I've been noticing a lot of ER Residency Programs with Twitter accounts and have been following them. I may now understand why there are so many ER residency program accounts when compared to other specialties.
The Council of Residency Directors Social Media Task Force released Social Media Guidelines & Best Practices Recommendations and as they point out, “…use of social media among emergency physicians is unusually strong… emergency physicians have embraced the healthcare side of social media in a way not seen among other specialists.
The guidance reinforces the fact that programs should have a communications plan/policy that proactively addresses the use of social media and potential issues and it should encompass:
Purpose of the site, including educational objectives and explicit consideration of the function of the site such as degrees of access and interactivity planned
Level of privacy and security required
Issues of medical advice and redirection of patients to appropriate venues
Plans to deal with adverse events, including spam, negative comments, complaints, and unprofessional behavior.
They also offer guidance on residency program-specific issues, such as:
education to residents, fellows, faculty and other personnel; paying specific attention to professionalism, including personal reputation and medical privacy
discourage policing activity; but if an issue involving personnel is brought to the program's attention, addressing it
clarifying that the same standards of professionalism and privacy are required online as in person, but normal standards may not be sufficient to avoid misperceptions or legal issues.
strongly recommending that people in a position of power/authority not initiate a personal online relationship with an individual in a subordinate position. Exceptions may be made for situations where it is appropriate for monitoring a remediation/probationary circumstance or for primarily educational group experience, such as with an online journal club hosted on a social media platform.
reviewing considerations for whether a program should search for online information about prospective residents
This is a great resource for any academic setting, including teaching hospitals.