Blogging has mushroomed amongst American doctors, but some health professionals worry about violations of confidentiality. Sometimes their internet diaries include harsh judgements of patients and coarse or obscene details. "One of the fundamental aspects of medicine is that patients have to feel free to tell doctors everything," said Dr. David Stern, of the University of Michigan Medical School. "They’re not going to tell us everything if they’re asking themselves when they come in to see their physician, ‘Is my doctor going to blog about me?’"
Hospitals also face possible liability for compromising patient privacy, which is protected by Federal legislation. However, since blogging is so new, many doctor-bloggers complain that the guidelines are fuzzy. Dr Stern says that the only way to blog safely about patients is to ask for their consent. " Absent that, you’re on shaky moral ground," Stern said. "The only way you can totally protect confidentiality is to not say anything."
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