I think it’s obvious there are some glaringly obvious flaws in the new GMC Guidance for Doctor’s use of Social Media but I’m wondering why so many Doctors are opposing it because of the negative impact it may have on their lives rather than the harm it could have on the lives of Patients they care for.
In this excellent Telegraph piece Max Pemberton (a Doctor writing under an alias) explains that “This is not about patient confidentiality” but I think it should be obvious to anyone that as we increasingly use digital Patient records this guidance requiring Doctors to be more identifiable online than anyone else will make them much more vulnerable to a wide variety of scams and fraudsters.
Let’s be very clear: It is absolutely about Patient confidentiality if my Doctor is made more vulnerable to fraud because of advice that the GMC requires all Doctors to follow.
An online social life that is discoverable makes Doctors more vulnerable to fraud because scammers can increasingly:
> Track a Doctors location
> Track social interests, events and conversations that Doctors are having (making it easier for them to start up online dialogue, get a link clicked, etc)
> Identify and then scam their Patients eg. this is one of the reasons why we have been advised not to use the 3GDoctor twitter account to “follow” any other accounts.
UPDATE 26 OCTOBER 2016: An inquest heard that GP Dr Wendy Potts who blogged about her bipolar disorder has been found hanged after being suspended following a complaint from a Patient who read her blog before making a complaint to her clinic about her fitness to practice.