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How Medical Professionals Should Use Social Media According to the AMA’s New Policy

Nov 24, 2010

AMA adopts policy for physicians’ professional use of social media….

The American Medical Association recently adopted a new social media policy that will help physicians better use social networking sites in developing relationships with patients.

The policy will guide physicians in maintaining a positive online presence and preserving the integrity of the patient-physician relationship when using these sites as a means of professional communication, according to an AMA press release.

“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” Mary Anne McCaffree, MD, an AMA board member, stated in the release. “The AMA’s new policy outlines a number of considerations physicians should weigh when building or maintaining a presence online.”

The policy encourages physicians to take the following steps:

  • Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the fullest extent on social networking sites;
  • Routinely monitor their internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their personal sites and content about them posted by others is accurate and appropriate;
  • Maintain appropriate patient-physician relationship boundaries when interacting or consulting with patients online, while ensuring that patient privacy and confidentiality is maintained;
  • Consider separating personal content from professional content online; and
  • Recognize that actions online and posted content can negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues and may have consequences for their careers.
 AMA Press Release 11-22-2010