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Geisinger Heath and Social Media

In early October 2013 the Geisinger Health system held a special one-day conference on social media. I was unable to attend since I was at the annual American College of Surgeons meeting in Washington DC.

I would hope that from such a meeting Geisinger would come out of the dark ages and start to allow its employees and others to access social media while they are on their facilities.

Since the meeting nothing has changed. Though wireless access now no longer requires a password when you get a message to ‘like’ Geisinger on Facebook while on it’s wireless system you find yourself instantly blocked.

Similarly, access to Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other important social media sites continue to be blocked. Any inquiry about the reasons are met with the answer that Geisinger is very concerned about patient privacy. Why can large systems like the Mayo Clinic successfully engage with social media? Is Mayo any less concerned about patient privacy than Geisinger, I doubt this is true.

Meanwhile patients and their family, doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers are walking around Geisinger most of whom are carrying a mobile computer in the form of a smart phone or tablet. These folks have the ability to photograph or film anything going on in the hospital so if Geisinger is so concerned about privacy why doesn’t it confiscate these devices at the door? Instead of metal detectors, Geisinger could install detectors for smart devices.

I am being facetious. My hope is that with time and I hope this time is soon, that the Geisinger system will allow access to Social Media. It is only through such access that the system can improve its engagement with patients and their families. The benefits are immeasurable.

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