Have You Ever Googled a Patient or Been Friended by a Patient? Social Media Intersects the Practice of Genetic Counseling

Nina Marie F. Omaggio, Maria Baker, Laura J. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients and healthcare providers are becoming increasingly connected via social media, bringing new opportunities and challenges. Direct connection can occur between patients and providers using online tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn. In addition, providers can gather information about patients using a search engine such as Google, referred to as patient-targeted Googling (PTG). An online 54-item survey was used to gain information on (1) how and to what extent genetic counseling students and genetic counselors connect directly with patients via social media sites, and (2) gather information on providers using PTG. Four hundred genetic counseling students and genetic counselors participated in the survey. The majority of respondents (88.9%; n = 344/387) find it is never or rarely acceptable to interact with current patients via social media sites; however, 27.7% (n = 110/397) have visited a patient’s social media site. Gathering information for patient care was the most commonly reported reason (76.8%; n = 43/56). Thirty-three percent (n = 130/394) have considered searching online or actually searched online for information about a patient. Curiosity was the most common reason (92.7%; n = 114/123); although, respondents also used PTG to obtain contact information and to prepare for patient sessions. Our study supports the need for development and dissemination of professional guidelines to serve as a valuable resource for practicing genetic counselors and genetic counseling training programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics(clinical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Have You Ever Googled a Patient or Been Friended by a Patient? Social Media Intersects the Practice of Genetic Counseling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this