The Politics of Social Media, Literally… (PART 2)

After thinking some more about this topic over the weekend I think I need to make the differentiation between politicians and government agencies a bit clearer. The people I was intending to base the discussion around was the government agencies themselves not so much the politicians however since all we have heard about this last couple weeks is the federal election it seemed fitting to mention that they too are embracing the technology.

As for government agencies there are so many that come under this banner. From  Education QLD to the QLD police there is a huge variety of areas these organisations are involved in but the one that interests me the most is QLD Health. QLD Health is the governing body for anything concerning the health of QLD citizens. This means your local GP, our hospitals, restaurants and even your employers work environment you so enjoy each day. But what legal risks are posed by the staff in this department utilising social networking?

One of the biggest concerns in the health industry is the upholding of doctor patient confidentially. By this I mean that any medical records are confidential. Now what happens if nurse Susan @replies nurse Joanne “Wow Mr Baggins bowel cancer makes him stink like a something!”  This statement straight away poses multiple legal risks such as:

  • Confidential information disclosure
  • Breach of privacy
  • Potential Discrimination

Now although I would like to think that most nurses are compassionate people but we are all human and humans are judgmental creatures so lets break it down. By stating Mr Baggins has bowel cancer she has breached his privacy by not only naming him but also information regarding his condition. By putting a negative connotation with his condition regarding his hygiene could lead to discrimination by other staffers or any of Susan’s followers.

Now as for the associated risks for the hospital. As with most avid Twitter users with the exception of myself, Susan probably has a Facebook. This would mist likely say that she works for the Shady Acres Hospital which is a QLD Health run institution. So straight away this poses a potential reputation risk to the hospital as it paints their nursing staff in a bad light.

At the end of the day Susan should not be tweeting about patients. But then again if she were to tweet “I dont know if i can be bothered sterilizing these instruments Im clocking off in 5.” it’s creating a negative perspective on both her ethical practises and the quality of her work.

QLD Health suffers enough scrutiny from the public with everything they do and their reputation is vital to the publics piece of mind. The Dr Patel case recently has shown their zero tolerance stance on misconduct or improper work habits. Now I know his was a case of medical negligence but the enthusiasm and ferocity with which they pursued showed the public that they are serious about what they do. If any one of their employees were to make an inference contrary to QLD Healths  policy im sure their jobs would be pursued the same way.