Social Media


Key Points:

  • Social media has educational benefits and risks.
  • Practicing providers and trainees are encouraged to separate social from professional accounts.
  • Social media posts may have a wide ranging impact on reputation and future employment.
  • Patient information must not be identifiable in any way.
    • HIPAA compliant at minimum
    • Context (date, location) should not allow identification
  • Online professionalism violations should be reported.
  • Never say anything online that you wouldn't say to someone's face.
  • Presume that everything you share electronically will be visible forever. 



  • Integrate discussion of social media professionalism into the curriculum of learners at all levels


Recommended Resources: 

Brief Review


Social Media Revolution 2. Amy Mayer. 4 minutes.

The Doctor is Online: Physician Use, Responsibility, and Opportunity in the Time of Social Media. Mayo Clinic. 6 minutes.

What if Dr. House used Twitter? TEDx Talks. 7 minutes.


Farnan JM, Snyder Sulmasy L, Worster BK, Chaudhry HJ, Rhyne JA, Arora VM; American College of Physicians Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee; American College of Physicians Council of Associates; Federation of State Medical Boards Special Committee on Ethics and Professionalism*. Online medical professionalism: patient and public relationships: policy statement from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Apr 16;158(8):620-7. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-8-201304160-00100. PubMed PMID: 23579867.

Greysen SR, Chretien KC, Kind T, Young A, Gross CP. Physician violations of online professionalism and disciplinary actions: a national survey of state medical boards. JAMA. 2012 Mar 21;307(11):1141-2. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.330. PubMed PMID: 22436951.

Shore R, Halsey J, Shah K, Crigger BJ, Douglas SP; AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA). Report of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs: professionalism in the use of social media. J Clin Ethics. 2011 Summer;22(2):165-72. PubMed PMID: 21837888.

Jain A, Petty EM, Jaber RM, Tackett S, Purkiss J, Fitzgerald J, White C. What is appropriate to post on social media? Ratings from students, faculty members and the public. Med Educ. 2014 Feb;48(2):157-69. doi: 10.1111/medu.12282. PubMed PMID: 24528398.

White J, Kirwan P, Lai K, Walton J, Ross S. 'Have you seen what is on Facebook?' The use of social networking software by healthcare professions students. BMJ Open. 2013 Jul 24;3(7). pii: e003013. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003013. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23883886; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3731743.

Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, Kind T. Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA. 2009 Sep 23;302(12):1309-15. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.1387. PubMed PMID: 19773566.


Social Media Basics for Healthcare Certificate. Mayo Clinic. 3.5 hours CME. $ Fee required

Achieving Healthcare Leadership and Impact through Writing, Publishing and Social Media. Harvard Medical School. CME course. $ Fee required

Web 2.0 and Social Media in Medicine: Lifelong Learning Tools for Medical Educators and Clinicians. Cleveland Clinic. Free online course. 2 hours.


In-Depth Review


Creating patient-physician synergy with social media. Stanford MedicineX. 36 minutes.

Social Media in Medicine. Susannah Fox presents Pew Research. Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 29 minutes.


Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices by Kevin Pho M.D. and Susan Gay. 2013. 250 pages. $64

Social Media in Healthcare: Connect, Communicate, Collaborate, 2nd Edition by Christina Beach Thielst. 2013. 94 pages. $47.50

Social Media in Medicine: The Impact of Online Social Networks on Contemporary Medicine by Beatrice A. Boateng and Erik W. Black. 2012. 220 pages. $16.16


Social Media Residency Curriculum. Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network. $ Fee required

Social Media Fellows Program. Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network. $ Fee required