INTERNET AND EMAIL USE POLICY

 

SCOPE

This policy applies to all employees of Myhealth Medical Group which encompasses all employees of Myhealth Medical Centres and Management.

 

OVERVIEW

This policy covers all employees of Myhealth Medical Centres and use of internet during rostered hours as well as utilisation of practice emails.

 

PURPOSE

To define the rules for each employee when engaging in email and internet use regardless of parties involved or medium. To also uphold the professional standards of Myhealth Medical Centres and Myhealth Management.

 

BACKGROUND

Myhealth Medical Group recognises employees use internet across all aspects of life and that the lines between work and home are becoming increasingly difficult to identify with the use of mobile devices.

Employees are personally responsible for the content they interact with and circulate in a personal or professional capacity on any media platform.

This policy does not apply to staff members’ personal use of internet and personal email where they make ​no real or perceived​ reference to Myhealth Medical Centre or Myhealth Management Group, it’s staff, it’s clients/patients, services, business partners, government, suppliers or other stakeholders.

 

DEFINITIONS

 

Internet

The ​Internet​ is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.​ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet as at 10th July 2018)

 

Email

Electronic mail​ (​email​ or ​e-mail​) is a method of exchanging messages (“​mail​”) between people using electronic devices. Invented by​ Ray Tomlinson​, email first entered limited use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet. Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today’s email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email se​r​vers​ accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect only briefly, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface, for as long as it takes to send or receive messages. ​ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email as at 10th July 2018)

 

Employees

In this policy, employees include permanent staff and executives, contractors, temporary staff, trainees and students on placements.

 

Company

In this policy, ‘the company’ may be used interchangeably with the employers trading name

Myhealth Medical Centre and/or Myhealth Management Group (including Myhealth Medical Group).

 

POLICY

No images, content or confidential information from within Myhealth Medical Centres or

Management is to be sent via email without express permission of Myhealth Management Team. Employees should not respond to requests for personal and/or clinical information via email or other forms of communication via the internet without prior authorisation from the management team.

Computer and Internet usage assigned to an employee’s computer or telephone extensions are solely for the purpose of conducting Company business. Some job responsibilities at the

Company require access to the internet and the use of software in addition to the Microsoft Office and of LibreOffice suite of products.

Only people appropriately authorized, for Company purposes, may use the internet to access and download additional software. This authorization is generally exclusive to decisions that the IT department makes in conjunction with Human Resources.

Where an employee sends outgoing correspondence via email or similar methods, the employee:

  • Must ensure any online communication is consistent with the company’s Code of Conduct, values, policies and applicable laws.
  • Must not make any comment or forward any material that might otherwise cause damage to Myhealth Medical Group’s reputation or bring it into disrepute.
  • Must not send any material that includes confidential/proprietary information or trade secrets, or information that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, libellous, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, or sexist.
  • Must not send any personal or clinical details of patients, employees and contractors.
  • Must not use an Myhealth Medical Group logos or insignia without written permission from a line manager.
  • Can only disclose and discuss publicly available information.
  • Must adhere to the Terms of Use of the relevant email platform, as well as copyright, privacy, defamation, contempt of court, discrimination and other applicable laws, and Myhealth Medical Group’s Privacy of Health Records and Personal Information policies.

 

COMPLIANCE

  • Myhealth Medical Group reserves the right to initiate action against any staff member, in accordance with the organisation’s Disciplinary Procedure, who uses social media in a manner that could be considered inappropriate or not consistent with this policy or any other Myhealth Medical Group policy.
  • Management will consider the nature and severity of the post, the source of the post, whether a Myhealth Centre or management team was named, if the post is public, if other workers have seen the post, if the Myhealth name has been damaged or the Health Industry has been damaged, and or if the comment was impulsive or deliberate when considering any disciplinary action.
  • Disciplinary action may include termination of employment or disengagement of external contractors.

 

DISCLOSURE OF INAPPROPRIATE USE

Where an employee becomes aware of inappropriate or unlawful use of internet and email that relates to Myhealth Medical Group, or content that may otherwise have been published or forwarded in breach of this policy the situation and circumstances should be reported immediately to the Practice/Area Manager or Management team.  
 

PROTOCOL

 

Myhealth Medical Centre Related Use

In some instances, an employee’s supervisor may ask an employee to participate in an online forum in a Myhealth ​(Insert practice name/location)​ Medical Centre job-specific capacity.

Prior to participation, the employee should:

  • Discuss involvement with his/her supervisor
  • Receive approval from Management
  • Ensure they are familiar with relevant policies and protocols, and agree on parameters for the project

 

PERSONAL USE

This policy does not discourage nor unduly limit employees using the internet or email for personal expression or other online activities in their personal life.

Employees should be aware of and understand the potential risks and damage to Myhealth Medical Group that can occur, either directly or indirectly from their personal use of the internet and email and should comply with this policy to ensure that the risk is minimised.

Employees are personally responsible for content published in their personal capacity on any form of email or online communication platform. When in doubt, employees can seek guidance from the Practice/Area Manager on how to comply with the following obligations.

To avoid breaching this policy, employees must:

  • Only disclose and discuss publicly available information
  • Ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading and complies with all relevant practice policies and other legal and professional requirements
  • Expressly state that stated views are personal and are not representative of the practice
  • Behave politely and respectfully
  • Adhere to the terms of use for using the email or alternative communication platform, and adhere to legislation including copyright, privacy, defamation, contempt of court, discrimination, harassment and any other applicable laws, and the Practice’s Privacy Policy.

Employees must not:

  • Forward or post material that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, infringes copyright, constitutes a contempt of court, breaches a Court suppression order, or is otherwise unlawful
  • Imply that they are authorised to speak as a representative of the company, nor give the impression that the views expressed are those of the company
  • Use the identity or likeness of another employee, contractor or other member of the company
  • Use their practice email address or any practice logos or insignia that may give the impression of official support or endorsement of their personal comment
  • Use or disclose any confidential information or personal information obtained in their capacity as an employee or contractor of the company
  • Post material that is, or might be construed as, threatening, harassing, bullying or discriminatory towards another employee or contractor of the Practice
  • Comment or post any material that might otherwise cause damage to the practice’s reputation or bring it into disrepute

When accessing the internet and email while at work, you must do so in accordance with Myhealth Medical Group’s Code of Conduct and Use of Computers policies, which requires you to use these resources reasonably, in a manner that does not interfere with your work, and is not inappropriate or excessively accessed.

Examples of reasonable use include:

  • Accessing Facebook during an official break time
  • Replying to a family member’s email
  • Paying bills online during a meal break

It does not include promoting personal business or private enterprises during rostered hours.

 

REFERENCES AND ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS

Privacy Policy

Code of Conduct Policy

Bullying & Harassment Policy

Data and Security Breach Protocol

Confidentiality Agreement

Social Media Policy

Use of Computers Policy (yet to be officially written and shared)

 

Legislation

  • Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)
  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth)

 

Standards/Codes of Practice/Industry Guidelines

  • Social Media and the Medical Profession: guidelines for medical staff and medical students, Australian Medical Association

 

  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Social Media Policy

Myhealth Medical Group has taken all reasonable steps in the development of this policy, to make its content consistent with the proper discharge of its obligations under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and all related state and federal laws.

 

MODIFICATION

  • The date the policy is due for review no greater than two years from the date of endorsement
  • The Myhealth Management team is responsible for reviewing this policy