The boundaries between the physician – patient relationship have always been difficult as the relationship is based on trust, intimacy and the ability to share information from both sides of the desk. This relationship has grown more complex due to the rise of social media engagement. Physicians are being friend-ed, followed and reviewed across the digital channel like crazy, placing the doctors that care for them in difficult positions regarding the confidentiality of their patients who often don’t think about the impact of their digital-buddy request.
Similarly, due to the ease of digital communications, the commonly time-stretched doctor also faces temptation to use quick communication methods to reach their audience, in lieu of a more professional path. No-one really wants their test results Tweeted to them! These examples of digital doctoring to be avoided are covered in the guidance. Protecting patient privacy and confidentiality is stressed as the main area for focus when using social media.
In order to help doctors better understand digital communication best practices and to fill a gap than many medical practice management efforts have neglected, about a week ago, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) published a policy paper entitled“Online Medical Professionalism: Patient and Public Relationships.” Some of the highlights from this publication can be found in this helpful table
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