Taking Medical Initiatives Social: Facebook’s Organ Donor Initiative
When someone says the word “Facebook,” you probably think of status updates, photo albums and “likes”—not medical initiatives. Since the use of social media by medical industries is highly regulated, it isn’t something that typically jumps to the forefront of our minds.
However, last April, Facebook took a huge step in combining the two (social media and the regulated medical industry) by launching the Organ Donor Initiative.
Organ Donation on Facebook
With more that 114,000 people (in the U.S.) waiting for an organ transplant, Facebook saw an opportunity to bring attention to a critical issue in today’s society. The program allows Facebook users to add the fact that they’ve chosen to be an organ donor to their Facebook Timeline. However, Facebook doesn’t take the initiative lightly—as you add that you’re an organ donor to your Timeline, Facebook offers a link to where you can officially register in your state.
What are lawmakers saying?
Legislative officials appreciate the initiative, and expressed that appreciation via Congress’ Facebook Page. Representative Mary Bono Mack (R – Calif.) pointed to how Facebook is staying within regulations:
“Facebook is making certain that users have control over who views this information, or they can simply choose not to post any information at all. These are important privacy safeguards. I commend Facebook for undertaking this important new public service campaign and for doing it in such a responsible way.”
Representative Phil Gengry (R-Ga.) had this to say:
“As a physician for more than 30 years, it’s inspiring to see Facebook using its global influence to raise awareness of a critical health issue that impacts more than 114,000 people in the U.S. alone. Social media has the power to impact communities in incredible ways, and I’m hopeful that this initiative will result in broader knowledge of the organ donation crisis.”
What does this mean for regulated industries and social media?
While there aren’t any statistics to prove that this has affected the use of social media in regulated industries, it is a step in the right direction. A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services, which regulates organ donation, said that while not directly involved, the agency supports Facebook’s initiative. “This is the start of a conversation,” said spokesperson David Bowman.
SOUND OFF: Have you participated in Facebook’s initiative? Do you think initiatives like these are a step in the right directions for regulated industries who want to embrace social media?