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Guidance for Social Media Use in Emergency Medicine

Guidance for Social Media Use in Emergency Medicine

share content with other users. In addition to social networking websites like Facebook, other technologies continue to penetrate the market, including video and picture sharing sites, forums, blogs, and other tools. The social media boom has reached the healthcare community, with physicians from all backgrounds gravitating towards using these platforms for various purposes. Recent reports suggest that social media use among emergency medicine (EM) physicians is especially strong, most likely because they tend to embrace the healthcare side of this type of networking in ways not typically seen with other specialists. Some institutions have used social media to develop EM blogs and websites that cover daily practice issues. Others have used it to enhance emergency preparedness efforts. “Social media has become an important method of communication and information sharing in EM,” explains Malford T. Pillow, MD, MEd. “It offers the potential to create an attractive internet presence and brand specific programs, including EM residency programs.” Considering Risks & Negative Consequences of Social Media Social media offers tremendous benefits for recruiting, communication, and education, but it also carries legal, ethical, personal, and professional risks. Negative consequences of social media use include violating professional and personal boundaries, among other potential problems. “Even simple actions like ‘friending’ someone or posting something on Facebook can be misinterpreted,” says Dr. Pillow. “There needs to be deliberate, transparent policies in place that are designed to optimize the benefits of social media while minimizing risks.” Important Recommendations to Guide Social Media Use Guidance statements for social media use have been released by leaders in various medical fields. These documents are helpful for developing an overall structure...
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