Going Beyond Medical Marketing

Defining Social Standards for Doctors

Authors and Disclosures


Bryan Vartabedian, MD

Dr. Vertabedian is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. He writes and thinks about the convergence of social media and medicine.

From 33charts.com

Defining Social Standards for Doctors

Bryan Vertabedian, MD

Posted: 2/9/2012

There’s lots of discussion about how doctors should carry themselves online.  I think it’s simpler than we make it out to be.

Consider that we all live and work in communities.  We’re are shaped by those around us.  None of us do what we do alone.  And what I do and how I behave affects the way my community feels about me.  There are benefits and consequences to what I do.  I can blast fireworks in my yard 2 am, speed in my neighborhood, or get drunk and disorderly at the local Mexican restaurant.  I can volunteer as a scout leader or lead a food drive for a local woman’s shelter.  It’s my choice.  How I operate in public influences how people see me, how I’m received, and ultimately, how people work with me.

New media doesn’t change that.  We live and connect in online communities much like in real life.  And what we do in the virtual space has risks and benefits.  It’s interesting that before the democratization of media there was little discussion about how physicians should carry themselves in public.

Ultimately, defining one social standard for doctors is tricky.  Our patient and professional communities vary.  Standards vary.  We have to understand what works individually for the spaces we occupy and the company we keep – online and off.

We can argue about what doctors should and shouldn’t do online.  One thing’s for sure: In the context of our communities, good stuff build us up and poor judgment can close doors.

It’s simpler than we make it out to be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s