New Social Media Guidelines Issued for Physicians

By Jim Kling, April 12, 2013, Medscape News Today

A new social media policy urges doctors to “pause before posting” and to not “friend” patients online.

The position paper, issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards, was released at ACP Internal Medicine 2013 in San Francisco, California, and was simultaneously published online April 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

It addresses the benefits and drawbacks of a number of online interactions, and proposes safeguards.

A recent survey of state medical boards showed that 92% reported at least 1 online violation of professionalism that led to a major action, such as license revocation (JAMA. 2012;307:1141-1142). Those researchers were surprised to find that problems ranged across every age group and demographic.

“We decided to work with the ACP to get this information out to all physicians,” Humayun Chaudhry, DO, president and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards and one of the authors of the position paper, said at a news conference.

The resulting position paper “is valuable to every physician across the country,” Dr. Chaudhry added.

There are legitimate ways that physicians can engage in social media with patients.
“It’s really the beginning of a conversation. The online media world is constantly changing. There are legitimate ways that physicians can engage in social media with patients,” added Dr. Chaudhry.

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CMJ- Concierge doctors need to pay particular attention to the guidelines and safe practices when engaging in social media. Concierge medicine seeks to create a higher level of accessibility and communication between patients and their concierge doctor. As social median becomes a more dominant mainstream method of communication, it will become increasingly more important for all professionals to use the medium carefully.

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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