Young Docs May Be Posting 'Unprofessional Content' to Social Media, Says Study

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Investigators find many examples of unprofessional, 'potentially objectionable' behavior online
Investigators find many examples of unprofessional, 'potentially objectionable' behavior online

HealthDay News — Young doctors often have unprofessional or offensive content on their Facebook profiles, according to a study published online April 9 in BJU International.

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

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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."

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