OSMA Releases Social Media Toolkit for Physicians, Office Staff and Patients

Columbus – The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) has developed a social media toolkit to help physicians navigate through the world of online communication.

“The expansion of social networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter, has forever changed the way everyone communicates in our personal and professional lives,” said Richard R. Ellison, MD, president of the OSMA. “However, as a physician, social media use can also pose many potential concerns. This toolkit provides resources to help physicians utilize social media while remaining within the legal and ethical bounds of our profession.”

The toolkit, entitled “Social Networking and Medical Practice: Guidelines for Physicians, Office Staff and Patients”, gives examples of how best to handle certain situations that a physician might encounter when using social media, including whether or not to “friend” a patient.

“We have received many questions from physicians about social media best practices. While researching the issue, we realized that there are not a lot of resources for them to turn to in this area,” said Nancy Gillette, general counsel for the OSMA. “We believe this toolkit, while it isn’t a comprehensive guide nor does it substitute for legal advice, provides a much needed resource for Ohio physicians.”

In addition to guidelines for physicians, the toolkit has best practices for social media use in the medical office environment and sample workplace policies.

Developed by the OSMA Legal Services Group, the OSMA’s social media toolkit can be found at www.osma.org/socialmediapolicy.