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Guidelines for Official Use of Social Media 

Establishment of official external sites representing Providence Health & Services or any Providence ministry must be approved and coordinated through local marketing/ communications/public relations departments.  These teams provide oversight and assistance to guide development of new social media platforms, sharing knowledge and instituting best practices for successful implementation.

In addition, these teams will supply the name and graphics to be used on these sites.  Any sites found using the Providence name and/or brand without permission must be taken down immediately.

Follow all applicable Providence policies.  You must not share confidential or proprietary information about Providence Health & Services and you are required to maintain patient privacy by following Providence Privacy and Security policies and standards and HIPAA rules at all times. Among the policies most pertinent to blogging or using social networking sites are those concerning computer, e-mail & Internet use (*PROV-PSEC-812); the Providence Code of Conduct; the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services; photography and video; release of patient information to media and patient confidentiality (*PROV-PSEC-806).  Please always remember Providence’s Core Values, especially Respect and Compassion, when you engage in online conversations or posts.  

Do not provide health care or other professional advice unless it falls within your area of expertise.  It is perfectly acceptable for you to discuss issues related to your career field or personal experiences, but you should not discuss areas of expertise for which you have no first-hand, direct background or knowledge.

Press Inquiries. Blog postings or other social networking messages may generate media coverage.  If contacted by a member of the media, you must direct the reporter to your local marketing, public relations or communications department and notify your local communication staff.

Process for setting up an official Providence presence

  1. Consider working within existing Providence social media outlets if possible.  This makes it easier for Providence to present a consistent external presence on social media sites.
  2. Create a brief statement of your business plan or objectives along with a plan for how the site will be maintained to ensure effectiveness and how it will be monitored to ensure material and content is appropriate.
  3. Contact your local or regional marketing/communications/public relations department to discuss your plan and obtain approval for creating the Providence presence.
  4. Receive the name and graphics to be used on the site (or get assistance for setting up the site) from the marketing/communications/ public relations department.  Only approved Providence logos, colors and styles and naming conventions may be used. 
  5. Go live on the site and build relationships.  Maintain the site and respond appropriately. 

Elements to be included in official Providence sites:

    • Include Providence contact information as applicable to the site’s purpose.
    • Post the following statement in a conspicuous place:  “Providence is committed to protecting the privacy of its patients and other customers.  We will use and disclose the information you provide in accordance with applicable federal and state law.”  If this language will not fit due to space constraints, this language should be included in an “About me” section of the blog or social networking profile.
    • Direct individuals visiting the site to contact 911 if they are experiencing a health emergency.

Rules of Engagement for all official Blogging or Social Networking Activity

As Providence engages in conversations on the Internet, the following rules of engagement apply, both on Providence-sponsored sites and in comments on other sites.

    • If you communicate on the Internet about Providence Health & Services or Providence-related matters, disclose your connection with Providence and your role with the organization.
    • When using or visiting a Providence page for official use, using your providence.org e-mail address is acceptable.  

Rules of Engagement for all official Blogging or Social Networking Activity

As Providence engages in conversations on the Internet, the following rules of engagement apply, both on Providence-sponsored sites and in comments on other sites.

    • If you communicate on the Internet about Providence Health & Services or Providence-related matters, disclose your connection with Providence and your role with the organization.
    • When using or visiting a Providence page for official use, using your providence.org e-mail address is acceptable.
    • Providence blog posts and comments will be accurate and factual.
    • Providence will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
    • Providence will delete spam and/or comments that are obscene.  Providence will reply to e-mails, posts, tweets, and comments when appropriate and without disclosing personal or confidential information.
    • Providence will link directly to online references and original source materials, and will offer established methods to contact Providence in a private or secure setting when appropriate.

Reference documents for Providence employees
(*you must have be signed onto the Providence network to access these policies as they are only available through the Providence Intranet)