Blogging And You
S. Kubetin; 11/01/10
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. – Social networking supplies a way to interact with your patients and the
local community, whether you practice within an HMO or privately, according to Dr. Jeffrey
Benabio, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.
Regardless of what your niche, the concepts of using social media for example weblogs, Facebook,
and Twitter as tools for enhancing patient care will apply. “Online patient communities are an
ascendent means for patients to find out about their disease, and look for guidance and comfort
from other people like them,” Dr. Benabio said in an interview. “Physicians can be a part of
this discussion and add to it. Who better to advise individuals on how to live with pain,
live with deformity, deal with insurance providers, than physicians?”
It takes no cash except plenty of time for you to build social networks. So why hassle? “Patients
are going online to communicate with their doctors, and we're not there. Whereas patients always
had to come to us to understand about disease and health, now these people get the majority of
their facts on the web. Our absence online perpetuates a trend of diminishing importance of our
profession,” he explained.
As with much in life, the secret to being successful on the web comes down to appearing. “A
doctor becomes a reliable member of the community by remaining present. Over time, regular blog
articles, Facebook updates, and Tweets allow the audience to become familiar with you.
If you choose to post, focus on information that's helpful and informative to your audience. You
can discuss medications and non–Food and Drug Administration uses of drugs – as long as you do
not provide actual medical advice, and are evident about any disclosures and disclaimers, Dr.
Google yourself and see what you find.“It's as vital to be a trustworthy member of the network as
it's to become a trusted person in your actual community,” Dr. Benabio stated.
Regardless of the possibilities offered by establishing an online existence, remember that you
are well on a slippery slope, he said. “This is a critical time when we are trying to demonstrate
our value as practitioners. The more at ease people are with nonphysicians, the harder it will
likely be for all of us to fight nonphysicians' growth of their scope of practice.”