imgres-1Video and communications expert Drew Keller spoke this afternoon at the 6th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit at the Mayo Clinic. He described the experience of working with doctors and suggested that they have two modes of communication: private and professional.

In private, and with patients, they have natural, easy ways of using language, expression, and metaphor to explain conditions.  But in front of a camera or onstage they become quite public in their behavior. Given concerns with the permanence of media and the potential for peer and public judgment, they behave and communicate differently. They’re tighter, more calculated, and even guarded in the way they appear and deliver. As a result, they appear less human and less believable.

I suspect that the ability to comfortably bridge this private and professional divide represents the sign of a great communicator. Few doctors can do this, or they’ve not had the coaching to facilitate the connection. While Keller was referring to video performance, writing could just as easily be considered subject to this private-professional divide.

As media of all type bring doctors from medicine’s private, silo’d mode into the public realm, I suspect skill in bridging this gap will be critical for professional survival. Call it a translational communication skill, or better, letting our guard down, relaxing and being real.

You can follow more of the meeting at #mayoragan



Those of us who write things for public consumption all face the same challenge: what do we do with it after it’s published? Once something hits the information stream it passes along from public view never to be seen again.

But it can be repurposed. Today at The Mayo Clinc Center for Social Media Residency, Meredith Gould delivered a comprehensive overview of blogging for health care. Shaped for a hospital marketing population, she drove home the point that the stuff we write and create shouldn’t be left to die in the archives. And what goes for hospital marketers goes for public physicians.

I’ve had real success with the ‘33 charts vault.‘  When I’m inclined, I pull out stuff from the old days and give it new life on Twitter.  Posts that were successful in 2009 have the potential to live again. It’s remarkable how much traffic and conversation you can drive from a 4-year-old post.  If you write or create, try it.

Note to self:  send out some of my oldies for a new life.  So when you see, ‘from the 33c vault,’ you can blame Meredith.


Announcing edX Medicine in the Digital Age

October 2, 2014

In 2012, the Medical Futures Lab offered Medicine in the Age of Networked Intelligence, a powerful 50,000 foot view of medicine and its radical disruption.  The course was huge success and drew the attention of the social health community well beyond the confines of Rice University and the Texas Medical Center.  I was thrilled to […]

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I’ve Got Friends with Low Platelets

October 1, 2014

If you’ve ever Googled, ‘Why does my stool look like BBQ sauce?’ then you may want to check out this latest production from ZdoggMD. Here the plight of the thrombocytopenic e-patient is played out in a brilliant Garth Brooks parody.  Acoustic guitar complete with spleen percussion.  This may be ZDogg’s best stuff to date. After […]

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Medicine X | Ed – A New Conversation in Medical Education

September 10, 2014

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend Stanford Medicine X over the past 4 years.  Each year I’m surrounded by the most remarkable people and ideas.  And each year I think: What are we doing to bring these ideas to medical students? I think we’re closer. A natural evolution into medical education This weekend marked the […]

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App Crowdsources Assistance for Arrest Victims

August 24, 2014

If you need evidence that social networks can save lives, have a look at PulsePoint, a crowdsourcing app for connecting cardiac arrest victims with assistance. As reported in Re/code this morning, PulsePoint’s free app connects to local 911 call centers and alerts users when there is someone nearby in need of CPR.  PulsePoint users get […]

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Social Health’s Sewer of Self-Interest

August 22, 2014

There’s an affirmation bias in public dialog.  We only like things.  Facebook, for example, only offers Like button.  To dislike is not PC. Perhaps we can thank the marketers.  In social’s early history, we took our cues from marketing professionals who were the early adopters in the use of new media.  They’ve traditionally lead the […]

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Twitter’s New Paternalism

August 21, 2014

Twitter has changed its policies such that it is now putting tweets into your timeline based upon who you are connected to and what they feel is relevant.  The algorithms for relevance are a mystery, however.  The official explanation can be found at What is a Twitter timeline? Daniel Graf, Twitter’s new product boss, put it […]

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Print Media as a Cure for Hemorrhoids

August 19, 2014

  Fascinating case report of a readers whose hemorrhoids were cured with the discontinuation of the print edition of The Economist. Note that this is an N of 1.  The manipulation of print media has not been proven in any double-blinded study to impact outcomes with rectal varices. I’m wondering what we could do for […]

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The Rise of Medicine’s Creative Class

August 19, 2014

Are we witnessing the rise of a creative class in medicine? The creative class in medicine may be seen as a key driving force for change in a post-analog era.  They are the disruptors willing to poke the box.  The reason that this emerging segment of health care providers is so remarkable is that medicine […]

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