Young docs take casual attitude toward professional social media use

Small white hand pointing to the word 'Facebook'

The role of social media use among healthcare professionals is a precarious one, but a majority of younger physicians are taking a casual approach to the tools, according to a Journal of Medical Internet Research report.

Of these “digital natives,” as the report’s authors call them, more than 50 percent say they are “almost always online,” and 80 percent say they “don’t worry at all” or “worry a little” about internet privacy.

For the small study, 70 physicians were asked about social media use. More than 50 percent feel it would be OK to communication with a colleague on social media.

“Millennial healthcare providers appear to have a relaxed stance toward interprofessional digital networking and may not recognize the potential ramifications of blurring their identities online,” the researchers write.

They add that there should be more education on use of social media in medical school, as well as during the move into clinical practice.

Areas of education to focus on, the report notes, include online privacy, digital professionalism, patient information privacy and impact of policies already in place.

Such education, the authors add, is “associated with an improved performance on case-based questions regarding online professionalism. This suggests a correlation between an instruction about online professionalism and more cautious online behavior.”

To learn more:
- here's the report