A great example is when American Medical Association House of Delegates met in an interim meeting in November. The outcome was a thoughtful first step, strawman maybe, but definitely a great initiative toward structuring Observable and Accountable Social Media Policies that turn in to the best interest of the entire practice and patient community.

Amplify’d from www.ama-assn.org

Social media use should mirror face-to-face patient dealings

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be easy, effective and efficient ways for physicians to connect with their patients, colleagues and others in the outside world. Unfortunately, those sites also can be easy, effective and efficient ways for physicians to get themselves in trouble with their patients, colleagues and others in the outside world.
The tricky part of social media is figuring how to maintain the sort of energetic and personalized presence expected on the sites without stepping over the line into legal and ethical troubles, or without saying something inappropriate that merely reflects badly on yourself.
The policy outlines some considerations doctors should make before they venture into social media — or should make now that they’re involved with it. The guidance covers not only professionalism in social media, but also professionalism for any online presence a physician might have.

Among the policy’s recommendations:

  • Physicians should not post identifiable patient information online and should otherwise be aware of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that should be maintained in every setting, including online. Any interaction with patients online, as it is in the real world, should be in accordance with professional guidelines affecting the patient-physician relationship.
  • Physicians should use any available privacy settings on social media and other websites, but they also should realize that safeguards are not absolute, and that any content put online is likely to stay there permanently. Therefore, doctors routinely should monitor their Internet presence (such as by running their name through a Google search) to make sure their personal and professional information on their own sites — and others’ — is accurate and appropriate.
  • To make it eas
  • ier to maintain professional boundaries, physicians should consider separating personal and professional presences on social media and elsewhere online.
  • If physicians see colleagues posting content that appears to be unprofessional, they should alert the doctors so they can remove it or take whatever appropriate action is necessary. If the doctors do not take action, and the content significantly violates professional norms, physicians must report the matter to the appropriate authorities.
  • Physicians must recognize that any social media presence and actions online can negatively affect their reputations and consequences for their medical careers. The same goes for physicians-in-training and medical students.
  • Read more at www.ama-assn.org