Beliefnet
Fresh Living

I ran across this fascinating article last week in the New York Times about the questions that arise–and the possible benefits–when doctors interact with patients on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.  On the questions front, Dr. Pauline W. Chen writes:

It is unclear whether such engagement adds to or
detracts from a therapeutic patient-doctor relationship, and clinicians
are unsure about what constitutes good standards of care and
professional responsibility on these platforms. For example, should
doctors give out diagnoses or prescribe treatment on Facebook or a
blog? If doctors and patients communicate on Twitter, is a doctor liable if she or he misses a patient’s tweets about the acute onset of shortness of breath?

On the possible benefits front, she writes:

Social media platforms can turn 10- or 20-minute doctor’s visits into
an ongoing dialogue, where sources of information and, potentially,
support are continually available to the patient and the doctor.
“Platforms like Twitter can be powerful if doctors are a lot more
active in disseminating their expertise,” Dr. Khozin said. “Patients
are being bombarded with information online, but I don’t think all that
information necessarily empowers them. You also need expertise.”

Click here for the whole article, and let us know–is your doctor your “friend” in the social media sense?  Do you want him or her to be?

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