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#SolvePT: What’s the Deal with RC 23-12?

Physical therapy and technology are our two passions so we keep a close eye on everything in the space where our passions collide.

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5 min read
July 16, 2012
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Today’s post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen.

As you probably already figured out, we have two passions in life―well, maybe more, but for the purposes of this discussion let’s stick with top two―physical therapy and technology. That’s why we like to keep a close eye on everything that happens in the space where our two passions collide. We’re talkin’ #solvePT.

So, when we came across an article written by Amy-Lynn Engelbrecht about motion RC 23-12, Standards of Conduct in the use of Social Media, which regulates physical therapists’ online and social media use, we had to share.

In the article, Engelbrecht wonders what the point is of RC 23-12: “It’s a very simplistic and reactionary motion spurred by the perception of a shrinking portion of society that social media is only used to share celebrity gossip, pictures of cats, and inappropriate conversations. RC 23-12 unnecessarily repeats the points made in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct where a simple change of wording would have sufficed to cover interaction held online. As one PT put it during an online discussion, ‘Being a professional is being a professional.’ Specifying the venue shouldn’t be necessary.”

Engelbrecht isn’t alone in her frustrations. She links to a blog post by Kendra Gagnon, who attended an APTA’s House of Delegates session in June to learn more about RC 23-12. In that post, Gagnon outlines her takeaways:

  1. RC 23-12 was totally unnecessary and―as written―doesn’t really DO anything
  2. The APTA, as an organization, is pretty progressive when it comes to social media
  3. APTA members (or at least those who are delegates) are very traditional, which results in a lot of hesitation, skepticism, and even fear of/about social media
  4. Some issues just can’t be discussed in 140 characters or less (i.e., choose the right platform for debate)
Kendra Gagnon's view from the floor of the APTA House of Delegates

Kendra Gagnon's view from the floor of the APTA House of Delegates

Engelbrecht has her own takeaways about RC 23-12 (well, more like straight-shootin’ directives) for the delegates, decision makers, and legislators:

  1. Understand that social media is more than just Twitter. While RC 23-12 lumps all online interactions under the ‘social media’ umbrella, the motion’s language really only addresses Facebook and Twitter. Learn about all social sites and their individual purposes before you start regulating.
  2. Educate, don’t regulate. Change and technology can be scary and definitely fast-paced. However, rather than pass reactionary (and mostly unnecessary) regulations that focuses solely on pitfalls, educate the community on the appropriate use and benefits of social media. It’s here to stay―so embrace it rather than breeding unwarranted apprehension andchastising those who are using it (and using it well).

While you may find yourself rather frustrated by all this, Gagnon does see a silver lining: “Technology and social media are often referred to as ‘disruptive innovations’ in education and health care. Although social media has been around a few years, I think this year was the tipping point for the APTA. This year, social media was just disruptive (and visible) enough to get everyone’s attention. My hope is that this is the start [of] some real conversations among APTA members, staff, and leadership about how to harness social media and use it to engage members and promote and advance the profession. About how to encourage more participation in the House of Delegates and have broad, transparent discussions about House issues. As in all professions, there is resistance to change. There always will be. But as we move forward, we must recognize that―in a changing world―the biggest risk associated with social media may be not using it at all.”

We couldn’t agree more! And that’s why we applaud the rehab community for embracing change and innovation. Here’s to continually elevating the profession; successfully navigating social media; and remaining professional without needing instructions on how to do so. After all, you are the thought leaders, the experts. Whether it’s joining the #solvePT discussion, getting involved with delegations, or simply educating those around you, blaze that trail!

What do you think of these posts? What about RC 23-12? Do you have any other #solvePT-related stories to share?


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