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Are you crossing the line on social media?

With tensions high these days, social media can be a minefield — with potentially explosive consequences.

Tensions are high with COVID-19’s continued spread, charged street protests and a looming general election. In recent months, Asante has had a growing number of complaints from social media users responding to offensive or medically controversial comments by posters who work at Asante. This follows a national trend of reporting offensive comments to a poster’s employer, which risks negative consequences for both the employee and the organization.

While all employees are free to voice their opinions on social media, those whose profiles are associated with Asante are expected to abide by our organization’s social media policy.

Language posted on social media can negatively affect patients, agents and the community’s perception of Asante’s delivery of care, treatment and reputation. Asante is committed to ensuring that the use of social media upholds our Values and dedication to promoting a positive and respectful work environment and providing excellent care to our patients and surrounding communities.

Even social media posters who do not cite Asante as their employer in their profiles but mention in a post they work for Asante have been the subject of complaints by social media users.

“There are potential consequences for egregious behaviors,” said Andrea TenBrink, director of Compliance and Asante Privacy Officer. “Employees could face disciplinary action, including termination for their activity on social media.  Each reported incident is carefully reviewed, but the risk of a corrective action is there and education on our social media policy is critical for our entire workforce.”

Asante has guidelines for how to conduct yourself within the social media environment:

  • Maintain patient privacy and do not share confidential information about Asante.
  • Write in the first person. When your connection to Asante is apparent, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Asante. In those circumstances, you should include this disclaimer: “The views expressed on this site are my personal opinions and do not reflect the views of Asante.” Consider adding this language in an “About me” section of your blog or social media profile.
  • Your social media activities should meet Asante’s high standards of professional conduct. Be professional, use good judgment and be honest and accurate in what you say. Unprofessional language or behavior reflects poorly on Asante.
  • Be respectful of patients, colleagues, business partners and Asante’s competitors.
  • The use of social media must not interfere with your work commitments.
  • Asante strongly discourages “friending” patients on social media. Staff members in patient care roles generally should not initiate or accept friend requests except in unusual circumstances, such as when an in-person friendship predates the treatment relationship.

“While the First Amendment protects speech from government censorship, that does not mean that employers cannot hold its employees to a particular standard of conduct,” said Robert Begg, vice president of Human Resources. “Respect for all is one of our guiding values that makes us a great place to work and safe place to seek care. Please consider that when considering what you post for our community members to see.”

Twitter

FYI, these aren’t real people.

Best practices
  • Do not list Asante in your profile’s employment section.
  • Do not share health advice that is contrary to recommendations from Asante and public health agencies.
  • Do not reference events that happen at work, which could reveal your place of employment and violate patient and co-worker privacy.
  • Do not share or post any patient- related information (including photos) on social media.
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