Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Blogging Confidentiality - a hot topic

Just a short post - for anyone who blogs or is thinking about blogging I would urge you to take a look at these posts that very clearly raise the importance of ensuring that confidentiality and professionalism are rigorously maintained:

Getting our knickers in a twist

Blogging about birth - with clear guidelines to students on how to blog about learning experiences without breaching confidentiality (with specific reference for midwives but should transfer easily across to OT)

A blogger who was tried for malpractice due to blog entries (USA)

Tittle tattle in the corridors

Thanks to Sarah and Carolyn for the links.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, would you please read this post and tell me if you think I have put out too much information?

Sarah Stewart said...

To be honest, I think you have, bloggingot but who am I to say. I'm at the stage where I am still thinking and haven't come to any clear conclusion yet. That's why I think it is important to have the discussions. best wishes Sarah

Anonymous said...

If I'm posting about people I ask myself if I would be happy for any of those involved to read my account - just in case they do.

I also think about how easy it would be for those involved to be identified, for example if one of your colleagues or your employer knew you were a blogger and read this post would they recognise the patient and her son?

I guess I agree with Sarah that you MAY have gone too far as I think maintaining the anonymity of the people you write about is critical. better safe than in trouble!


Anonymous said...

I will edit my post! I was thinking about it a lot over the weekend and decided that that would be the best course of action.

Sarah Stewart said...

bloggingot: I think you have hit the nail on the head; it's what feels comfortable to you. I wrote a post a few weeks ago that I just didn't feel right about so I had to do something about it. In this instance, I wrote an apology and an exploration of how blogging about your mistakes can be a useful exercise.

The other conclusion I have come to is the same as you have done and that is to check blog posts out with peers. This is something I have started to do with posts that I am a tad anxious about. It's a scary thing to do, putting your stuff out there for peer review, so I apploud you for taking that step.

Anonymous said...

What I ended up doing was removing all specifics pertaining to her specific diagnosis, and instead focused on the family dynamics, which was the point of the post in any case. Thanks for your input. Your blog post was very timely! :)

Sarah Stewart said...

Leigh Blackall has another perspective - have a look at his reply to my comment: http://tinyurl.com/68zr87

What do you think?

Angela said...

Hi Sarah
I have to say that I would like to agree with Leigh, whilst I am aware that open communications can be vulnerable to careful scrutiny, only by enaging in the ourselves as educators and thus identifying the pitfalls (as well as the star moments)can we become role models for our students and maybe other practitioners who may begin to use this medium to reflect, discuss and debate with peers.
I think as health professionals we are better at this than most - but there will always be those moments of misguided or unfocused comment. By building a strong and supportive blogging community we can hopefully use each other (as bloggingot has done here) to engage in peer "supervision" of blog posts.

Anonymous said...

Second attempt at responding to this very thoughtful post.
I can't see any difference between blogging and writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. If you wouldn't consider disclosing information that could identify a person to the newspaper, why would you think it's OK in a blog?
I've followed the guidelines from HonCode regarding ethics - it's very helpful - and I also have placed a comment about any cases being discussed being composites of many people rather than a specific client. I also have stated that the blog represents my own personal views and not that of my employer/s.
Another 'golden rule' is to always ask yourself whether you would be prepared to say what you write directly to your employer, your client, your colleagues. If you don't think you would, perhaps it's an indication that you're not quite ready to write about it - for me it's about being authentic and honest in what I do.

Sarah Stewart said...

I have just done what you have suggested and applied for HON accreditation. I think it gives a good foundation to build on with regards to this topic.

Sarah Stewart said...

Complete change of subject: just read a great write up about your work at http://tinyurl.com/6oc6ec


I must quiz you some more about what you get up to. I am running a short post graduate course for midwives & want to start integrating some web 2.0 technologies to encourage networking & open collaboration. The only problem is that it's 7 weeks so haven;t got time to do too much.

Sarah Bodell said...

@ Sarah
Thanks for the congratulations! I'm sure I speak for Angela when i say that we'd love to share our experiences with you. It has been an interesting and challenging couple of years but we feel web 2.0 has massive potential in the education arena. early feedback from our undergraduate students seems to confirm this, particularly in relation to wikis.