Half of new urologists have unprofessional content on Facebook

Facebook is a place for people to post about their daily lives—but for doctors, posts can potentially objectionable content that can be unsettling for patients. A recent study, published in BJU International, analyzing Facebook content of urologists found nearly half of the profiles contained unprofessional content.

The study searched the social media outlet for public accounts of urologists who graduated from American residency programs in 2015. Using the professionalism guidelines from the American Urological Association, the American Medical Association and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the researchers were able to classify public posts as unprofessional or potentially objectionable.

Of 281 urologists, 201 had public Facebook profiles. Of these profiles, 40 percent contained unprofessional or potentially objectionable content, and 13 percent of these profiles contained expletive unprofessional content such as intoxication, uncensored profanity, unlawful behavior and confidential patient information. The profile user posted the unprofessional content in 82 percent of cases.

"As a new generation of social media-savvy physician’s graduates from residency and enters practice, these findings raise concern about their professional behavior, online and offline," said Kevin Koo, MD, lead author of the study. “Greater awareness of trainees’ online identities is needed.”