If you haven’t already taken steps to establishing a presence on the internet, you know colleagues who have. If you have children age 10 and older, they’re on the internet in some fashion, whether you know it or not. So what’s stopping you, as a psychiatrist, from joining the millions of your fellow humans who are maximizing the benefits of the internet?
From a risk management point of view, I applaud those of you who are moving slowly in this area. Each week, it seems, the main stream media (MSM) reports something discomforting about the lurking dangers of SM (just in the last two days, it was the flood of pornographic spam on Facebook pages). The reality is, however, that more and more people look first to the internet for information about doctors, hospitals, signs and symptoms of disease, treatment options and drug reactions. Your presence on the internet or lack thereof is something patients and potential patients will notice. (When’s the last time you looked in the traditional Yellow Pages to find a plumber or a mechanic?) It’s better if you manage your presence. If you have not already done so, you should consider creating a website for your practice. A non-interactive website, basically an online practice brochure, creates very little professional liability risk.
Our publication “Risks Associated with Internet Activities: A Guide for Psychiatrists” is free to our customers and can help you feel comfortable staking your claim to a piece of the internet. Even if you’re already “out there,” I invite you to check out this publication to test what you’ve done in cyberspace against our recommended best practices. As always, if you’re insured through The Psychiatrists’ Program, you’re welcome to call our Risk Management Consultation Service (1-800-527-9181) to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your internet activities.