Pediatric Housestaff

Social Media Policy


Social media is a powerful tool that can lead to collaboration and improved patient care. However, it also has the potential to divulge protected patient information, place residents in inappropriate patient-physician relationships, and lower society’s trust and opinion of this Program and the profession of medicine. The purpose of this policy is to mitigate this risk.


This policy applies to all Pediatrics Residents of the Stanford University School of Medicine.  This policy is intended to supplement not supersede existing social media policies set forth by Stanford University Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.


The Program Leadership is responsible for interpreting and updating this Policy.





Pediatrics Residency Program of Stanford University School of Medicine

Program Leadership

Committee composed of the Program Director, Associate Program Directors, and Chief Residents of the Pediatrics Residency Program at Stanford School of Medicine

Protected Health Information

 Individually identifiable health Information that relates to a patient’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to a patient, or the past, present, or future payment for health care provided to a patient. This includes all information that you access, use or disclose – in any form, verbal, electronic or physical – about patients or their relatives. 


Social Media

Means all electronic media used to transmit ideas, concepts, images, and opinions. It includes, but is not limited to, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, blogs, personal websites, wiki’s, podcasts, and list serves.


The following requirements must be followed when using social media:

  1. Protected Health Information, including photographs, may not be placed on personal social media sites;
  2. For the purposes of education, descriptions of patient cases and clinical images may be posted to password protected professional sites once the data has been de-identified and patient consent obtained;
  3. Residents should not establish or maintain social media relationships with patients and/or their families, this includes initiating or accepting “friend” requests on Facebook;
  4. The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford University Hospital, Stanford School of Medicine, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center name and logo may not be used in social media without specific written consent from the hospital’s media relations department;
  5. All content must abide by all local, state, and federal laws;
  6. Residents may not give medical advice, unless engaged in an educational activity supervised by an attending physician and with permission from the Program Director; and
  7. Residents may not post comments that disparage the Program, their colleagues, supervisors, patients, patient’s families, or ancillary hospital staff.


Even if the content does not violate the above guidelines, it may impact future career and employment opportunities. It is important to remember that whatever is posted to social media should be considered public and permanent information no matter what privacy settings are used.  Therefore, residents should pause to consider the consequences of their social media posts and should not use obscenities, profanity, or vulgar language, and language that is threatening or defamatory.


If a violation of this policy occurs, the content will need to be removed immediately and can result in disciplinary action up to dismissal from the program.


Exceptions to this policy must be preapproved in writing by the Program Leadership.

Footer Links: