Do you know what your physicians are saying online? According to a study published in the March 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, 92% of state medical boards reported inappropriate online behavior by physicians.
The most common violations were inappropriate patient communication (69%), such as sexual misconduct, and the use of the Internet for inappropriate practice (63%), such as prescribing without a clinical relationship. Many of these online violations resulted in serious disciplinary actions, including license restriction, suspension or revocation.
Although professional organizations, such as the AMA have developed social media standards, the authors of the study (S. Ryan Greysen, MD, MHS, MA; Katherine C. Chretien, MD; Terry Kind, MD, MPH; Aaron Young, PhD; and Cary P. Gross, MD, MPH) noted that licensing authorities lack formal guidelines. They advocate for regulators and physicians to address online practices, and conclude, “our findings highlight the need to promote physician understanding and self monitoring of online professionalism and to create consensus-driven, broadly disseminated principles to guide physicians toward high-integrity interactions online. Read more