March 15, 2014

The impact of social media on medical professionalism: a systematic qualitative review of challenges and opportunities.

BACKGROUND: The rising impact of social media on the private and working lives of health care professionals has made researchers and health care institutions study and rethink the concept and content of medical professionalism in the digital age. In the last decade, several specific policies, original research studies, and comments have been published on the responsible use of social media by health care professionals.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic qualitative review is to present this full spectrum of social media-related challenges and opportunities.

METHODS: We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed (restricted to English and German literature published between 2002 and 2011) for papers that address social media-related challenges and opportunities for medical professionalism. To operationalize "medical professionalism", we refer to the 10 commitments presented in the physicians' charter "Medical professionalism in the new millennium" published by the ABIM Foundation. We applied qualitative text analysis to categorize the spectrum of social media-related challenges and opportunities for medical professionalism.
 
RESULTS: All references together mentioned a spectrum of 23 broad and 12 further-specified, narrow categories for social media-related opportunities (n=10) and challenges (n=13)

CONCLUSIONS: This review builds a unique source of information that can inform further research and policy development in this regard.



J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e184