Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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Government Relations By Jean Robinson Social Media and Ethical Standards Social media is a great way to promote your business or share information about the benefits of massage with clients or prospective clients, but are you practicing good client privacy protocols when you do so? What You Say Matters It stands to reason, if licensed practitioners continue to increase their use of social media, it's likely that regulatory boards will start to monitor these public conversations to some degree to ensure practitioners uphold a professional image, maintain professional boundaries, and ensure client confidentiality and privacy. ABMP's Code of Ethics regarding commitment to confidentiality is a good standard to follow: I will keep client communication and information confidential and will not share client information without the client's written consent, within the limits of the law. I will ensure every effort is made to respect a client's right to privacy and provide an environment where personal health-related details cannot be overheard or seen by others. Social Media Guidelines for Your Practice Do you have a written social media policy for you and your employees or independent contractors? If not, maybe it's time to adopt one. Involve your staff in the development of these policies and procedures. Put the policies in writing and distribute a copy to each of your employees and independent contractors. Require that they read it and comply with it. The policies should: • xplain appropriate use of social media platforms. E • learly define how information posted there will be used. C • rohibit posting any information of a sexual nature. P • Never post information that could identify a specific client. • pecify what degree of privacy can be expected. S • tate clearly that these forums are not to be used for personal S medical or health advice. Jean Robinson is ABMP's director of government relations. To get the latest updates on all legislative and regulatory activities affecting the world of massage and bodywork, visit www.abmp.com. DS 4 January February 2013 Social Media Guidelines to Follow The same rules regarding client privacy that apply to everything else you do in health care should also apply to social media activities. Here are some guidelines: 1. e professional at all times. What B you say on Facebook to friends is not necessarily appropriate for your business. Build different profile pages: one for business and one for personal use. 2. se professional, clear, and audienceU appropriate terminology on your business page. 3. ever make any statement that could be N interpreted as sexual in any way. 4. o not use social media to share any D health information that could be linked to an individual client, such as names, pictures, or physical descriptions, without the client's consent. 5. f you feel that comments or questions I on your social media platform are becoming too personal, take them offline and call the client to complete the conversation. Clients don't necessarily know boundaries, and they don't have to actually complain or even feel as if their rights were violated for a regulatory board to discipline a practitioner for ethical violations. 6. void possible conflicts of interest, such A as making unsupported claims about a product you're selling or repeatedly promoting specific health products. 7. void statements that have the potential A to call into question whether you are working within your scope of practice or that you dispute existing medical knowledge or guidelines.

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