With healthcare moving in a digital direction as mobile health applications and devices continue on the rise, it makes sense that a physician’s social media presence has benefits. There are dangers as well.
When used properly, social media can:
- grow your professional network and education,
- promote health care organizations,
- open up a new platform for patient care and education, and
- expedite progress toward public health issues by spreading information quickly through vast networks.
Used carelessly, social media can:
- share inaccurate and unreliable information,
- damage your professional image,
- breach patient privacy,
- violate the patient-physician boundary, and even
- negatively affect a physician’s credentials and licensure.
The American Medical Association (AMA) offers their own policy to help guide physicians’ social media use, as do many other healthcare institutions. These guidelines can help:
- Stay professional. Always avoid using unbecoming language when posting online. You may even consider creating separate accounts for personal and professional content. ...Negative actions online can negatively affect not only your reputation among patients, but colleagues as well.
- Maintain boundaries. Ensure patient privacy is maintained.
- Determine what you’re willing to share. Sharing personal interests and hobbies online can make a provider seem more approachable and relatable. It is up to you to decide how comfortable you are sharing certain details about your life. Use privacy settings when necessary to protect any information you wish to keep private.
- Regularly monitor your online presence. Make sure that information posted by you as well as content posted about you by others provides accurate and truthful information.
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