Estimated read time: 5.5 mins
Your newly-launched digital edition of Riskwise is
here. It’s an exciting change that we’ve made for a number of reasons, but
overall I’m hoping it’s another big improvement to your membership with Dental Protection.
This digital edition of Riskwise offers
interactive content such as videos and links to webinar recordings, all
viewable on any device of your choice.
Riskwise has been produced in print for many years. Reading
habits move on and we think it’s time to recognise contemporary ways of
consuming content by switching to a digital format and offering you more options
for reading Riskwise. Accessing Riskwise digitally fits in
with the realities of today’s clinical practice and means you can access the
content at times that are convenient to you.
Of course, environmental considerations have also played a
key role in this move. By moving to digital only, we will be substantially
reducing our CO2 emissions and reducing paper usage. There will also be cost
savings and these will go towards enhancing your protection with us.
As for the other content of Riskwise, it’s business
as usual, with our traditional collection of case reports and thought-provoking
articles that I know you find so useful.
I hope you find this edition interesting and helpful, and do
get in touch with any thoughts, comments or suggestions on this digital
edition, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
There has been a substantial growth in the use of social
media platforms in healthcare in the past decade. They are now an integral part
of many healthcare professionals’ working lives with far reaching consequences.
Defined as the creation and exchange of user-generated content using internet
applications, it is being used to:
The risks are well documented. Uppermost is the spread of misinformation;
healthcare professionals must be diligent in assuring veracity of information
before sharing it. The spread of false or misleading information on social
media is a growing concern. Fake news is part of modern vocabulary. Some
reasons why facts can be distorted on social media include:
Other risks associated with social media include the threat
to privacy and confidentiality, addiction and mental health issues such
as anxiety and low self-esteem.
An interesting observation is that individuals often feel
they can be more open in expressing views and opinions in cyberspace than they
would do in person and frequently without proper regard to risk and related dentolegal
consequences. So, why do people do things on the internet that they wouldn’t do
A commonly cited theory in this regard is the “online
disinhibition effect” – a phrase coined in 2001 by Suler. The increasing
anonymity using an online persona can lead to disinhibition, which can have
devastating effects on their career and blurs professional boundaries that then
erode the professional persona.
It can be benign. Examples include sharing personal feelings,
supporting strangers online and undertaking charitable tasks. It can also be
toxic and lead to cyberbullying, harsh criticisms, anger and the expression of hatred
or threats in online forums. These can be explained by the greater anonymity
online, the lack of visual cues and eye contact and the cloak of invisibility that
makes people feel less responsible and accountable for their actions.
Professional bodies can use this information and/or images for disciplinary
proceedings if it or they are deemed to have brought the profession into
Writing in 2016, Suler suggests that: “We could draw a
comparison to the effects of alcohol. Once liquor loosens up inhibitions,
people might show the sensitively sentimental side of their personality – or
their inner angry drunk. It’s tempting to say that disinhibition releases what
people ‘really’ think and feel inside.”
Social media allows us to ‘play’ with image and identity. We
have supported members who find themselves the subject of investigations
following images of drunkenness, inappropriate behaviour at events and other
When it comes to clinical images, the principles of consent
require a patient to first have capacity to agree to sharing their clinical
image, it must be voluntary, and the patient should have adequate information
about the risks and benefits of sharing the content.
Consent in the social media world should include discussions
about the public nature of image distribution and the future loss of control of
that image once shared. We know that a fundamental aspect of the ethical
principle of consent is the right to revoke consent at any time; patients
effectively surrender this right given the distributive nature of social media.
When social media first began, no-one knew what effect it
would have on users. Today, we live in a world where, like it or not, our
professional lives are influenced by social media. In Simulacra and
Simulation (1981), the philosopher Jean Baudrillard argued that human
beings are now unable to see the world as it really is. More alarmingly, how
long before we no longer see ourselves as we really are? It is a slippery
slope. What we should strive for is authenticity and we need clear and
unambiguous guidelines on what it means to be professionally authentic.
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© 2023 The Medical Protection Society Limited. Dental Protection Limited is registered in England (No. 2374160) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medical Protection Society Limited (MPS) which is registered in England (No. 00036142). Both companies use Dental Protection as a trading name and have their registered office at Level 19, The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG. Dental Protection Limited serves and supports the dental members of MPS with access to the full range of benefits of membership, which are all discretionary, and set out in MPS’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.