a his & hers weblog of worlds apart
Personal expression, Professional hesitation
A while ago I wrote about Jay Parkinson, the physician who loves the internet. His practice, Hello Health allows patients to interact with their doctor in numerous ways, including video chat, instant messaging or email. Not surprisingly you can learn more about Dr. Jay on his blog or follow him on Twitter.
As I learn about and become more comfortable with social media on my personal time, I can’t help but think about how these new tools may or may not have a place in my future professional role. Berci Mesko’s Webicina.com seeks to help health professionals answer this exact question. I’m excited by the idea of integrating new and more efficient ways of interacting with patients. However, the potential of these tools to blur the line between personal and professional roles makes me hesitant.
Some are already debating the question “is it OK for a doctor to follow his patients on twitter?” or visa versa? Are the answers to these questions different as a GC?
A large part of my job as a Genetic Counsellor involves putting aside my personal opinions in order to allow patients to make a decision that is uniquely right for them. While physicians commonly advise their patients about what to do, GCs are trained (for better or worse) to avoid advice-giving. The premise behind this practice is that decisions about whether or not to pursue genetic testing is personal, and can often involve complex social, psychological and emotional implications.
So, does expressing my personal opinion through social media compromise my non-directive professional role? I don’t think so (as is evident by the fact that I continue to write for this blog). But it has the potential to change things. Just as I feel unease when I encounter one of my patients in a public setting, I would feel uneasy if a patient decided to follow me on Twitter. Anyone else out there struggling with these reservations?