It’s no secret that there have been instances of medical workers abusing social networking sites and violating patient privacy rights. A medical association has recently published a social media toolkit designed to help with more responsible use of social media.
Think folks would know better than to publish information about patients online? Think again. Awhile back Time magazine published the story Privacy Breach: Med Students Twitter About Patients:
A new survey of medical school deans finds that such unprofessional conduct — on blogs and social-networking sites — is increasing among medical students. Although med students fully understand patient confidentiality laws and are indoctrinated in the high ethical standards to which their white-coated profession is held, many of them still use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other sites to depict and discuss lewd behavior and sexual misconduct, make discriminatory statements, and discuss patient cases in violation of confidentiality laws, according to the survey published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Of the 80 medical school deans questioned, 60% reported incidents involving unprofessional postings, and 13% admitted to incidents that violated patient privacy.
There’s no way technology alone can put an end to such stupidity: only education and policy enforcement can. To that end, the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) this month developed a social media toolkit to help medical offices better deal with the explosion of social media, and how it impacts patient privacy.
The toolkit, “Social Networking and Medical Practice: Guidelines for Physicians, Office Staff and Patients,” provides insight into how physicians can better handle social media.
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