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Applied Ethics in Mental Health CareAn Interdisciplinary Reader$
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Dominic A. Sisti, Arthur L. Caplan, and Hila Rimon-Greenspan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019682

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 28 November 2021

Patient-Targeted Googling: The Ethics of Searching Online for Patient Information

Patient-Targeted Googling: The Ethics of Searching Online for Patient Information

Chapter:
(p.351) 24 Patient-Targeted Googling: The Ethics of Searching Online for Patient Information
Source:
Applied Ethics in Mental Health Care
Author(s):

Brian K. Clinton

Benjamin C. Silverman

David H. Brendel

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.003.0024

With the growth of the Internet, psychiatrists can now search online for a wide range of information about patients. Psychiatrists face challenges of maintaining professional boundaries with patients in many circumstances, but little consideration has been given to the practice of searching online for information about patients, an act we refer to as patient-targeted Googling (PTG). Psychiatrists are not the only health care providers who can investigate their patients online, but they may be especially likely to engage in PTG because of the unique relationships involved in their clinical practice. Before searching online for a patient, psychiatrists should consider such factors as the intention of searching, the anticipated effect of gaining information online, and its potential value or risk for the treatment. The psychiatrist is obligated to act in a way that respects the patient’s best interests and that adheres to professional ethics.

Keywords:   Boundaries, Patient-Targeted Googling, Professionalism, Ethics, Psychiatry, Internet

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