Social Media and Social Networking in Medical Practices

What healthcare providers should do

  • Use separate personal and professional social networking sites. For example, use a personal rather than professional e-mail address for logging on to social networking websites for personal use.
  • Always adhere to the same principles of professionalism online as you would offline.
  • Refer, as appropriate, to your employer’s social media or social networking policy for direction on the proper use of social media and social networking in relation to your employment.
  • Report any unprofessional behavior to supervisory and/or regulatory authorities.


What we do

The Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline authority to discipline physicians for unprofessional behavior relating to the inappropriate use of social networking media, such as:

  • Inappropriate communication with patients online;
  • Use of the Internet for unprofessional behavior;
  • Online misrepresentation of credentials;
  • Online violations of patient confidentiality;
  • Failure to reveal conflicts of interest online;
  • Online derogatory remarks regarding a patient;
  • Online depiction of intoxication;
  • Discriminatory language or practices online.