Advice line: dilemmas when using social media

Osman Ahmed says that people working in the sports and exercise field face special dilemmas when using social media.

The use of social media is growing among all healthcare professionals, but sports and exercise medicine (SEM) clinicians may face particular issues compared to clinicians working in mainstream healthcare. 
Although the CSP offers guidance to members on using social media, much of this is tailored towards those working in more formalised settings – such as hospitals and physiotherapy clinics.
Here, the doctor-patient relationship is more ‘traditional’. Individuals working in the field of sports medicine will testify that the clinician-patient relationship is shaped by the hundreds of hours spent together in a clinical capacity and also in travelling, staying in hotels, and in ‘downtime’ during tournaments and events.
As a consequence, there are several issues that are specific to sports medicine. Indeed, we identified some of them in our recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine
We hope our work we will supplement the social media advice provided by the CSP and other professional organisations. 
We have collated a list of recommendations (Sports and Exercise Medicine Social Media Top Tips) and hope that as well as assisting SEM clinicians using social media, this will also promote dialogue among SEM clinicians as to what best practice etiquette should be in this unique branch of physiotherapy. 
Ahmed OH et al. Top tips for social media use in sports and exercise medicine: doing the right thing in the digital age. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015. 
  • Osman Ahmed is an itinerant physiotherapist to the Football Association

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