Maintaining professionalism on Facebook — 5 key notes on physicians' personal social media accounts

Social media can benefit physicians and medical professionals who use it to accrue new patients or maintain relationships with current patients. However, a recent study found some physicians exhibit "unprofessional" social media practices, according to UPI.

The study polled recently graduated urologists. Approximately 75 percent of participants had publicly identifiable Facebook profiles.

Here are five key notes:

1. Forty percent had unprofessional or "potentially objectionable" content on their profiles.

2. Some profiles featured profanity while others violated medical ethics and contained information about a patient's health.

3. Kevin Koo, MD, lead researcher, said physicians play an important role in ensuring the patient-provider relationship remains intact and in upholding patient confidentiality standards.

4. American Medical Association 2010 guidelines recommend physicians set "appropriate professional boundaries" with patients over social media.

5. A different study found 92 percent of U.S. state medical boards conducted online professionalism violation investigations. Patients or their family members reported most of the violations, according to UPI.

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