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ACP and FSMB encourage doctors to 'pause before posting' and not 'friend' patients in policy paper
Date:4/11/2013

April 11, 2013 -- The creation and use of information online and the widespread use of the Internet offer exciting new opportunities for patient care, but also require physicians to consider how to best protect patient interests and apply principles of professionalism to online settings, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) said today in a newly released policy paper, "Online Medical Professionalism: Patient and Public Relationships."

"Digital communications and social media use continue to increase in popularity among the public and the medical profession," said Phyllis Guze, MD, FACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. "This policy paper provides needed guidance on best practices to inform standards for the professional conduct of physicians online."

Published online today at http://www.acponline.org and http://www.annals.org and in the April 16 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, the paper examines and provides recommendations regarding the influence of social media on the patient-physician relationship. It also addresses the role of online media and public perception of physician behaviors and strategies for patient-physician communications that preserve confidentiality while best utilizing new technologies.

"It is important for physicians to be aware of the implications for confidentiality and how the use of online media for non-clinical purposes impacts trust in the medical profession," said Humayun Chaudhry, DO, MS, FACP, president and CEO, FSMB.

Notable recommendations from ACP and FSMB include:

  • Physicians should keep their professional and personal personas separate. Physicians should not "friend" or contact patients through personal social media.

  • Physicians should not use text messaging for medical interactions even with an estab
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Contact: Steve Majewski
smajewski@acponline.org
415-978-3714
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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