Online physicians, offline patients: Professional identity and ethics in social media use

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the nature, gravity, and consequences of physician use of social media use surpass professional identity, by bringing to attention the nuanced, potential conflicts between patient-physician interests in current educational policies. Design/methodology/approach: Analyzing a case study of a physician publicly posting and commenting on many of his patients’ information, conversations, and medical conditions on social media. Findings: Physician social media use carries many issues that concern ethics and the patient, rather than professional identity and the physician. In response, two sets of ethical standards are developed: one that deals with what constitutes impermissible behaviors online, and another that stipulates appropriate punishments for violations of these codes. Originality/value: Most medical education policies and the literature have emphasized professional identity- formation with regards to physician use of social media, rather than ethics. Furthermore, no study exists that presents a clear, concrete, insider perspective at physicians’ improper use of social media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-483
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Health services
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Medical care
  • Personal health
  • Professional ethics
  • Social policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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