In recent years social media has grown exponentially and there has been widespread use, amongst medical doctors and students, of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Several studies show that the use of social media by the medical profession is common and growing exponentially. Also, Internet forums and blogs are usual resources of medical information and participation. At the same time, there are intense debates about the complexities of ensuring medical professionalism in the digital age and there is little consensus among doctors on how interactions on these networks should be managed.
With all this in mind, Web Mèdica Acreditada (WMA) recently carried out a study trying to identify relevant guidelines and recommendations, in English and Spanish. First, we made a simple search in Google using diverse queries and their combination. Second, sixteen documents were selected based on their relevance and their content was analyzed comparing the statements and items in order to find agreements and differences. There are several professional organizations that have proposed some practical recommendations to guide doctors and medical students in using social media. This study was accepted in the 4th ICST International Conference on eHealth that will take place in Malaga (Spain) next 21-23 November 2011, where we will present it.
The main conclusions were the following: 1. There is a general consensus about the key role that medical doctors have in social networks. 2. Potential negative and positive consequences (professional, personal and in medical profession) are considered depending on their behaviour in these environments. 3. A Guidance of useful practices was proposed (see the presentation, slides 7 to 16):