Doctors nowadays are increasingly trying to reach their patients online, but can doctors add their patients as friends on Facebook, or follow each other on Instagram?
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) wants doctors to draw a line.
IMA in a recent message has advised doctors not to have their “past, present and prospective patients” on social media ‘friend’ list and consume alcohol in front of them in social gatherings.
“At leisure, doctors may choose to indulge in some habits like the occasional glass of alcohol,” IMA national president KK Aggarwal said, adding that while doing so in moderation is perfectly acceptable, such engagement in a social setting in the presence of patients is improper.
“As a doctor or a health care professional, you should always…remind yourself and ascertain that you are not drinking in presence of your patient in a social setting,” he said in a statement.
This makes complete sense. While patients trust doctors with their lives, but interacting with them doctors on social media may involuntarily create an uncomfortable and awkward situation. It might also damage the boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship which could impact on the quality of care they receive.