I have listed several sample social media policies and communication policies for private practitioners and practices and included the links below, which I consider best practices. If you have a social media or patient communication policy that you would like to share please email Wayne. Wayne can also help you create a policy that is right for your organization.
1. Keely Kolmes, Psy.D.
220 Montgomery Street, Suite 400. • San Francisco, CA 94104 • 415-501-9098 • firstname.lastname@example.org • CA License PSY 21284 http://www.drkkolmes.com
My Private Practice Social Media Policy
This document outlines my office policies related to use of Social Media. Please read it to understand how I conduct myself on the Internet as a mental health professional and how you can expect me to respond to various interactions that may occur between us on the Internet.
If you have any questions about anything within this document, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet. As new technology develops and the Internet changes, there may be times when I need to update this policy. If I do so, I will notify you in writing of any policy changes and make sure you have a copy of the updated policy.
I do not accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). I believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our therapeutic relationship. If you have questions about this, please bring them up when we meet and we can talk more about it.
FANNING As of 4/14/10, I deleted my Facebook Page after concluding that the potential risks of maintaining such a Page outweigh any potential gains. This section has been retained for those wishing to view the original document.
I keep a Facebook Page for my professional practice to allow people to share my blog posts and practice updates with other Facebook users. All of the information shared on this page is available on my website.
You are welcome to view my Facebook Page and read or share articles posted there, but I do not accept clients as Fans of this Page. I believe having clients as Facebook Fans creates a greater likelihood of compromised client confidentiality and I feel it is best to be explicit to all who may view my list of Fans to know that they will not find client names on that list. In addition, the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code prohibits my soliciting testimonials from clients. I feel that the term “Fan” comes too close to an implied request for a public endorsement of my practice.
Note that you should be able to subscribe to the page via RSS without becoming a Fan and without creating a visible, public link to my Page. You are more than welcome to do this.
Go to Dr Kolmes website to download the complete version of the policy
2. INOVA HEALTH SYSTEM
Policy Name: IHS Social Networking/Communications Policy
Effective Date:January 12, 2011
Widespread use of social media (including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) has increased the odds of employer involvement in different kinds of claims and litigation related to employees’ use of it. Confidential information can very quickly reach a wide audience, and defamatory (or at least inflammatory) statements can spread to the general public very rapidly, given the viral and geometric nature of social networking. In addition, because social networking communication is not limited to the workplace environment or equipment, employees are able to participate in global communications on a 24/7 platform from any public or private locale.
In spite of the risks, Inova understands the benefits of employee as well as company sponsored participation in social media. The line that the System must walk involves protecting the organization and its employees from risky online behavior and commentary while not attempting to limit employees’ rights to engage in social networking activity.
The solution is a standalone social networking policy that clearly states Inova’s expectations around employee activities in this area, coupled with frequent reminders to employees about what they may or may not say about their work, their colleagues or their employer. This proposal is not intended to minimize Inova’s current communication or behavior standards and policies; rather, it is designed to augment such policies with specific social networking elements, to underscore Inova’s attention to the importance and risks associated with such a global communication venue.
A social networking policy should include several basic aspects:
1) It should require that the employee make clear that his or her statements and opinions are his or hers alone – not that of Inova or supervisors.
2) The policy should require that employees respect the privacy of others in what they choose to publish, and abide by all existing Inova behavioral and communication policies. This means prohibiting the posting of any patient-related information, strategic considerations, financial information, any trade secrets and other proprietary information of value to Inova.
3) Though employers cannot control their employees’ online conduct away from the office, the legal risks presented by an employee engaging in social networking can be mitigated by developing and emphasizing a specific policy to govern online statements that might affect Inova regardless of official or unofficial commentary.
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Professional Use of Social Media:
The objective of this policy is to ensure employee, students and volunteer use of social networking during work is in compliance with administrative policies, as well as legal, regulatory, privacy regulations in order to prevent harm to Inova Health System and the patients it serves.
The policy extends to specific organizationally sanctioned social networking activity as well as individual activity when representing – directly or indirectly – the organization.
The absence of or lack of explicit reference to a specific tool, site or venue does not limit the extent of the application of this policy. Where no policy or guideline exists, employees should use their professional judgment in accordance with existing policies regarding behavioral standards and Inova’s Code of Conduct, and take the most prudent action possible. Employees should consult their immediate manager or supervisor if they have any questions about the appropriateness of their online activities.
Personal Use of Social Media:
Inova Health System’s social media policy is not intended for internet activities that do not associate or identify a faculty or staff member with Inova Health System, do not use an Inova email addresses, do not discuss Inova Health System and are purely about personal matters.
Personal social media activity and/or professional activity that is not part of official Inova Health System communication, and where you identify yourself as an Inova employee, either through a bio, comments, or by using your Inova email address. The following disclaimer should be added whenever you identify yourself as part of Inova while not officially acting on behalf of the medical center:
The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Inova Health System, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
For example, if you list Inova Health System as your employer on your Facebook info tab, you’ll need to add the disclaimer on the tab as well.
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Inova Health System employees, students and volunteers should at all times use social networking in a manner consistent with the organization’s mission and values, as well as administrative policies, laws, confidentiality standards, and privacy regulations in order to prevent harm to Inova Health System, its affiliates or the patients they serve.
Social Networking is the term used to describe the use of a variety of Internet Web sites that allow users to post materials, comment, reply, rank, rate and/or link themselves to other users. Collectively, these types of services are called “social media” or “Web 2.0.” Social networking includes any usage of Web 2.0 technologies and sites, such as blogging or microblogging (Twitter, Plurk), photo sharing (Flickr, Twitpic), video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo), lifecasting (BlogTV, Qik), status sharing or discussion (Facebook, MySpace), networking (Linkedln, Plaxo) and so forth.
Blogs are Web sites designed to allow users to post written content, photos, videos and hyperlinks of interest for others to view. Entries appear in reverse chronological order. Other users may often reply or comment on these posts, which are also generally indexed and available through search engines. Posting content on these sites is called blogging.
Podcasts are audio or video programs that are created by individuals or organizations and distributed via the Internet. These programs are often produced on a regular schedule, available through a distribution channel (i.e., RSS feeds, iTunes and so forth), and have many similarities to blogs.
3. Laura W. Groshong, LICSW
4026 NE 55th Street Suite C
Seattle, Washington 98105-2254
Policies on Communication with Patients
This document outlines my policies related to communication with patients. Please read it to understand my views of the best way for us to communicate with each other, protect the privacy of the treatment, and focus on our work together.
Psychotherapy is one of the most private endeavors in which anyone can engage. We will be looking at your personal thoughts and feelings in a way that is different from social, even intimate, relationships outside of therapy. The success of this work, supported by the Clinical Social Work Association Code of Ethics, depends in part on the privacy of what we discuss and awareness that our relationship is not part of our social lives, or our professional lives outside of our work together.
To protect the private nature of our work and keep it separate from our lives outside of our work, I encourage patients to not discuss or post any information about our work with anyone else. I will do the same, unless required by law or requested by you, though I do not automatically share information unless we agree that it is necessary. I will discuss any information I share with others about our work with you before doing so, and have you sign a written release of information.
You may find information about my psychotherapy practice at my website,www.lauragroshong.org. I ask that you and I limit acquiring any other information about each other to what we discuss in my office.
Other Online Information
If you do come across personal or professional information about me online or through others, I encourage you to bring it up in our discussions so that we may understand any meaning it has in our work. I will not seek information about you online or through others, and ask that you do the same.
Communication with Others About Our Work
If I need to collaborate with other healthcare professionals as part of my legal responsibilities, or for other reasons, I will discuss what is communicated first, and I encourage you to do the same. While it may feel odd, or even difficult, to keep the discussions that we have private from others, my experience is that it promotes the best results in our work.
Thank you for respecting these policies. I welcome your thoughts and feelings about them.