The Doctor is Online: Physician Use, Responsibility, and Opportunity in the Time of Social Media

Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital who blogs at 33Charts — along with several other experienced physicians who are also active in social media put together a video providing advice and insights to young doctors just beginning their residency training. The video was recently released by the Mayo Clinic and provides helpful social media advice for all medical professionals.

A few of the video’s main points include:

- Social media gives physicians the opportunity to provide reliable, thought out, health information that is desperately needed.

- The basic professional behavior that matters in the hallway and in the elevator matter online.

- Anything you create online is public and permanent. Think before you post.

- Never hide behind an anonymous name. It does not serve the reader, audience, patient or profession.

- If you aren’t 100 percent sure about what you are saying, stop and sleep on it before you post. If you still aren’t sure, sleep on it again.

- There is no question, you should be involved online. You just need to do it responsibly.

- Anywhere you can provide information to help patients understand and become more compliant with your recommendations is a great step forward.

- Social media is changing the way we interact with patients in and out of the exam room.

- If you fail to create content online, you fail to create your own digital footprint and are at the mercy of those who create content about you.   

Watch the video for yourself:

For more information about the project, visit the Mayo Clinic’s blog: http://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/2011/06/30/network-video-project-to-prod-discussion-on-physician-social-media-use/

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