This post is more of a ‘what not to do, than what to do’. To be clear, from the start – I am a proponent of social media as a healthcare marketing communications medium. Social media platforms are used by many disease and condition focused organizations – from research and scientific communities to support and education organizations as well as manufacturers and makers of healthcare products and physicians and providers of healthcare services.
Social media (SM) platforms are vastly more efficient when communicating with large numbers of people, because it is just plain faster. I believe that one-size does not fit all – the goals of the communication and the intended audience must determine the platform, and that a SM program is most effective if focused rather than scattershot.
I am a big fan of SM platforms that facilitate two-way communication, a.k.a. sharing. Some of the richest intelligence results in the exchange of questions and answers, clarifying facts and dispelling fiction, and proposing of ideas and challenging of status quo – particularly in healthcare. In other words – lots of ‘engagement’ by the host of the SM portal and individuals visiting the portal can lead to very good things.
However – yes there is a BUT; protected health information (PHI) sometimes referred to as personal health information, should be, well both of those things – protected and personal!
As the jingle goes – “what goes on the internet stays on the internet” should sound alarm bells in the mind of the misguided individual who shares their PHI on social media platforms. Never mind that few of us want to know the nitty-gritty details of every little physical malady one suffers, the bigger issue is that sharing of all things protectable and personal puts the individual at great risk of prejudice, predatory practices and exploitation.
PHI is best treated with the same care as ones’ SS#, unlisted telephone number, bank account passwords and if you are a woman – weight! It’s personal – protect it!
(C) 2013 pH Consulting. All rights reserved.