I read with great an article titled Facebook and Physicians: A prescriptions for Trouble. In it, Lucas Mearia references a guy by the name of Crotty who advocates strongly on the notion that doctors should refrain from engaging patients and collegues online.
The article highlights several situations that could potentially lead doctors into trouble.
For example, a doctor who gave a patient a prescription for medicine that could have an adverse affect when mixed with alcohol might decide to check out the patient’s Facebook page to see if the individual is telling the truth about his drinking habits, Crotty said.
To me this is a little far fetched and an extreme example to make an ethical point. Let’s be realistic though, do doctors have time to check every single patient’s profile on Facebook? How long would that take? How would the doctor know if he/she was even on the medication?
The article also talks about sites like Doximity and Sermo which are social sites exclusively for doctors . Crotty equates these types of networks where doctors ask other doctors for advice as curbside consultations.
“What if the treatment they suggested was wrong and you chose the wrong one?” he said. “The thing is, when you get a second opinion, the doctor you’re getting the opinion from has no clinical context or clinical relationship with that patient.
How is this different than calling up a collegue and asking her for an opinion on a patient? Does Mr Crotty think that a physician is not smart enough to discern the fact that the consult physician isn’t seeing the patient, isn’t examing the patient and knows only what she is being told?
I think this Crotty guy is completely missing the boat with his assertions.
I think social media has giving us the tools to connect with our communities in ways we have never been able to do before. We can now broadcast, share, be published, connect, educate, curate, an collaborate thanks to social media tools.
And you know who are the ones in the best position to take advantage of these tools? Pediatricians. Why? Because peds’ demographic will always skew younger than other specialties. And guess who are the ones using all this new technology?
If we want to have any type of influence over generations to come, we will have to have a presence online. Simply put, this isn’t going away. This is the future, no doubt.
We can continue defending the status quo, like this Crotty guy, or we can find ways to leverage these wonderful tools the Internet has afforded us.
And as for Mr. Lucas Mearian of ComputerWorld, I think he should stick with writing on issues of storage, disaster recovery, business continuity, financial services and healthcare IT, because clearly he has no clear idea of how doctors could leverage this technology.
To read the entire Computerworld article, click here.