An Obligation or a Convenience?

Mar 07 2011 Published by under [Medicine&Pharma]

Lucky Scientopia readers get to read two physician Bloggers, myself and Pal at White Coat Underground.

Last week I read a post on the site Software Advice:  Social Media Can Improve Healthcare, But Are Doctors Holding Us Back? Houston Neal suggests that physicians should embrace social media. Indeed, they may have an obligation to be online, providing reliable medical information.

But doctors have been slow to adopt social media. Why? Why aren’t they using social media to talk with other professionals, connect with patients and share information with the public? The time commitment, concerns of liability, and naiveté are cited as major causes. But I think these miss the bigger picture. Social media is about more than the relationships between individuals. It’s about the dissemination of information. Information that can improve health care and save lives.

Click on over and read the original post.

I blog for my own pleasure, and benefit to my readers is secondary. Do all doctors have the obligation to connect with the world online? Or just those of us who enjoy the sport?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3 responses so far

  • Christina Pikas says:

    I actually disagree that it's an obligation. We do need reliable medical information online, but there are people who do health communication for a living (some doctors) for that. I think if doctors want to blog to talk to each other or to other scientists, that's fine, but their primary obligation is to care for their patients.

    • WhizBANG! says:

      I would agree; not all doctors have the desire or the skills to blog.
      I guess the deeper question would be if we all have the obligation to, in some way, become involved. Even if I don't want to provide social media content, should I be vetting it in some way for my patients? One of the points of the original post was that more and more patients turn to the internet for information. Should the physician provide or designate some sort of online clearing house? I tell my patients exactly what their diagnosis is in writing, and I name a bunch of reliable medical sites like NIH, Mayo Clinic, etc. I will also review and discuss anything they find online - some doctors will not.
      Interesting question.

      • jeremy says:

        Yeah, obligation is a strong word. I do consider it a plus that so many science professionals come to these spaces to provide perspective and dimension to the issues that are often too lightly touched (or completely botched) by the media.

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