When researchers searched Facebook for the public accounts of all urologists who graduated from US residency programs in 2015, they found that a substantial proportion of these accounts contained self-authored unprofessional content based on the professionalism guidelines of three physicians’ organizations.
Of 281 urologists, 201 (72 percent) had publicly-identifiable Facebook profiles. Of these, 80 profiles (40 percent) included unprofessional or potentially-objectionable content, including 27 profiles (13 percent) with explicitly unprofessional behavior, such as depictions of intoxication, uncensored profanity, unlawful behavior, and confidential patient information. When unprofessional content was found, the content was self-authored in 82 percent of categories.
Among 85 graduates (42 percent) who self-identified as a urologist on Facebook, nearly half of these accounts contained concerning content. No differences in unprofessional content were found between men and women or MD and DO degree-holders.
“As a new generation of social media-savvy physicians graduates from residency and enters practice, these findings raise concern about their professional behavior, online and offline,” says Dr. Kevin Koo, lead author of the BJU International study.