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Social Media Safety (Next Generation Behavioral Health Podcast)

Social Media Safety (Next Generation Behavioral Health Podcast)

[Dr. Christy Armstrong] Hello, and welcome
to Next Generation Behavioral Health. [Dr. Julie Kinn] 10-minute tips for modernizing
patient care. [music]
[Dr. Christy Armstrong] I’m Dr. Christina Armstrong. [Dr. Julie Kinn] And I’m Dr. Julie Kinn. We work in the Department of Defense to develop
mobile apps, websites, and other health technology, and to share it with providers and beneficiaries. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] That’s right. We travel around the country, and sometimes
out of the country, training military providers on the core competency, the integration of
these technologies into clinical care. And as we travel around, we found that we
hear a lot of the same questions over and over again, and we wanted to begin to share
the answers with all of you out there. [Dr. Julie Kinn] That’s right. And we do it in 10 minutes or you get your
money back. And that’s going to be really challenging
on this topic because I know we both have a lot to say on it, and also we get tons of
questions about it. And it’s social media. How to use social media safely, and how to
set a social media policy. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Absolutely. [Dr. Julie Kinn] What do we mean by social
media? [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Good question. When I think of social media, of course, the
first things that come to mind are those social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook,
and all those types of sites. What do you think? [Dr. Julie Kinn] I think it’s different from
just email or going to a website because social media indicates that you’re sharing some sort
of personally identifiable information. If your PII is out there, if people can trace
your comment on that cooking blog back to you, that’s social media. And your patients might be seeing that. So you should expect that all of your patients
are going to Google you. That’s what they do. So I would Google yourself, if you have never
done that, and look at all the interesting things out there about you. If you do have a unique name, unfortunately,
any comment that you’ve made on a public website could appear there. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Absolutely. And you know, fun fact for all of you [laughter]–
this was a surprise for me. So what we found in the research is that all
the– so at least our patients in the military tend to be younger, 30 or below. And, of course, all of us clinicians tend
to be older than that. Like 35 and above. So you would imagine that our social media
use would be different, right? That probably the younger folks were all hip
to this stuff and they’re using it more. But we found that that’s not the case. The providers are actually using it at the
same level as the service members. [Dr. Julie Kinn] I was so surprised when I
first saw that too. It was not my first expectation. But it’s different sites, right? So our younger–
[Dr. Christy Armstrong] Right. [Dr. Julie Kinn] –folks are using Instagram,
and Twitter, and, and the older folks, us, we’re [laughter] using Facebook. I hope you don’t mind, Dr. Armstrong, if I
classify you in there. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Oh, not at all. I am in that group. [Dr. Julie Kinn] We use Facebook, and we use
Twitter and Instagram, too. But it is different. But we’re still using it. I don’t know about you, but my parents are
on social media. Are yours? [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Absolutely. My kids’ great grandma is on social media–
[Dr. Julie Kinn] Oh, my gosh. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] –and she is wonderful
at it. So it’s interesting. So for providers out there, it’s important
to note that you and your colleagues are on social media and that– what we know is that
your patients are going to look you up for two reasons. Sometimes they’ll look you up out of curiosity. So there’s some potential ethical issues in
there. They’ll look you up for the reason that we
look up any kind of businesses that we want to do business with. We want to check out reviews. Of course, we want to know before we see a
doctor, what are they like? Are they bad or are they good? And that’s a honest reason for doing that. So the question is, how can providers prevent
and manage risks? [Dr. Julie Kinn] The ethical dilemmas that
result when someone might see pictures of your kids online and then comment on a picture
you posted on Facebook. All of a sudden, you’re in kind of a multiple
relationship there. That gets pretty tricky. Have you ever had an intrusive client or patient
using social media to contact you? [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Yes, I have. And it was–
[Dr. Julie Kinn] You don’t need to tell us about the specifics [laughter] but–
[Dr. Christy Armstrong] I won’t. But it did. When it happened, I realized– it was kind
of early in my kind of use of social media so it came about unexpectedly. I wasn’t anticipating it. But now, of course, I’m more proactive in
my approach. But what it brought up for me is, immediately,
there was these issues of multiple relationships, potential boundary crossing, and also confidentiality
of my patient as well. There’s parts of their personal life that
I want them to be able to keep their own and only share with me if they want to. [Dr. Julie Kinn] Yeah. You don’t want them to write on your Facebook
page, “Dr. Armstrong is the best clinician ever [laughter]. She helped me following this disorder,” because,
all of a sudden, they have revealed way too much about themselves. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] At least in Facebook
and LinkedIn and all those social media sites, there are ways to protect your privacy in
the settings features. I urge everybody, all providers, to become
familiar with that. Even if you’re not so technologically savvy,
I urge you to click the settings button and start to explore. And I know, at least for Facebook, they guide
users through, “This is how you can protect–” And they really kind of spell it out for you. [Dr. Julie Kinn I’d also add to do that quarterly. Put a reminder on your calendar that, “Okay. It’s been three months. I’m just going to go to Facebook and check
to make sure my security settings are where I want to them.” Because Facebook does add new security settings
all the time and– I’m saying Facebook. All these sites do. And it’s worth a quarterly check to make sure
that you’ve set it the exact way you want it. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] So, for example, a
lot of these sites allow easy access to your personal email, your phone, and your address. So although I’ve never had a situation where
I was personally in danger because of a patient, at least not in my personal home, there could
be potential for that out there. And so you do want to be thoughtful and proactive
in protecting your privacy. [Dr. Julie Kinn] What I like to do and what
we recommend when we’re training providers is have this conversation immediately. When you’re talking about what is treatment,
what does it look like, one of the things we always talk about is, if you leave me a
message, it’s going to be these many hours before I listen to it. Right? That’s just general safety. Same thing with social media. I say, “My personal life, I do use social
media. But I don’t respond to friend requests.” And then the patient or client always says,
“Oh, no, no, no. I would never send you a friend request,”
even though I got them all the time before I started saying that. And I think it just doesn’t occur to them. Especially if this is their first experience
in behavioral health care, they might not know. And if you’ve got this great rapport and they
start thinking of you as someone who cares for them, they might want to send you a friend
request on Facebook so you can see the picture of their kids doing the thing they told you
about. So just stop it before it starts so it doesn’t
feel rejecting later. Because we want to avoid that. We don’t want them to feel bad. And I would put it in my consent forms but,
also, just really clearly spell it out in a kind way. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] I completely agree. I hear you saying two things. So one is having a written informed consent
that describes your social media policy. And then I hear you saying having that active
conversation describing potential risks and how you’re going to approach it. What I really love about that is it really
mirrors, even before social media was around, how we used to approach these potential boundary
crossings. I’ll give you an example. So before social media existed, one of the
first conversations I would have with a patient when we were going through the informed consent
is– at the time, I was practicing in a very close community and I knew I was going to
see patients– I would [laughter] probably see them in the grocery store. And so I would have the conversation, “Hey,
you’re probably going to see me around. That’s okay. But to protect your privacy, I will not approach
you at the grocery store or anywhere if I see you.” Just to kind of set up those boundaries right
upfront because I know that those are going to happen. And so the same exact thing for the casual
nature of social media to kind of set it upfront in writing and verbally, and then there’s
no hard feelings. [Dr. Julie Kinn] Exactly. We don’t want to wound them. Fortunately, we can avoid that grocery store
situation Kristy was talking about before because now we buy everything online and don’t
have to interact with humans at all [laughter]. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Well, isn’t that ideal? I’m just kidding. [Dr. Julie Kinn] I’m just kidding [laughter]. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] So today we talked
about how to develop a social media policy for you and for your practice and also how
to communicate that social media policy with your patient. [Dr. Julie Kinn] Yeah. Let us know what you think and if you have
any other suggestions that would be useful for our listeners. [Dr. Christy Armstrong] Thanks for joining
us today on Next Generation Behavioral Health. [Dr. Julie Kinn] Please connect with us on
Facebook and Twitter @MilitaryHealth, and check out our other podcasts, mobile apps,
and websites. They’re all free for the military community
but are useful for civilians, too. Thank you so much for subscribing on iTunes
or wherever you get podcasts and for leaving us ratings. Next Generation Behavioral Health is produced
by the Defense Health Agency. [music]

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