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Should your doctor text you? Probably not.

What ethical and professional factors should be weighed in how a physician interacts with patients via internet or by texting are discussed in this detailed position statement prepared for the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards.  By and large, the guidelines can distilled into three words, “Caution, caution, caution!”  Physicians are exhorted repeatedly to comport themselves in a professional manner vis-a-vis the social media platforms.  E-mailing is somewhat less problematic than friending on Facebook or texting.  To interject a little real world context here, I have to say that my dentist’s office emails appointment reminder/RSVPs, and I find this service helpful.  However, this article is primarily about electronic interactions that have the potential to violate confidentiality or provide misleading information.

Source: Farnan, J.M., and others.  Online medical professionalism: patient and public relationships, policy statement from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards.  Annals of Internal Medicine;158:620-627, 2013.  Click here for full text: http://annals.org/data/Journals/AIM/926759/0000605-201304160-00007.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center, 312.422.2003, rc@aha.org

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