Social Media and Professional Conduct (SMART): Best Practice Guidelines from the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN)

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of pain research






Facebook; Instagram; LinkedIn; Twitter; best practices; ethics; professionalism; social media


Social media has revolutionized internet communication and become ubiquitous in modern life. Though it originated as a medium for friendship, social media has evolved into an ideal venue for professional networking, scientific exchange, and brand building. As such, it is a powerful tool with which interventional pain physicians should become familiar. However, given the permanence and visibility of online posts, it is prudent for interventional pain physicians to utilize social media in a manner that is consistent with the ethical and professionalism standards to which they are held by their patients, employers, peers, and state medical boards. While there are extensive publications of professional codes of conduct by medical societies, there is a paucity of literature regarding social media best practices guidelines. Further, to date there have been no social media best practices recommendations specific to interventional pain medicine physicians. While not exhaustive, the aim of this document is to provide recommendations to pain physicians on how to maintain an effective professional and ethical online presence. Specifically, we provide guidance on online persona and professional image, patient-physician interactions online, patient privacy, industry relations, patient education, and brand building.


Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine