Concerns & Clarification on the FDA Guidelines for Social Media (#FDAsm)


FDASM: FDA on Social Media

Last Tuesday afternoon, there was a Twitter chat on the new FDA guidance on social media that was hosted by the medical librarians group (#MedLibs), but which engaged an audience that also included healthcare professionals, lawyers, and communication specialists. It was a very interesting chat that touched on concerns, assumptions, misunderstandings, clarifications, and resources. You will find many of these excerpted from the full conversation and highlighted below. First, though, here is a high level summary.

Concerns included the potentail for a “chilling effect” that might impact on education, innovation, professional and patient public communications, research and clinical trial recruitment; responsibility (who is responsible for what/when/where/how with respect to health social media communications); effectiveness of social media controls for their intended purposes and the costs/benefit assessments; the role of identity, honesty, and transparency in health social media communication; and whether the guidelines will promote inclusion or foster exclusion of relevant voices in useful conversations.

Clarifications sought: plain language summaries of the guidelines; description of the potential and expected impacts on various communities of practice, including health education and patients; the relationship and responsibilities of employers and employees in their social media identity management and communications; and the issue off-label use conversations outside of pharma entities.

Clarifications which appeared during the chat (but which are note from the FDA, and therefore not the authoritative word with respect to these issues): who is covered by the guidance; community and individual efforts to create plain language distillations of the guidance; context; and a reminder that freedom of speech does not equal freedom of consequences for that speech.

For Medical Librarians: role for medical librarians in supporting and demonstrating best practices in Twitter chats; role for medical librarians in supporting education around the FDA’s guidance for their institutions as well as for patients and the public; and a caution about medical librarians being potentially excluded from social media as part institutional image controls as well as potentially as an impact of the guidance.

Takeaways: how to format an FDA-style tweet; avoid creating branded accounts for free conversation; encourage individuals to create personal accounts that are not branded and are distinct from the brand; consider correction of health misinformation as an opportunity; avoid perception of “practicing medicine” on social media, but discussions are alright; consider commenting on the FDA draft guidelines before September 17.

In addition, the conversation included discussion of best practices for identifying tweets as representing personal opinion, as well as a rich collection of resources.

CONCERNS

CLARIFICATION NEEDED

CLARIFICATION RECEIVED

FOR MEDICAL LIBRARIANS

TAKEAWAYS

FURTHER QUESTIONS

RESOURCES

One response to “Concerns & Clarification on the FDA Guidelines for Social Media (#FDAsm)

  1. Pingback: Concerns & Clarification on the FDA Guidelines for Social Media (#FDAsm) | THL News Blog

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