Social Media Guidelines Needed for Mental Health Doctors, Researcher Finds | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Researcher: Social Media Guidelines Needed for Mental Health Doctors

March 30, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Social media can be a useful tool in helping behavioral healthcare doctors better diagnose and connect their patients, a researcher from University Hospitals recently wrote. 

The researcher, from the Cleveland-based University Hospitals health system, looked at how social networks and public online forums were being used by mental health doctors to treat and connect with patients. University Hospitals Case Medical Center Psychiatrist Stephanie Pope, M.D. Found that while there were recorded cases of social media research of patients in treatment to prevent injury, there was a lack of institutional policy around this behavior at many organizations. This, she says, could cause potential issues in patient care.  

"This study was conducted as an effort to demonstrate the clinical implications of social media and form an understanding of the legal and ethical consequences of social media within practice," Pope said in a statement. "Institutions across the country lack protocols relating to the media forms and professional guidelines need to be established." 

The lack of protocols, she says, is alarming because 60 percent of patients are seeking support, knowledge and information about their own health utilizing social media platforms, according to a survey cited in the research. Dr. Pope says that social media can be used to assist these patients, and in many cases has obviously already done that, but protocols must be put in place. 

We need to understand the magnitude that social media is having on our clinical practice but at the same time we need to develop patient/doctor boundaries," said Pope. "When a patient comes to the emergency room and has had thoughts about suicide, social media channels can help ...but how, when and if can use this information is at the core of the argument."

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.