Social Media in the Health-Care Setting: Benefits but Also a Minefield of Compliance and Other Legal Issues


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Abstract

Throughout the past 20 years, the rising use of social media has revolutionized health care as well as other businesses. It allows large groups of people to create and share information, ideas, and experiences through online communications, and develop social and professional contacts easily and inexpensively. Our Gastroenterology organizations, among others, have embraced this technology. Although the health-care benefits may be many, social media must be viewed through a legal lens, recognizing the accompanying burdens of compliance, ethical, and litigation issues. Theories of liability and risk continue to evolve as does the technology. Social media usage within the medical community is fraught with potential legal issues, requiring remedial responses to meet patients’ needs and comply with current laws, while not exposing physicians to medical malpractice and other tort risks.

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