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AMA Adopts New Policies at Its Semi-Annual Meeting

For immediate release:
Nov. 10, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) voted today at its semi-annual policymaking meeting to adopt the following new policies.

Ban use of hand-held devices while driving

New policy adopted today by the AMA supports legislation that would ban the use of hand-held devices while driving.

“A Harvard study estimates that about one in 20 traffic accidents involve a driver talking on a cell phone,” said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, M.D. “By banning the use of hand-held devices while driving, we can help prevent accidents and ensure the driver’s full attention is on the road.”

Support for guidelines regarding online professionalism

In this age of social media with both patients and physicians communicating online, the AMA took a step forward today in developing a consensus for online professionalism in the medical community. The new AMA policy calls on the AMA to initiate discussions with partner organizations regarding online professionalism to develop a consensus useful for medical schools and for updating the AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics.

“Casual online communication has become the norm for many people through social media, so it's important for physicians to understand the implications their online presence may have for the patient-physician relationship, their professional reputation and the reputation of the greater medical community,” said AMA Board Member William A. Hazel, MD.

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Media contact:

Lisa Lecas
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-5980