Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How far does Doctor/Patient Confidentiality extend in the digital age?

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Dr. Bryan Vartabedian came across a conversation that occurred on Twitter between physicians about a specific patient’s unfortunate medical condition and the doctor’s embarrassment about the case. No names, hospitals or specific variables are easily identifiable but the posts certainly begin to cross the line of confidentiality inherent to this type of relationship. The American Medical Association has identified guidelines for the use of the platforms for physicians. Do you believe this a true violation of the guidelines?

From the patient perspective, I'm not sure I'd like any of my medical details to be posted to Twitter to be the topic of conversation, but at what point is a doctor sharing patient information and just thoughts about their life like everyone else. Should the AMA set stricter guidelines that help protect the patients? But if that happens, what learning experiences will be lost? Could cases like this have negative implications for generally positive technological advances?
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