June 30, 2011

Network Video Project to Prod Discussion on Physician Social Media Use


As recently graduated medical students are on the verge of beginning their residency programs, the Social Media Health Network is pleased to offer a resource to encourage awareness of and discussions relating to use of social media.

In "The Doctor is Online: Physician Use, Responsibility, and Opportunity in the Time of Social Media" -- a project conceived by Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children's Hospital who blogs at 33Charts -- several experienced physicians who are also active in social media provide advice and insights to young doctors just beginning their residency training.

Dr. Vartabedian approached us at the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media in April to ask whether this might be an appropriate project for the Social Media Health Network. Together we invited Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson -- a pediatrician blogger from Seattle who is a member of our Center for Social Media Advisory Board -- and Dr. Katherine Chretien of George Washington University to join Dr. Victor Montori of Mayo Clinic -- our medical director for the Center for Social Media -- to share their insights. Here is the video we produced with them:

I'm certain our physician participants will be sharing further thoughts in the discussion here, as well as on their own blogs.  In the coming days we will also update this post with additional resources and links.

Meanwhile, we would appreciate your thoughts:

  • What issues do you think are most important for physicians being involved in social media?
  • What advice would you offer to young physicians on their use of social media? What are your top tips?

We look forward to starting a productive discussion on physician involvement in social media, and to your contributions to raising awareness of the issues and opportunities.

Additional Resources

Policies, Guidelines


  • Farnan JM, Paro JA, Higa JT, et al. Commentary: The relationship status of digital media and professionalism: it’s complicated. Acad Med. 2009;84(11):1479-81.
  • Greysen SR, Kind T, Chretien KC. Online Professionalism and the Mirror of Social Media. J Gen Intern Med. 2010 Nov;25(11):1227-9.
  • Chretien KC. A doctor’s request: please don’t friend me. (Opinion-Editorial). USA Today. June 10, 2010.
    Mostaghimi A, Crotty BH. Professionalism in the digital age. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(8):560-2.


  • Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, Kind T. Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA. 2009 Sep 23;302(12):1309-15.
  • Thompson LA, Dawson K, Ferdig R, Black EW, Boyer J, Coutts J, et al. The intersection of online social networking with medical professionalism. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jul;23(7):954-7.
  • Lagu T, Kaufman EJ, Asch DA, Armstrong K. Content of weblogs written by health professionals. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Oct;23(10):1642-6.
  • Garner J, O’Sullivan H. Facebook and the professional behaviours of undergraduate medical students. Clin Teach. 2010;7(2):112-5.
  • Kind T, Genrich G, Sodhi A, Chretien KC. Social Media Policies at US Medical Schools. Med Educ Online. 2010 Sep 15;15. doi: 10.3402/meo.v15i0.5324.
  • Chretien KC, Goldman EF, Beckman L, Kind T. It’s your own risk: students’ perspectives on online professionalism. Acad Med. 2010;85(10)S1-S4.
  • Farnan JM, Paro JA, Higa J, Edelson J, Arora VM. The YouTube generation: Implications for medical professionalism. Perspectives in Biology & Medicine. 2008;51(4):517-24.
  • Chretien KC, Azar J, Kind T. Physicians on Twitter. JAMA. 2011: 305(6):566-8.

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