Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Social media policy for nurses and midwives in Australia - what do you think?

A few months ago there was a real furore amongst social media enthusiasts who have an interest in healthcare.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority sent around its draft social media policy for discussion, as a private document, but it soon got leaked and caused quite a debate about its  restrictive and  punitive nature - here are the thoughts I had about it: http://sarah-stewart.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/ahpras-draft-social-media-policy.html

Since then, AHPRA has gone back to the drawing board and come up with a draft policy that is now open for general consultation until the 30th May: http://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/Current-Consultations.aspx#Consult4April2013

Interestingly, I haven't heard a whisper about it on my social media channels, so I am wondering if people are either unaware of it, or are quite happy with the changes.

What do you think? Are you happy with the policy, or is there anything you would change or add?

Update: here is what Doctor Kruys has to say about the new draft social media policy: http://doctorsbag.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/ahpras-new-draft-social-media-policy

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28288673@N07/4847679257/


John Coxon said...

Having waded through this rather lengthy consultation document I am inclined to agree with other commentators and ask, why have a social media policy? Afterall the context of the policy is this. Don't do anything that is unprofessional. Surely that should apply to professional using social media, hence it becomes common sense. At the same time I recognise the challenges for a national body, where their role is to provide an overarching policy rather than a set of user guidelines. As a national body their perspective is projected through a legislative lense.

A challenge for many organisations seeking to implement social media policies is that the policy appears to be drawn up by people that do not appear to be regular users of social media. They display a clear lack of understanding of the practicalities as well as the open, transparent nature of social media. They continue to believe an adverse event can be legislated for.

Experience shows that their needs to be some form of guidance document. The same experience shows that a guiding document is more value than a prescriptive one; simply due to the many variables associated with social media. These variables cannot be controlled or legislated for.

At the heart of the discussion is the protection of patient confidentiality. The challenge is how to define this in an age of open communication. Maybe the social media policy might spend more time addressing this aspect and then leave it to the user to apply common sense and professional ethics to their activities online.

John Coxon

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi John, I agree with you. Basically, what AHPRA have done since all the outrage last year is integrate a few comments about social media into their other policies and codes of practice, especially the advertising policy. And in the social media policy, they have said...go and look at our other policies, and ask your Board and professional body for advice. On one hand, I think...why bother...but on the other hand, this policy is so bland, I'm happy that it says something about nothing.