=> No clear guidelines exist regarding this practice, however, it appears to be common
Incorporating Information From Electronic and Social Media Into Psychiatric and Psychotherapeutic Patient Care: Survey Among Clinicians.:
J Med Internet Res. 2019 Jul 12;21(7):e13218
Authors: Hobbs KW, Monette PJ, Owoyemi P, Beard C, Rauch SL, Ressler KJ, Vahia IV
BACKGROUND: Obtaining collateral information from a patient is an essential component of providing effective psychiatric and psychotherapeutic care. Research indicates that patients' social and electronic media contains information relevant to their psychotherapy and clinical care. However, it remains unclear to what degree this content is being actively utilized by clinicians as a part of diagnosis or therapy. Moreover, clinicians' attitudes around this practice have not been well characterized.
OBJECTIVE: This survey aimed to establish the current attitudes and behaviors of outpatient clinicians regarding the incorporation of patients' social and electronic media into psychotherapy.
METHODS: A Web-based survey was sent to outpatient psychotherapists associated with McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. The survey asked clinicians to indicate to what extent and with which patients they reviewed patients' social and electronic media content as part of their clinical practice, as well as their reasons for or against doing so.
RESULTS: Of the total 115 respondents, 71 (61.7%) indicated that they had viewed at least one patient's social or electronic media as part of psychotherapy, and 65 of those 71 (92%) endorsed being able to provide more effective treatment as a result of this information. The use of either short message service text messages or email was significantly greater than the use of other electronic media platforms (χ21=24.1, n=115, P<.001). Moreover, the analysis of survey responses found patterns of use associated with clinicians' years of experience and patient demographics, including age and primary diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: The incorporation of patients' social and electronic media into therapy is currently common practice among clinicians at a large psychiatric teaching hospital. The results of this survey have informed further questions about whether reviewing patient's media impacts the quality and efficacy of clinical care.
PMID: 31301127 [PubMed - in process]