Health & Medical

AAN Issues Social Media Position Statement

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) really useful that neurologists and different neuroscience professionals have an specific, systematic consciousness of points and ethics about utilizing social media in medication.

The new place assertion, from the AAN’s Ethics, Law, and Humanities Committee, spans every little thing from tweeting about analysis to on-line harassment, and addresses affected person training in addition to affected person privateness.

“Existing moral rules and norms {of professional} communication can and will function the framework for guiding the skilled use of social media by neurologists and different clinicians,” wrote Katharina Busl, MD, MS, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues in Neurology.

The AAN Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) formalizes skilled habits requirements for AAN members, the authors famous. The new place assertion goals to enrich the CPC by reviewing how social media has remodeled medical follow and offering an moral framework for neurology professionals and trainees to contemplate.

“We created this new place assertion to construct a framework of methods to apply generally accepted moral rules — beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice — to a type of communication that’s quickly growing and ever-changing, however on the identical time separate that very strictly from giving specific recommendation on methods to make the most of sure types or platforms of social media, as a result of that’s one thing very completely different,” Busl instructed MedPage Today.

“With the straightforward accessibility of social media, the temptation could also be to dive in earlier than absolutely contemplating what this type of communication entails and methods to method it,” Busl mentioned. “This pertains each to potential harms, nonetheless unintentional, and potential advantages.”

Online interactions can foster a false sense of privateness and anonymity, the AAN authors famous. For instance, a current evaluation of #ShareAStoryInOneTweet confirmed that affected person names had been talked about in 2% of tweets by clinicians; amongst 348 tweets that didn’t use affected person names, as much as 47% of individuals had been doubtless nonetheless identifiable.

“These potential privateness violations are regarding as a result of the attain of social media posts is doubtlessly limitless in geography and time, and since posts are sometimes successfully irreversible as soon as disseminated,” Busl and colleagues noticed.

Social media posts additionally might be taken out of context and rephrased in adversarial methods, they famous. “Some digital assaults in opposition to physicians have been well-orchestrated, methodical, and meant to trigger deliberate hurt,” Busl and co-authors wrote. “Bound by physician-patient confidentiality, physicians could also be unable to put up replies of their protection.”

The AAN assertion additionally offered an inventory of “do’s” and “don’ts” for utilizing social media, together with cautions about not offering particular person medical recommendation over social media, not participating in harassment or vitriolic assaults or posting offensive or intimidating materials, and never posting or reposting false or deceptive data.

Posting false or deceptive data falls beneath the jurisdiction of the CPC, which states AAN members should not symbolize themselves to the general public in an unprofessional, untruthful, deceptive, or misleading method. “Social media-related complaints pertaining to or in opposition to AAN members are addressed like all different member complaints — i.e., in accordance with the AAN’s Disciplinary Action Policy,” Busl and colleagues wrote.

“Social media use is one thing that any neurologist might think about, they usually may additionally talk about the professionals and cons with sufferers when indicated,” Busl mentioned.

“For instance, broader outreach {and professional} networks might assist in connecting with colleagues who’re sharing comparable pursuits inside neurology,” she identified. “Social media can be utilized to comply with journal publication outputs in actual time and listen to about therapeutic approaches. For sufferers, networks could possibly present entry to assist teams, enhance information, and permit for communication.”

“At the identical time, going into social media use with a thought-out technique is essential,” Busl added. “Taking a second to mirror on communication and moral rules is one thing which may be useful in lots of conditions and doesn’t solely apply to social media use.”

  • Judy George covers neurology and neuroscience information for MedPage Today, writing about mind growing older, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, uncommon illnesses, epilepsy, autism, headache, stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, concussion, CTE, sleep, ache, and extra. Follow


This paper had no focused funding.

The authors reported no disclosures related to the manuscript.

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