November 9th, 2011
As social media becomes an increasingly popular and accessible way to communicate, more and more people are turning to social networks to find out information about their doctors and health care providers.
This can be both positive and negative for patients and doctors, so make sure to consider the following when checking out your doctor on Facebook.
Doctors on Facebook: Business Pages
Though it’s not as common as other types of organizations, your doctor’s office might have a business page on Facebook. If this is the case, then “liking” them may allow you to easily access their hours, last minute cancellations, and other information, though Facebook should not be the only resource you rely on for details about your doctor.
Unfortunately, in our research we’ve found that it is not yet a common practice for doctors’ office to have a public business page on Facebook. There could be industry regulations that make it more difficult for doctors to have a business presence on Facebook, or it’s possible that doctors don’t think a business page is a useful service to provide.
Your Doctor on Facebook: It’s Personal!
Even if your doctors’ office or private practice doesn’t have a business page, there is a good chance that your doctor has a personal page on Facebook. After all, Facebook has 800 million active users!
Before you send your doctor a friend request, consider the following: is it in your best interest or your doctor’s best interest to share personal information with one another? Many professionals prefer not to “friend” their clients online, especially if their profiles are private.
With this in mind, don’t be offended if your doctor refuses your Facebook friend request. Your doctor is on Facebook for her own reasons, just like you. She might want to share photos with her friends and family, discuss current events and activities, or socialize with long-distance acquaintances.
If your doctor does friend you on Facebook, make sure that you have your Facebook set up in a way that you’re only sharing information with him that you truly feel comfortable about. Facebook allows you to set up filters for each post. Consider filtering out your doctor from all your posts.
Finally, if you’re trying to find your doctor on Facebook to discover more information about him or her, instead, try doing a search on review sites such as Yelp, Insider Pages, CitySearch, and Google. You can read what other patients and clients have said about him or her, without prying into your doctor’s personal life.
Check out this article for more information on Facebook etiquette.