Social Media Guidelines

A quick list to Social Media Guidelines for Medics: take your pick!

If you are new to Social Media I hope you’ll be made to feel welcome among the rheumatology band of bloggers! Using Social media can be rewarding for physicians and health professionals, but occasionally we can make mistakes! When mistakes are made in social media they are much more public than you might think, and unfortunately when this happens someone may spot it and take great delight in spreading it. If that does happen, take care how you respond. If you respond with courtesy and humility others are more likely to take your side in the debate. On the other hand if you see something that a colleague is doing that you think is ‘sailing close to the wind’ send them a private message and politely warn them of your concerns.
Useful Blog articles:
Social Media highway code RCGP (UK)
The Code (please see full text link for more detailed advice)

1. Be aware of the image you present online and manage this proactively
2. Recognise that the personal and professional can’t always be separated
3. Engage with the public but be cautious of giving personal advice
4. Respect the privacy of all patients, especially the vulnerable
5. Show your human side, but maintain professional boundaries
6. Contribute your expertise, insights and experience
7. Treat others with consideration, politeness and respect
8. Remember that other people may be watching you
9. Support your colleagues and intervene when necessary
10. Test out innovative ideas, learn from mistakes – and have fun!

Australian and NZ Medical Associations Social Media and the Medical Profession

This is an excellent document, and gives some great examples of borderline cases that might have caught us out.

Example 1:

You are working in a rural hospital and make a comment on a social networking site about an adverse outcome for one of your patients. You are careful not to name the patient or the hospital. However, you mentioned the name of the hospital you are working at in a post last week. A cousin of the patient searches the internet for the hospital’s name in order to find its contact phone number. In the search results, the patient’s cousin is presented with your posting mentioning the hospital. The cousin then sees the subsequent posting regarding the adverse outcome involving the