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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Monday, March 2, 2015

Physician guidelines for Googling patients need revision

By Jennifer Abbasi
Penn State News
Originally posted February 2, 2015

With the Internet and social media becoming woven into the modern medical practice, Penn State College of Medicine researchers contend that professional medical societies must update or amend their Internet guidelines to address when it is ethical to "Google" a patient.

"As time goes on, Googling patients is going to become more and more common, especially with doctors who grew up with the Internet," says Maria J. Baker, associate professor of medicine.

Baker has dealt with the question first hand in her role as a genetic counselor and medical geneticist. In a case that inspired her recent paper in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a patient consulted her regarding prophylactic mastectomies. The patient's family history of cancer could not be verified and then a pathology report revealed that a melanoma the patient listed had actually been a non-cancerous, shape-changing mole.

The entire article is here.