Friday, September 14, 2007


Now that I am transitioning back to my medical training, I expect my blog to veer in the direction of medical topics. Whenever that happens, there are some new rules in play: namely the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPAA) regulations. This includes a strict reinforcement of the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement. I've been reading other med blogs to see how they appropriately relay experiences on the 'net without compromising patient privacy. The techniques I have observed include:
  • Not revealing identifiable information, including date, name, initials, age or ethnicity.
  • Substituting identifiable information with false names.
  • Idealizing interactions such that no exact incident could be matched with your story.
Since I use my own name in writing, I am faced with the task of balancing the truth of the situation with the rights of patients I interact with. If ever that balance presents itself, I must always push the balance towards patients' rights. After all, it's a physician's privilege to be permitted access to patients most personal issues. Along the same lines, I wish not to write fiction, which what the third bullet above smacks of. I believe that my compromise will be to present only stories vignettes and reflections that are clearly unrecognizable, and saving others for my personal journal.

Any insight about this that fellow medbloggers can offer would be appreciated. Comments or links would be great!

Dr. Signout responded to this piece with a nice post. Check it out.

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