Posted on September 29, 2010 by Jennifer Pointer

With freedom comes responsibility.  The internet is probably the last truly "free frontier," in terms of the ability to communicate openly and without censorship in most places.  To keep in free, people will need to take personal responsibility, unlike some doctors, who have forgotten that their patients might be able to read their Facebook walls


A few days ago, I wrote about Google Health, and Google providing broadband to rural healthcare providers, and how in some ways, we are sacrificing privacy for convenience.


DOCTORS have been disclosing sensitive medical information - and even mocking patients - on Facebook.


The NSW Medical Board has cautioned one doctor for making "flippant and derogatory" comments, and warned others to "think twice" before disclosing patient details on social networking sites.


Doctors are being warned the online conversations they think are private "may come back to haunt you".


"The usual rules about confidentiality apply. But even when patients are not identified, members of the public may be upset by the content of such postings," the board said.


"Facebook users are reminded that, despite their privacy settings, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable."


After a "disgruntled patient" read nasty comments made by a doctor on Facebook, the board issued the general warning that practitioners had no control over content once it was posted online.


Having worked with the public most of my adult life, I can certainly appreciate the fact that doctors probably have some of the funniest stories EVER about the things people say and do.  However, nothing posted on the web is truly "private," and there is always a chance a patient will be humiliated, or have his or her privacy violated if these stories are posted on the social networks.




Jennifer Pointer


Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 

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