Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Physician social networks like Sermo present a great opportunity for doctors to communicate to one another in a private forum. According to a post by Dr. Kevin Pho on KevinMD.com, controversial debate is frequent, along with discussion of patient cases. While this site, along with others, is for physicians only, Dr. Pho points out that anything written on a social network is recorded electronically and can end up surfacing in the future.
There's a debate on whether or not some of the conversations can be taken out of context and used against these doctors. Some argue that what's discussed on these sites cannot be used to sue a doctor because a plaintiff must prove that the physician has a duty to the patient in question. If the doctor is not responsible for the patient's care, it is simply considered an informal discssion on a health issue.
No matter what your stance, it's a good reminder that whatever is said on social networks, private or not, lives in cyberspace forever. As Dr. Pho advises, doctors should use caution with what they type, just as the rest of us should be, on social networks.