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Did you realise that anything you publish online will be there permanently and that any photos you publish on Facebook belong to them into perpetuity?   Or did you realise that your What’s App messages can be discoverable and used as evidence if a complaint arises?

I have to admit I didn’t realise that any of these things could get me into hot water until I attended the Alecto Connect/MDA National CPD training event, said Martina  last month in Melbourne.

I also didn’t realise that I could get myself into serious hot water by making a negative comment about a colleague – even using a personal profile.  Even ‘venting’ to your closest colleagues can lead to misunderstanding and serious legal implications.

Social media is becoming increasingly important in medicine and What’s App, for example, has become so popular with that doctors that it is estimated that almost fifty percent of the communication in hospitals occurs using this platform.  As the use of new platforms grows, we struggle to keep up with the implications of the technology for our personal and work lives and we often don’t know how easily we could get ourselves into trouble without realising it.

Increasingly, GPs also use platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to create awareness about their services.   It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between which use of online platforms for these purposes is appropriate and meets various legal requirements.

Sometimes the only way to be certain about the best approach is to seek formal advice.   Our partners at MDA National (and most other MDOs) are available at any time to discuss individual cases and questions.  Make sure you ask before you publish and make sure that whatever you put online will enhance your professional and personal profile rather than destroying it.

For further guidance on specific questions about online communication, contact Kale Hocking at Kale [email protected] at MDA National.

 If you would like to be on the invitation list for the next Alecto Connect event in your state, please email [email protected]


This article is based on personal recollections and reflections of the author and does not represent formal advice.   Before making any decisions about the use of social media, please contact an MDO or check with us for the next opportunity to attend a CPD session on this topic