By Susan J. Gauntt, BS, RT(R)
Tosca Bridges Taylor presented her version of “Scared Straight” when she spoke on the topic of “Digital Imaging and Social Media: What Happens in the Hospital Doesn’t Always Stay in the Hospital” at the AHRA Spring Conference. Not only our jobs, but our careers can be on the line if we get the urge to post anything related to our work on social media of any kind.
There can be positive impacts and benefits from social media, such as employment opportunities through LinkedIn, or networking with colleagues and professional development through AHRA or ASRT sites. Sites available for professional reference, such as Radiopaedia.org, are helpful to all of us, so the value of some social media sites cannot be ignored, but Tosca reminded us all that anything we put on social media is out there to stay.
Interestingly, she noted that 79% of employers view prospective employees’ Facebook pages, and no matter how secure or private we think our page may be, anything in writing or shown in pictures can be found and used against us. Tosca presented several examples of posts made by nurses, techs, and even radiologists, none of whom are still working in the job they had when they made the decision to post about patients or make a negative comment about their job on social media.
Another increasing problem for medical professionals is the chance that they may be asked to give medical advice to patients through social media. Tosca reminded us that since the HIPAA Privacy Rule of 1996, the amendments of the HITECH ACT of 2009, and the HIPAA Omnibus Rule of 2013, the penalty tiers in place now affect not only organizations, but also individuals, and the financial penalties can be quite severe.
Her sage advice, coming from someone who does not have a Facebook page, a Snapchat account, or even an Instagram account, can be summarized with just three little words: “Don’t do it.” “Use common sense” are another three words she also espoused, reminding us all that digital imaging, no matter how exciting, requires a greater degree of professional responsibility from us all.
Note from the editor: Interested in attending this session? Good news; Tosca Bridges Taylor will be presenting “Imaging & Social Media “What Happens in the Hospital Doesn’t Always Stay in the Hospital”” at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Anaheim! Early bird pricing ends on April 14, so register today.
Susan J. Gauntt, BS, RT(R) is the director of radiology at Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in College Park, GA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.