Responding to the draft AHPRA Social Media Policy

Are you are 1 of the 500,000 Australian healthcare professional registered with one of the following 14 National Boards:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia
Chinese Medicine Board of Australia Chiropractic Board of Australia
Dental Board of Australia Medical Board of Australia
Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Occupational Therapy Board of Australia
Optometry Board of Australia
Osteopathy Board of Australia
Pharmacy Board of Australia
Physiotherapy Board of Australia
Podiatry Board of Australia
Psychology Board of Australia

If you use Social Media (for professional or personal purposes) then the draft AHPRA Social Media Policy will affect you. Even if you’re not registered with AHPRA it could have an impact on what you can (and cannot) do with Social Media.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here:

The draft AHPRA Social Media policy was discussed during the last #hcsmanz Twitter Chat – the chat transcript is available from here

Have your say by contributing feedback on the preliminary draft social media policy below and #hcsmanz will include your comments in our submission to AHPRA by close of business 14/09/2012 (tomorrow)

  • Dear AHPRAAs part of the consultation process, please follow the link below for a demonstration of how one arm of social media worksAHPRA on Twitter (with images, tweets) have found this conversation on twitter informative, thought-provoking, occasionally irreverent, often entertaining, and something that enhances (not risks) my understanding of what it is to be a health professional.As you will see, health professionals are engaging with social media in a manner that does not conform with the draft guidelines. Health professionals are critiquing matters they find important, some are advertising their services, they don’t always hide their comments from the public (ie: their patients could read them), and are doing so in manner that is probably very similar to how they would interact in a tea room, at the nurses station or while attending a conference. That is the point I would like to make most strongly: social media is not different to real life, it is real life. Social media does not stand apart from real life anymore than the telephone, email or letter-writing does. Health professionals are trusted to go "behind the curtain" (both literally and metaphorically) when with people (aka patients) often at their most vulnerable time in life. Surely then, health professionals should expect to be trusted in the very public arena of social media.I submit the suggestion that AHPRA should revisit the draft policy from a completely different standpoint. Acknowledge an assumption of professionalism whenever a health professional is representing themselves as such, and encourage health professionals to embrace the potential of emerging technologies, not fear them.Paul McNamara

  • As discussed on Crickey blog: First of all the suggested draft is not in the patients best interest. Social Media are a unique opportunity for health professionals and practices to be in contact with patients and receive ongoing, unfiltered customer feedback about health services. It is an opportunity for the health profession to provide more openness and transparency and to show patients what specialties we have and what we can do for them. (What is actually wrong with a testimonial? As long as it is not misleading). Patients have the right to know what their doctor or health professional can do for them. Social media are the ultimate customer feedback platform. It gives patients co-ownership of their health care, therefore, posts should preferably never be deleted – but dealt with in an appropriate way. Remember, social media has the potential to improve quality of care and patient safety. And, its also cheap and effective!Secondly, we dont need more red tape. Why create another policy, another layer of bureaucracy that APRAH has to police. It will become bigger than ben hur, create a lot of anxiety amongst health professionals and will cost more and more money (? higher APRAH fees). Thirdly, we don’t need more rules. Like many have said, there is already more than enough regulation in place that deals with issues like privacy & advertising. Why do we need more? It is unnecessary duplication of laws and will lead to more legal costs for health practitioners, practices, hospitals and AHPRA itself. I’m concerned this policy endangers self regulation of the profession. If implemented it will do more harm than good. As long as we have some broad guidelines like the AMA published some time ago. We dont need micro-legislation.

  • Thanks for this, and everyone’s contribution.I blogged my thoughts at

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