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Medical Council survey highlights importance of patient confidentiality in doctor's social media use

18/08/2015

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Ireland

A Medical Council survey published on the 30th of July 2015 highlights the importance of doctors maintaining patient confidentiality while using social media. 1,000 adults were surveyed and the results will inform the development of new Medical Council guidance on professional conduct and ethics.

The survey revealed that 76% of people agreed that if their doctor posted personal information on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, it would make them think differently about his or her professionalism and 96% agreed with the statement that a doctor should never share patient information on social media.

The survey also found that doctors remain the most trusted profession in Ireland with 91% of patients agreeing that they trust their doctor to tell the truth.

Vice President of the Medical Council and Chair of its Ethics and Professionalism Committee, Dr Audrey Dillon said: “It is immensely important that the Medical Council is alive to the concerns of patients in relation to social media and confidentiality, but we also have to be cognisant of the fact that doctors can gain professionally as well as personally from using social media platforms. With our new guide to conduct and ethics, we have tried to strike a balance by encouraging appropriate social media use by doctors, and we hope that members of the public along with doctors take the time to provide their views on this draft guidance”.

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