This series highlights common medicolegal issues in general practice. Written by a team from medical defence organisation Avant, the series is based on actual situations, with details changed for privacy and some issues summarised for the sake of discussion. This scenario explores the medicolegal issues that arise when doctors request or provide informal opinions in online discussion groups.
Private online discussion groups have become a space for doctors to share information and network with colleagues. Since 2020, with the rapid rise of telehealth and the sharing of information about the pandemic as it emerged, these platforms have increased in importance. Doctors’ legal and professional obligations apply equally online, and technology can add a layer of complexity. Understanding how to comply with your professional obligations in an online environment will allow you to continue to use the opportunities that technology provides to engage, educate and inform.