Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.
These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.
Your social media profile will often connect your professional and private personas. Your private actions may be seen as a reflection on your public persona. It is therefore safest to assume that at some stage a patient or colleague may be able to see your social media activity - consider whether you are comfortable with that before posting.
Consider who you ‘friend’ or share information with on social channels. Always be sure of the identity of people whose friend requests you accept. Do not accept friend requests from patients and do not seek to ‘friend’ patients.
Bear in mind that the code of conduct also includes professional obligations such as your responsibility to promote the health of the community through health education, disease prevention and health promotion. Arguably, posting images or comments that could be seen to endorse activities and behaviour as excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, violence or anti-social behaviours, could not only damage your professional reputation, but could be in breach of your professional obligations.
Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.
The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Spend time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.
You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:
- Ad hominem attacks
- Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
- Knee-jerk contradiction
Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.
The conversations we have here set the tone for every new arrival. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.
Shareacase provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.
Let’s leave our community better than we found it.
Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.
When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.
In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.
Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:
- Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
- Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
- Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
- Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.
These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.
This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.
Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:
- Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
- Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
- Don’t post no-content replies.
- Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
- Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.
Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.
Confidentiality remains a fundamental requirement of the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, privacy legislation imposes further obligations on practitioners and practices in relation to health information.
Sharing information, particularly with international colleagues, can be helpful in allowing a ‘virtual corridor consultation’ with an expert or as a second opinion to aid in generating ideas.
All patient information should be de-identified unless you have the specific consent of the patient. If you do have consent, make sure this is clearly documented. With images, it is best to always seek and document permission, even if you believe the image has been de-identified.
If you are planning to post de-identified information, you should carefully consider whether it can be sufficiently de-identified. For example, if it concerned a particularly rare condition, the image itself, or basic demographic information may enable the patient to be identified. There have been instances of patients identifying themselves, or being identified by friends or family, from the information or image posted about them. If re-identification does occur, and appropriate consent had not been obtained, de-identification does not cure the breach.
Inadvertent breaches of privacy and confidentiality can also occur if personal information about a patient, or staff, is accidentally disclosed, for example, in the background of a photograph. Examples to be aware of include a patient’s name being shown on imaging and a patient’s face being seen in the background of an clinical photograph.
You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.
Many workplaces, such as hospitals, have policies in place regarding use of social media. It is important you familiarise yourself with and follow any such policies, particularly in relation to the use of patient information. Policies will generally prohibit using social media in a way that would breach any law (for example privacy, defamation, confidentiality, discrimination or harassment, intellectual property, competition and consumer laws), or that would bring your employer into disrepute, and may prevent you commenting on workplace matters.
If you are intending to use any patient information, even de-identified, you should be aware that such patient information may be the property of the practice or hospital where you work and should not be used without the entity’s consent, as well as any relevant patient consent. Obtain and document patient consent to use any patient information, even if apparently de-identified. Be aware of your professional, legal and employment obligations when using social media. If in doubt, don’t post.
This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the Tea Room and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact us via the staff page.
Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.