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Social media in general practice
General practitioners (GPs) and general practice staff are increasingly using social media for professional and business purposes. To support GPs and general practices, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed this guide to provide guidance around safe and professional use of social media in general practice settings. While there are benefits, there are also potential risks associated with GPs and general practice staff participating in social media.
Professional and safe conduct online is paramount. This guide is aimed at general practices that are new to social media, but is also beneficial to those already using it. During the development of this guide, the RACGP consulted a range of GPs, practice managers, consumer representatives and medico-legal organisations to provide the most up-to-date advice to general practice on the use of social media.
Steven: Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have an amazing ability to reach to population groups that don't really have any contact with general practice, or that they have limited contact and then can be encouraged and highlighted to engage in a different form. That's a wonderful thing to do. It's a wonderful way of speaking to lots of people to improve their health and improve their outcomes of various conditions. So there's a tremendous availability of positive gain for community health and community care by using social media.
That being said it's not vetted, so it’s available to everybody. There’s a limited amount of expertise which gets brought in, so there’s a challenge with that. There’s also the challenge, which is quite severe, of having negative comments posted – often personal negative comments posted on social media that can have a negative influence on the practice and on the good will which is going with that.