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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.

They don’t need the business. Sure there are the tummy tuckers and the lapband docs who are lobbying for customers. But for most primary care doctors, the market is such that more patients doesn’t necessarily add up to a healthier bottom line.

They don’t have a business. Physician practices are folding faster than beach chairs at high tide. Consolidation of medical business will mean that personal and practice branding will take a back seat to hospital and clinic marketing. If it hasn’t happened already, your small town solo practice doctor will be working 9-5 under a hospital or large managed group.

Blogs are so…2000. Communication is moving closer to real time. The revolution that started as Moveable Type has given way to new platforms. Blog entries are becoming shorter and lifestreaming applications like Posterous gaining ground. I see more physicians finding their voice in the fast moving streams of Twitter and Facebook. Maybe these better suit the mindset and lifestyle of today’s doctor.

As the medical profession is redefined and resurrected expect excited, passionate voices to emerge. I’m just not sure that the weblog will be where those voices will live.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

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One Response to “Why More Doctors Don’t Blog”

  1. I’m a private practice, dermatologist, blogger. I own my own practice and work full time, employing another dermatologist, nurses and an increasing number of staff. My practice is full and I haven’t been able to take new patients for years. I’m obviously busy and get plenty of opportunity to talk about dermatology during my work day, so why do I blog? Even more interesting to me, where do I find the time and energy?

    For me, blogging is creative writing with google analytic metrics I can follow to see if people like what I’m writing. It’s my new creative outlet. Before blogging I took painting classes. Before that it was cooking, gardening etc. Now the majority of my creative energy is channeled toward my blog, twitter and facebook.

    I admit that I started into this at the behest of the SEO consultant I hired to help me develop a small web store. Once I started blogging, however, it took on a life of it’s own for me. I really enjoy it. It’s a treasure hunt searching for photos on flickr to illustrate my posts and I love learning to write in a more journalistic style, which I’ve never had to do in my scientific and medical life. I also love the social interaction. Plus, it’s given me a reason to embrace a lot of the new technological wizardry that comes out. Lastly, I can do it from my comfortable armchair making it the first activity I’ve taken up that doesn’t tax me physically, and in my 50s this is a good transition for me.

    I carve out time for blogging and social media in the early mornings before I go to work. I have my tea and get on my laptop. Some people read the paper, some journal, others sleep in, I blog, tweet and facebook. Sometimes I can also squeeze in a little at lunch if I get a break. On Sunday mornings I spend a few hours at it as well, which is when I found your post with this interesting question.

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