Is It COVID Misinformation? Clinicians Under Scrutiny for Spreading COVID Misinformation

David BeardMedical News, Personal Education

COVID Misinformation

Is It COVID Misinformation?

Clinicians who spread COVID misinformation are coming under increased scrutiny by medical boards

The news this week is filled with articles about the FSMB, specialty society, AMA, and ABMS organizational statements about certification and licensure for physicians "spreading misinformation."

We've put together the latest news on the subject...

There's the ground-up personalization article from NPR, which starts with an individual story, and broadens to include other physicians they found questionable:

COVID Misinformation Pushed By Some Doctors Without Penalty : Shots - Health News : NPR

There's the just-the-facts article on action against doctors who spread COVID-19 misinformation, which begins with the statements from various organizations, and provides some examples and commentary:

3 Medical Boards Support Action Against Doctors Who Spread COVID-19 Misinformation

We have the vague ABMS press release, which affirms that it's in line with the AMA and others, and physicians shouldn't do that, but falls short of any concrete action:

American Board of Medical Specialties Supports Role of Medical Professionals In Preventing COVID-19 Misinformation

And the ABEM statement from August 26, which, if vague about what types of misinformation would elicit a response, was direct in its approach. To its credit, the ABEM has been talking about COVID-19 misinformation in releases since mid-2020. This is just the first sally aimed at its physicians.

ABEM Statement about ABEM-Certified Physicians Providing Misleading and Inaccurate Information to the Public

No group seems to be actively defining what exactly constitutes 'disinformation', 'misinformation' or discussion among peers. The example thresholds are all physicians talking to groups of laypeople, rather than individual patients. Right now it looks like "don't embarrass us in public".

However, license-verified sites like Doximity have been getting called out:

The Social Network for Doctors is Full of Vaccine Disinformation

Clinicians who actively spread COVID misinformation should beware as they will likely be held accountable.

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