Development and validation of self-assessment instrument to measure the digital professionalism of healthcare professionals using social media.

Publication date: Mar 06, 2024

The use of social media across the globe has risen incrementally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these sites undeniably provided new avenues for professional networking but also led to a surge in cases of online misconduct. Professionalism instruments and scales do not assess the digital attitude and behaviour of healthcare professionals (HCPs). The purpose of this study was to identify the domains and items of digital professionalism related to social media use and to validate a self-assessment instrument to assess the digital professionalism of HCPs using social media. An instrument development multiphase mixed method study (exploratory sequential) was conducted in two phases: item development and qualitative content validation followed by validation of the instrument. Feedback was taken from 15 experts for qualitative content validation in phase 1. In phase 2, content validity was established through three rounds of modified Delphi. Validity evidence was collected for the content (content validity index), response process (cognitive interviews), internal structure (confirmatory factor analysis), and internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha). The 48-item preliminary instrument was reduced to a 28-item instrument with eight domains: self-anonymity, privacy settings, maintenance of boundaries and confidentiality, conflict of interest, accountability, respect for colleagues, and ethics. The content validity index of the scale was 0. 91. The reliability and construct validity of the instrument was established by responses from 500 healthcare professionals from multiple hospitals. Confirmatory factor analysis showed a model with a goodness-of-fit index of 0. 86, root mean square error of approximation of 0. 06, and observed normed χ of 2. 7. The internal consistency through Cronbach’s alpha α was 0. 96. The digital professionalism self-assessment instrument (DP-SAI) has an appropriate level of content and measures the construct reliably. It can be used by medical doctors, dental clinicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and clinical pharmacists to self-assess and reflect on their social media practices. This will help to address these issues to enhance the quality of online communication through various social media platforms.

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Concepts Keywords
Colleagues Digital professionalism
Covid Healthcare professionals
Hospitals Reliability
Pandemic Social media
Risen Validity


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease IDO process
disease IDO quality
pathway REACTOME Reproduction
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease VO population
disease VO effective
drug DRUGBANK Isoxaflutole
disease VO document
drug DRUGBANK Etodolac
drug DRUGBANK Ilex paraguariensis leaf
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Methionine
drug DRUGBANK Serine
disease VO Thing
disease VO viability
disease IDO country
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
drug DRUGBANK L-Tyrosine
drug DRUGBANK Honey
drug DRUGBANK Indoleacetic acid
drug DRUGBANK Silver
drug DRUGBANK Abacavir

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