By A. Minicozzi
On May 1, 2013, I began to work as a Director for a company that specializes in bioethics software and related consulting services. In short, my job is to improve healthcare delivery by educating healthcare professionals how to be better clinicians. When I began my new position, I thought I was well informed of many aspects of bioethics, particularly areas surrounding clinical practice.
For the last nineteen years, I have studied and researched the training process of physicians from a sociological perspective. During this educational journey, I acquired a Master’s degree in Bioethics, which gave me a deeper understanding of the fundamental ethical approaches to patient care.
As Director of a bioethics company, I realized I would face contemporary topics that physicians encounter when providing care to patients, and, in turn, I would produce or review material that discusses these relevant issues. Nothing prepared me for my first assignment: to write about the association between the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and social media.
Of course, as a bioethicist I have a foundation of knowledge regarding HIPAA, but I was perplexed by the correlation between these two concepts. Not only are these two concepts related, they also have a real impact on the way physicians practice. When HIPAA became a federal law in 1996, the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube) was not prevalent.