"You can't control the message in any media—this is just amplified," said panelist Stephanie Cannon, director of Web communications and e-business at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH.
"You wouldn't decide not to do PR because there might be a bad story written about you," Browell added. "'They're going to be negative if we're [online] or not. We need to ask, do we want to be aware it's happening and do we want to have a vehicle to respond?"
Representatives from The Ohio State University Medical Center explained how they tackled that question in a session called "Going from 'Take It Down' to 'C-Suite Tweets' in Six Months." In mid-2009 hospital leadership blocked Facebook, YouTube, and other social sites throughout the organization—including patient-accessible wireless—after a nurse manager complained they had a negative effect on ED productivity.
But Ryan Squire, social media program director for the 980-bed organization, advocated reinstating access to social media to improve both patient and employee satisfaction.
"Every time you shut down Facebook you're telling employees, 'I don't care what you have to say,'" he said. "You can't create culture for patients if you don't create culture for employees."