This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Discuss the various risks and benefits associated with using electronic online media when a physician – patient relationship already exists
2. Describe the risks and benefits associated with using electronic online media when a physician – patient relationship is not established
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Susan J. Gross, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, FACMG
President and CEO, The ObG Project
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires instructors, planners, managers and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest (COI) they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified COI are thoroughly vetted and resolved according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality CME activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.
Faculty: Susan J. Gross, MD, receives consulting fees from Cradle Genomics, and has financial interest in The ObG Project, Inc.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from 1/15/2020 through 1/15/2021, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
If you wish to receive acknowledgment for completing this activity, please complete the post-test and evaluation. Upon registering and successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.
For Pharmacists: Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation form, transcript information will be sent to the NABP CPE Monitor Service within 4 weeks.
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and The ObG Project. Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 0.2 contact hours.Read Disclaimer & Fine Print
ACOG has recently updated its committee opinion regarding digital and social media use by ObGyn professionals. Many of the key points are relevant regardless of specialty. The document arrives during a time of constant reporting surrounding digital and social media and its uses and misuses across all phases of life. To further complicate matters, many state medical boards have their own recommendations and physicians should be aware of guideline requirements by employers and other professional organizations. Furthermore, the committee opinion does point out that there is not a lot of legal precedent when it comes to the use of social media by medical professionals. It’s enough to make one want to avoid usage altogether but that approach can cut one off from valuable medical information, breaking news and connections to colleagues and patients.
There are a few caveats to be mindful of, similar to when using other forms of electronic online communications. If there is a current physician-patient relationship, then HIPAA guidelines prevail. All written communications must be documented and preserved in the electronic medical record (EMR) in a way that is properly protected (e.g., using encrypted sites that are password protected). This approach creates a concrete audit trail. If there is no established physician-patient relationship, then answering specific medical questions should be avoided. This could arise in chat rooms, casual emails, or online support groups. ACOG suggests that because the law is sufficiently vague, an electronic dialogue, now on record, could “be construed as establishing a patient-physician relationship” even if no such relationship ever existed previously.
It is safe to maintain a webpage so long as it carries the warning that the medical information posted on it does not form a physician-patient relationship and the reader should consult with a physician with any health concerns. Remember that the physician who maintains a web page is ultimately responsible for the content and cannot point fingers at the web designer or blogger.
A professional social media profile can substitute or enhance one’s professional web page. It can be designed for professional networking and one can control the security settings on your profile and prevent unwanted postings. The document also discusses the reality of closed professional groups on social media that may be beneficial in connecting and sharing valuable information. However, there should be an understanding that even within closed networks, posts can potentially become public and discretion is advised.
The use of social media in personal life is also discussed in the opinion. The advice is predicated on the fact that there can be wide overlap between our personal and professional lives. While social media can be “an enjoyable way to share life events” and other moment, it is important to remember that everything posted can easily become widely disseminated. ACOG considers this activity to be ‘moderate risk’ if a physician allows large audience viewing and ‘low risk’ if restricted to close family and friends. In addition, rather than ‘friending’ patients, a better option would be to refer patients to the professional site.
Finally, this document does address “Online Physician Ratings.” Physicians can choose to work with online rating companies and encourage patients to post reviews. The ACOG document makes a few points with respect to these online ratings. First, physicians must comply with terms and conditions of any particular online ratings site. Secondly, negative reviews will arise and physicians “should be prepared to handle negative online ratings or reviews.” This means that rather than ignoring ratings, it is best to monitor and report any inaccuracies. The committee opinion refers to the importance of abiding by the ‘Code of Professional Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (see ‘Learn More – Primary Sources’ below)
Take a post-test and get CME creditsTAKE THE POST TEST
Get Guideline Alerts Direct to Your Phone
Please log in to ObGFirst to access the 2T US Atlas
OBG Project CME requires a modern web browser (Internet Explorer 10+, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge). Certain educational activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of their content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, Windows Media Player, or Real Networks Real One Player.
This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
One of the benefits of an ObGFirst subscription is the ability to earn CME/CE credits from the ObG entries you read. Tap the button to learn more about ObGFirst
You are now leaving the ObG website and on your way to PRIORITY at UCSF, an independent website. Therefore, we are not responsible for the content or availability of this site