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Social Media Policy Highlights and FAQs

Below, “Johns Hopkins” refers to all participating organizations covered by the Johns Hopkins Health System Social Media Policy.

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Why we need it

Before the Johns Hopkins Health System Social Media Policy, each member hospital or entity had its own social media policy and guidelines. This led to inconsistencies in personal and business use of social media at Johns Hopkins. Social media is now one of the more common ways in which we communicate, as individuals and as a business, with over 80% of Americans having a presence online. Knowing that our employees want to learn more about social media techniques, guidelines and best use of social media, this Social Media Policy and the ancillary materials serve as our first step in providing social media resources to our staff.

The goals

  • Policy updates. Evolve our language and position to one that aligns with how social media has grown and how it is used by individuals and health systems.
  • Make Johns Hopkins easy. Make Johns Hopkins easier and work like one organization by harmonizing social media policies across the health system, with clear and consistent expectations.
  • Guidelines. Provide clear guidance and direction to our employees concerning their personal and business use of social media and its effect on the brand.

Key points

  • We understand, value and encourage the use of so­cial media — when used appropriately. As employees, we are an extension of the brand and responsible for maintaining the Johns Hopkins brand of excellence, inclusion, integrity and respect, while remaining compliant with current laws and regulations.
  • We understand our employees are active in social media outside of work. But before using social media during work time, employees should check with their supervisor.
  • When employees are communicating in social media regarding Johns Hopkins or related topics, it’s important to disclose your connection with Johns Hopkins.
  • Use your best judgment and maintain a respectful discourse, adhering to the values of excellence and discovery, leadership and integrity, diversity and inclusion, and respect and collegiality.
  • The same principles found in other Johns Hopkins Health System policies apply to social media activities, such as HIPAA and nondiscrimination.

This policy covers the appropriate use of social media within the participating organizations mentioned in the Johns Hopkins Health System Social Media Policy. This policy is not intended to impede employees from engaging in concerted activity in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act.


  • No. The ease of social networking (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) does not exempt it from ethical and legal (HIPAA) obligations regarding the protection of patient privacy and the confidentiality of patient information.

    While the desire to express sympathy or grief when a beloved patient passes away or to celebrate the success of a patient reaching milestones is understood, there are risks involved.

    Despite not identifying a patient by name or image, you may have mutual connections online and unknowingly release HIPAA-protected personal health information.

    Per Johns Hopkins policy, you may not share patient information online, including de-identified information.

    Learn more about the Johns Hopkins privacy policy.

  • No. You should not post photos of family members of a Johns Hopkins patient or guests visiting the hospital in any capacity. Only post photos of your co-workers if you have their permission to do so.

  • If you see a colleague posting something concerning on social media that does not align with Johns Hopkins’ core values, such as exhibiting signs of aggression or threatening others, please submit the incident online via You can also submit the event to HERO.

    If the colleague’s social media activity is a possible HIPAA violation, you can report it to [email protected]. Please copy [email protected].

  • No. You are not required to friend, follow or connect with your supervisor on social media.

  • You should delete the comment immediately, but know that deleting a comment on social media does not make it disappear. For good measure, please reach out to the HIPAA office via the form. There will be no repercussions for an honest mistake.

  • No. Displaying information anonymously does not exclude you from the HIPAA policy. The policy applies even if you do not identify yourself as a Johns Hopkins employee online.

  • Please reach out to JHM Marketing and Communications before creating a social media site or launching any social media project tied to Johns Hopkins. This can be done through submitting a request to JHM Marketing and Communications at

  • If you are being harassed by a fellow employee, you should submit the incident via

  • Write in the first person and make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Johns Hopkins.

  • We appreciate your support! Your connections likely put a lot of trust in what you share with them. If you are sharing information about Johns Hopkins and the services provided, you must disclose your connection with Johns Hopkins. This is not only the right thing to do, as your connections would likely want to know this when evaluating your comment, but this disclosure is also required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    Examples could be:

    I’m so honored to work at Johns Hopkins, where innovative research and amazing treatments like XYZ are taking place.


    This new procedure for XYZ is lifesaving for anyone suffering with XYZ! #HopkinsProud

  • If contacted by a blogger or media representative on social media about the business of Johns Hopkins, notify Marketing and Communications at [email protected].


If you have additional questions about the social media policy or this FAQ, or if you would like to inquire more about using social media as an employee or a department, please contact a social media team member at [email protected] or reach out to your HR Business Partner.

Please note, these guidelines cover the appropriate use of social media within the participating organizations mentioned in the Johns Hopkins Health System Social Media Policy. These guidelines are not intended to impede employees from engaging in concerted activity in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act.

View Social Media Policy 
View HIPAA Policy

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