Google for me but not for thee:
Have you ever Googled your doctor? I have. Especially if I’m looking for a new doctor or some kind of specialist, I search the Internet…
At this point, professional societies like the AVMA have not yet established policies. But from my perspective as a bioethicist, it is inappropriate for a doctor to research a patient’s personal life on the Internet.
Two things make this article interesting:
First the author reinforces what I have been telling reluctant dentists; patients are Googling you. People Google you just to get a phone number. They are looking at reviews and deciding who to see as a dentist based on what is found online.
Second, she states that it is wrong for physicians to Google patients. She is billed as a bioethicist and uses what I see as self serving platitudes to justify her opinion. I believe the old adage “It is better to know the patient than to know the disease” is still just as valid as it ever was. Learning more about a patient is not a bad thing.
Then she makes a statement that I find bizarre coming from a supposed bioethicist, “…let’s face it, nearly all patients withhold some information, alter facts just a little, or report on personal health behaviors in ways that downplay our failures of will or lapses in judgment.” She praises the fact that patients lie to their doctors and then uses that as justification for her belief that doctors should not Google patients.