Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Should Doctors Be Socially Anonymous?

I don’t think doctors should be socially anonymous. We need to be seen. Here’s why going underground isn’t good policy for physicians:

Anonymity makes you say stupid things. When you’re shouting from the crowd it’s easy to talk smack.  Come up to the podium, clear your throat, and say something intelligent. You’re a physician, not a hooligan.

It’s 2010: Anonymity died a long time ago. You think anonymity offers shelter? You’re funny, you are. Anonymity is a myth. You can create a cockamamie pseudonym, but you can’t hide.  And if I don’t find you, the plaintiff attorneys will. They found Flea.

Being a weanie is no excuse. Just as you’re unlikely to consult a lawyer before speaking at a cocktail party, commenting as Dr. You is unlikely to kill you or land you in court. Just a few pointers: Don’t talk about patients, help people out, and be nice. Trust me, I’m a doctor.

We need you, darn it. There are, like, 12 doctors in the free world with regular blogs. And all the rest are either working or peeking from under their desks hopin’ this social stuff all goes the way of the hula hoop. If we all just spoke up, we could change the world. As for me, I’m typing as fast as I can and I’m tired of doing it alone.

Anonymity soils credibility. We need to be out there helping to keep check on the nonsense circulating in the infosphere. I think it was Dr. Val Jones who once said that “the Internet needs lifeguards.” Of course patients can swim. No one needs to be rescued, but there’s nothing wrong with a few strategically placed lifeguards to blow the whistle every now and again (mind you, these aren’t paternalistic lifeguards, but lifeguards seeking a partnership with empowered, engaged swimmers.)

“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet.” In the end, no one trusts a lifeguard in a ski mask. Unless we know who you are, you don’t count. If you’re anonymous, I have to assume you’re actually a disgruntled medical assistant with an axe to grind. Show your face and create a digital footprint that we can all see. Look at me. Look at my blog. Crosscheck me with Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, the quarter-million other ventures I’ve been engaged with. I’m real. Those links are real.

Go and be real so that your voice can be credible. What am I missing here?

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »