Social media, such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogs are inappropriate for doctor-patient communication because they are too informal and lack the atmosphere of professionalism. They promote casual conversation and blur the boundary between personal and professional relationships.

Accordingly, Dr. Covert does not use the social media to dispense medical advice, respond to clinical questions from patients nor otherwise practice medicine on these sites.

Patients should presume that anything said or posted is in the public domain. These types of media do not use HIPAA-compliant secure networks. Also, remember that anything typed or emailed creates a permanent, indelible record.

Posted on 11-1-2010