Social Networking Use Guidelines: For MD Anderson Employees

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center considers social networks like Facebook and Twitter to be important tools for sharing information about our institution and the work we do every day. As such, we expect all employees who participate in social networks, including those whose use directly relates to the duties of their position, to demonstrate our core values and adhere to our high standards for interaction with patients, caregivers and colleagues across communication methods and platforms.

Practice Our Core Values Online

Use of social networks should be given the same weight and care as other methods of office communication. Just as you would over the phone, in the hallways or in e-mail, you should conduct yourself professionally and with our core values in mind.  

  • Social networking sites are publicly search-able, and almost everything you post on these sites is publicly accessible. Think twice before posting. If you wouldn't want your boss to see it, you might reconsider putting it online. 

  • Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for our patients, caregivers, colleagues and business associates. Never include any Patient Protected Health Information.
    Patient Care and Customer Service

Social networking is a powerful tool for extending communications between the cancer center and our patients. It allows us to listen to people - in real time - as they express their thoughts and feelings about our institution and their experiences here. MD Anderson encourages thoughtful and responsible use of social media sites in extending our information to patients and the public.

When considering interactions with patients on this very public platform:

  • Never discuss the details of patient or caregiver interaction; HIPAA applies in all cases.

  • If you observe or become aware of inappropriate sharing of Protected Health Information, immediately report it to the Office of Institutional Compliance.

  • Transparency is key in social networking. If sharing MD Anderson information or resources, always identify yourself as an employee, faculty member, contractor or volunteer. It's good for the reputation of the institution and your department, and it establishes you as a trustworthy resource.

  • Never give specific medical advice. Instead take the conversation offline, or refer the patient to askMDAnderson for support, 877-MDA-6789.

If you view posts from patients or individuals expressing concerns about MD Anderson treatment or customer service, please contact External Communications. A representative will identify the correspondence, gather the appropriate information and forward the concern to the appropriate department.

If the concern is urgent, you may recommend that the complainant contact External Communications.

Social Media Use

Because MD Anderson develops social media content and shares information with patients, the public, referring physicians, trainees and employees via social networking and file-sharing sites, we do not restrict their access. However, personal use of social networking sites during work hours and with state property is inappropriate and must not interfere with job responsibilities and performance. 

Social Media for Your Department or Program

Many social networking sites hold the potential to help you reach the audience that you need to connect with in a personal way. The content on these sites is portable, interactive and offers users the ability to share and respond to your information anytime, anywhere. If your goal is to spread the word about an event or program, or educate on prevention or patient care, you should consider adding social networking to your communications process. Before starting this effort, there are guidelines to consider. External Communications has worked with various departments to develop these guidelines and support the social networking needs of the institution.

Any social media communications effort on behalf of MD Anderson or for a program, department or division must be approved by the Communications Office before proceeding. Forms, guidelines and instructions can be found on the External Communications intranet site.

If you encounter a social media account that appears to belong to MD Anderson but contains questionable content or does not adhere to our standards, please alert External Communications by e-mail with a link to the site (

MD Anderson Social Media Channels (Not a complete list)





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