Thursday Thoughts | Distributing personal medical information via social networks
From a friend’s Facebook status:
Times have definitely changed. I am filling out my son’s paperwork for his well check with his new pediatrician and there is a spot to put your Facebook or Twitter account down to receive non urgent info about the patient!
We are clearly moving in the direction of social media and digital information, so I would love to hear your thoughts on the following (answers should assume consent from both parent and physician to use this type of interaction for non-urgent medical information):
- Is it legal?
- What about ethical?
- What considerations would be required regarding this interaction?
- What about privacy and security issues*?
- Would all these considerations be a problem if there’s been consent from all parties?
And most importantly…
- As a patient, would you consent to transferring non-urgent medical information this way?
- What about as a physician or other healthcare provider?
*To play devil’s advocate, what makes these interactions any less safe than “snail-mailing” non-urgent info? Theoretically, can’t almost anyone open your mailbox and mail? Doesn’t snail-mail go through way more hands to get to someone than email? What makes them any less secure than cell phone voicemails? We learned from this incident that cell phone hacking is incredibly easy if you know the right people and technology. What do you think the differences are?
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I’m an Ob/Gyn resident (that means I went to medical school to become a doctor) and now I'm working like a crazy person to learn my trade before I'm on my own in the wild. Once upon a time I birthed a couple of babies of my own, they're friggin' adorable twin toddlers now. My life story through November 2010 can be viewed here. The events in the many years following can be summed up as wedding bells, books, exams, babies, and doctoring. I only started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit medicine and move to Hollywood, so if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact, I'm probably a spambot. Or possibly a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.