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To Tweet or Not to Tweet…. Considerations For Using Twitter

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question! Knowing whether it be nobler in your mind to utilize social media such as Twitter or not to, is up to your organization to decide. With Twitter growing in popularity it is no wonder why so many organizations are deciding to utilize it’s benefits to promote their agendas.

For those unaware of what Twitter is, it is an online social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to interact with posts, called “tweets”. Tweets can be posted with using text, with a 280-character limit, with or without an accompanying image and/or a short video included. Twitter continues to maintain its popularity â€" in the second quarter of 2018 Twitter averaged 335 million monthly active users!   When used correctly, Twitter is a powerful communication and marketing mechanism that has the capability of reaching others quickly.

The Benefits of Twitter

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), addresses the benefits of Twitter as part of their HHS Twitter Guidance. According to HHS, Twitter has several benefits, including:

  • Information can be disseminated very quickly.
  • Broad reach potential â€" a vast “network or networks.”
  • Targeted reach potential â€" a growing number of groups on Twitter, including social marketing, health disparities, and health IT.
  • Collaboration â€" professionals are using Twitter to network, build relationships, etc.
  • Continued growth as a conversation mechanism.

Do’s and Don’ts when using Twitter

Do use Twitter if the stakeholders you are trying to reach utilize Twitter.

Don’t use Twitter if you lack the resources to manage the Twitter account, such as reading monitoring, posting, or re-posting of tweets.

Do use Twitter to connect with others by answering and asking questions.

Don’t use Twitter to discuss treatment with patients. For example, if patient asks about a condition he or she is experiencing.

Do use Twitter to share information about services you provide in your practice and information relevant to those services.

Don’t include protected health information (PHI) on Twitter unless you have been authorized to do so.

Do use Twitter if you would like to share time-sensitive updates about your practices that you would like to announce.

Don’t use Twitter as a static website. As HHS puts it, “Nobody likes spam or self-promotion.”

Now more than ever before, social medial in commonplace in the healthcare industry. Twitter allows us the ability to instantaneously connect with others at the use of the button. As long as Twitter is used correctly, in a HIPAA compliant manner, it is a powerful tool for healthcare organizations to have a strong social media presence.

If you have a social media platform you would like more information about, please let us know by emailing our compliance team at: [email protected].

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