The Complications Of Social Media Use In Workplace And Hospital Smart Phone Policy

Social Media Use and Workplace Complications

Social media is an important aspect of our lifestyles. Technological innovations have brought gadgets at our exposure that have access to the internet which makes social media easy to access. Social media has been used to keep tabs on each other. This has also come with its shortcomings as people have violated the freedom that has come with social media (Edosomwan et al. 2017). This paper will address the complications that come with the use of social media, especially in our workplaces.

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A hospital smart phone policy is a policy that gives rules and guidelines of how both the staff and patients in a hospital setting are expected to use their smartphones. While setting up a hospital smartphone policy, it is essential to have a policy that balances the freedom of both the staff and the patients while also not ruining the reputation of the hospital or infringing the rights of those in the hospital. The policy should include the pillar of personal posts on personal social media feeds. It means that as long as every individual has a right to post on their own space, they should keep off posting anything related to their workplace. For example, ranting about their bosses online is not accepted. Twitting about patients who have come for services at the hospital should be completely avoided. The policy should include workplace conflicts which should stay offline. The hospital as a working place should be respected. In the case of workplace conflicts which may or may not involve the patient, should not be taken to social media (Thomas and Akdere, 2013). They should be solved by the precise conflict-resolution mechanisms in the workplace which is the hospital. The policy should include an off-limits for propriety information in hospitals. It means that the code of doctor-patient confidentiality should not be breached. Patients who have come to the hospital with rare cases should not be a museum for parading on social media. Their privacy should be respected. The hospital may also require that it’s plans and prospects are a kept a secret due to privacy policies and the staff should make sure that they adhere to this.

What potential are ethical and legal liabilities there for the hospital and employees in the case presented above?

The state laws and regulations govern every individual. The patients have a right to their privacy, and any instances of the use of cameras to share pictures without consent of the owner are against the rights of privacy of any individual. It is also against the law to release any identifiable health information of a patient without their consent. It may lead to a litigation battle by the patient. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act(HIPAA) of 1996 was legislated to ensure that there are rules and guidelines for security, data privacy and the safeguarding of medical information. It provides that there is privacy in necessary procedures taken by the patients in hospitals (Shepherd, 2014). Images which are stored in the hospital electronically should be safeguarded for them not to find their way in social media. It may lead to a lawsuit by the affected, and it is also not ethical.   

Hospital Smartphone Policy: Guidelines for Staff and Patients

It is important to note that there are social media spaces like linked in which are used by professionals to set their level of education and apply for work. These spaces are also linked to their Twitter and Facebook accounts which are not professional spaces as compared to connected in. They are mostly private, and most individuals use them to post private information about them which include their family, where they went, their feelings and emotions. Linking of these spaces means that if the human resource found your curriculum vitae online, then your privacy is also available to them. Basing on your employment or university acceptance scenario, this information may lead to your admission or rejection. According to me, I don’t think that social media posts should be a judge of character for any individual unless it is against laid out rules and laws (Vaast and Kaganer, 2013). Using an example an individual may post issues related to their religion and culture. The recruiting organization may be biased against the religion or culture of the individual seeking the job. It means that the company already has a perception which is mostly a stereotype of the interviewee. It may lead to his lack of the position due to biases caused by opinions from social media. The selection process of a student or new employee should be strictly relevant to the job or education that one is going to pursue. Current employers in some organizations have terminated the contracts of their employees due to their social media posts.

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States like California, Colorado, New York, Nevada, and North Dakota have formulated state laws that have been used to regulate their staff behavior when they are off duty. It means that a breach of these laws leads to suspension or even termination of their contracts. An example is when an employee tweets about a major deal he/she signed for the company which was confidential. The employer may not take that very lightly. It is also important to note that employers have a right to discipline their employees in cases of misconduct that affects the company’s profile. There are also employees who use social media in their workplaces. Workplaces with computers or Wi-Fi can be used by employees especially when the employer or supervisor is not around. Employees should respect their workplaces and should only use their social media spaces during their off-duty hours. Disloyal employees who go on social media to complain about issues like their pay or how their hospital working environment is unsafe for them may be deemed a liability to the organization (Leonardi, Huysman and Steinfield, 2013). It is because the organization’s reputation ends up getting tainted. There are channels and mechanisms that every organization puts in place for employees to air out their grievances and have their issues addressed and social media is not one of them. Harassment of co-workers on social media may lead to the termination of a contract by the employer. Posting company details that may put the employer at a legal risk may also lead to job termination due to the sensitivity if the material posted.

Ethical and Legal Liabilities

Accreditation decision is awarded to organizations once they comply with the Joint Commission International (JCI) standards. It means that the organization has been vetted and inspected and meets the JCI requirements and therefore awarded a certification decision of Certified or an accreditation decision of Accredited. In the case of health facilities, the organization should be in a position to comply with the standards of International Patient Safety Goals (IPSGs) that is usually conducted triennially. A reimbursement is defined as the compensation of an individual for an expense that they incurred. Institutions, governments, and non-profit organizations typically give reimbursements to their employees for costs that are reasonable and necessary in their line of duty (Sánchez Abril, Levin, and Del Riego, 2016). In the United States, the reimbursements given to their employees are not taxable. Reasons for reimbursement may include travel, cell-phone expenses, education, and subsistence. Quality of care is defined as the extent to which services of health care offered to individuals are in a better position to give out desired health outcomes and are done in current professional knowledge. Medical practitioners are best situated to provide quality of care to patients. Informatics is the study of natural and engineered computational systems; how they behave and are structured. It gives information on the representation, processing, and communication of information in physical and engineering systems. The relationship between all of them while relating them to social media is that they work simultaneously. In a hospital setting, the use of informatics in analyzing how the hospital systems assist the patients and medics to aid them in providing quality healthcare to their patients through record-keeping and biotechnology monitoring. Hospitals which have bio-metric sing in and sign out details for employees may assist in their reimbursement for overtime or extra work given to them.

Regarding accreditation, data stored in the hospital system of the employees and their qualification for the job is vital during the triennial supervision from the accreditation body. Every hospital should ensure that informatics in healthcare whereby the information of a patient stored electronically is protected. Nurses who are given the mandate of managing, interpreting and communicating collected data should make sure that it is accurate and correct. Software that is used in hospitals should be continuously updated and protected against viruses and malware that may corrupt the files. New technology has led to the easement of synchronization of services in the hospital (Ravenscroft, Schmidt, Cook and Bradley, 2017). For example, a dentist or surgeon may have the full history of a patient just by one click of the computer.


While the use of social media is a complicated but fundamental aspect of the workplace, rules, and regulations governing its use should be applied. Employees should be able to find a balance between the rights of every individual and the protection of their workplaces. Individuals who own social media accounts should practice decorum and moderation because their behavior online may portray an image of their real-life behavior. In conclusion, technology will always evolve with both positive and negative aspects. We should learn to embrace the positive while shun the negative.


Edosomwan, S., Prakasan, S. K., Kouame, D., Watson, J., & Seymour, T. (2017). The history of social media and its impact on business. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 16(3), 79-91.

Leonardi, P. M., Huysman, M., & Steinfield, C. (2013). Enterprise social media: Definition, history, and prospects for the study of social technologies in organizations. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(1), 1-19.

Ravenscroft, A., Schmidt, A., Cook, J., & Bradley, C. (2017). Designing social media for informal learning and knowledge maturing in the digital workplace. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), 235-249.

Sánchez Abril, P., Levin, A., & Del Riego, A. (2016). Blurred boundaries: Social media privacy and the twenty?first?century employee. American Business Law Journal, 49(1), 63-124.

Shepherd, C. (2014). Does social media have a place in workplace learning?. Strategic direction, 27(2), 3-4.

Thomas, K. J., & Akdere, M. (2013). Social media as collaborative media in workplace learning. Human Resource Development Review, 12(3), 329-344.

Vaast, E., & Kaganer, E. (2013). Social media affordances and governance in the workplace: An examination of organizational policies. Journal of computer-mediated communication, 19(1), 78-101.