hcsmCA_c1b_90__2__400x400It was an honor to co-host the #hcsmca twitter chat this evening.  A huge thank you to Colleen Young for asking me to participate.  What follows are a few thoughts on the topics discussed.

How do you map your public presence?

When we think about our life online we need to think about where we’re going to live.  Where are we going to spend our time and energy?  There are a lot of places to post and talk. But we can’t be everywhere. We need to consider it like a map.

When thinking about your map, think content and conversation:  these are the two components of our social world. Content, like written copy and video, is the enduring stuff that people can search and find. Conversations are transient. Ideally, our conversations bring people back to our content.  Social guru Chris Brogan has described this as a home base/outpost model.

A personal blog represents a great place to post original content.  If you don’t want to commit to a personal blog, you can find someone willing to post your thinking (what I call in The Public Physician a ‘surrogate’ blog).  Conversations, of course, happen in spaces like Twitter or Google+.

Discuss the opportunities and challenges of negotiating your digital footprint


The capacity to control.  The biggest opportunity of negotiating my footprint is in having the ability to shape how the world understands me.  My content and thinking truly define me. We can create our story or let someone do it for us.

Visibility.  When people see me think, they want to connect with me. When we connect, things happen. I like things to happen.

Voice.  The core elements of my footprint (blog and social platforms) have given me the opportunity to have my voice heard. I’m still amazed at the reach I can attain with such simple tools.

Individuality.  Doctors have always been seen one way.  The AMA or the CMA decided how we would look and sound. Now we are seeing the emergence of the individual physician voice. The tools of democratized media are allowing us a window into the hearts and minds of the physician.  This is good.


Boundaries.  Since the early days of the public physician, boundaries have been a constant issue. Many of us don’t know what the rules are. And we’re only just learning. Knowing where personal ends and professional takes over represents an evergreen challenge. Increasingly, our boundaries are blurred.

Time.  Learning to budget time, energy and bandwidth has been a key challenge to building a strong footprint.

Picking properties.  Like time, knowing where to put attention is challenging for many docs starting out. This is why some loose mapping is important.

Finding purpose.  Shiny object syndrome is our biggest enemy. Despite how cool these tools may be, we have to figure out what we want from our public presence. We need to ask why we’re here.

Developing a personal social rhythm.  There’s a tendency to do exactly what others are doing. I’ve found that doctors go public for a variety of reasons and needs. We have to decide what we want personally and use the tools for that purpose. Experimentation is key, however.  Most docs aren’t comfortable with experimentation.

How has online interaction shaped your thinking since 2008?

Actually, I’ve been blogging since 2006 (Parenting Solved – several hundred posts between 2006-2008).

My thinking has undergone a shift from seeing the world as limited to my immediate colleagues to finding my place a globally connected world.  This globally connected world has allowed me to get ideas from designers, thinkers, educators, marketers and patients. All of these connections have reshaped how I see my immediate environment.  In The Public Physician, I refer to this shift as the move from inward facing perspective to one that’s outward facing.  This transition in perspective represents a substantial shift in the way physicians see themselves and their relationship to other professionals and patients. Changing our perspective changes how we see things. Hopefully it changes how we do things.

Beyond the ability to publish, the ability to have near real-time dialog in groups was revolutionary for me. My early days with Twitter were intoxicating. I saw so much potential. I never understood community until I began listening and talking in the groups naturally created by these new social tools. I might say that I didn’t even know how to listen to other people.

Most importantly, I never understood patients until I began listening to them. And not just listening to what they say to me, but their ambient commentary.  Understanding their day-to-day issues has been eye opening. Vanderbuilt medical student Amol Utrankar recently suggested that this type of listening may represent a critical, new element in training doctors.  We need creative minds to execute these kinds of ideas.

Thank you again for having me aboard. I hope all of you have the opportunity to grab a copy of The Public Physician.  If not for you, for those doctors who would thrive in the public space.

{ 1 comment }


33 charts is excited to have Doximity as our featured sponsor this week.

Frustratingly, much of what appears about physicians online is out of our control. There are only a few places that give doctors power over their social presence. With nearly 50% of all U.S. physicians as members, Doximity has emerged as the core professional profile for doctors and one that’s totally within physician control. It’s the first place I go to update my professional status as it changes.

While you may already be a member, do you know how to make the most of your Doximity account?  Here are nine pro tips to help you make the most of your Doximity physician profile:

1. Let Doximity scour the web for you

Patients and professionals never stop searching for information on physicians online. Your public facing professional profile represents a 24/7 representation of who you are and what you’ve accomplished.  While keeping everything updated can represent a big challenge for all of us in medicine, Doximity does the heavy lifting.  The professional network scans the Web for the latest information on publications, awards, and speaking engagements related to your professional CV.  The average physician’s profile receives 30 automatic data updates each year from Doximity.  If you’ve been away from your Doximity profile for a while, log in and check it out.

2. Take a top-secret shortcut

It’s not publicized, but Doximity will upload your CV information for you. Just send over your most recent resume to cvupload@doximity.com and their crackerjack team of CV elves will do all the work. The average curriculum vitae received by Doximity is 21 pages long—that’s a lot of typing you get to skip. Since about 85% of Doximity profiles appear on the first page of a Google name search, you should maximize the chances that your hard work gets connected to your name.

3. Add “clinical interests” to make your profile more interesting

You should list your clinical interests in your Doximity profile. Just start typing and Doximity will provide you an intelligent list of commonly selected clinical subjects. Here’s why these interests are important: They allow more targeted outreach for referrals and better news curation with Doximity’s DocNews delivery.

4. Claim your very own custom URL

Click “Edit” on your Doximity profile and you’ll see a section to claim a custom link at the top. You can shorten your link and optimize it for your own expertise.  Include your Doximity profile link in your email signature, on other social media profiles and in your bio when you speak/publish to boost the quality of your professional presence online. Your Doximity profile should represent who you are and what you’re about. This link offers a simple, consolidated connection to that information.

5. Get recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Did you know that your U.S. News & World Report physician profile automatically refreshes anytime an update is made to your Doximity CV? The two companies have a partnership where Doximity physician data instantly transfers to the U.S. News Doctor Finder service. If you don’t take advantage of this you’re just crazy.

6. A picture is worth a thousand clicks

A quality headshot has become a key element in every online profile. Make a good first impression by choosing a headshot that’s clear, professional and high-resolution. Your headshot should probably be updated at least every two years. While Doximity will find and suggest photos to match your profile automatically, uploading your own is a best practice. Doximity profiles with photos appear first in search results and get more interest than those without pictures.

7. Make yourself automatically available to new job opportunities

There are over 175,000 job offers sent to physicians each year on Doximity. Get matched with the best jobs by indicating your salary and career preferences in the Doximity “careers” section. You can select specific areas where you want to work (Hawaii!) and can choose between full-time, part-time and locum tenens. Each opportunity is highly targeted, with physicians only receiving a handful of offers specifically matched to their CV each year. Plus, recruiters are required to provide a salary range with each job message.

8. Make a speech

Doximity alerts you when your work is being discussed in online physician conversations. Plus, you can expand the reach of your content by adding a presentation to your Doximity profile. Any PDF, PowerPoint or Word file can be embedded in your CV. You might upload slides recently presented at a medical conference or share a preview of the first chapter of your upcoming book with colleagues. Do you have even more to share? Post your Twitter feed, blog, video clips, kickstarter campaigns or any other social sites in the “Links” section at the bottom of your profile.

9. Your Doximity profile works for you—keep it updated

After you’ve updated the information on your Doximity profile, turn your attention to establishing your professional network. Doximity members have an average of 53 professional connections on the network—can you do better? Connect with alumni from medical school and residency training. Reach out to your referral network on the platform. Set Doximity to share your direct contact information within your private network and you’ll be amazed at how quickly new opportunities start to arrive from colleagues.

While LinkedIn once served as home base for my bio and critical information online, Doximity now serves as my core presence online.  You can check out how I’ve shaped my bio.  You’ll also notice reference to an editorial published in this month’s journal, Pediatrics.  That citation populated by itself right onto my profile.  Check it out and then let me know how you’ve shaped your Doximity profile.


Can a Patient Teach Medical School?

October 22, 2014

Of course, according to The Mayo Clinic. They’ve been leading medicine for decades, so why wouldn’t they lead here? Today, The Mayo Clinic announced that e-Patient Dave deBronkart would serve as the 2015 Visiting Professor: Patient engagement and empowerment is a natural extension of Dr. Will Mayo’s vision of a medicine as a cooperative science. […]

Read the full article →

The Public Physician is Public

October 22, 2014

The Public Physician – Practical Wisdom for Life in a Connected, Always-On World, has landed. Here’s the problem I’m trying to fix:  While every doctor with a smartphone can publish their ideas to the world, we are completely unprepared to deal with what this all means.  When it comes to public dialog, most of us […]

Read the full article →

Doctors and the Private-Professional Divide

October 21, 2014

Video 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 […]

Read the full article →

Repurposing Content | What’s Old is New Again

October 20, 2014

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, […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →