Massachusetts Medical Society: Legal Advisor: How to Engage Online and Protect Yourself from Liability

Legal Advisor: How to Engage Online and Protect Yourself from Liability

Legal Advisor: How to Engage Online and Protect Yourself from Liability

Participation in social media by the general public has increased sharply over the past nine years. In the U.S., the proportion of adults using social media has increased from 8% to 72% since 2005. The use of social media is prevalent across all ages and professions and is pervasive around the world.

Many social media tools are available for health care professionals (HCPs), including social networking platforms, blogs, microblogs, wikis, media-sharing sites, and virtual reality and gaming environments. These tools can be used to improve or enhance professional networking and education, organizational promotion, patient care, patient education, and public health programs. However, they also present potential risks to patients and HCPs regarding the distribution of poor-quality information, damage to professional image, breaches of patient privacy, violation of personal-professional boundaries, and licensing or legal issues. Many health care institutions and professional organizations have issued guidelines to prevent these risks. Guidelines issued by health care organizations and professional societies provide sound and useful principles that HCPs should follow to avoid pitfalls

Learning Objectives

  • Compare the appropriate ways for health care professionals to engage online with the public. 
  • Describe the individual benefits of engaging online through social media, medical blogs, and physician websites.
  • Explain the risks that come with engaging online with the public.
  • Review the ways to maintain safeguards while engaging online with the public.  


Matthew Mortensen, Content Contributor

Course Fees

Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Member: $15.00 
Non-MMS Member: $30.00 
Allied Health Professionals: $12.00



CME Credit

1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Accreditation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.   Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

MOC Approval Statement 
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties ("ABMS") ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Maintenance of Certification ("MOC") Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory , this activity has met the requirements as an MOC Part II CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

Allergy and Immunology
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Family Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Plastic Surgery
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry & Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA)
Physician Assistants may claim a maximum of 1.00 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™.

Activity Term

Original Release Date: October 16, 2017 
Review Date: N/A
Termination Date: October 16, 2020

System Requirements

Windows, XP, Vista, 7, 8  
Mac OSX 10.6 higher  

Most modern browsers including:  
Firefox 18.0+  
Chrome 26+  
Safari 5+  
Flash player is required for some Online CME courses.

iOS devices beginning with OS version 5 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices)  
Android devices including tablets and phones.  
Windows RT and tablets on Windows 8 are also supported. 


Copyright © 2019. Massachusetts Medical Society, 860 Winter Street, Waltham Woods Corporate Center, Waltham, MA 02451-1411

(781) 893-4610 | (781) 893-3800 | Member Information Hotline: (800) 322-2303 x7311