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I am an Australian occupational therapist, educator and researcher. I have worked as an OT in mental health, vocational rehabilitation and a private surgical hospital. I am passionate using online technology to enhance the knowledge and growth of the occupational therapy profession. In my PhD research I am looking at the role of online technologies in information management and knowledge transfer in occupational therapy. Views expressed and stories shared on this blog are my opinion and do not represent views of my employer or professional registration body.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Tweeting' medics expose patients

This link was sent to me by Susan Burwash... interesting article from the BBC about medical students using Twitter and Blogs to inappropriately share information about patients or institutions.

Medics posting messages on networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are breaching patient confidentiality, a leading journal reveals.

Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found examples of web gossip by trainee doctors sharing private patient stories and details.

Over half of 78 US medical schools studied had reported cases of students posting unprofessional content online.

One in 10 of these contained frank violations of patient confidentiality.

Most were blogs, including one on Facebook, containing enough clinical detail that patients could potentially be identified.

Click on this link for the full article.


Rachel Slack said...

Reading this article has been extremely insightful on the precautions medical students and medical professionals need to keep in mind when posting information on the internet regarding clinical experiences. The expanding forums of social networking sites present challenges when abiding by confidentiality laws. Medical professionals and students often forget or discount the public arena of social networking sites. How can this be avoided? Should social networking and confidentiality be a part of the required curriculum for all healthcare professionals?

Anita Hamilton said...

Hi Rachel, I think that seeing that health care ethics is usually a mandatory course in health care education programs then it should extend to including ethics online.
One Australian researcher Sally Kift states that using online technologies needs to be embedded into the curriculum, not bolted on. At the moment I see a lot of "bolting on" and not enough embedding.
Cheers, Anita

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