Towbin and Saad Ranginwala, MD, a radiology resident who helps manage the department’s Instagram and Figure 1 accounts, also made it a policy to refrain from sharing high-profile cases that could potentially be traced back to the patient.
“We do everything we can to protect patient privacy,” says Towbin, who is also the Neil D. Johnson Chair of Radiology Informatics. “We don’t give complete patient histories or ages, and we avoid providing specific information about patient outcomes. Instead, we focus on the disease or disease process.”
Towbin and Ranginwala shared their Instagram plan with the hospital’s legal department, which gave its approval. In particular, the legal department agreed that as long as the radiologists redacted all identifying patient information, they did not need to obtain patient consent to post cases on Instagram, Towbin says.
“The rationale was that sharing cases on Instagram was similar to a case report or educational poster at a meeting like RSNA or even a book chapter, where we include information and have images but do not identify patients,” he explains. “Really, the only difference is the audience and the method of sharing.”