Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
The Royal College of General Practitioners has published the first version of its social media guidelines for UK medical professionals. The 'Social Media Highway Code' was first issued on 27th September along with a request for feedback, appropriately enough, on Facebook.
The RCGP is hoping that the code will encourage medics to increase their use of social media while maintaining patient and personal protection. It contains ten basic principles (outlined below), and is aimed to work as a guideline, rather than an enforced rule.
The 10 recommendations are:
1. Be aware of the image you present online and manage this proactively
2. Recognise that the personal and professional can’t always be separated
3. Engage with the public but be cautious of giving personal advice
4. Respect the privacy of all patients, especially the vulnerable
5. Show your human side, but maintain professional boundaries
6. Contribute your expertise, insights and experience
7. Treat others with consideration, politeness and respect
8. Remember that other people may be watching you
9. Support your colleagues and intervene when necessary
10. Test out new ideas, learn from your mistakes – and have fun!
Judging from the feedback on the allocated Facebook page, these guidelines are welcome, with the overall reaction being positive. It will be interesting for us to see if these parameters will result in more UK health blogging and social media interaction.