There are many comments circulating on the social media networks, first the blogs, now Facebook and Twitter. Rumor has it that facebook and twitter are passing google and RSS feeds by, so blogging is now old hat. (it used to be a challenge to make a blog.) Thanks to all you super-geeks guys like me can pour it on with little effort .
I often wonder if these bloggers see any patients. They always seem to be right there, posting my news just before I click on “publish”.
The big thing now is should doctors participate in social media? What are the rules?
Despite all of the benefits and pitfalls surrounding the use of social media by physicians, formal rules for medical professionals to follow online are still in the making. But even as The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, The American College of Physicians' Center for Ethics and Professionalism and other organizations continue to work on new policies, social media pioneers have identified some general do's and don'ts for practicing physicians
In summary, or as a tweet should be, short and sweet.
Social media do's and don'ts
Here are social-media experts' answers to ethical dilemmas physicians face when using Facebook, Twitter or similar sites.
Should I accept Facebook friend requests from patients? Probably not. Keep your personal profile only for friends, family and colleagues. Create a separate business page to share general health information with your patients.
Should I respond to personal medical questions on Facebook or Twitter? No. Refer questions to the patient's physician. If the question comes from your patient, handle it through an office visit, phone consultation or encrypted e-mail exchange.
Should I post any identifying information about my patients? Absolutely not. It is unethical and illegal.
Should I blog or tweet anonymously? Probably not. Anonymity can make it easier for doctors to post content that is disrespectful to patients or that undermines patient trust in the profession.