PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The head of Rhode Island's medical discipline board says new rules on social media use are aimed at helping doctors avoid online pitfalls.

Dr. James McDonald of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline said physicians' use of social media is a growing area of concern for the board because of its prevalence. He said many of the guidelines adopted in September come down to common sense.

They include upholding patient privacy, avoiding interactions with patients on Facebook and not posting medical information that could be taken out of context.

Rhode Island Hospital emergency physician Megan Ranney uses Twitter to share research and network with other doctors. She says providers should be careful about what they post but that social media is critical in increasing patient engagement in health care.

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