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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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One of the newest medical ethics dilemmas is the collision between the Internet and the traditionally strict boundaries between patients and doctors. Caregivers, especially psychiatrists and therapists, have historically disclosed personal information only when it might benefit a patient — as when a patient is struggling with the loss of a child and the therapist discloses that he, too, has experienced such a loss.
Likewise, patients have typically disclosed personal details in their own time, as therapy continues and trust develops. The Web challenges that model head-on.
Facebook, founded in February 2004, now has more than 400 million active users. MySpace, founded a month earlier, has 100 million. Google.com, the search engine founded in 1998, currently handles 100 billion searches per day.
There's no question that Internet searches can be an important tool for healthcare consumers. "Patients should Google their doctors, to check on credentials, training, scholarly articles and the like," says Dr. Daniel Sands, the senior medical director of clinical informatics for the Internet Business Solutions Group at networking giant Cisco Systems.
But what about the reverse — doctors searching patients? "Why would they ever want to?" asks Sands, also a physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Read it all.
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