Use of social media by doctors and medical students is common and growing.
Although professional standards and codes of ethics that govern the behaviour of medical practitioners in Australia and New Zealand do not currently encompass social media, these codes need to evolve, because professional standards continue to apply in this setting.
Inappropriate use of social media can result in harm to patients and the profession, including breaches of confidentiality, defamation of colleagues or employers, and violation of doctor–patient boundaries.
The professional integrity of doctors and medical students can also be damaged through problematic interprofessional online relationships, and unintended exposure of personal information to the public, employers or universities.
Doctors need to exercise extreme care in their use of social media to ensure they maintain professional standards.
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