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Two Docs Who’ve Passed: They Might’ve Been Social Media Giants

This year I learned about the death of two physicians that were pretty important to me.

The first was my pathology teacher, Dr. Guido Majno. In addition to being a tremendously kind and curious person, he and his wife wrote the best textbook I’ve ever read.

The second death was that of my pediatrician growing up, Dr. Thomas Peebles. Funny, although he followed me from birth to high school, my family never knew about his incredible research background. We learned it in the many obituaries.

It’s worth reflecting on their accomplishments and the manner in which they conducted their lives and practice — especially in this era, when doctors are encouraged to develop their social media presence and be proactive about online reviews.

Would they have used these new tools? Would they even have needed them? Would they have found the idea of trading links to medical stories on Twitter to be interesting? Stimulating? Or maybe distressing or distasteful?

I never thought to ask them.

*This blog post was originally published at Blogborygmi*

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*

Tweets From Doc Gurley In Haiti

She’s tweeting her medical mission in Haiti. So tragic are the unmet medical needs of these people. From Doc Gurley:

Saw an alone 9-month-pregnant 19 yr old. No birth kit, no string for the cord, no plan for who would be with her. Gave supplies+discussed how to ask helper to wash hands. Nothing sharp&clean for cord so gave scalpel. Acted out birth, w/handwashing.

Also saw woman with overwhelming postpartum uterus infection. Someone used hands at delivery to pull out pieces of placenta.

Saw 14yrold girl w/months of excruciating pain, mass in her lower belly, wasting. Ruptured appy? Tumor? Left her w/ narcotics, antibiotics.

Also, women do not have menstrual protection supplies:

I’ve been asked, if there are no pads, what do women use? In the cases I saw, one used a page of a magazine & another a dinner napkin.

God bless you, Doc Gurley, and the members of your team for all you’re doing. What can we do to help?

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

Tweetchats: Are They Good For Doctors?

[Recently] some of us participated in the flagship physician Tweetchat (MDChat). Or better, I tried to participate between finishing up some calls and choking down a bean burrito.

When the idea was initially proposed to me I committed only to supporting its initiation with the occasional role of host. I’m simply overcommitted, but wanted to support Phil Baumann and those who were willing to try to break new ground. So I lurked, chewed, and pondered.

Doctors or not, everyone knows I’ve been a pretty lukewarm proponent of the tweetchat. I think they’re noisy, difficult to follow, and too abbreviated for constructive dialog. As early adopters I think we tend to put the novelty of the medium above its practicality.

With that said, chats can be fun. It’s a situation where I feel comfortable while at once restless. Kind of like at a medical staff meeting where the agenda doesn’t hold me quite as much as just being among my friends.

At the end of the day I might agree with Dr. Anonymous that the average physician new to social media might not find a twitter chat as the best way to spend a precious hour. For me that hour represents the better part of a blog post which, over the course of a month, will influence hundreds of readers and live forever.

But I suspect that there will always be those among us looking for companionship over content. And it’s hard to argue with that.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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