“Should doctors be using social media?”

Just like everybody else these days, physicians are avidly using social media.  Many have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn profiles and are frequent texters.  But here’s the problem:

Physicians are not immune from the dangers of electronic messaging!

In fact, using social media and texting can be hazardous to the health of the practice.  Liability issues arise from confidentiality breaches, miscommunication, lack of documentation and incomplete information … just to name a few.

So what can health care providers do to limit the risks?  Here are 5 important tips:

  • Never “friend” patients online
  • Never “text” patients … not even for confirming appointments
  • Never “diagnose” online or by text
  • Never send protected health information through social media
  • Never “vent” online … always think before you post

As a rule, we recommend that physicians keep their professional and electronic lives completely separate.  It’s flattering when someone wants to be your “friend” and get a “status update.”  But you don’t have to accept.

Have a specific issue you are concerned about?  We can help, contact us.

Larry Waranch

Larry Waranch

Larry Waranch is an AV rated trial lawyer and a founding partner of Waranch & Brown. His practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice defense, medical licensure matters, administrative defense and general liability.
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