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Posted on 12.07.2010

The AMA Finally Weighs in on HIPAA and Social Media

A couple of weeks ago the American Medical Association released the long awaited guidelines on physician use of social media.  Healthcare marketers should keep these new best practices in mind as social media strategies are developed, designed and implemented, and may even want to suggest that these guidelines be included in a healthcare organization’s social media policies for employees. This announcement is quite timely because there is currently a stampede underway with hospitals, medical practices and even enterprising physicians bounding into the social media frontier. Twitterdoctors.net shows more than 1,300 registered docs on Twitter, and Ed Bennett, the leading resource on hospital use of social media, reports that more than 800 hospitals (about 20 percent of hospitals nationwide) already have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and/or through blogs they publish. MedPage Today, Health Data Management, and CMIO reported on the AMA’s key recommendations:
  • Use privacy settings on social networking websites;
  • Ensure that online postings are accurate and professional;
  • Recognize that posting inappropriate material online could jeopardize a medical professional’s reputation among colleagues and patients;
  • Alert colleagues about online postings that could be considered unprofessional;
  • Notify appropriate authorities if a colleague posts material online that "significantly violates professional norms;"
  • Uphold patient privacy and confidentiality standards in online environments;
  • Consider separating personal and professional content online; and,
  • Maintain appropriate physician-patient boundaries during online interactions.
If you do any physician marketing, what are you finding about the value of social media?

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