Patients are actively looking to engage their physicians online, but doctors aren't too keen on the idea. What's the big fuss?
(...) "Q: Privacy seems to be a big concern among physicians. Should doctors be friends with patients on Facebook?
Pho: The short answer is no. There is information on personal Facebook profiles that physicians may not necessarily want their patients to know about—pictures of their children, what they did on vacation, what they do after hours. Allowing patients access to a personal physician’s profile has the potential to blur the line between a professional doctor-patient relationship and one that brims on being too personal.
Instead, I advocate a “dual citizenship” method that separates a personal and professional online identity. It’s an approach that professional medical societies endorse, such as the Federation of State Medical Boards. Physicians can still maintain their personal profile on Facebook, but restrict access to it to close friends and family members.
Then they should have a separate Facebook Page for their practice that is open to the public. Doctors should maintain a professional demeanor on this page, and use it to connect with patients, share stories about the practice, and guide the public to reputable health information on the web. An increasing number of patients get health information on Facebook, so it’s important for physicians to have a presence there. A professional Facebook page is an ideal way to do so." (...)