Engaging in social media can be a complex activity and users—especially healthcare professionals—must always balance the benefits and risks of doing so. On one hand, social media can be a way to communicate with specific individuals or groups, or share helpful information with the public. On the other hand, potential risks of engaging in social media include the possibility of sharing patients’ personal information (even unintentionally) or appearing unprofessional by how you conduct yourself online.
For the most part, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have navigated the complexities of social media well; however, there are cases when engaging in social media leads to unintended negative consequences.
With these risks in mind, ACP has published our Social media advice to the professions to help you navigate the complexities and pitfalls associated with social media. The advice is broken down into three categories: professionalism, privacy, and technology.
In the professionalism section, we provide advice about exercising professional judgement, protecting the reputation of yourself and the integrity of your profession, mitigating conflicts of interest, ensuring the information you share is accurate, considering the potential public reaction to your posts, and more.
The privacy section focuses on ensuring that the identities of patients and other health professionals are not shared in your posts, and reminding you that anything you post may be accessible to anyone (intended audience or otherwise).
In the technology section, you’re reminded about the importance of having a good understanding of the social media platform you use, and the technology you use to access it.
This advice replaces ACP’s social media privacy tip sheet. ACP encourages all regulated members to refer to the Social media advice to the professions before engaging online.