For healthcare professionals, social media is undeniably extremely powerful platform to receive and deliver user-generated content including education, health promotion, patient advocacy, collegial collaboration and participation in shaping health policies.
Although social media provides unique opportunities to engage with an extremely large audience, there are risks and challenges, many specifically in relation to healthcare professionals. Many world-leading hospitals, health services, scientific journals, health politicians and clinicians have fully embraced social media. Mayo Clinic in USA is at the forefront of this, by creating a social media network with education programmes for clinicians including specifically fellowship and residency programmes.
Although various social media guidelines or statements from professional and regulatory bodies have been released, many will see them as being too ambiguous and not sufficiently robust enough to protect the clinician who decides to venture onto social media.
There are healthcare professionals who will also argue that current Australian health laws require an update to keep up with the times. Until then, they remain wary and prefer to remain “unengaged”.
Relevant health laws, guidelines, pearls and pitfalls of healthcare social media will be presented, with the view of educating and empowering the clinician to truly engage on social media.