- 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 with in 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.
- Ensure that all content adds value, is positive, constructive and promotes civil conversation.
- If in doubt about a post, refrain from posting.
- Prior to posting, review content for accuracy, brand guidelines, and correct grammar and spelling.
- Those working for or employed by BSOM are subject to the social media policy of any clinical affiliates where they are engaged as a student or faculty member.
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.
Revised and approved by Executive Committee 6/13/2019