Thoughts and Reflections on “Professionalism in a Digital Age”

I’m catching up on interesting journal articles.  Today’s is from the March 2015 issue of Physical Therapy Journal – Professionalism in a Digital Age: Opportunities and Considerations for Using Social Media in Health Care.

My social media participation has been variable.  I have a FB account that I use regularly for personal use (more on that later); I blog sporadically here and on two other ones (one personal, one for consumer information); and I have been hit but more miss with my participation on my Twitter account for professional use.

The first part of the article that grabbed me was the idea that we have the “opportunity – and perhaps professional obligation – to use social media sites to share or create credible health care information, filling a consumer void for high-quality online information on fitness, wellness, and rehabilitation.”  This was the intent for my two professional blogs.

What is your own individual best practice for social media?

  • Why use SM? For me, I started the blogs to help myself (keeping up on the research), help other PT’s who might not have access or time do the same, and help the general community.  I am working on implementing a plan to be more regular on both so stay tuned.  I started Twitter for professional conversations (it is great for this and for making connections), though I admit to not being regular like I used to.  For me, FB is a personal arena, though stories in the media point out that your postings may cost you a job.
  • Patient privacy:  I may post an interesting article based on a search of the literature in working with a patient, but I do not post any information specific to the case.  Even in a closed group on FB, a direct message on Twitter, etc, I don’t post anything that would violate HIPAA.
  • “Dual citizenship”: I try to avoid this (having a personal and professional account for any SM option).  People are going to find you, and having two accounts seems like a lot of work for me.  I try to keep my professional interactions on Twitter and LinkedIn and the blogs, and post personally related items on FB and the family blog.  There is occasional bleed either way at times, but it is kept “professional”.  If I ever have my own business I would definitely develop a professional presence on FB, but for now it does not make sense to me (I do have patients who are on FB,but I have not been asked, or have I asked, to be friends).

Do I need to be more professional in social media?  I think that while I haven’t violated any professional standards (or workplace standards), I should be more professional in these ways:

  1. Implement my plan to become more regular in professional blogging.
  2. Participate again in Twitter conversations.
  3. Be an advocate for PT in my FB interactions.

So stand by.  We’ll see how summer yard projects, family hikes, and having two students impact the ideal.


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