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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: I want to hire and intern or have a student create and manage my Department's Facebook page. Is that allowed?

A: Temporary staff and students are not permitted to create pages and presences on behalf of UMHS. Official UMHS social media presences must be created and managed by a permanent faculty or staff member if the interactions involve patients.

In certain circumstances, temporary staff, students and interns may assist departments with day-to-day management, so long as:

For additional guidance on this topic, please call the Office of Public Relations at 734-764-2220.

Q: How do new employees get information about the appropriate use of social media?

A:†Compliance Office speaks to employee responsibilities around social networking in Michigan Tradition and Values-new employee orientation.

Units may also request a presentation from the Office of Public Relations on the following topics (e-mail to make a request):

  • The Social Media Toolkit
  • Social Media for Clinicians
  • Managing Online Reputation

Q:†What resources are available to existing employees to understand their role and responsibilities in social media?

A:†Public Relations and Marketing Communications has created the Social Media Toolkit covering the use of social media for business purposes (this is in conjunction with the recently approved and posted Social Media for Business Use policy).

The key message with regard to personal use is that even though a person might happen to be using a social media platform, all UMHS/UMHHC policies still apply to the workforce member (e.g., you can't post patient information, etc.).

Employees may attend any of a series of brown bag sessions which will begin in March. Check the Daily Bulletin for upcoming events:

  • The Social Media Toolkit Social
  • Media for Clinicians
  • Managing Online Reputation
  • Best Practices and How-to's

Q: Would the institution hold the staff member responsible for what the parent says about the nurse on their page?

A: Yes, but only if it is proven to be true. If the parent - or anyone - has a complaint, the comment will be followed up on by patient relations or compliance, as we do with all complaints received.

To address the immediate issue, we post a note to the patient/parent who commented asking them to contact us directly so as not to encourage additional discussion/commenting on the page. We take a screen shot of the comment and forward it to the appropriate unit for follow-up.

The nurse/employee is not held responsible for what a patient or family member posts on a social networking site unless the allegations are found to be true. All complaints are followed up on.

Q: When someone makes a negative comment about an employee, or the institution in general, can we delete the comment or post?

A: The short answer is no. Because social media are public forums we've created to allow members of the public to engage in discussion with or about UMHS, we are not permitted to delete comments simply because they may not show us in a positive light.

However, in certain circumstances, as outlined in our Social Media Terms and Conditions, we may need to delete comments or posts either due to the illegal nature of the content or to protect individuals.

Q: What avenue does the employee have when they donít want their picture taken?

A:†In general, people have the right to ask not to be and/or to refuse being photographed or filmed.†Additionally, while there may not be any formal legal protection, there is the general "reasonable expectation of privacy" idea that says you shouldn't be photographed without your knowing it in a place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Photos of staff taken by patients, families and friends:

When a patient/parent wanting to preserve the memory of the team who cared for them or their child, employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the non-public areas of the hospital. Our Filming and Recording of Patients Policy,†at Section IV.M.2, specifies that verbal permission should be obtained from the employee prior to taking photos/recordings. Thus, the patient/parent should ask an employee if they can photo/film the employee, as well as be willing to say what they might do with the picture/film thereafter.†The employee can decline to be photographed, or ask that it not be posted on Facebook or wherever.†

Photos and recordings taken for UMHS Public Relations/Marketing purposes:†

Our legal office doesn't require us (as the employer) to obtain a written consent from employees who we want to photograph - we need to inform them ahead of photographing them and allow them to opt out, and give†them a reasonable idea of how the images might be used.†

Cautionary note:†Itís important for people to understand that the days of photos sitting in coffee table albums is over. Most cameras are digital and those digital images can be shared far and wide (an not just on facebook), via cell phones, e-mail, etc. So, anyone who wishes to protect their identity (we have some employees like that) should probably decline any photography for any reason. Once it's taken, where and how it is used is out of the person's hands who took them if they choose to share the image with someone else electronically, even if it wasn't the intended purpose.†

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