Friday, April 22, 2011

Article Highlights Risks of Social Media in Medicine

Dr. Alexandra Thran was fired from Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island after posting information about a patient on a social media website. Dr. Thran did not mention the patient by name, but had provided details that could be used to identify the patient.

In addition to being fired, Dr. Thran was also reprimanded by the state medical board and fined $500.

The increase in communication through social media has led to the blurring of patient privacy boundaries. Some healthcare professionals have faced stiffer penalties under HIPAA for posting pictures of, or discussing patients over social media outlets. The best piece of advice for those who use social media and work in the healthcare setting may be to keep your professional life separate from your personal life -- especially online.


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