Set rules for docs on social media

Guest post by Nancy Cawley Jean, senior media relations officer for Lifespan health system in Rhode Island.

Back in 2011, I wrote a Hospital Impact post about why doctors should be careful when using social media. I'm not changing my stance on the issue, but I recognize that social media, and clinicians' use of it, has come a long way in a short amount of time. If it was accepted before, it's expected now!

So what prescription should doctors write for themselves when it comes to using social media? The answer is pretty simple. Use it, and remember what it's for!

Recently, the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline issued guidelines for doctors on how to use social media appropriately. I'm glad they did this for two reasons--First, it lets doctors know that it's OK to post out there in the big social sphere, and they won't lose their license by doing so. Second, it gives them the dos and don'ts of what to do.

A lot of doctors already have figured out that social media is a great tool. They are leaders in the field, and their social media use has allowed them to voice their opinions on hot health topics, to serve as thought leaders in the healthcare and social media, and to simply share information.