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Social Media and the CQC: How Safe are You Socially?

A recent article published by GP Online advised that practices could face unannounced CQC inspections if patients complain about them on social media. In an attempt to become more data-driven, the regulatory body is looking to utilise social media in their efforts to monitor GP practices.

It’s no great surprise to hear this news in a world that is ever more transparent - a funny video of a cute kitten falling off a coffee table can go viral in minutes, celebrity scandal is laid bare for all to see and you can usually quote what a certain someone had for dinner on November 8th 2016 at 18.57.

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, to name the top dogs, have made it incredibly easy to share information, photos, videos and stories. Whilst this is great in comparison to a previous age where breaking news stories could take a month to reach people, it can also leave us more open to vulnerability and downfall.

With this in mind, how socially safe are you? Even if you feel you tick most boxes it can never hurt to have a little refresh. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • If using social media on behalf of the practice, keep it simple. Stick with one or two platforms that can be easily maintained.

  • Be clear that the platform won’t be providing an appointment or prescription service.

  • Maintaining a social media presence is a great marketing tool and can provide positive exposure, but not keeping it up-to-date can be just as bad as not having one at all.

  • Distinctly outline the practice’s code of conduct and ensure all staff are aware of the policy or policies in place associated with social media, for both private and business use.

  • Avoid talking about colleagues/managers/patients/GPs and pretty much anyone associated with your workplace on social media, it really isn’t worth the risk. This includes messengers - if it’s on social media, it’s never more than one step away from the public domain.

  • Keep yourself safe and maintain a private profile on any personal accounts - the last thing you want after a long day is a disgruntled member of the public gunning for you. Remember you can also report and block people if you are feeling harassed.

  • Be careful not to exclude people - surprising as it may sound, not everyone uses social media. When sharing information or news, be sure that it is readily available to everyone at every level at the practice.

Finally, always remember that when posting something on either a workplace or personal social media platform, the whole world can potentially see it. This may sound a little extreme to say, but by publishing something online EVERYONE has the opportunity to see it. Always keep that in mind!

Don’t forget you can find First Practice Management on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Plus, FPM members can access more information about social networking policies in the Policies and Procedures Library.


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