To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Yes, I check my facebook account every day, but I am certainly not “addicted to it”, as my husband seems to think.  This article on iMedicalApps.com talks about social media in terms of its usage by doctors who are posting medical information.

“Technologically savvy physicians, students and other health providers, including readers of iMedicalApps.com, are likely to be involved in social media.  But many of us who may be new to social media may have no idea of what the rules of engagement are on the internet, and may not fully realize that posting on the internet is more public than hospital elevator chatter.

While one can see who is in proximity of the hospital elevator, one has no way of knowing who might read a Facebook status update or tweet.  And while elevator speech disappears after the sound rarefactions dissipate, internet posts do not easily vanish.

In that sense, we as health care providers should hold our social media posts to higher standards than we do our everyday hallway conversations.  When posting medical information online, we must ensure the information is accurate, or a disclaimer is given to keep liability at a distance.  Clarify that your post represents your opinion, and not the opinion of your affiliated institutions.

As the author points out, “the internet is forever”.

Some health organizations are starting to provide guidelines for the usage of social media to take advantage of this powerful tool.

My own facebook posts certainly don’t involve other people’s confidential information.  They tend to run more along the lines of witty observations about the world in general and my incredulity at the latest antics of my children, but, were I a doctor, I would certainly hope that I would pause to think before I dashed to my keyboard to tweet about latest medical oddity that came across my caseload.

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