Maintaining Boundaries with Social Media
Risk Management

Maintaining Boundaries with Social Media

Many D.C.s become active on social networking sites or maintain blogs, but what innocuous information might be misconstrued? What snap judgments could be made about your personal life? Read on for more about these risks and more.


Many D.C.s have a desire to keep their personal and professional lives separate. Yet, many doctors frequent online chat rooms, social networking sites or maintain blogs where they identify themselves as doctors and anyone can stumble upon the information. What are the risks?

What innocuous information might be misconstrued? What snap judgments could be made about your personal life that have nothing to do with your professional life? Remember, as a doctor, you are held to a higher standard of personal conduct than other groups in society. Rest assured, your activities on social networks will be scrutinized by the plaintiff’s attorney in any litigation.

I suggest that you tell any patients who ask that you make it your policy not to friend current or former patients on social networking sites. This is out of respect for the doctor/patient relationship and to safeguard patient confidentiality.

If you elect to have a profile on one or more social networking sites, make sure to use extreme care and regular attention to your privacy settings. Some doctors also develop a social media policy that addresses the professional use of all types of social media by the doctor and practice staff. This policy could be incorporated into the practice’s new patient information packet.

For more information about professional boundaries, see NCMIC's online booklet.


The information in the NCMIC Learning Center is offered solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as, nor does it represent, legal or professional advice. Neither does this information constitute a guideline, practice parameter or standard of care. You should not act or rely upon this information without seeking the advice of an attorney familiar with the specific legal requirements of the state(s) in which you practice. If there is a discrepancy between the site and an insurance policy you have with NCMIC, the policy will prevail.