Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Psychiatrists Should Be Alert to Social Media Pitfalls

While social media like Facebook, YouTube, and their kin become a routine part of life, psychiatrists and other physicians often forget that a little extra analysis is in order before they hit that "send" button sending a potentially unprofessional comment or image into cyberspace. They should expect that patients may search the Internet for information and other material about them and must exercise caution to ensure that their professional role is not compromised, even if material they post is not work related.

Residents and young physicians in particular, for whom using social media is often second nature, may not have thought through the implications of sending every thought and photo into cyberspace. "The idea of privacy as we know it is changing," says John Luo, M.D., past president of the American Association for Technology in Psychiatry. And for psychiatrists, that makes caution the watchword when using social media. "Anything posted can go viral," he warned.

Read more about the pitfalls physicians face in using social media and how they can be avoided in the new issue of Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/17/6.full.

(Image: Shutterstock)


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