Advice For Physicians: How To Behave Online

Although the internet represents “a new frontier in medicine” for physicians and patients it also presents numerous and novel challenges to professionalism, according to a position paper from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The paper offers physicians a new conceptual “framework for analyzing medical ethics and professionalism issues” on the internet and provides recommendations for physicians on the use of email, blogs, social media sites, and more.

When communicating with patients, physicians should “consistently apply ethical principles for preserving the relationship, confidentiality, privacy, and respect for persons to online settings and communications.” The authors note that “the ease of use and immediacy of social media tools… can lead to unintended outcomes or messages.” They recommmend “pausing before posting” and warn about the potential dangers of “patient-targeted Googling.”

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

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