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, New Hampshire, and colleagues queried 281 doctors who graduated from U.S. urology residency programs in 2015. The investigators found that 72 percent 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.”
Koo K, Ficko Z, Gormley EA. Unprofessional content on Facebook accounts of US urology residency graduates [published online April 9, 2017]. BJUI. doi:10.1111/bju.13846.