Where are the doctors on LinkedIn? If you spend any time there, you’ll find that we are few and far between. Sure, there are the entrepreneurs, the physician executives, and the social wonks, but not many practicing physicians. Why not?
1. Physicians are hyperlocal. Most MDs live and work in relatively small, geographically defined locations. Their success is sustained through word of mouth and the cultivation of a limited number of personal relationships. The average practicing physician has no need to sell himself beyond his local market. The depth of their bio is irrelevant to their local success.
2. Physicians are static. Once established, physicians aren’t likely to pick up and move as other professionals might need to do. Many physicians spend their careers in a couple of locations. Hustling for the next level isn’t how doctors think.
3. Physicians are relatively similar in their skill sets (but not in their skill). For the most part, what a pediatrician does in The Woodlands, Texas, is pretty close to what a pediatrician does in Seattle. Sure some do circumcisions, some don’t. A little extra training in this or that perhaps. But by and large, the job and its training is predictable. Seeing that a physician has 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency under his or her belt isn’t likely to change anything. And for the average hospital or practice hiring, being Harvard-trained doesn’t necessarily confer an advantage.
4. Patients don’t care. I’ve yet to treat a child who’s parent made a decision to visit me based on the merits of my CV. Patient decisions regarding providers are driven by word of mouth/Web and individual references, not the appearance of a resume or the fluency of a bio. I can hear the echos of the e-patients now suggesting that knowledge is power. Sure, and having a consistent record of a physicians training and background might have some value. But all this information was widely available well before LinkedIn was ever popularized.
While LinkedIn is effective at helping you define and position yourself in a noisy world, the average physician in middle America doesn’t need the definition that LinkedIn provides. What do you think?
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*