As technology evolves, so do the opportunities for abuse. Although these instances are rare, they require long term and post-acute care providers to be ever vigilant in both determining and evaluating how technology impacts the lives of our patients, residents, and families. Below are some highlights of the guidance AHCA/NCAL provides to members on ensuring the privacy of residents and patients.
- AHCA/NCAL encourages all nursing and assisted living care centers to have a social media policy that protects not only the residents and patients, but also the employees and the care center. The policy should define what employees can or cannot do on social media, and if written correctly, is essentially a “code of conduct” that clearly defines what the center expects from its employees when it comes to online behavior.
- Existing social media policies should be reviewed and updated frequently. The social media landscape is rapidly changing, with new technologies and tools emerging all the time. It is important to consistently ensure that the social media policy it is not only effective but legal.
- Nursing and assisted living centers should not only train new employees during orientation; but also should retrain existing employees periodically about its privacy (e.g., Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA]) and social media policies.)
- Training should clearly articulate the center’s process for monitoring and/or taking corrective action against individuals who inappropriately use social media.
- Care centers should prominently post the center’s social media policy and procedures for residents, families, and staff.