CE Hours: 1.5

Seq#376 - Reality Bytes: Are We Unfollowing Dental Professionalism on Social Media?

Social media has created a new communication channel changing human relationships. When human relationships change, relations between providers and patients change and with then traditional professional boundaries. The use of social media in dentistry introduces new questions about the scope of professional regulation and where the proper division between professional life and private life should be drawn. Currently for some regulatory bodies, the response to social media use has been to regulate heavily, drawing little distinction between a dental professional’s private life and their professional practice or indeed professional principles and personal morality.

Justifications for such heavy regulation often centre on bringing the ‘profession into disrepute’ and worries about damage to the social acceptability of dentistry as a profession. This contributes to concerns relating to loss of trust and damaging the social contract. However, despite the inclusion of dental professionals’ private lives in professional regulation, there has been little analysis or agreement on the parameters of what amounts to reputationally damaging behavior in social media. If we are to regulate professional and private behavior on social media, relying on claims breach of trust and professional reputation, greater specificity and better justification is needed.

This session will stimulate reflection and debate on the impact of social media on the dental profession. This event will bring together academics in the fields of dentistry, ethics, law and sociology in order to scope out the parameters of current research on this topic. The diversity of the speakers will make for a multidisciplinary session that should prove to be both provoking and insightful.

Learning Objectives:

  • To discuss evidence from the field on the impact that social media is having on professional activities and practice.
  • To challenge preconceptions and provoke discussion around controversies extant in the dental professional regarding the use and abuse of social media.