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J Med Ethics. 2015 Feb;41(2):203-5. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2013-101341. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Social networking sites: a clinical dilemma?

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Social Psychiatry Group, Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, Oxford, UK.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.


Social networking sites (SNS) are having an increasing influence on patients' lives and doctors are far from certain about how to deal with this new challenge. In our literature search, we could find no research on how doctors could engage positively with SNS to improve patient outcomes or create more patient-led care. We need to acknowledge the fact that a review of a patient's SNS page has the potential to enhance assessment and management, particularly where a corroborant history is hard to attain. As doctors, we need to think clearly about how to adapt our practice in light of this new form of communication; in particular, whether there is a case for engaging with SNS to improve patient care.


Clinical Ethics; Coercion; Psychiatry; Public Policy; Social Aspects

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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