Last week, a Rhode Island doctor who was fired from her job in the ER and reprimanded by the state medical board for disclosing patient information on Facebook. What did she say? She didn’t disclose patient names or other identifying details, but the medical board ruled that by describing her patient’s injuries on Facebook, the doctor breached her patient’s confidentiality (see Doctor Busted for Patient Info Spill on Facebook).
If you are either a health and human service organization or an independent practitioner, you may need to consider your own social media policies. More specifically, you may need to develop organizational policies and procedures about the use of social media, then include them in your informed consent discussion and document. Even if you personally don’t have a Facebook page; don’t “tweet” Twitter messages, or shudder at the thought of having a YouTube channel, you still might need a policy for your organization or practice.
These are some of my thoughts. What are yours?