Feeds

Doctors must be trained to avoid web blab blunders, says group

Put down the smartphone, stethoscope boy

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A stray tweet could bring the whole medical profession into disrepute, a body that advises doctors on legal and ethical issues has warned.

That means docs should be taught how to safely use Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ during their compulsory ethics training, according to the Medical Protection Society (MPS) in response to a General Medical Council consultation on good practice.

MPS head of medical services Dr Nick Clements highlighted that a third of 1,250 society members polled in a survey used Facebook daily.

"It is all too easy for boundaries between our professional and private lives to become blurred," he said. Even describing a course of treatment could lead to a breach of trust: "Posting inappropriate comments or describing a patient’s care could lead to a breach of confidentially, damage to a doctor’s reputation and can harm the doctor-patient relationship."

Twitter brings even greater dangers: a single tweet could wreak havoc, Clements reckoned:

Although only one in five (21 per cent) of MPS survey respondents said they used Twitter, it is the potential for a single comment to cause such widespread offence or problems that can impact on the doctor’s reputation and possibly even the medical profession as a whole.

Doctors have to behave on Facebook just as they would in the wards, said the MPS. That includes what docs say in web comments as well, according to the comprehensive recommendations:

This advice is not just for doctors using social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but doctors’ forums and blogs such as doctors.net.uk. Doctors should remember that the same standards of professionalism and confidentiality apply no matter what the medium of communication

Doctors were also warned that being anonymous online is impossible and their activities can be traced. The MPS said a number of docs have landed in hot water for posting confidential or inappropriate information on networking websites. For example there were 72 cases against medical staff relating to social web use between 2008 and 2011.

On the other hand, doctors sometimes end up on the other end of online comments: a top GP complained in February that the general public were too rude about doctors online. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.