Medical Blogosphere Rising


It would appear that doctors and nurses in the social space have finally arrived. This week marked the first Blog World Expo with a track dedicated to the medical blogger. BWE brought together some of the web’s most visible medical minds including Kevin Pho (KevinMD), Rob Lamberts (Musings of a Distractible Mind), Kim McAllister (Emergiblog), Bob Coffield (Health Care Law Blog), Paul Levy (Running a Hospital) Mike Sevilla (Doctor Anonymous), and Nick Genes (Blogborygmi), and many more.

From health privacy to the ethical obligation of doctors to be visible on Twitter, the panel-based dialog at Blog World Expo raised as many questions as answers. Medical professionals in the online space face remarkable challenges, especially with regard to transparency, personal boundaries, and the definition of patient privacy. It’s clear that our technology is ahead of our legal and ethical dialog.

Despite those challenges, doctors and nurses in the social space have a remarkable opportunity to build on what’s been done. Many of those at the Blog World Expo medical track have created the digital inroads that are changing the way the world sees doctors and nurses.

Among other things, the experience at Blog World Expo proved to me that online socialization will never replace the power of just getting together. It’s amazing to meet people you have watched for so long. And when you’ve sat and visited, a writer’s online voice seems to make more sense.

Thanks to Johnson & Johnson for sponsoring our track. And an even bigger thanks to Dr. Val Jones (Better Health) for pulling it all together and giving medical bloggers a voice at one of the world’s largest social media meetings.

Hopefully the role of medical professionals at Blog World Expo will continue to grow. Here are a few things I’d like to see in meetings to come:

  • Think outside the blog. While he had a lot of discussion about blogs, they’re slowly evolving as a secondary notion in the social media space. The online world now runs in real time. We need to explore the role of live socialization in medicine.
  • Bring in the smart people. We need to import the wisdom of non-medical social gurus to help our messaging on health. I would love to hear Steve Rubel tell me now lifestreaming could be applied in some creative way as a physician. We could all take some lessons from Chris Brogan on ways to cultivate our networks.
  • Expand the role of social patient. Ultimately they are why we’re here. I expect we could all learn a lot from their involvement in the dialog.

Perhaps there are other things social health professionals need to be talking about. Let me know what you think.