Physicians’ Bad Behavior on Twitter is Unsurprising

Twitter Doctor

A study by George Washington University’s School of Medicine was just published showing that physicians behave pretty inappropriately on Twitter.  From a TG Daily article on the study (“Physicians acting unprofessionally on Twitter, says report”):

“This behavior included potential patient privacy violations, as well as profanity, sexually explicit material or discriminatory statements. A further one percent of the tweets were labeled ‘other unprofessional’, and included unsupported claims about a product they were selling on their website or repeated promotions of specific health products.”

This is completely unsurprising.  You know why?

The medical establishment conducts itself poorly.  Like all social media, Twitter is merely a window into how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis.

Doctor’s offices and hospitals are renowned for their poor customer service.  A significant percentage of physicians have poor interpersonal communication skills (in spite of the fact that it’s rated as something rated very important by patients).  The profit motive tends to prioritize undesirable health outcomes by promoting bad practices (like the unethical relationship between pharmaceutical companies and doctors).  Medicine also has a long-standing white, patriarchal structure that discriminates against minorities and women – so the discrimination too should be unsurprising.

In this new era of radical transparency, the only way to stop sordid truths from coming to light is to address them at their source.

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