A new study of medical weblogs says anonymity, negative comments about patients and product promotions often prevail.
The July 23 Journal of General Internal Medicine study of 271 blogs authored by physicians and nurses found that more than 40% of such blogs are published anonymously and describe individual patients. About one-third contain negative comments about the medical profession, and 18% comment negatively about patients.
The study also found that 17% of the blogs include enough information for patients to identify themselves or their physicians. While violations of patient privacy were rare, three blogs showed recognizable photos of patients, and eight displayed patient radiographs.
The study’s lead author, Tara Lagu, MD, MPH, said blogs are a welcome development because they allow doctors to communicate freely, but they present a challenge to medical professionalism.
The whole shebang.