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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 Networks For Doctors: One Place At A Time

I suspect that in the next couple of years we’ll see the emergence of a viable social network for physicians. It hasn’t happened yet, but I suspect that we’re getting close. Physicians are increasingly dabbling in mainstream social sites.

But maybe that’s a problem. After all, a doctor can only hang in so many places. If you have “The Facebook for Doctors,” do you expect us to spend our time there instead of on Facebook itself? Maybe we will, and maybe we won’t.

Beyond the obvious requirement of a network to deliver value, I think the rate-limiting factor is old-fashioned bandwidth. You can only be one place at a time. If I spend my days on Twitter, I’m not likely to spend my days on said doctor’s network. I will go there for particular things and to talk to certain people about specific issues, but like most doctors I’m not sure I can tell you exactly what I want. I’ll know it when I see it. (Actually I do, but I’m keeping it tip-top secret.) Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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*

The Top 5 Doctors On Twitter

I got the honour to be included in the list of the top 5 [Twitter] doctors in medicine published by The Independent. The list was based on Twitterdoctors.net which uses the Klout algorithm for determining the influence of tweeting doctors:

TwitterDoctors.net updates hourly the influence of doctors tweeting based on their activity, RTs (retweets) and followers. The site began its list at the end of July and boasts “1287 doctors with more joining every day” from around the globe including Australia, Belgium, India, UK, Jamaica, Japan, Colombia and the USA.

On September 7, the top five most influential doctors are:

1. @DRoftheVaJayJay

2. @drdrew

3. @brontyman

4. @Berci

5. @hrana

It doesn’t mean that much, but it’s good to know people like the content I share day by day.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Latest Interviews

Caring For Winter Olympians In Sochi: An Interview With Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim

I am a huge fan of the winter Olympics partly because I grew up in Canada where most kids can ski and skate before they can run and partly because I used to participate in Downhill ski racing. Now that I m a rehab physician with a reconstructed knee I…

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How Do Hospital Executives Feel About Locum Tenens Agencies And Traveling Physicians?

I recently wrote about my experiences as a traveling physician and how to navigate locum tenens work. Today I want to talk about the client in this case hospital side of the equation. I ve had the chance to speak with several executives some were physicians themselves about the overall…

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Latest Book Reviews

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…

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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…

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Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

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