Can Doctors Be Too Social?

communicateSocial media is a part of most American lives.

Whether for business, keeping up with old classmates, or communicating with loved ones, social media is a powerful tool that can help to strengthen bonds, create new memories, and revive old memories.

Social media has also become an important tool for medical professionals, with many doctors offering social media services such as virtual visits, question-and-answer sessions, and diagnostic services; however, with all of the benefits that social media offers to physicians, too few realize that this tool can have serious consequences.

Making Yourself Too Available

Primarily, one of the biggest issues with using social media is making you too available to patients. Even if you start out small, things can become a problem quickly.

For example, if you set up a social media profile for your medical practice and you answer questions, people will start asking more questions.

Over time, it’s likely that you’ll become overwhelmed and won’t be able to answer everyone. This then will likely cause patients or potential patients who don’t have their questions answered to feel slighted.

In turn, you may lose patients or potential patients. If you choose to provide answers through social media, make sure you can keep up.

Legal Issues May Follow Social Media Advice

Another major issue with providing medical advice via social media is that you aren’t necessarily able to do so.

Just because you’re a licensed doctor does not mean that you can dispense medical advice over the Internet. In fact, in some areas, it may be illegal to offer any type of medical advice at all online while holding a license to practice medicine.

Also, because you can’t examine a patient through the Internet, your medical advice may end up harming someone more than it helps, landing you in serious trouble if a lawsuit comes up.

Always Remain Professional

The Internet is a wonderful tool for communication, but it can also cause problems for professionals. Even if you’re tempted to do so, avoid retaliating against people who leave you negative reviews.

In the article, “”The Social Media Controversy with Doctors,” the author talks about how to conduct yourself online.

Firing back makes you look petty, and when potential patients search for reviews online, such interactions can potentially cost your practice business.

Instead, answer each question or negative review by referring the person to your office to discuss the matter.

Publicly arguing the matter on a social media feed is a recipe for disaster, and it has the potential to ruin your practice for good.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include medical technology and social media.