Interesting question and I really appreciate you pushing discussion on this topic. However, creating guidelines and following guidelines are totally different things. For example, all the choices in the poll can create guidelines, but which one(s) will physicians follow? A clinical example of this is breast cancer screening. What the speciality societies recommend, what the american cancer society recommends, what the us preventative services task force recommends, what other entities recommend – all potentially different. What is a clinician to do? Can be really confusing!
Again, I don’t want sound negative. Just injecting more topics to think about during this discussion. Keep up the good work on this!
I think that likely all of those places will come up with guidelines. All of the entities you have listed do have somewhat competing interests as Mike was saying. Thus, the bigger question is whose guidelines will everyone actually follow. Or are we all supposed to follow all of them? Obviously, some groups have a bigger stick if you don’t follow guidelines they post – ie the state medical board. So, something like a licensing agency or an employers rules will likely trump other ideas just by the fact that you might get fired or lose your license over things you post. Hence, I think this means that one of your groups, the people who are leaders, and have experience in healthcare social media should be actively involved as these guidelines are created in all these places so that there hopefully can be some thread of consistency.
I voted for complying with HIPAA but the admonition that one should put a disclaimer that his social media content is not medical advice baffles me. What manner of moron would take a tweet as medical advice? If such a person does, I guarantee you that they will not have read the disclaimer either and that’s what they will state if they sue. It’s the same as when people say they didn’t understand what they were signing when they gave so-called “informed consent.” It is similar also to the absurd product liability warning labels on things that I coincidentally blogged about today. http://is.gd/LbKti7
All the above entities can create guidelines. The one most likely to be followed is the employer’s (job security), unless the physician is self-employed or owns his/her own practice. If self-emplyed/owning own practice, I imagine the physician would pay more heed to the laws around use of social media in medicine (which, I think, is only HIPAA-related at this point). But I voted with my best answer above on a more “purist” basis, ignoring concern for employment and legal ramifications.
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Dr. Jen Gunter
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