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.
by Lori Holt in Social & Electronic Media on Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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.