We Can But Dare We

Topics: Health care, Health care provider, Patient Pages: 9 (2030 words) Published: July 11, 2015


We Can But Dare We: A Look into the Use of Social Media in Healthcare Sydney Sobocinski
Chamberlain College of Nursing
NR360: Information Systems in Healthcare
September 2014

We Can But Dare We: A Look into the Use of Social Media in Healthcare
In the world today, smartphones are becoming the “norm”, with basic phones becoming nearly obsolete in recent years. Pairing the overwhelming presence of social media with the rise in usage of smartphones brings to light an entirely new set of problems and challenges regarding patient privacy. According to a 2010 study conducted regarding various boards of nursing, 67% of executive officers surveyed reported receiving complaints about nurses misusing social media (Spector & Kappel, 2012). Incidentally, social media use in healthcare has garnered many positive results as well. One study found that 67% of doctors use social media for professional use, and of their followers, 60% of social media users trust posts by their doctors and 55% of users trust posts by hospitals (Skram, n.d.). However, the question remains, with social media does the good outweigh the bad, and how do hospitals foster the good while impeding the bad? HIPAA Regulations

Due to the sensitive nature of the information kept by healthcare providers about their patients, principles were put in place to reduce the risk of breeching patient privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) set national standards and regulations regarding the protection of patients’ privacy and personal health information (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], n.d.). Under The Privacy Rule enacted by HIPAA, protection is governed over all,

‘Individually identifiable health information’ [which] is information, including demographic data, that relates to: the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to the individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual, and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual. (HHS, n.d., p. 2). There are instances outlined in HIPAA that permit a healthcare provider to disclose a patient’s personal health information which include disclosing information to the individual receiving treatment, information for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations, and information for uses and disclosures with opportunity to agree or object, such as in cases in which a patient is incapacitated in the emergency department (HHS, n.d.). Also, disclosure is permitted for incidental use and disclosure and in a limited data set in which all personal identifiers have been removed (HHS, n.d.). Furthermore, personal health information may be disclosed for public interest and benefit activities such as those required by law, those to ensure safety of victims of abuse, information for decedents, information for tissue donation, information for research studies, if there is a serious threat to health or society, and in cases of workers’ compensation (HHS, n.d.). If health information is released in discordance with the rules and regulations set forth by HIPAA, legal action, both civilly and criminally, can be taken against the individual responsible as well as the healthcare organization with which the individual is involved. Advantages of Smartphones and Social Media in Healthcare

Smartphones in the healthcare setting can be very useful both for patients and providers. One advantage of smartphones in the healthcare setting is the overwhelming presence of medical applications that can be accessed and downloaded on smartphones (Wyatt & Krauskopf, 2012). Nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals can quickly access a host of medical reference material straight from their smartphones. Several applications are also available that are useful for...

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Skram, T. (n.d.) 11 health care social media stats to turn heads. Retrieved from: http://whprms.org/11-health-care-social-media-stats-to-turn-heads/
Spector, N., & Kappel D. M. (2012). Guidelines for using electronic and social media: The regulatory perspective. Retrieved from: http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-17-2012/No3-Sept-2012/Guidelines-for-Electronic-and-Social-Media.html
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Wyatt, T. & Krauskopf, P. (2012). E-health and nursing: Using smartphones to enhance nursing practice. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 16(2), 10-14. Retrieved from: http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.devry.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=b6143774-8363-4d2db65e946988e5d7ea%40sessionmgr114&vid=23&hid=126&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=rzh&AN=2011651618
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