Are You Friending Your Patients? Don’t

Previously I have talked about the perils of social media as it relates to its use between physicians and their employees. And if you haven’t already checked it out, we have a great interview (on our webstore) with Robyn Hankins, an attorney specializing in employment and contract law, entitled “MySpace in the Workplace”, that describes some doctors getting into hot water by getting too friendly with their staff.

On MDNews.com, Mary E. Christopher, JD, discusses another dark side of social media: physicians who ‘friend’ their patients. In addition to the aforementioned issue of blurring the line between the doctor and his/her charges, this also raises the spectre of HIPAA violations. The main problem is publishing identifiable personal information in professional exchanges between doctor and patient. You are probably safe, however, if your practice has a fan page where patients can post comments but no medical advice is dispensed.

About Peter Polack

Peter J Polack is founder of emedikon, a medical practice management consulting firm and president of protodrone, a software development company specializing in medical practice applications. A technology columnist for Ophthalmology Management Magazine, he is a managing partner for a large multi-specialty ophthalmology practice in Florida.

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