Young Doctors Urged to Be Mindful of Social Media Behaviors

Investigators found many examples of unprofessional and  'potentially objectionable' behavior online.
Investigators found many examples of unprofessional and 'potentially objectionable' behavior online.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in BJU International, young doctors often have unprofessional or offensive content on their Facebook profiles.

Kevin Koo, MD, PhD, a urology resident at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, and colleagues queried 281 doctors who graduated from US urology residency programs in 2015. 

The investigators found that 72% had a publicly identifiable Facebook profile. Next, the researchers looked for content deemed unprofessional or at least potentially offensive.

The team found such content in 40% of the profiles. Unprofessional content included images or references to drunkenness, drug use, or unlawful behavior. It also included posts that divulged protected patient information. 

One post showed X-rays where a patient's name was visible; others gave enough details that the patient could be identified -- like describing complications that happened during surgery on a specific date.

"The majority of recent residency graduates had publicly accessible Facebook profiles, and a substantial proportion contained self-authored unprofessional content," the authors write. "Greater awareness of trainees' online identities is needed."

Reference

Koo K, Ficko Z and Gormley EA. "Unprofessional Content On Facebook Accounts Of US Urology Residency Graduates." BJU International. 2017. doi: 10.1111/bju.13846 [Epub ahead of print]

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