Ethics physicians dating patients

11 Dec

Ideally, you should not be in a contractual arrangement that makes contacting your patients difficult.However, if you find yourself in this situation, work with an attorney to ensure that appropriate steps are taken.It may be that the patient is noncompliant, unreasonably demanding, threatening to you and/or your staff, or otherwise contributing to a breakdown in the patient-physician relationship.

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In the poorest communities, it may not be possible to meet the needs of the indigent for physicians’ services by relying solely on local physicians.Physicians should weigh a number of considerations when maintaining a presence online: (a) Physicians should be cognizant of standards of patient privacy and confidentiality that must be maintained in all environments, including online, and must refrain from posting identifiable patient information online.(b) When using the Internet for social networking, physicians should use privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content to the extent possible, but should realize that privacy settings are not absolute and that once on the Internet, content is likely there permanently.Participating in social networking and other similar Internet opportunities can support physicians’ personal expression, enable individual physicians to have a professional presence online, foster collegiality and camaraderie within the profession, provide opportunity to widely disseminate public health messages and other health communication.Social networks, blogs, and other forms of communication online also create new challenges to the patient-physician relationship.According to the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, a physician may not discontinue treatment of a patient as long as further treatment is medically indicated, without giving the patient reasonable notice and sufficient opportunity to make alternative arrangements for care.Further, the patient's failure to pay a bill does not end the relationship, as the relationship is based on a fiduciary rather than a financial responsibility.This was even a question on one of my USMLE exams.*There is a power differential. You are free to pursue any of them.*For pediatricians, patients are obviously off-limits, but so are their parents/guardians.*My personal opinion: If you are not capable of following this guideline, you probably should not be a physician.The Internet has created the ability for medical students and physicians to communicate and share information quickly and to reach millions of people easily.Offering to transfer records to a newly-designated physician upon signed patient authorization to do so.Following this protocol may be easier in some situations than others.