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Social Media Guidelines

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Social media accounts created on behalf of Baylor College of Medicine require approval by the Office of Communications Institutional Web Management. These guidelines address, but are not limited to, authorized Baylor use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Wikipedia and Google groups. For guidance and acceptable use of profiles not listed here, please contact Institutional Web Management.

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Available Platforms

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General Guidelines

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In general, College information should remain on Baylor servers. This policy outlines acceptable non-Baylor websites where College information is permitted. If you have questions, please contact Institutional Web Management at pa-webteam@bcm.edu.

The following guidelines help ensure effective use of social media and aim to protect personal and professional reputations when interacting on social media platforms.

Protect patient information: Baylor employees must follow the applicable federal requirements outlined by FERPA and HIPAA (Baylor login required). Make sure to never disclose confidential patient Protected Health Information (PHI), comment about the care of any patient or participation of any research volunteer.

Be appropriate: Do not engage in any form of harassment, derogatory or inflammatory remarks about an individual’s race, age, disability, religion, national origin, physical attributes, sexual orientation or health condition. Additional information available on our Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity pages.

Comply with copyright and fair use: Respect the intellectual property of others. Do not violate copyrighted or trademarked material. When sharing content online, be sure to follow copyright law and fair use laws.

Videos and social media: All videos that will be manually uploaded to a social media platform (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter) must be sent to pa-webteam@bcm.edu before sharing. This is to ensure the video meets the College’s brand guidelines and follows copyright laws.

Protect Baylor's reputation: The official Baylor logo may not be used on any social media site without the approval of Institutional Web Management. View brand guidelines for more information.

Respect Baylor's time and property: The College's computers are to be used for college-related business and in compliance with established acceptable use policy (Baylor login required).

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HIPAA and Social Media

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When using any social platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for Baylor College of Medicine health care operational purposes (e.g., spread the word about Baylor College of Medicine healthcare services, expand reach, support groups, etc.), the following principles must be applied:

• Although in Facebook “closed” groups (Group) patients and others can post their Protected Health Information (PHI), this must not be interpreted as the patient opening the door to treatment-related disclosures merely by initiating an online discussion. Posting any treatment-related information is prohibited..

• A violation of patient confidentiality takes place as soon as information is shared by Baylor College of Medicine or its Workforce Members (or even the slightest bit of details, no matter how insignificant they may seem) over the Internet with someone who is not authorized to receive such information.

• Patients and other individuals (e.g., family members, caretakers or general users) may post PHI.

• Baylor College of Medicine or its Workforce Members cannot confirm or deny if someone is/was a patient.

• Private messages are not confidential. Private messages from patients must be treated like public posts.

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Sharing Photos

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If your department, center or group does not have a Facebook page, photo albums can be shared on Baylor's Facebook page. Photos need to be originals or must have permission to be shared by the College by the photographer. Images with minors require a signed guardian's release (Baylor login required).

Send email request to share photos to pa-webteam@bcm.edu.

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Google Groups and Other Third-Party Hosted Applications

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Use of Google groups, calendars, documents and other tools are not allowed for the posting of Baylor website content or messaging to Baylor audiences.

The Baylor content management system, SharePoint, Blackboard Enterprise and Active Data Calendar provide solutions and per Baylor policy, keep Baylor content on Baylor servers.

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For Physicians and Healthcare-Related Professionals

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Special guidelines have been noted with physicians and other health providers in mind.

• The name Baylor, the abbreviation BCM, or logo cannot be used in personal social media usernames or handles. If found by the Institutional Web Management team, you will be asked to remove it.

• Do not give medical advice using social media. Let individuals with health inquiries know the importance of online health privacy and the legal implications to you. When possible, refer patient inquiries to Baylor MyChart for secure messaging and medical advice.

• Limit contact with patients or potential patients who reach out to you via social media avenues. Remember, there is no clear line between your work life and your personal life on social media. Even if you block access to your site there is no guarantee personal information will be kept confidential.

• Document any patient contact. Any attempt by a patient to discuss clinical matters via a social media platform should be documented in the patient’s medical record.

• It is important to note that any and everything you send is recorded and can be traced back to its author in one way or another.

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For Research and Research-Related Professionals

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Photos or videos of research models are not to be posted on any social media outlet without first being vetted by the CCM director or designee. Written permission will need to be provided to Institutional Web Management prior to posting.

Photos or videos of labs are not to show research models in background unless approved by the CCM director.