TTaPP: Together Take a Pause and Ponder: A Critical Thinking Tool for Exploring the Public/Private Lives of Patients


Leslie Kuhnel, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29, no. 2 (Summer): 102-13.


The broad use of social networking and user-generated content has increased the online footprint of many individuals. A generation of healthcare professionals have grown up with online search activities as part of their everyday lives. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have given the public new ways to share intimate details about their public and private lives and the lives of their friends and families. As a result, careproviders have the ability to find out more about their patients with just the tap of a key or the click of a mouse. This type of online searching for patient information is known as patient-targeted googling or PTG.

      This article provides an overview of the emergence of PTG, identifies the potential benefits and possible pitfalls of engaging in PTG, and explores current ethical frameworks that guide decisions about PTG. The article describes the development of a critical thinking tool developed by the Behavioral Health Ethics Committee at CHI Health, that can serve as a best-practice model for other hospitals and health systems. Called TTaPP (Together Take a Pause and Ponder), this tool is designed to help healthcare professionals across settings practice collaborative critical thinking skills as they consider the ethical questions of whether or not to engage in PTG. Finally, this article suggests areas for further study, including ways to prompt collaboration and appropriate documentation by maximizing electronic medical records systems, exploring the effectiveness of the TTaPP tool as a way to promote a culture of collaborative critical thinking practices, and the attitudes of patients and the public regarding PTG.




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