The Internet has created the ability for medical students and physicians to communicate and share information quickly and to reach millions of people easily.
Participating in social networking and other similar Internet opportunities can support physicians’ personal expression, enable individual physicians to have a professional presence online, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, provide opportunity to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communication.
Almost all civil societies of the world uphold that the first and foremost responsibility of a doctor is to the patient’s wellbeing.
Dating or engaging in a sexual relationship with the patient thus becomes a highly sensitive issue in this case.
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Thus, physicians should routinely monitor their own Internet presence to ensure that the personal and professional information on their own sites and, to the extent possible, content posted about them by others, is accurate and appropriate.
Ever since the Hippocrates Oath came into being, medical ethics have been upheld as an important part of the behavior of doctors in a community.
And one of the most significant aspects of this code of ethics regulating the medical community is the relationship between a doctor and patient.
Professional boundaries are an essential part of the doctor-patient relationship, but they are sometimes crossed by both doctors and patients.
In 2013-14 the General Medical Council (GMC) investigated 93 complaints against 90 doctors who were alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship or made inappropriate advances towards a patient.
Likewise the British Medical Association advises: "As a general principle, sexual relationships or emotional dependence between doctors and their patients or the close relatives of patients must be discouraged." It further goes on to say that “Doctors who discover that a person with whom they are developing a personal or sexual relationship is also their patient should immediately cease the relationship or take reasonable steps to ensure that medical care is provided by another practitioner."2 There are several important reasons why doctor-patient dating or a romantic relationship is discouraged in most societies.