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The Health Reporter Is In: April 6, 2017

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Q: Since hospitals and clinics are all over social media, is it considered OK these days to friend and message your doctor on Facebook?

A: Social media can be a good communication and education tool for medical providers, and it can also lead to liability and privacy issues if it’s misused.

Say you message a doctor about your symptoms on a personal/family page and it goes unread for days.

Say a doctor offers some friendly advice to a Facebook friend about a health concern and it’s read and shared by other people.

What doctors have been advised on this issue by the American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics is to use privacy settings to safeguard their personal information and to “consider separating personal and professional content online.”

So go ahead and like your hospital/physician/clinic Facebook pages if you want. But unless you and Dr. X have a personal friendship outside the exam room, rethink sending a friend request to the doc’s personal Facebook page.

Here’s what two medical providers in the community who have had some patient friend requests had to say.

“Normally I don’t do that. I don’t accept,” said Dr. Feiteng Su, a psychiatrist with Presence Medical Group said.

He’d rather communicate with patients in person, or on the phone, he said.

Katy Scheiding, a nurse practitioner in Christie Clinic’s obstetrics and gynecology department, also generally doesn’t accept…

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