Family Physicians’ Sharing of Personal Information on Facebook

Title: Family Physicians’ Sharing of Personal Information on Facebook
Authors: Premji, Kamila
Deonandan, Raywat
Nwosu, Andrea
Date: 2014
Abstract: Aims: Online social networks, such as Facebook, are growing in popularity amongst physicians, and represent a potential avenue for the compromising of their privacy and professional boundaries. We sought to determine the extent to which family doctors are sharing personal information on Facebook. Study Design:Observational. Place and Duration of Study:Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Data was collected between May and August of 2012. Methodology:From the website of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, all 1000 family physicians active in the Ottawa region were identified. A database was then created of subjects’ publicly shared information (i.e., information available to the general public) for those with accessible profiles on Facebook. Chi square and t-tests were performed to explore demographic patterns for those with viewable profiles; binary logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with Facebook visibility. Results:While only 10.2% of family physicians had publiclyviewable profiles, 81.4% of those featured a visible profile photo; 91.2% couldbe messaged directly by any member of the public; a majority shared limited personal information, including recent online activities and place of education; 24% shared theirplace of work; 15% had visible lists of family members; and 14% disclosed their relationship status. From logistic regression, there were no significant factors associated with whether a physician was viewable on Facebook. Conclusion:While a minority of physicians have a publicly accessible Facebook profile, those that do are sharing personal information that may expose them to unwanted intrusions into their personal lives and unexpected patient interactions outside of the office. Physicians should be aware of options for making their online information less publicly accessible.
CollectionSciences de la santé - Publications // Health Sciences - Publications
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