The explosive spread of social media used by healthcare professionals and healthcare consumers has brought a lot of new challenging dilemmas to the forefront. The American Medical Association recently put forth a set of guidelines aimed at helping physicians to maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.
The new policy encourages physicians to:
- Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the fullest extent possible on social networking sites.
- Routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.
- Maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship when interacting with patients online and ensure patient privacy and confidentiality is maintained.
- Consider separating personal and professional content online.
- Recognize that actions online and content posted can negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, and may even have consequences for their medical careers.