I wrote an article in the latest edition of www.epmonthly.com with the above title:
Just as you were getting comfortable with Facebook, detailing every moment of your life through status updates and photos, Twitter came to town. If you don’t already know, Twitter is a “micro-blogging” social media site which allows users to “tweet”– or post – short status updates. Thousands of docs have signed up, raising an interesting risk management question: Can my tweets come back to bite me?
The short answer is Yes. Take the example of a personal diary that details your life experience, or a medical diary that lists the patients you’ve seen and their medical problems. These diaries are dangerous because anything that has dates can be used as evidence against you. Let’s say you log in your diary going out for drinks with friends. Then, years later you are sued, and the plaintiff’s attorney discovers your “drinking orgy” the night before you treated their client. They will use this information to paint you as a physician just steps from requiring the Talbott Recovery Campus. If you are an EP who likes to keep detailed logs of your patients, you can’t anticipate how your innocent log can be twisted out of context to hurt you.
When it comes to the Internet, everything you do is stored somewhere. In essence, the Internet is an electronic diary. Some Internet services are more private, such as email and Facebook. Others, such as blogs and twitter, are public. Anything you say publicly, whether through a comment feed or a tweet, is searchable and can theoretically be used against you in court. Also, sites like Sermo and Ozmosis are not peer-review protected (in states that have those laws) and those “innocent” evaluations of case studies could be used against you if your lawsuit happens to be on one of those topics...
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