Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Do's and Dont's for Physicians on Facebook

So finally Social Media has hit the spot with doctors. Its the first form of technology which Doctors have adopted worldwide on their own( without pressure, incentives or kickbacks.)

Recent statistics show that while 87% of the physicians surveyed reported using Social media for personal purposes, a significant 67% also claimed to be using it for Professional use. Social Media has ushered healthcare into an exciting world of free expression and multi faceted communication

There have also been some unfortunate cases coming to light, where doctors have been penalized for overdoing it on Social Media. Also 45 % of the organizations surveyed claimed to have no policy for Social Media. In this article we'll look at some do's and don'ts for Physicians so that they can use Facebook safely and not let it cause legal problems for themselves in the future.

1. Don't talk about your Patients - Talk about yourself, your cases, your peers ... But don't talk about your patients. Their privacy is protected by law ...

2. When you talk about yourself, your cases and your peers, make sure you are not identifying your patients

3. Dont practice medicine from inside Social Networks. Avoid the common traps of responding to seemingly harmless medical questions. The ones which go like "How many days before ..." or "What do you think ...."

4. Try to avoid getting drawn into negative discussions on a public forum. On facebook you can hold a private discussion with a colleague on "How you feel your hospital needs to improve ?" in the privacy of personal messages and chats ... Avoid this on your wall..

5. Try to create a facebook page for yourself or your practice. With this in place, you can avoid having to accept friend requests from patients, redirecting them instead to like your page.

6. Dont post objectionable content. Physician or not, inebriated pictures and vulgar comments are not cool. Even if they seem to be for a particular phase in life.

7. When something objectionable is posted, accept it , apologize for it and remove it.

8. Set your Privacy Settings on various networks appropriately to safeguard your information and content. This helps you protect yourself when Rule No 1 is crossed.

DO have fun, be transparent and DO voice your views. DO  provide tips on where to gain trustworthy information online and offline , DO make connections but make sure you follow the above 8 points.

Further Readings:

A Wonderful Article with Do's and Don'ts for Nurses using Social Media


Dr. Royal Benson said...

What do you think about using patients in photography on our website and Facebook page? Should we avoid it altogether - or comb over a media release form and go that approach? We're an Ob/Gyn clinic in Central TExas and, to be honest, there's some neat stories begging to be told, but we maintain the utmost respect for our patient's privacy - not because we're legally bound to do so, but because it's the right thing.

Just curious to hear your thoughts on this. Something we've thought about for a while now.

Nrip Nihalani said...

Firstly, thanks for taking the time out to reach out to me. You have a beautiful website.

I think more photography on your website would be a good thing in general. But I think using patients in stories and photography by a practice should be done with their "written consent".

I see that there are no pictures of the practice too.

You may think about adding some pictures of the practice itself. the physicians practicing, the rooms, the equipment , the reception area.

You may add a page for a photo gallery with such pictures, each with a caption.

It helps in personalizing and humanizing the web experience for the prospective patient...

In case you'd like to hear some other suggestions or wish to see examples of gallery pages used by other practices, please feel free to email me at

shankar m said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life...

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