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VUMC’s social media policy helps protect faculty, staff online

Feb. 4, 2016, 8:58 AM

(file photo)

Six years ago, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) established itself as a pioneer in health care social media when it became one of the first hospitals or health systems with a social media policy to guide its faculty and staff.

Since that time, social media platforms have come and gone, and how people use them has changed significantly.

One thing remains the same: VUMC recognizes the importance of social media as a way to engage and communicate. Because social media are public, their use carries risks. The social media policy is intended to help VUMC faculty and staff use social media effectively and without getting themselves or Vanderbilt into trouble.

The policy covers two levels of activity:

• An individual’s social media activity in which he or she identifies as a Vanderbilt staff or faculty member. The policy includes guidelines for professional online behavior including a reminder that all other policies, such as HIPAA, apply in social media and that individuals should take care to represent their views as their own, not those of the Medical Center.

• Social media accounts that represent VUMC or a component of the Medical Center. These accounts should only be created with the consultation and approval of the Strategic Marketing social media team. Use of the Vanderbilt name and its variations is subject to trademark rules so no account should be created using Vanderbilt, VU, VUMC or variations without prior approval.
If you do not identify yourself as a VUMC employee on your personal social media accounts, the policy does not apply. Remember, however, that other policies such as HIPAA do apply in social media just as in any other communication.

The policy also provides guidelines for behavior on social networking sites that are behind VUNet ID authentication. Public social media platforms are not used for internal communications purposes.

Consultation includes review of specific business objectives, counsel on best practices and latest trends in social media platforms work and how people use them, and education about responsibilities of social media account moderators.

VUMC has a robust presence in social media, with active accounts on the most prominent platforms. Its program has consistently been recognized among the best in health care, and its team members are active in social media best practice organizations both inside and outside of health care.

If you are interested in participating in VUMC social media, the first step is to connect with one or more of the Medical Center’s profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms.

Personal use of a specific social media platform is a requirement before a moderator will be approved to host an official VUMC account.

To learn more about the social media policy, VUMC’s social media accounts or request a consultation, go to

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