Physician, Protect Thyself: Why Psychiatrists Should Be Aware of Their Internet Presence and How to Protect Themselves

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2021 Apr 1;209(4):270-274. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001297.


Modern psychiatric practice requires the use of the Internet, and the current pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology in clinics. Psychiatrists receive significant education on protecting patient privacy and medical information when using these tools. However, they receive little training regarding protecting their own personal privacy in the Internet era. Private information, often without one's knowledge, is frequently available online and accessible by patients. The work of physicians and psychiatrists creates additional unique vulnerabilities to privacy. Given the essential nature of the Internet in modern clinical practice, physicians should understand how to monitor and protect personal privacy and safety online. We provide advice to minimize vulnerability to a privacy breach, with a focus on areas unique to psychiatrists and psychiatric practice. We review the literature on physician safety online and offer guidance to get started.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Computer Security / standards*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians*
  • Privacy*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Security Measures / standards*
  • Social Media / standards
  • Telemedicine