OTTAWA, December 2, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Medical Association Board of Directors today approved Canada's first-ever national social media guidelines to help doctors safely, effectively and responsibly use tools such as Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media as they care for patients.
The CMA's document Social media and Canadian physicians Issues and rules of engagement (http://www.cma.ca/socialmedia) provides practical considerations and outlines the potential benefits and drawbacks of social media for physicians.
"People everywhere are using social media," CMA President Dr. John Haggie said. "We know our patients are searching for health-related information and discussing health issues in blogs and other online forums.
"We also know physicians are using social media in their personal lives and exploring how they can use these communications tools to inform the public or connect with their peers."
The CMA joins other national medical associations, such as the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, the New Zealand Medical Association and the Australian Medical Association, in providing guidance on this topic for their members.
"The reality is that individual doctors and medical organizations have to consciously decide if, why and how to use the various social media platforms," the document states.
"While use of social media could potentially increase the exposure of physicians to disciplinary and medico-legal issues, those physicians who choose to use social media can help shape how these tools can improve health care in the future."
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 76,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.