A new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine adds some empirical data to this issue. In a survey of medical students, residents, and practicing physicians:
- 15% of practicing physicians had visited the online profile of a patient or family member
- 28% of practicing physicians were aware of a patient or family member visiting their personal site
- 35% of practicing physicians had received a "friend" request from a patient or family member
- 5% of practicing physicians had requested to be a "friend" with a patient or family member
- 22% of all respondents felt it was ethically acceptable for physicians to visit the online profiles of patients within personal online social networking sites.
Where should the boundaries be between professional and private lives of clinicians and their patients? What are your experiences? What are our obligations for professionalism in online social networks?
by: Alex Smith