Firstly, being personal friends with a patient on Facebook will very likely not fit the requirements of appropriate patient-doctor boundaries. It’s good for patients to see the human side of their healthcare providers, but is it professional to let your patient see a post about your family outing? Or a photo of you and your fraternity brothers from college? Determine what level of personal information you want to share. On your personal Facebook page, limit its privacy settings to family and friends only.
Luckily Facebook is for businesses too. There are many medical organizations on Facebook. The American Medical Association has a Facebook page. Even the President has one. It makes sense for doctors to have one too.
Feel free to answer general patient questions. Social media can be a powerful tool to help patients get the care they need.
Some ideas for posting to your medical practice’s Facebook page are:
- Success stories (with permission from patients)
- News about the practice and advances in your field
- High-level healthcare tips
- Any promotions going on at your practice
- Appropriate holiday wishes
- Results from interesting studies
- Links to interesting articles
- Commentary on news media related to your practice
Stay professional. Remember, just like in real life, watch what you say in public. If it isn’t something you’d say in person, don’t post it. And be mindful of HIPAA regulations. Do not post any medical information about patients, do not dispense specific medical advice or make any diagnoses online.