Doctors Urged to Refrain from Social Media Contacts With Patients
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FRIDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- In this age of texting, tweets and Facebook "friends," doctors should show restraint when it comes to reaching out to patients through social media, new guidelines say.
Updated recommendations for online ethics from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) say the key is drawing a clear line between professional life and social life.
If physicians fail to do so, the "potential dangers are confidentiality concerns, replacement of face-to-face or phone interaction, and ambiguity or misinterpretation of digital interactions," the American College of Physicians said in a news release.
Some of the key recommendations:
"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," Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of the FSMB, said in the news release.
The policy paper appears online and in the April 16 print issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American College of Physicians, news release, April 11, 2013