Thursday, September 3, 2009

Physicians, patients, and social media (Facebook)

What happens if your patient finds your profile on Facebook and requests to be your friend? What if your patient follows you on Twitter? Have you thought about how social media may impact physician-patient relationships? There's an interesting story on CNN about this topic. In that story, the president of the AMA, Dr. J. James Rohack, is quoted as saying: "Communicating with existing patients online can add value to the patient-physician relationship, however there are certain aspects of medical care that cannot be handled virtually."

There have been many recent stories where patients have looked for their physicians on Facebook. Before you know it, your patient may have access to a lot of your personal information. Phone #, e-mail address, contact list, address, etc. Do you really want your patients to know all of this? Doctors need their privacy too. If you're a single physician, do you want your patients to know that you're single and "Looking for Dating/Relationship" on Facebook?

In the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Sachin H. Jain, M.D., M.B.A. (an intern at the time of writing this article) writes a perspective about "Practicing Medicine in the Age of Facebook." Click here to read the NEJM article. He shares some of his personal experiences about this social media tool and perhaps you may have some stories to share as well.

1 comment:

  1. I read the NEJM piece. Someone please explain the advantages of sharing Facebook with patients. I'll try to be open minded, although the idea sounds so patently problematic. Sharing private worlds with patients? Who does this help? See