Social media are internet-based applications which support and promote the exchange of user-developed content. Some current examples include Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube. Posting personal images, experiences and information on these kinds of public sites poses a set of unique challenges for all members of the Mount Sinai community, including employees, faculty, housestaff, fellows, volunteers and students (collectively “Personnel”). All personnel have responsibility to the institution regardless of where or when they post something that may reflect poorly on Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai is committed to supporting your right to interact knowledgeably and socially; however these electronic interactions have a potential impact on patients, colleagues, Mount Sinai, and future employers’ opinions of you. The principal aim of this Guideline is to identify your responsibilities to Mount Sinai in relation to social media and to help you represent yourself and Mount Sinai in a responsible and professional manner.
The following Guideline outlines appropriate standards of conduct related to all electronic information (text, image or auditory) that is created or posted externally on social media sites by Personnel affiliated with Mount Sinai. Examples include, but are not limited to: text messages, media messaging service (MMS), Twitter®, Facebook®, Linked-In®, YouTube®, and all other social networks, personal and organizational websites, blogs, wikis, and similar entities. This Guideline applies to future media with similar implications. It also applies whether Personnel are posting to: Mount Sinai-hosted sites; social media in which one’s affiliation is known, identified, or presumed; or a self-hosted site, where the views and opinions expressed are not intended to represent the official views of Mount Sinai.
Reference to Other Policies
All existing policies of The Mount Sinai Health System apply to Personnel in connection with their social media activities. These policies include, but are not limited to: Use or Disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) or Confidential Mount Sinai Materials; Computer Use Policy; Use of Mount Sinai’s Trademarks and Proprietary Information; Electronic Communications; Confidentiality of the Medical Record; Camera and Video Recorder Use; Portable Electronic Devices; Human Resources Policies 13.5 (Electronic Mail/Email) and 13.6 (Internet Use); and all professionalism policies and codes of conduct. Policies not listed above that are in the Human Resources Manual, the Faculty Handbook, the Housestaff Manual, the Student Handbook and the Bylaws of the Hospital Staff also apply.
Everyone who participates in social media activities should understand and follow these simple but important Best Practices:
- Take Responsibility and Use Good Judgment. You are responsible for the material you post on personal blogs or other social media. Be courteous, respectful, and thoughtful about how other Personnel may perceive or be affected by postings. Incomplete, inaccurate, inappropriate, threatening, harassing or poorly worded postings may be harmful to others. They may damage relationships, undermine Mount Sinai’s brand or reputation, discourage teamwork, and negatively impact the institution’s commitment to patient care, education, research, and community service.
- Think Before You Post. Anything you post is highly likely to be permanently connected to you and your reputation through
Internet and email archives. Future employers can often have access to this information and may use it to evaluate you. Take great care and be thoughtful before placing your identifiable comments in the public domain.
- Protect Patient Privacy. Disclosing information about patients without written permission, including photographs or potentially identifiable information, is strictly prohibited. These rules also apply to deceased patients and to posts in the secure section of your Facebook page that is accessible by approved friends only.
- Protect Your Own Privacy. Make sure you understand how the privacy policies and security features work on the sites where you are posting material.
- Respect Work Commitments. Ensure that your blogging, social networking, and other external media activities do not interfere with your work commitments.
- Identify Yourself. If you communicate in social media about Mount Sinai, disclose your connection with Mount Sinai and your role at the Institution. Use good judgment and strive for accuracy in your communications. False and unsubstantiated claims, and inaccurate or inflammatory postings may create liability for you.
- Use a Disclaimer. Where your connection to Mount Sinai is apparent, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Mount Sinai. A disclaimer, such as, "The views expressed on this [blog; website] are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer," may be appropriate.
- Respect Copyright and Fair Use Laws. For Mount Sinai’s protection as well as your own, it is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others, including Mount Sinai’s own copyrights and brands.
- Protect Proprietary Information. Do not share confidential or proprietary information that may compromise Mount Sinai’s business practices or security. Similarly, do not share information in violation of any laws or regulations.
- Seek Expert Guidance. Consult with the Marketing & Communications Department if you have any questions about the appropriateness of materials you plan to publish or if you require clarification on whether specific information has been publicly disclosed before you disclose it publicly. Social media may generate interest from the press. If you are contacted by a member of the media about a blog posting or information of any kind, related to the Mount Sinai Health System, contact the Press Office, a division of the Marketing & Communications Department, at (212) 241-9200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Failure to abide by Mount Sinai policies may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion.