Today, 72 percent of Americans—roughly seven out of 10 people—use some type of social media.1 In fact, it’s become such a huge part of daily life that many companies now perform social media screening as part of the hiring and background check process. However, one industry is particularly vulnerable to social media-related risk: healthcare.
Healthcare professionals have unprecedented access to highly vulnerable populations and highly sensitive information, both of which can be easily compromised if they become the topic of a social media post. Likewise, medical workers may engage in risky behaviors or share beliefs or perspectives via social media that could potentially threaten their patients and employers.
Here are three real-life examples, all good reasons why healthcare employers should implement social media screening, if they’re not already.
- “Spectrum workers fired over Facebook picture.” An emergency room employee took a picture of the backside of an attractive patient and shared the photo on social media with the caption, “I like what I like.” The employee—who was off-duty at the time the photo was taken—was fired, as were all employees who “liked” the post. READ MORE
- “Woman Sues Northwestern After Doctor Posted Drunk Photos.” A university student sued a hospital and one of its doctors, alleging that the doctor took photos of her while she was being treated for extreme intoxication and posted them on social media. READ MORE
- “Nurses fired after posting video on social media mocking patients at Glendale Senior care facility.’” Nurses at an assisted living facility were fired after filming videos of themselves mocking patients and posting them to Snapchat. READ MORE
Know about online activity when working with healthcare professionals
When included as part of an employment background check, social media screening can help healthcare organizations proactively uncover worrying candidate behaviors before they have a chance to harm patients, put co-workers at risk or damage an organization’s reputation. Further, social media monitoring—FCRA-compliant, configurable alerts regarding potential concerns posted on social media— can help:
- Identify incidents of harassment, discrimination and intimidation
- Protect patient privacy and help reduce potential HIPAA violations
- Reveal signs of potential abuse or violence
If your healthcare organization doesn’t currently perform social media screening, give us a call. We will listen and offer our experienced perspective, along with honest, practical insight. At First Advantage, we’re here to help.