Proper and responsible use of Facebook by healthcare workers (updated with tweetchat transcript link and VIDEO)

should mds accept fb friend requests from patients?According to a report by internet analytics company comScore as cited by Rappler,  41.5% of the total minutes Philippine internet users spent online was on social networks which include Facebook. In the same comScore whitepaper,  the Philippines is reported to have the second highest Facebook penetration rate in the world at 92.2%.

With the popularity of Facebook among Filipino internet users, it can be expected that amidst the mix of Facebook users are physicians  and other healthcare workers aside from patients.

It is possible that patients can see their doctors’ posts and photos (personal or professional, good or bad, embarassing or not) in Facebook even if they are not Facebook friends especially if the doctor is not mindful of his of her privacy settings.

And it comes as no surprise if a patient, seeing his or her attending physician also in Facebook, would send a Facebook friend request to his/her doctor. There is that possibility. There may be different views regarding this. The British Medical Association is one group that frowns upon the idea of accepting Facebook friend requests from patients.

Dr. Majorek meanwhile brings up that declining Facebook friend requests from patients might send the wrong message to patients.

With conversations often occuring in Facebook, there is also concern over healthcare workers revealing identifying patient information through their Facebook statuses, videos, photos or comments. One such example is mentioned in wherein a doctor was reprimanded for posting information online about a trauma patient violating patient’s privacy.

This brings us to the following questions for our next tweetchat and Hangout on Air (HOA) this February 8, 2014, Saturday 10 AM Philippine time regarding Facebook usage which coincides with the 10th year anniversary of Facebook.:

T1: Should doctors accept Facebook friend requests from patients?

T2: What posts by healthcare workers are not appropriate for Facebook?

T3: What are some specific tips you could give to others in the healthcare industry regarding the proper and responsible use of Facebook?

Join the conversation this Saturday and hopefully after the end of the tweetchat and HOA sessions, #HealthXPh can stimulate action towards creating together with all stakeholders guidelines for social media use, including Facebook use for healthcare workers and healthcare institutions in the country.

(Above image created using Bitstrip )


#HealthXPh transcript on the February 8 Tweetchat found here.

Video of Hangout-on-Air last February 8, 2014 on the topic referred to above…

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  1. Nonie Leonidas