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Online Misconduct from Physicians


The internet is full of landmines for physicians who aren't careful. Whether intentional or not, misconduct could mean the end of a career.

Journal of the American Medical Association

When the anonymity of the internet isn’t bringing out the worst in people, it’s making us careless. The space is casual, fun and full of landmines for doctors if they aren’t careful. A survey in the revealed that some doctors are risking their careers with their behavior.


Whether professional violations were committed intentionally or accidentally, physicians are facing new scrutiny over their online lives. According to there is medical misconduct that both physicians and patients need to be aware of online.


“Just about everyone now has heard of someone they know who’s done something online that they wish they hadn’t done. I think the message is that medical professionals are responsible for what they put online — not only responsible for the information, but accountable,” lead letter author Dr. Ryan Greysen, an assistant professor in the division of hospital medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told .

The survey went out to 68 medical boards and 92% said at least one online violation of professionalism had been reported. Sexual misconduct was the most common problem (69%), followed by doctors using the internet for inappropriate practice (63%) and doctors misrepresenting their credentials (60%).

More than half of respondents said that online misconduct lead to serious disciplinary measures. In these cases the physician’s license was restricted, suspended or revoked. However, a quarter reported at least one instance in which no action was taken.


“I think the big picture about where we’re going with social media is getting through to medical students and deans of med schools, and medical boards,” Greysen told . “We’re trying to sketch out the harms of this technology.”

Read more:

Don’t Cross the Line with Social Media

Your Online Physician Portrait

Social Media Benefits (and Potential Problems)

Ways to Engage Your Patients

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