A: David Harlow, Esq. – The peer reporting laws and regulations of each state’s medical board generally establish the duty of a physician regarding peer monitoring and reporting. It is a condition of each physician’s license to monitor colleagues and report infractions — whether related to clinical issues or matters of candor, privacy and integrity, as outlined above.
Q: Barbara – Can a consumer or patient report inappropriate physician behavior? Who would they report it to?
A: David Harlow, Esq. – The state medical board is the governmental authority that would investigate such allegations. There are also professional societies, employers, medical staff organizations and hospitals or other facilities where the clinician has privileges that may have relevant polices in place regarding inappropriate use of social media. It is often the case that some of such organizations will respond more rapidly to an allegation of such inappropriate behavior than the state agency would.
Q: Barbara – What’s the bottom line when it comes to social media and doctors?
A: David Harlow, Esq. – Social media platforms are important portals for communication back and forth between patient and clinician, and among clinicians. Clinicians must recognize the limitations of all of their tools, including these communications tools. Using these tools can lead to greater patient activation and engagement, to better clinical understanding, and better sharing of learnings relevant to disease prevention and care.
I always like to warn people that social media is a power tool — you need to learn how to use it properly, or someone’s going to get hurt.
We would love for you to share your insightful thoughts in the comment section below. How do you engage in social media? What has been your experience with Twitter and Facebook?
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