Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

TLDR: What are medical students and residents allowed to share on social media?

Has anyone seen Violin MD's YouTube channel? She's a 2nd year internal med resident at McMaster and she is fantastic. I love her channel, but I have started wondering what the explicit rules are around confidentiality via social media and whether these expectations differ between schools and residency programs. While it's clearly wrong to say "I saw Jane Smith today in the ER at Mount Sinai for x condition", at my school we have been explicitly told not to share even general statements about patients. We were given the example of a former student who had excitedly posted on Instagram that he had attended his first appendectomy at a certain hospital. The school's reasoning is that when it's on social media and someone knows someone who had an appendectomy that day at that same hospital, you've broken confidentiality. They qualify this by saying that if you were to, say, tell a friend you observed that same appendectomy, that's not a public statement, which makes it okay. It's the public vs. private element they care about.

I disagree with this mentality and believe it is too rigid. I will continue to respect my school's policy, but I think it's totally fine to share minor details on social media as long as it is respectful and worded sensitively to not reveal any identifying data. For example, an appendectomy is a fairly common procedure, and this particular student shared nothing about the age, gender, race, etc. of that patient. He shared nothing about how the procedure went, details re: what he observed, or any judgment about the patient. Just the procedure and the day. Is there really anything wrong with what he did? 

This leads me back to Violin MD.  She talks about patients in a non-specific way on her YouTube channel while identifying herself as a second year resident at McMaster - ex. "I just got back from attending to someone with a BP of 70/40", or "We had a patient last night who was throwing up black liquid". She's mentioned diagnoses on occasion (but avoids being specific if the diagnosis is rare). An example of this is her story of a patient who came to the ER for one thing but had a heart attack while he was there, and how she went with him via ambulance to another hospital. This is more detail than what was shared by the student at my school who was reprimanded.

Clearly, this has provoked a lot of thought for me. I enjoy how she demystifies medicine for the general population and shows us what goes on behind closed doors. People clearly appreciate her channel, and I am sure McMaster is aware of its existence. Could it be possible that McMaster has a more relaxed policy around sharing on social media? Are the standards different in residency vs med school? Am I misunderstanding the limits of confidentiality? Ultimately, I would like to be able to share a little more with people re: what I am up to in medical school and I am disappointed that I cannot. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, ninja7292 said:

What about the plastic surgeons and dermatologists that livestream their procedures hahaha

I sure they have consent, and if you're as rich as someone like Dr. Maimi I don't think anyone can say anything :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/21/2018 at 12:54 PM, sw604 said:

TLDR: What are medical students and residents allowed to share on social media?

Has anyone seen Violin MD's YouTube channel? She's a 2nd year internal med resident at McMaster and she is fantastic. I love her channel, but I have started wondering what the explicit rules are around confidentiality via social media and whether these expectations differ between schools and residency programs. While it's clearly wrong to say "I saw Jane Smith today in the ER at Mount Sinai for x condition", at my school we have been explicitly told not to share even general statements about patients. We were given the example of a former student who had excitedly posted on Instagram that he had attended his first appendectomy at a certain hospital. The school's reasoning is that when it's on social media and someone knows someone who had an appendectomy that day at that same hospital, you've broken confidentiality. They qualify this by saying that if you were to, say, tell a friend you observed that same appendectomy, that's not a public statement, which makes it okay. It's the public vs. private element they care about.

I disagree with this mentality and believe it is too rigid. I will continue to respect my school's policy, but I think it's totally fine to share minor details on social media as long as it is respectful and worded sensitively to not reveal any identifying data. For example, an appendectomy is a fairly common procedure, and this particular student shared nothing about the age, gender, race, etc. of that patient. He shared nothing about how the procedure went, details re: what he observed, or any judgment about the patient. Just the procedure and the day. Is there really anything wrong with what he did? 

This leads me back to Violin MD.  She talks about patients in a non-specific way on her YouTube channel while identifying herself as a second year resident at McMaster - ex. "I just got back from attending to someone with a BP of 70/40", or "We had a patient last night who was throwing up black liquid". She's mentioned diagnoses on occasion (but avoids being specific if the diagnosis is rare). An example of this is her story of a patient who came to the ER for one thing but had a heart attack while he was there, and how she went with him via ambulance to another hospital. This is more detail than what was shared by the student at my school who was reprimanded.

Clearly, this has provoked a lot of thought for me. I enjoy how she demystifies medicine for the general population and shows us what goes on behind closed doors. People clearly appreciate her channel, and I am sure McMaster is aware of its existence. Could it be possible that McMaster has a more relaxed policy around sharing on social media? Are the standards different in residency vs med school? Am I misunderstanding the limits of confidentiality? Ultimately, I would like to be able to share a little more with people re: what I am up to in medical school and I am disappointed that I cannot. 

 

https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/medicine/docs/Weekly Update/Weekly Update from the Chair Mar 9 2018.pdf

The med school is okay with it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×