Snapchat Doctors: How Plastic Surgeons Have Gained an Ethically Questionable Following published last week in Allure details a loosely emerging trend among plastic surgeons using Snapchat to push their work. Condensed video sequences of tummy tucks, labioplasties and butt-lifts are published as carefully orchestrated Snaps for public entertainment and marketing.
When Allure magazine questions the ethical trajectory of plastic surgeons it may be something worth looking at. Read the article and be amazed. Or appalled.
A couple of thoughts:
Social media exhibitionism isn’t new to health
As long as there’s been social media there have been stakeholders desperate to leverage it’s power for promotion. Early on live Tweets of procedures positioned as education taught little more than creative ways to get traffic.
We can learn from flagrant Snapchat self-promotion
You can complain but you should learn. You don’t have to peddle gynecoplastic procedures to understand that there’s a takeaway here. This is how Millennials hear and learn. Health consumers consume in snappy chunks. How can we take this truth and run with it?
Does consent give us license to do anything?
No. I’m still chewing on this one but I’m concerned that what we choose to publish as professionals needs more than just individual patient consent. Of course We need to process this with the full understanding that in the age of exposure expectations of how doctors communicate with the public are very different.
Irrespective of the platform, when patients are at the center of our exhibitionism or drive to boost the bottom line we fail the sniff test.
New technologies create new challenges
Every technology creates new challenges. And technology continues to be ahead of ethics, the law, and our loosely evolving standards of digital professionalism. Consequently, this case use of Snapchat has not had collective discussion. What’s hard to imagine is that there’s no body in medicine charged with helping us understand whether this activity represents a problem or is simply the symptom of an increasingly public public. I’ve tried to create the context for this kind of discussion. More on this later.
Perhaps most important is the fact that so few are talking about Snapchat as plastic surgery’s new medium.
h/t to Eric Topol who raised the yellow flag on Twitter.