Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Healthy distance for physicians online: Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media

Date:
April 18, 2011
Source:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Summary:
With ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook and Twitter blurring private and professional lines, there is an increasing need for physicians to create a healthy distance between their work and home online identities, two physicians assert.

With ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook and Twitter blurring private and professional lines, there is an increasing need for physicians to create a healthy distance between their work and home online identities, two Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center physicians assert.

Related Articles


Writing for the Annals of Internal Medicine's April 19 Ideas and Opinions section, physicians Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA and Bradley H. Crotty, MD call attention to the challenges created by the expanded use of Internet tools by physicians to reach patients at work, while simultaneously using the same tools to keep in touch with friends and family in their personal lives.

"Unlike previous advances in communication, such as the telephone and e-mail, the inherent openness of social media and self publication, combined with improved online searching capabilities, can complicate the separation of professional and private digital personae," they write.

"This online presence presents a host of challenges for physicians including the demand to "proactively review and maintain their digital lives," and also the need to create boundaries that both protect the doctor-patient relationship and help prevent awkward moments such as fielding a friend request from a patient.

"We're not suggesting that physicians should be prohibited from using social media sites. Doctors just need to be savvy regarding the content and tone of what they post online. People share information openly using social media, but posts intended for one audience may be embarrassing or inappropriate if seen by another," said Mostaghimi.

Physicians should assume that all posted materials are public and therefore take care to protect themselves and patient privacy. A 2010 study by the Mostaghimi and Crotty published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that over 30 percent of physicians have some type of personal information on the Internet. The authors also cite research showing that 17 percent of physician blogs contain information that could reveal the identity of the patient or the doctor. They suggest that, "social networks may be considered the new millennium's elevator: a public forum where you have little to no control over who hears what you say, even if the material is not intended for the public."

Mostaghimi and Crotty recommend that institutions develop standards and educational materials to guide physicians and that physicians be both knowledgeable about social media and protective of their online presence. They advise physicians to regularly perform "electronic self-audits" of their online identity and create "dual citizenship" with a distinct professional profile intended to come up early on a search engine query.

The authors go on to discourage the use of sites like Facebook and Twitter for direct communication with patients since the information is controlled by the social media companies. These types of sites, they say, should be reserved for general announcements like flu vaccination.

Mostaghimi and Crotty caution that in spite of these measures, personal and professional lines will continue to be blurred, but proactive steps can help physicians maintain professionalism throughout this modern information age.

"Physicians are just beginning to understand the opportunities and challenges of social media. At this juncture, physicians should be aware of their online personae and behavior, and consider that they may have an impact on their relationship with patients," said Crotty.

Crotty and Mostaghimi are physicians in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The article was supported by an Institutional National Research Service Award and the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care. There are no reported conflicts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Healthy distance for physicians online: Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418171313.htm>.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2011, April 18). Healthy distance for physicians online: Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418171313.htm
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Healthy distance for physicians online: Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418171313.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins