Most physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and hospital administrators have limited access to social media on work computers connected to the corporate network, according to a recent InCrowd survey.
Fifty-nine percent of the surveyed 640 healthcare professionals who work in hospitals said they are blocked from social media sites at work. They reported employee misuse, wasted time and lowered productivity as the main reasons for barring access to social media sites. An additional 25 percent said hospitals limited their access for security reasons, privacy concerns and virus protection.
Although these policies might seem strict, only 38 percent of those surveyed support policy changes that would provide staff with additional access.
Of the 41 percent who do have access to social media sites at work:
- 29 percent said blocking their access would have a negative impact on patient care;
- 59 percent wouldn't change anything about their hospital social media policy; and
- More than half said the greatest benefit to access was the ability to stay up-to-date with information.
"Social media plays a significant role in our daily lives, it's a major channel for communicating events," says Kathleen Poulos, co-founder and CMO of InCrowd, Inc. "Our health is an important personal topic, and having the ability to access trustworthy information and connect with others in a community environment makes social media a critical component in healthcare communications. Closing this channel to healthcare professionals creates an unnecessary barrier."
Although there is risk in allowing social media access in the healthcare setting, the market research company said hospitals can mitigate the threat by developing clear social media policies and educating staff on the appropriate use of social media in the workplace.
Despite the survey findings, a recent Wall Street Journal report revealed more hospitals are finally taking full advantage of using social media platforms to engage patients on how they can improve care and services. Hospitals across the country are turning to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to recruit patients and their families to serve as advisors, asking for their opinions via questionnaires and surveys on planned improvements in care, new services and even facility names, FierceHealthcare previously reported.