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Defining Online Physician Conduct

This week a reporter cornered me on the issue of professional behavior in the social space. How is it defined? I didn’t have an answer. But it’s something that I think about.

Perhaps there isn’t much to think about. As a “representative” of my hospital and a physician to the children in my community, how I behave in public isn’t any different than a decade ago. Social media is just another public space. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re in public. When I’m wrapped up in a Twitter thread it’s easy to forget that the world is watching. But the solution is simple: Always remember that the world is watching.

On Twitter I think and behave as I do in public: Very much myself but considerate of those around me. I always think about how I might be perceived.

Here’s a better question, online or off: What is professional behavior? I have a pediatrician friend who, along with the rest of his staff, wears polo shirts and khaki shorts in the summer. The kids love it.  One of my buttoned-down colleagues suggested that this type of dress is “unprofessional.” Or take a handful of physicians and ask them to review a year of my blog posts and my Twitter feed. I can assure you that some will identify elements that they find “unprofessional.” I believe I keep things above board.

This is all so subjective.

The reporter was also interested in how I separate my professional and personal identities in the online space. I’m not sure the two can be properly divided. The line is increasingly smudged. I try to keep Facebook as something of a personal space. I think it was Charlene Li who suggested that she only “friends” people she knows well enough to have over for dinner. That’s evolving as my rule as well. But independent of how I define “well enough,” Facebook is still a public space. My comments and photos can be copied to just about anywhere.

Social media has not forced the need for new standards of physician conduct. We just need to be smarter than we were before. Everyone’s watching.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

5 Clinical Resolutions For 2011

Jenni Prokopy (aka Chronicbabe) put us to the challenge for this week’s Grand Rounds by asking for our 2011 clinical resolutions. I have to admit that I’m not one for resolutions because I can never take them seriously. But admittedly there are things that I need to tighten up. So here goes:

1.  Clear my chart rack every afternoon. This is key because my creative mind operates better when my charts are done. Of course this means no more tweeting “47 charts” or “33 charts” when I’m behind. Had I made this resolution for 2009, this blog wouldn’t have a name.

2.  Cultivate innovative communication channels with my referring docs. While I need to be consistent and compulsive with my referral letters, I want to improve mobile, real-time communications between me and my referring docs. For example I’d like to get my local community on Doximity so that I can launch a quick, HIPAA compliant, encrypted SMS messages on my iPhone the second I see a patient. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Is There Social Health Psychomanipulation?

Last week Michael Arrington wrote an important piece in Techcrunch, “Blogging and Mass Psychomanipulation.” It details how as bloggers we play to our readers for positive regard. We give ‘em red meat.

I think there’s social health psychomanipulation. Many of us indulge the obvious social health memes. We universally bash pharma, blindly buoy the empowered, and champion just about anything at the intersection of digitally democracy and health care. Too many want to be accepted, retweeted, and linked by an evolving hierarchy of power brokers looking to advance one self-imposed new standard.

And every now and again I fall into the trap and offer bread and circus.

If you’re preoccupied with traffic metrics and the blind need to belong, go ahead and jump on the bandwagon.  Push those big red “easy” buttons of social health. Contribute to the echo chamber. Then read Michael Arrington’s piece and look in the mirror. Who (or what) are you really trying to advance?

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Survey: How Would You Define “Health 2.0?”

My friend and fellow blogger Lucien Engelen asked the health community to help define what Health 2.0 exactly means through an online survey:

After our systematic review about the definition of Health 2.0, one of our next steps will be sorting out what “the crowd” thinks that has to be part of a definition of Health 2.0. For this purpose we’ve set up a little questionnaire that you could fill in below.

To make the crowd as big as possible, we have also made it available to put on your own blog or website. We would encourage you to do this and inspire others to do the same.

You may remember that Lucien and his collegues published a review about the definitions of Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0 currently available.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Social Media Bill Of Rights?

Should we have a Bill of Rights for social media sites? It’s something we need to consider as such software becomes an integral part of our daily communications.

Some might say such a document isn’t needed, that we aught to take a buyer-beware approach. But I would argue that the core issue of the privacy threats of new media isn’t really privacy, but rather dignity. Having to go through fifty steps to set your privacy settings is undignified, even if your privacy is ensured.

So if we value human dignity, we aught to consider standards of dignity. A Bill of Rights, even if unenforceable, may at least remind us of the disturbing force of social technologies. What’s your take?

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

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