Three percent of the tweets composed by self-identified medical practitioners are unprofessional and may violate privacy laws, a recent study conducted by a professor at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences found.
Types of unprofessional behavior identified in the tweets included profanity, sexually explicit material, discriminatory statements, potential patient privacy violations and possible conflicts of interest.
“I think it [the study] shows the landscape of physicians’ use of Twitter right now, something that was previously unknown,” Dr. Katherine Chretien, an associate professor of medicine at GW and one of the lead authors of the study, said in an e-mail.
The study suggests a growing need for regulation – recommending further guidelines be established to monitor social media sites.
“Accountability for health professionals, in addition to greater education and guidelines, may be needed to maximize potential societal and professional benefit through engagement with social media,” the study reads.
Source: GW Hatchet (George Washington University)