Patients and Visitors go to

Best Practices

Listen first. Observe before you engage. Listen to the conversations, view the content. See what people are talking about and what they're interested in.

Think it through. Have your goals and purpose of participation. Know how you will add value. Make sure you're choosing the most relevant platform.

Add value to the discussion. Social media at its best is an exchange of helpful or interesting information. In order to be accepted in the community, bring content of value.

Adhere to Vanderbilt University compliance requirements, policies and guidelines. This includes but is not limited to HIPAA and the disclosure of proprietary information. 

Respect professional boundaries. Vanderbilt University Medical Center and most professional healthcare societies and associations discourage "friending" patients on Facebook and similar social networking platforms. The reason is that these platforms are most often used to connect with family and friends; this can easily blur professional boundaries that should exist between patients and their healthcare providers. Instead, encourage them to "like" and engage with Vanderbilt Health on our main medical center Facebook page. An exception would be when a personal, "real-life" friendship existed prior to the patient relationship.  

Be respectful. Don't post material that is profane, libelous, obscene, threatening, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory or embarrassing to anyone.

Abide by the law. Don't post content that violates any state or federal laws. Get permission to use or reproduce copyrighted content.

Be yourself. Social media is all about transparency and connecting personally. Don’t hide your identity or affiliations. Show your personality.

Use a disclaimer. If you participate in online media and you reveal your affiliation with Vanderbilt or your content has something to do with your work here, state that your opinions are your own and do not represent the views of the organization.

Be relevant and accurate. This is one reason why you should listen before joining, and continue to listen. Be sure your content and communications are relevant to those with whom you are engaging. Make sure your posts are accurate.

Don’t be argumentative. These platforms allow for opinions and civil discussions, not rude and hateful comments to spur arguments.

What you say can and will be used against you. Everything you say or do online is likely to be stored forever, even if you delete it.

It's not a one-way conversation. Social media is not a place for you to talk without listening, commenting and responding to the conversations around you. Engage with others.

Use your best judgment. If you are unsure about your post, discuss content with your manager before commenting.