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The RACGP recognises that GPs and general practice staff have embraced social media at a rapid rate, and guidance around safe and professional usage within general practice is necessary.
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.
This guide provides recommendations regarding the use of the more popular social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. The advice in the guide can also apply to other social media platforms.
Social media in general practice
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.
This resource is provided under licence by the RACGP. Full terms are available on the licence terms page.
In summary, you must not edit or adapt it or use it for any commercial purposes.
You must also acknowledge the RACGP as the owner.
Guide for the use of social media in general practice (PDF 2.2 MB)
Social media guide template (DOCX 495 KB)
The Elms Family Medical Centre Facebook page
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