Should you friend your doctor on Facebook? It’s a question that’s gaining increasing relevance as Facebook increases its social networking dominance. I’ve touched upon the issue in the past. So has the New England Journal of Medicine.
Washington, DC, physician Katherine Chretian gives her take on the issue in a recent USA Today op-ed. She is an expert of the Facebook-medicine intersection, having authored a JAMA study on the issue.
She says, no, doctors should not be friending their patients:
Having a so-called dual relationship with a patient — that is, a financial, social or professional relationship in addition to the therapeutic relationship — can lead to serious ethical issues and potentially impair professional judgment. We need professional boundaries to do our job well.
Furthermore, there’s the little matter of patient privacy and HIPAA. I wasn’t aware of this, but simply becoming Facebook friends with patients can infringe upon uncertain ground. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
The Associated Press recent article “Overtreated: More medical care isn’t always better” reiterated a commonly known fact which is not understood by the public. This problem of doing more and yet getting little in return is a common issue which plagues the U.S. healthcare system and was illustrated quite convincingly by Shannon Brownlee’s book. Americans get more procedures, interventions, imaging, and tests but aren’t any healthier.
In fact they are often worse off. Too many unnecessary back surgeries. Too many antibiotics for viral infections, which aren’t at all impacted by these anti-bacterial therapies. Too many heart stents which typically are best used when someone is actually having a heart attack. Research shows that those that are treated with medications do just as well. As all patients with cardiac stents know, they also need to be on the same medications as well.
Eliminating unnecessary treatments is a good thing, particularly when it is based on science. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*