The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a new policy on professionalism when using social media. The policy, announced during the AMA's semi-annual policymaking meeting in San Diego, aims to help physicians maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.
“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” said AMA Board Member Mary Anne McCaffree, MD. “The AMA’s new policy outlines a number of considerations physicians should weigh when building or maintaining a presence online.”
The new policy adopted by the Chicago-based organization encourages physicians to:
- Use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the fullest extent possible on social networking sites;
- Monitor their own internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their sites, and content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate;
- Maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship when interacting with patients online and ensure patient privacy and confidentiality is maintained;
- Consider separating personal and professional content online; and
- Recognize that actions online and content posted can negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, and may even have consequences for their medical careers.