Social media is not something people just use in their personal life; there are many individuals who also use this technology in relation to their professional life. The health care profession is among the professions in which some practitioners have been turning to social media to help with their professional goals, aims and mission.
There are a range of different platforms medical professionals might utilize for profession-related social media use. This not only includes the big general-use platforms out there, such as Facebook, but also specialized platforms aimed particularly at the health care profession, like the app Figure 1.
There many different things a doctor or other health care professional might use social media for in connection to their practice, including:
- Patient education.
- Physician education.
- Promoting collaboration with other medical professionals.
- Marketing their practice.
- Professional networking.
Whatever purposes a doctor or other medical professional is using social media for, it is important for them to exercise care to ensure their social media use doesn’t cross any lines, such as violating patient confidentiality, that could have negative professional consequences for them. As with actions in the real world, when doctors take actions in the digital world through social media that lead to allegations that they have endangered patient well-being or violated professional ethics, things as fundamental to their practice as their medical license could be at risk.
So, when a doctor is unsure if a given social media use they are planning in relation to their practice could raise any potential issues, they may want to ask a skilled health law attorney about it. Also, if a health care professional has had allegations of misconduct leveled against them in relation to their professional social media use, they may want to promptly consult with such a lawyer about their options for protecting their rights and their ability to practice.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Physicians and patients find benefits to using social media in healthcare,” Sunny Vikrum Malhotra, Aug. 26, 2016