Sunday, April 21, 2013

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS RECOMMENDS THE DOCTORS DO NOT ACCEPT REQUESTS FOR FRIENDSHIP OF PATIENTS BY NETWORKS

Physicians should avoid accepting as "friend" requests from former or current patients through social networks, according to a new statement issued by the American College of Physicians (ACP), together with Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) at its annual meeting in the U.S., last Friday. Pages business or group medical practices are acceptable, but doctors should keep this separate from their personal pages.

While social networks may provide benefits in the doctor-patient relationship, they can also present ethical problems. In a survey of state boards of health in the U.S., 92% received complaints about the behavior of the doctors on the Internet, which led to actions including revocation of license.
According to the document, the physician should respect five principles:
- Protect the confidence, confidentiality, privacy and respect in online communications with patients;
- Maintain professional and social spheres independent online but act professionally in both
- Use e-mail and other electronic communications only in doctor-patient relationships established;
- Make a "self-audit" to determine the periodic accuracy of the information available online;
- Be aware that online postings may have other implications for their professional lives.

Do you agree with these principles?

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