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Council of Emergency Medicine
Residency Directors (CORD)
Noting that emergency medicine physicians appear to be
among the most avid physician users of social media, the
CORD board of directors published guidelines for social
media in 2014, taking into account existing guidelines at
medical and nonmedical institutions. They also encourage
every residency program and institution to develop its own
social media policy and to educate employees about proper
use of social media. Echoing the sentiments of other organizations, physicians should uphold the same standards of
professionalism and confidentiality online as they would in
person. The CORD guidelines highlight several points specifically aimed at residents, such as how senior residents or
faculty need to be consistent in their approach to accepting
or rejecting friend requests from co-residents to avoid the
impression of bias or favoritism. 25
How to use social media
In 2015, the issue is not whether physicians should use social
media, but how they should use it. The ubiquity of social
media makes ignoring the technology nearly impossible and
certainly ill-advised. The Internet and social media offer tremendous opportunities for physicians but invariably create
serious challenges and potential conflicts. Applying common
sense and adhering to “professional offline standards” while
online are among the most helpful recommendations for physicians who engage in social media. Fortunately, an increasing
number of national physician organizations and health care
institutions are issuing guidelines on the proper use of
social media. These recommendations can provide valuable
guidance and may also serve as the basis of legal action; all
physicians should be aware of how the rules apply to them
in their respective professional environments. In 2015, what
happens online can no longer be ignored offline. ♦
The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do
not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.