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%) had publicly-identifiable Facebook profiles. Of these, 80 profiles (40%) included unprofessional or potentially-objectionable content, including 27 profiles (13%) 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% of categories.
Among 85 graduates (42%) 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," said Dr. Kevin Koo, lead author of the BJU International study.