It has been said that a person alive in the 1700’s processed as much information in a lifetime as the New York Times publishes in one Sunday Edition. One. If we stop to consider how much information we are exposed to daily, that shouldn’t really shock us all that much.
With the wealth of information available, it is difficult to sort through it all and separate the important from the merely interesting. Physicians (and health care providers in general) have a constant need to stay abreast of the latest information related to their areas of practice. This is where physician blogs can come in very handy.
For our purposes, we will not include any publications that are primarily policy or politically driven. As well, we do not intend for you to consider this an exhaustive list; in fact, inclusion or omission of any blogs with which you may be familiar is no reflection of our opinion about them. We are simply trying to introduce 5 of the best physician blogs in hopes of providing you with additional tools to help you achieve greater professional success and/or sense of personal fulfillment.
mommd.com – Connecting women in medicine
Clearly targeting a specific demographic, this site caters to women in medicine with blogs “which cover such topics as health, medical school applications, pediatrician moms, physician success, childcare and many other thoughts for women in medicine.” Don’t let the blog name fool you into thinking it just addresses “staying fit while practicing” type of fluff, however. For instance, a title of a recent blog post was: How to Detect and Address the Early Signs of Alcoholism in Your Patients.
Physicians Practice – Your Practice Your Way
The website is a clearinghouse of information for medical professionals with resources for CME, conferences, employment, patient confidentiality and salary survey results, among other things. It is also a great source of physician blogs. Recent titles posted on the site include: Keeping Medical Staff Happy (David J. Norris, MD), In Medicine, Honest is the Best Policy (Jennifer Frank, MD) and Collecting from Payers and Patients is Draining (Leann DiMomenico McAllister).
Freelance MD – The cure for the common physician
Freelance MD promotes itself as a community of physicians that give you more control of your career, income, and lifestyle. And it’s free! Although not updated as frequently as other physician blogs, it maintains a fairly extensive archive of content on a multitude of issues.
KevinMD.com – Social media’s leading physician voice
KevinMD.com describes the website as follows: “KevinMD.com shares the stories and insight of the many who intersect with our health care system, but are rarely heard from.” Thousands of authors contribute to KevinMD.com: front-line primary care doctors, surgeons, specialist physicians, nurses, medical students, policy experts. And of course, patients, who need the medical profession to hear their voices.
More trendy than most physician blogs, the popularity of KevinMD.com remains very high.
33 Charts – Exploring the edges of medicine and technology
This rather eclectic blog site identifies itself as: “a mashup of curated and original stuff that crosses the spaces of digital health, media, communication, technology, patient experience, digital culture, and the humanities.”
The scope of its content is evident in some of the recent posts: Medicines Exponential Future and Past and Disclosure, Doctors and Social Media.
There are, of course, dozens and dozens of physician blogs and one can spend hours researching them. Try the ones above for starters. They should provide you with a solid foundation of information and some interesting stories as well.
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To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Increasingly, the answer is a resounding yes–especially when it comes to physicians.
Yes, nearly a quarter century since the first blog was created by a student at Swarthmore College, the social media platform still matters. Even in a world where hundreds of millions of people follow emerging trends 140 characters at a time, Sally Smith from down the street is considered a reliable source of news and the average attention span of a human is shorter than that of a gold fish.
Blogs matter to physicians because people are reading them. One main reason these people are reading them is to gather information about the their health and the health of their family members. They are also reading them to self-diagnose and they even decide which doctors to see based on certain blog articles.
So, yes, blogs still matter.
But before you rush out and create a WordPress blog for yourself, consider the following five things you need to know about physician blogs:
Know your audience. It’s the first rule of writing and it applies equally to prescriptions, books and, yes, blogs.
Many of the physician blogs are written for current and prospective patients. These blogs are clearly designed to serve a marketing purpose.
But, there are also many physician blogs targeted to fellow physicians. These blogs could also serve a marketing purpose–especially if their authors are implementing a professional referral strategy. However, it’s more likely that they are designed to raise the author’s professional profile, serve the public good or allow the physician blogger to express themselves.
When it comes to topics, physician bloggers write about everything from innovations in health care and changes in health reform to music and what they did with their kids during their last family vacation.
Yes, everything is seems to be fair game.
However, the best-read physician blogs seem to focus on three key areas: policy, research and humor.
Regardless of whether the physician blogs focus on the changing face of the industry, emerging technologies or funny stories from the emergency department, they all share one attribute that keeps readers coming back for more: personal stories.
If you take a look at the most popular physician blogs, you will quickly realize that they all keep it real.
The authors aren’t trying to sell something–at least not overtly. Instead, they tell stories that are interesting, personal and focused on solving some sort of problem. They educate, inform, entertain and engage.
What they don’t do is try to sell. Selling is a surefire way to suck the life out of your blog as well as your readers.
Blogs have created a brave new world for physicians, who now have the ability to make their voices heard in outlets other than medical journals and the mainstream media.
They can share ideas, experiences and advice. They can market, make new professional connections and commiserate.
What they can’t do is compromise their patients’ privacy.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) still applies to information you share on social media.
Whether you want to write to market your practice, raise your profile or vent your frustrations, there is one fact that can’t be denied: physician blogs work.
Just make sure you’re honest, interesting and always protecting your patients’ privacy.
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Many physicians have discovered the joys of blogging – both those who write them and the followers who find them useful to their daily practices. They are a great way to build a healthcare community on a variety of topics – primary care, oncology, parenting, and even life after a medical career. We’ve rounded up just four of our favorite physician blogs that we think you’ll enjoy reading and following. They contain great writing and present interesting points of view sure to spark discussion.
Physician Kevin Pho has one of the most well-liked and respected physician blogs on the Internet today. The popular site, KevinMD, is sponsored by Medpage Today, and his blog entitled “Kevin’s Take” contains opinionated views on everything from antibiotics to establishing an on-line presence. Dubbed “social media’s leading physician voice,” Dr. Pho offers a lively forum for health professionals and patients to express their insights, issues and concerns, including the often taboo subject of physician burnout. All are welcome to share their voice and talk about their own struggles and views.
Mothers in Medicine
Told from the perspective of motherhood, this blog speaks to anyone who struggles with a work-life balance. Mothers in Medicine is a group blog that offers insightful posts on the challenges and rewards of caring for one’s patients and family at the same time. The contributing doctors also respond to medical questions submitted by blog followers seeking advice on diverse topics including taking the pathology boards and motherhood. A similar site, MomMD, boasts a community of over 1 million, with 11,000 plus active members. The goal here is to encourage and support women physicians, residents, medical students and nurses in their careers and everyday lives.
db’s Medical Rants
Dr. Robert Centor is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine who also serves as associate dean for the university’s Huntsville Regional Medical Campus. Passionate followers know that the “db” stands for both Dr. Bob and “da boss.” db’s Medical Rants is a blog that is unafraid to tell it like it is, and the site’s legions of fans appreciate its refreshing take on “quality reporting,” internal medicine, the American healthcare system, and medical education. Dr. Centor believes that patient characteristics make a huge difference in how they should be treated and many of his short essays address this topic. The site is updated several times per week, which ensures the information it contains is new and fresh.
Run by pathologist, editor, author, and speaker Dr. Richard Reece, Medinnovation bills itself as the blog where health reform, medical innovation, and physician practices meet. Dr. Reece strongly believes in the importance of controlling and improving health destinies through innovation. He also covers hot healthcare topics such as HMOs, Medicare Reform, and the Affordable Care Act. Whether they agree with his point of view or not, Dr. Reece is one of the best physician blogs for giving its readers plenty of information and opinion to keep the conversation lively.
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