AMA considers ethical guidelines for physician, med student use of social media

September 1, 2010

To address a lack of guidance for physicians' and medical students' use of social media, the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs for the American Medical Association (AMA) is studying the subject for a report this fall. Experts applaud the move.

National report - To address a lack of guidance for physicians' and medical students' use of social media, the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs for the American Medical Association (AMA) is studying the subject for a report due this fall.

Experts applaud the move.

"One of the great mistakes that professional medical societies have made is that they've ignored social media, even though the number of people using these sites is astronomical," says Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

"Guidelines are much needed and long overdue," says Brett Pollard, an independent social media consultant. "What makes me nervous is not so much that administrators won't understand what can and can't be said in social media, but employees who don't get it."

In June, the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs passed a resolution to examine how physicians are using social networking sites. The council plans to report the findings to the AMA's House of Delegates in November.