Physicians should consider social media as public space

August 14, 2013
Physicians should consider social media as public space
A new approach is needed for resolving the physician online identity crisis, according to a viewpoint piece published in the Aug. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(HealthDay)—A new approach is needed for resolving the physician online identity crisis, according to a viewpoint piece published in the Aug. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Noting that a common theme among recommendations for physician use of social media suggests separating professional and personal identities, Matthew DeCamp, M.D., Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues discuss the feasibility of this approach and suggest an alternative approach.

According to the authors, it is operationally impossible to separate professional and personal content; furthermore, professional identity constitutes and is constituted by . Many active physician users of social media value the intentional blurring of boundaries. Separation of professional and personal identities online may be harmful, with harms including the psychological or physical burden of trying to maintain two identities. In addition, depersonalized online interaction may be less effective and may reduce trust. Whilst complete separation of identities is problematic, the authors suggest recognizing that social media exists in a . Considering whether something is appropriate for a physician to post on a public space will help define the boundaries of social media use. This approach fits with the existing general professionalism curricula at medical schools, which encourage students to be aware of their professional identity in public and private spaces.

"Resolving the supposed online identity crisis therefore requires explicitly incorporating social media into and professionalism curricula," the authors write. "Absent this approach, the professional transgressions motivating guidelines will persist and the potential benefits of social media will remain unrealized."

Explore further: Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media

More information: Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Researchers recommend 'dual citizenship' on social media

April 18, 2011

With ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook and Twitter blurring private and professional lines, there is an increasing need for physicians to create a healthy distance between their work and home online identities, ...

One in four physicians uses social media daily

December 10, 2012

A new survey shows that about one in four physicians uses social media daily or multiple times a day to scan or explore medical information, and 14 percent use social media each day to contribute new information, according ...

Recommended for you

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.