4G is a game changer in hospital social media policy
The more and more marketing professionals I chat with across the country, the more conversation I hear about Social Media policy. So what is at the heart of the matter when it comes to Social Media policy in hospitals…usage. When can employees access Social Media outlets. This is a cultural issue.
Many of the arguments discussed, will Social Outlets change productivity and effect bandwidth. Another issue, one that I think is even more exponential is patient information. Can we protect patient information and privacy. Do we want healthcare professionals engaging with patients online and discuss healthcare matters that deserve to stay inside the walls of the examining room.
From a marketing position, hospitals want to grow fan bases and followers fast. It is the new age marketing outlet that has more mass appeal than the billboards and other collateral. Many hospitals are restricting access to Social Media outlets on internal networks. But, if you are not opening up the opportunity to access to Social Outlets inside the walls of the hospital, you are marginalizing your biggest fan base, your brand ambassadors…hospital employees. They are the true touch points to the patients.
So if the internal IT departments can lock down access to Social Media outlets inside the walls based on the social media policy…you can control usage. Not anymore, that is changing and changing FAST. I wrote a few months ago about the effects of Verizon’s 4G LTE inside the walls of a hospital. I detailed my fears how this technology can penetrate walls further with faster speeds, faster than what is available inside the internal networks. Bottomline, mobile devices provide the access that the internal networks restrict.
4G is changing hospitals’ Social Media policies. Why, because now controlling access is so much more difficult. Bandwidth is no longer an issue and productivity is now truly a management/leadership issue. Even more, hospitals will be writing Social Media policies that include patient usage. 4G speeds and penetration will now allow employees, healthcare providers, patients to access social outlets outside of the cubicle/workstation. Walking around the halls, typing under desks and conference room tables, patient rooms, etc. are the areas individuals with mobile devices will Tweet, update Facebook, post pictures, comment on videos, Google doctors’ names, check-in, and the list goes on.
The speeds of these devices and the broader access no longer requires a hospital employee (healthcare provider) to go through the login process of the terminal or workstation to look at Facebook or watch a video. Just pull out the iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, or whatever to surf, scan, update, and connect. Then, if someone walks by, it is small enough to pop back in the pocket. 3G and now 4G provides the faster access to do this where walls used to restrict. The desktop computer is not necessary to access the outlets.
The mobile 4G offering is forcing the hand for many organizations. But more than that, the numerous devices with the ability to offer these speeds is part of the equation. If you walk inside any organization, walk down the halls, count the number of devices in the hands of people. Regardless of the place, we do not think about what people are typing on these devices, how they are surfing the web, if they are typing a work email or updating Facebook. Mobile devices are everywhere.
Hospitals are now going to have to think through policies, procedures, and education. Yes…educating not only the employees but also the patients. When it is appropriate to use devices, where it is appropriate to use mobile devices, how to use the Social Web. Social Media policy is about usage…not about restriction but about access. 3G and 4G now brings patients and their families into the Social Media usage policy equation. It is a game changer.
Recent Related Blog Posts: