Social Media Policy

With the proliferation of social networking sites and other social media and online communication resources such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogs, it has become increasingly common for individuals to post information about their work and school environment.  As medical students, you will have access to very personal and sensitive information about patients and the care provided to them. It is important to recognize that information posted on these sites is owned by the sites and may be disseminated beyond the intended audiences.  Merely stripping a patient's name does not render that information de-identified.  Inappropriate use and/or disclosure of patient information is a violation of School of Medicine and Penn Medicine policies and may be illegal, carrying with it both civil and criminal penalties. Accordingly, do not post any confidential or patient information on any public website.  Students may also be held personally liable for proprietary, defamatory or libelous material posted on websites. Students may also face professionalism sanctions for posting of material that is defamatory, profane, threatening, harassing, hateful or humiliating to patients, students, housestaff, nursing and other hospital or PSOM staff, and faculty. Students must not post any material online that might be construed by readers as being an official communication on behalf of PSOM or Penn Medicine.

Email and internet access provided throughout any academic medical center or clinical entity is for the primary purpose of supporting clinical and research activities, so email and internet access for personal use is not permitted. Students should use personal email addresses, not Penn email addresses, in personal online postings and communications. However, use of pseudonymous email addresses or online identities can be traced, so their use does not protect you from responsibility and any liabilities related to posting online material.