Social Media, Residents and Responsibility


There was a time when the information concerning patients could never reach the outside of a hospital.  Or at least it was difficult.  What was discussed on an overhead projector in a dark conference room never had the capacity to reach beyond our personal space.  New technology has created the ability for us to instantly share our work with the world.  This creates the potential for infringement on the relationship we share with our patients.

Enter the digital natives in medicine.  These young trainees have grown accustomed to the concept of real-time communication and transparency in dialog.  But fluency in social dialog and health privacy are often at odds.  As a result, residency coordinators are facing the issue of professional boundaries among physician trainees.  But how do we prepare the next generation of physicians?

I thought the issue could use some discussion.  So with the generous support of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, myself and a few colleagues decided to pull together some advice for resident safety when using social media.  Victor Montori from the Mayo Clinic, Wendy Swanson from Seattle Children’s Hospital and Katherine Chretien from George Washington University enthusiastically jumped on the project and offered their expertise.

As I mention in the first minute of the clip, this isn’t meant to create rules but rather to get folks talking about how we should be handling ourselves in digital public.  Over the first week we’ve enjoyed 1,300 views and coverage from The Wall Street Journal and American Medical News.

Hopefully we’ll see this dialog carry on further in the weeks and months ahead.  There’s more where this came from so stay tuned.