Apparently the new generation of med students aren’t as concerned as you might like them to be about sharing your medical information on Facebook or Twitter, says Time.
A new survey of medical-school deans finds that unprofessional conduct on blogs and social-networking sites is common among medical students. Although med students fully understand patient-confidentiality laws and are indoctrinated in the high ethical standards to which their white-coated profession is held, many of them still use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other sites to depict and discuss lewd behavior and sexual misconduct, make discriminatory statements and discuss patient cases in violation of confidentiality laws, according to the survey, which was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Of the 80 medical-school deans questioned, 60% reported incidents involving unprofessional postings and 13% admitted to incidents that violated patient privacy. Some offenses led to expulsion from school.
The article went on to explain that in focus groups, younger people were more likely to think that sharing their personal opinions and thoughts was ok, “regardless of their potentially damaging or discriminatory impact on others.”
Sharing information about cases with personally identifiable information isn’t allowed, but apparently not everyone is aware that “personally identifiable” doesn’t just mean “don’t say the person’s name.” Sharing other details and characteristics can be a violation of confidentiality.