Physicians are urged not to make social media contacts with patients.
That means no texting, tweeting or "liking" patients as Facebook "friends."
This is according to the updated recommendations for online ethics from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB).
The groups say there should be a clear line between professional life and social life.
The revised guidelines in part recommend text-messaging should not be used for passing along medical information except when there is patient consent. Even then, doctors should use "extreme caution."
Also, careful judgment is needed when a doctor is contacted through email or other electronic communications by someone who is seeking medical advice but has had no previous contact with the doctor.