Social media has become so pervasive that it has permeated every facet of the modern day society. This phenomenon has spread even to the healthcare industry where the extensive use of social media applications has had adverse implications. The leading downside of using social media applications by healthcare professionals and other medical practitioners is the security concerns surrounding the access of sensitive medical records of patients (Benson & Morgan, 2015). The use of social media puts the confidentiality of patients at risk because their medical data and history may be accessed by anyone online, especially hackers with a malicious intent. Healthcare professionals compromise the security of their patients' information by continuing to use social media.
Another limitation of healthcare practitioners utilizing social media platforms on the internet is that there is a professional stigma attached to it (Chisolm, 2018). This happens where there are doctors or medical consultants who use the social media applications better than others thus attracting the envy of their peers. Their habit of leveraging on the social media to conduct their medical business becomes questionable due to the professional, ethical, and moral issues revolving around the issue. Their peers perceive this habit as being unprofessional while regulatory bodies see this as a violation of the healthcare code of conduct. Such medical officers are bound to suffer character assassination when their moral values and personal integrity are put in doubt.
Needless to say, medical professionals and other practitioners spend a lot of time on the internet either creating relevant content or attending to their online audience of clients (Benson & Morgan, 2015). This means that they waste the precious time on social media applications while this scarce resource could be utilized attending to real life patients who are in dire need of medical attention. The healthcare industry is ever busy with frequent bouts of staff shortages, which only makes it fair if the available time and medical human resources are channeled towards alleviating the pain and suffering of actual patients. Time wastage is a significant drawback for healthcare professionals who engage in the frequent sue of social media.
The lack of privacy brought about by the use of social media applications is an immense downside to the healthcare industry. Virtually all social media platforms are public spaces which means it is very hard for medical professionals to help their internet patients without the potential for the information or conversation on the patient's health leaking to the internet audience. The issue of privacy is a sensitive matter as it is legislated and discouraged against through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Using social media applications by medical professionals in the healthcare industry is a balancing act between violating the HIPAA guidelines and risking the penalties due to overstepping the HIPAA stipulations (Benson & Morgan, 2015).
Lastly, social media has proven to be a downside in the healthcare industry because the habit of using such applications by medical practitioners is difficult to control (Chisolm, 2018). Some of the healthcare professionals do not know when to limit themselves or use the applications sparingly. The online content that they post and the correspondence they receive from their online audience is highly subjective beyond the expected professional behavior and attitudes. In addition, healthcare practitioners lack the basic training required to handle collaborative technologies expertly. Social media influencers are trained on how to use such applications and respond to their audience, unlike medical professionals whose primary training focuses on attentively caring for patients.
Benson, V., & Morgan, S. J. (2015). Implications of social media use in personal and professional settings. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Chisolm, M. S. (2018). Social media in medicine. Routledge.
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