Inside a Chicago hospital’s evolving social media policy

Advocate allows its staff to tweet and use Facebook, and it crowd-sources ideas for its communications team.

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When you run a hospital system with 30,000 employees, you have a wealth of stories to share—and the possibility for social media liability that must make attorneys wake up in cold sweats.

But Advocate Health Care has decided to embrace social media, tearing down internal firewalls last week and allowing staff to access Facebook from their desktops.

The Oak Brook, Ill., company—which comprises 12 hospitals and 250 care sites—is urging employees to link to its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel accounts, and is providing training to keep problems from emerging.

Dovetailing this, Advocate communicators are crowd-sourcing by asking for story ideas they can follow up on through a website called “Inspiring medicine. Changing lives.

Early triumphs

The results have already been a success, Advocate says.

“We have doubled our Facebook fans in just a few days since our launch,” the company tweeted Tuesday. “AWESOME! Thanks Advocate FB Followers!”

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