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Should doctors be Facebook 'friends' with patients?

The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2011

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. 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.