Working professionals of all kinds are turning to social media these days to promote their businesses and practices—including physicians. But for one plastic surgeon in Columbus, OH, her broad social media presence has apparently played a role in disciplinary action against her license. Katherine Roxanne Grawe (known as "Dr. Roxy" or "ROXY Plastic Surgery" on TikTok and other social platforms) has grown her following to more than 844,000 on TikTok alone. According to the Columbus Navigator, Grawe recently had her license suspended by the State Medical Board of Ohio over three allegations of inappropriate patient care.
The trouble for Grawe began about four years ago when the Board issued her a warning regarding patient privacy when posting photos and videos to social media—to which she responded by updating her patient consent form. Three years later, the Board sent another letter expressing more specific concerns about her social media ethics and "avoidable complications" and asking her to take remedial courses to rectify the situation—to which Dr. Grawe complied. Over this time frame, she continued posting photos and videos on social media, including, among other things, live streams of procedures and answering viewer questions while surgeries were in process.
Ultimately, the Board's decision to suspend Dr. Grawe's license came in response to allegations of the inappropriate or negligent care of three patients between 2020-2022. She will have the opportunity to appear at a Board hearing to defend her actions before they determine whether to make her suspension permanent.
The Question of Patient Privacy and Social Media
Dr. Grawe's case raises some important issues regarding the extent to which licensed physicians and other healthcare professionals should use social media to promote their practices. The Board's response, in particular, raises the following important questions:
- How much is "too much" for a physician to share on social media?
- Should patient procedures be shown on social media, even if it's educational and even if the patient consents?
- Does a patient consent form mean a patient's rights aren't still being violated?
- And perhaps most importantly: Does social media introduce unnecessary risks for the patient? (In other words, could streaming a procedure add a variable that distracts the doctor from providing safe care?)
Ultimately, the Board's decision, in this case, serves as a warning to other physicians and healthcare professionals about the importance of taking patient privacy seriously when engaging with social media. Even if physicians take all necessary steps to ensure HIPAA compliance, they should be aware that their actions may still be subject to disciplinary action—including potential suspension or revocation of their license.
These are issues that will continue to be explored in the healthcare industry, and Grawe's case is likely to play an important role in how physicians navigate social media platforms for the foreseeable future.
If you are a healthcare professional practicing in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or New York, you need experienced legal help to protect your license if your state board launches an investigation against you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped many professionals navigate the tricky waters of license investigations, and he will work to obtain the best possible outcome for you. For more information, contact the Lento Law Firm today.
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