Privacy concerns are becoming a hot topic for those who feel that our lives are becoming more open to others via a Google search. Now another topic is coming to light about doctor’s who may be doing a Google of their patients. The debate is raging on whether this is truly a violation of a patients right to privacy or whether the information is a part of the public domain.

In a recent essay by the Harvard Review of Psychiatry the authors stated that:

In some cases, what the authors call “patient-targeted Googling” is clearly beneficial — for example, when a patient is blogging about her suicidal thinking, or when an unconscious person comes into an emergency room with scant identification. But in other cases, the authors write, doctors are motivated by “curiosity, voyeurism and habit.”

“Most patients would probably be shocked that their doctor had the time or the interest to conduct a search like this,” one of the authors, David Brendel, said in an interview. “A good number of people would feel like their privacy had been breached, although a number might be happy the doctor was thinking about them outside of the 15 minutes or 30 minutes they were actually spending together.”

Though there are currently no ethical guidelines for doctors Googling their patients, some feel that it is an invasion of patients right to privacy. On the flip side there are those who feel it has beneficial aspects that could help a doctor.

Which makes one wonder? If we post something personal on the Internet should we expect it to remain private when it is available for all to see?

Wouldn’t it make sense that if you have something you wish to keep private that you would not post it on the Internet? Just my two cents.

Comments as always are welcome.

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