Dentists – be wary of social media

Hot on the heels of the Nursing and midwifery Council warning Nurses and midwives about the use of Facebook and other social media sites, more here, comes a similar message from the British Medical Association, here.

Doctors warned over using Facebook

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Doctors should not accept Facebook requests from patients, the British Medical Association (BMA) says.

The dangers of breaching confidentiality, damaging their professionalism and risking the doctor-patient relationship are too great, BMA says.

Many doctors and medical students use social media – including Facebook, Twitter and blogs – with no problems. But in new guidance the BMA recommends they adopt conservative privacy settings and declare any conflicts of interest when they post online.

Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee, said: “Medical professionals should be wary of who could access their personal material online, how widely it could be shared and how it could be perceived by their patients and colleagues. Accepting Facebook friends presents doctors with difficult ethical issues.”

There has been a plethora of social media experts working with dentists in recent times, some suggesting that dentists should use Facebook extensively as part of their overall marketing plan. It’s the dentist who falls foul of the GDC never the expert.

I can’t find any mention of the GDC pontificating on the use of social media – yet.


One Response

  1. This is the reason why practices should use a Facebook “page” for their business – patients can “recommend” and interact with these pages with impunity. It’s a great way to get news about the practice out to patients and subtly market to their contacts, but it’s not appropriate to befriend patients on the personal part of Facebook. Some practices clearly don’t understand the difference, but if you’re going to get involved in Social Media networking it’s essential to have proper advice from someone who does. Hopefully this would be the GDC’s advice too, but I’m not sure they have woken up to what’s going on in the “real” world.


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