Monday, February 28, 2011

Pediatric Patient Privacy & The Social Network

In this blog we are supposed to locate and analyze a scholarly article related to my inquiry area. I found this article using the world wide search engine: Google. To confirm that this is in fact a scholarly article, I had to investigate it's origin, content, and purpose.

The reasons that I was able to categorize this article as scholarly include: the article was found within "The Journal of Pediatric Psychology," written by Rachel Tunick of Boston's Children's Hospital and Lauren Mednick of Harvard Medical School, published on behalf of The Society of Pediatric Psychology, content was lengthy and used medical jargon of that particular field, and included references at the end of the article.

The main points of this article is to inform the reader about the risks of posting private health information on a blog or social website.

1. Privacy and Confidentiality of Patients: Whether it be a parent or patient, when using a blog, either could raise reference towards another patient's scenario without their consent which compromises their protected health information.
2. If a patient or parent includes references towards their child's or their own medical staff, it could compromise the team's professionalism  and potentially make them reluctant to continue treating their child or them self.
3. Some blogs or personal websites have protection measures for users to implement at their own discretion, however some do not. The audience of a person's personal site is pretty much impossible to measure. Therefore confidentiality of a child and their family using their OWN website could be compromised. Parents using these online sites have not grown up in the technological generation so they may be unaware or naiive about the inappropriate personal information they could be disclosing for everyone to see.
4. Finally, physicians may read the parent of a patient's blog and gain information that would usually not be disclosed in an appointment. This could alter their viewpoint and treatment of that particular patient.

In conclusion, clinicians should consider both pro's and con's before reading a patient's or parent's blog. They should examine if it would provide clinical benefit or if its just out of curiosity. If chosen yes, the family should be notified before the action occurs. Physicians should also warn patients and parents about electronic privacy risks to minimize personal information from being breached.

I'm including a link if anyone in interested in this topic or just wants to read the article themselves. It also includes a links to the journal if one wanted more information about the Pediatric Psychology Society.

Scholar's Article

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