Every action has a reaction, especially when it comes to social media. Given today’s political climate, highly expressive and controversial comments have become standard. People can react with unrestrained emotions, and a seemingly innocuous post can lead to dire outcomes. As physicians become more involved with social media, they should remember to maintain a sense of propriety. A doctor that is active on social media should be careful about what they post.
Trust and Respect
People in certain professions, such as teaching, politics, and medicine, are held to higher standards than others, and are easily criticized for making mistakes. Physicians in particular generate a lot of trust and respect from the public. An inappropriate comment, even made with good intentions, can spark public outrage.
A Rhode Island doctor posted information about a patient on Facebook. Though the patient’s name was not used, community members were able to recognize who it was. The doctor was fined, and later fired. In September 2018, a physician commented on the gender pay gap, stating that female doctors did not perform as well as men. He was called sexist and ignorant by his peers.
A Website for the Practice
Most medical practices use websites and social media as effective marketing tools. This should be kept separate from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and personal web pages. Hiring a professional web designer is an investment worth considering. The practice site should include everything that a prospective patient would need to know, including background and contact information. It is possible to link this to social media but this can get tricky, especially if patients start interacting and requesting advice online.
The Importance of Privacy Settings
Privacy settings on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, let users customize their settings. They allow the user to choose who they want to see their postings, including blocking specific people from seeing anything on their page. Privacy settings can also prevent unwanted messages from being received, including posts. For example, without privacy settings, other people may be able to post unwelcome comments and advertisements on the page. Privacy settings allow the user to approve the comments before they are posted.
Doctors should use a different name, such as a nickname, for their personal social media accounts. People may search for their physicians online using doctors’ names from their professional websites. Employing the use of a nickname on personal websites can divert their searches.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Physicians Navigate Social Media Issues
If you need legal guidance with social media matters, contact the knowledgeable Philadelphia physician lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for a free case evaluation. Our office is in Philadelphia, and we represent physicians in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. Call us at 215-569-1999 or complete an online form today.