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Guidance published encouraging NHS to adopt social media

Social media is central to the effectiveness of the NHS, says NHS Employers organisation.

New guidance published by the NHS Employers organisation explains the importance social media will have in the effective running of the UK's health service.

HR and social media in the NHS describes how “social media is increasing becoming central to the ongoing effectiveness of the NHS”. And although it recognises the importance of confidentiality, the guidance has recommended a more open approach alongside greater clarity on professional behaviour.

The publication sets out three elements of social media that can help the NHS support patient care:

  • Social media is used increasingly by patients and it is enabling greater understanding of healthcare choices and available services
  • Enables the NHS to quickly understand emerging developments among staff or patients, which means services can then be improved
  • Allows for stronger engagement between staff, employers and the public.

Using examples of effective uses of social media, the guidance sets out approaches that can be adopted by human resources managers, leaders and communications staff.

“I believe 2013 will be the year when the NHS significantly changes its view of social media,” said Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation.

“A tipping point has been reached and people throughout the NHS are recognising that the positive benefits of social media far outweigh its risks.”

The guidance includes tips for staff and managers new to social media:

  • Keep an eye on the #nhssm hashtag on Twitter. The hashtag stands for NHS social media and is run by a community of like-minded individuals who give helpful advice on how to use social media effectively
  • Speak to colleagues who are active on social media and read their blogs. There are some great examples of healthcare professionals already using social media successfully
  • Sign up to quality social media sites that contain the latest news, views and statistics on social media.

“The NHS more than ever before wants to promote a culture where people can raise issues and be heard,” Royles continued.

“Social media can be an important barometer of emerging issues, opinions and concerns, and we have a duty to listen and get involved,” he finished.

Read the guidance in full here

18th January 2013

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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