Rhode Island board disciplines doctor after Facebook description of case results in patient being recognized
Thomas J. Morgan reports:
A physician who posted information on Facebook that allowed the identification of a patient, and another who has problems with alcohol and marijuana, are among six doctors who have been disciplined by the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline.
The board found Alexandra Thran, of Westerly Hospital, guilty of unprofessional conduct after she recounted some of her emergency-room experiences on Facebook, according to a news release by the state Department of Health. The board said she did not use the names of patients, and did not intend to disclose confidential information, but the nature of the injuries of one patient allowed an unauthorized third party to figure out who it was, the board ruled.
The panel said that Thran deleted her account as soon as she learned what had happened. The board issued a reprimand and told Thran to pay a $500 administrative fee.
This is the type of situation that is of concern to most hospitals (and providers!). If a case is interesting/unique enough to want to discuss or blog about, it’s probably unique enough for someone to identify the patient, so as tempting as it may be, don’t blog or tweet about it!