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Doctor Spying on a Patient's Blog
How would you feel, as a patient, if without your knowledge, your doctor found your blog and was monitoring it for additional information about you? If you would be upset about that, why? If the doctor told you in advance that he or she was going to look but asked your permission, how would you respond? Do you think that your doctor has every right to look at your open blog as any other visitor? Do you think that your privacy is being intruded upon by the doctor looking at or following your postings on your blog? Would it make any difference if you had a mental illness and your doctor was your psychiatrist?
In the June 2012 issue of the American Medical Association's Virtual Mentor, the topic of psychiatrists monitoring their patients' blogs is brought up with a scenario and followed by a commentary by psychiatrist
David H. Brendel, MD, PhD under the title "Monitoring Blogs: A New Dilemma for Psychiatrists". The first paragraph of the commentary follows. Go to the link above and read the entire article and then return and answer my questions. Your responses will be worth while to this topic since Dr. Brendel can only express his concerns speaking as a psychiatrist but you can provide feedback to us from any patient's point of view. ..Maurice.
Internet technologies in the twenty-first century have provided countless opportunities and potential pitfalls for professional practice in areas as diverse as medicine, law, politics, business, and academia. These technologies have especially serious implications for psychiatry, where emotional complexities, boundary issues, and privacy concerns are of particular concern in the relationship between clinician and patient. In the course of routine clinical practice, psychiatrists nowadays must grapple with questions about whether to exchange e-mails with patients, to participate in social networking sites such as Facebook, and to perform Internet searches in order to learn information about patients. Each of these uses of Internet technologies in psychiatry has received growing attention in the professional literature [1-3]. The case scenario raises the question of whether clinical psychiatrists ought to read and monitor the websites or blogs of some of their patients.
Graphic: From Google Images.