Doctor – Patient: Relationship or Transaction…and Therefore

Don’t jump the gun too quick here. I assume most of you are going to say that there is an implicit (or explicit) relationship between the physician and the patient. They have some interest in your outcome and your care.

But, before you go there, I want to put forth a hypothesis. If this is true, is it okay for the physician to monitor your activities on your social network? (original question posted by The Side Note blog) Can they follow your tweets? Can they review your activities on Facebook or MySpace or some future site? Can they reach out to you to ask why you tell them you’re on a diet while you tweet about eating a Big Mac? Can they ask you about side effects that you’re having to a medication?

I’m positive that they don’t have the time to monitor these sites (but someone could do that for them). The question is whether it’s ethically okay for them to do that and use that information to provide you with care.

It seems like everyone else is using that information (which is public domain). Lawyers are using it. Tax collectors are using it. HR managers are using it. I would assume insurance adjusters might be using it.

One Response to “Doctor – Patient: Relationship or Transaction…and Therefore”

  1. Of course it’s a 2-way street as patients can also monitor their doctors’ social sites and see what kind of role model they are outside of the office. Is there anything wrong with adding that human touch if the within office time is often at a premium?

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