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Are Doctors Afraid Of Social Media?

We sometimes forget that public transparency can be scary. I’ve found this particularly true for doctors. And they tell me so. This tweet from MD Anderson’s Dr. Garcia-Manero hints that the daily digital repartee that I take for granted isn’t so easy for the newbie:

And this comment came in today from a rheumatologist, Dr. Irwin Lim of BJC Health. It illustrates nicely the hesitancy physicians sometimes feel:

Our clinic’s business manager was pushing me to blog as a means to improve the profile of our group musculoskeletal clinic. I found myself quite afraid of this, as I had not previously participated in social media. I was also wary that I could not control patient comments. Eventually, I tiptoed into LinkedIn. I then started reading blogs and came across yours. Your posts have been very useful and have improved my resolve. A few days ago, I posted my first blog, and have since written a total of 6. It’s been quite enjoyable so far. The social media consultant engaged by the clinic wants me to now create content for YouTube. Some fear has returned, but I’ll hopefully be able to get over this, too.

Is fear specific to doctors? No, but I think the issues are magnified with medical professionals. Image, social voice/personality, permanency, and fear of legal repercussions are among concerns that are disproportionately felt by doctors. So can we mitigate this fear in any way and break the barriers to entry for doctors? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Social Media For Doctors: The Pros And Cons

The pros and cons of social media for physicians are nicely reviewed by a number of prominent medbloggers (including yours truly) by Bonnie Ellerin in her recent white paper (pdf). An excerpt:

There is a profound change sweeping the world of medicine. Technology is the driver, but it has nothing to do with a new drug, device or procedure. Rather it is about the change in physician behavior and mindset that technology — the Internet more specifically — has unleashed. Today, physicians of all ages and specialties are online, whether via laptop, desktop, or mobile.

With physicians’ acceptance of technology has come a new type of openness among a small but growing number. In the past, the only doctors who were likely to air views publicly were medical journalists. But, today, there are physicians who blog, tweet, email with patients, post videos, even check-in on Foursquare. If you have any doubt, just look at the “Favorite Blogs” section of a physician blogger or scan the list of followers/following of any doctor on Twitter, and you’ll get a sense of how many of them are getting social. Far more than you thought.

Read more HERE.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

h/t: @hjlucks on Twitter via Smartblog On Social Media.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Why More Doctors Don’t Blog

I recently got into a discussion with a couple friends about doctors and blogging. Why don’t we see more doctors out there? Of the hundreds of thousands of doctors, I’d expect more to be taking a voice. Even during the U.S. healthcare reform debate — crickets.

Of course there are doctors who blog, but the numbers are slim. What’s behind it?

Passion. Pushing great content requires a passionate interest in changing ideas and making a difference. There’s malaise in medicine right now. Margins are slim. Physicians are losing control of what’s happening around them. The fire in the belly that drove so many doctors to choose medicine has given way to a preoccupation with survival.

Late adopters. Most doctors think a blog is something that deviant teens do on a cellphone. There’s endemic ignorance in the medical community surrounding social technology. Can we teach ‘em? Maybe. But I think this is a generational issue that will work itself out with time. The use of social technology to facilitate dialog between doctor and patient will evolve over the next several years as: 1) technology evolves and 2) digital communication becomes a standard. Keep in mind that many of us still work with doctors who grew up using rotary phones. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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