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When Social Media and Medicine Intersect – the Benefits and Risks
Posted on: 5/8/2018

These days, many patients look for their doctors on social media. 

But physicians do not use social media the same way their patients do on account of restrictions related to HIPAA. 

Ensure that you are protecting your patients' interests and applying principles of ethical medicine when using social media by consulting ISMS' Social Media Guidance for Physicians and Their Practices.* For those who supervise medical practice staff, the resource also addresses how they should be advised to handle communications with patients and offers example workplace scenarios. 

The medical legal guideline includes these policies to help guide you, along with sample forms: 

  • Social media policy for practice-sponsored social media.
  • Patient portal user agreement and informed consent form.
  • Patient portal policy.
  • Electronic communication user agreement and informed consent form.
  • Social media and electronic communications policy.

So whether you want to use social media to grow your practice, connect with current patients or educate the general public, be sure you are maintaining appropriate boundaries.

While you're at it, follow ISMS on social media.

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Questions? ISMS members may contact the ISMS Legal Department with questions at 800-782-4767 ext. 6485 or send an email

This ISMS medical legal guideline is a member benefit and is password protected.

If you need to request a username and password, contact online support at 888-476-7776 or onlinehelp@isms.org between 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. After-hours requests are answered promptly the next business day. You may also register online or retrieve your username or password.

*This guideline is for educational purposes only. 

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