Study advises ‘careful reflection’ before adding doctors as Facebook friends

Laura Donovan Contributor

Should doctors be Facebook “friends” with their patients? Increasingly, professionals are stroking their beards and mulling the ethical ramifications (not to say potential for awkwardness) of such relationships.

Goodbye to posting “Man, I tied one on last night” the morning of the day you’re due to operate on someone. Farewell to blowing off steam about old Mr. XX, whose endless digestive issues drive you nuts: Loose words like that could come back to bite you even worse than accepting a “friend” request from some ex from those long-ago days when you were young and foolish.

To find out how many doctors use the accounts, as well as their thoughts on this issue, French researchers surveyed 405 residents and fellows at Rouen University Hospital. Of the 202 respondents:

Seventy-three percent had a Facebook profile, the vast majority with their own names, photos and birthdates, etc., and a lot of them with their current place of employment also noted; 85% said they would automatically decline a “friend” request from a patient; but 15% would “consider” the request; eight users (6%) had actually received a friend request from a patient — and of those, four had accepted them.

Full story: Facebook and doctors: Take two aspirin and ‘friend’ me in the morning? Study advises’careful reflection’