Public Network Skills Every Physician Should Have

September 16, 2013

a014097To survive and thrive in a networked environment physicians will need some basic skills.  Most of us have been trained to work and think as individuals.  But the networked age will force changes in how we think and share information.  Here are a few public network skills that may be important going forward:

The ability to confidently shape and compose an idea or opinion in under 500 words.  This involves understanding that digital media is consumed differently than ‘traditional’ media.  How it’s presented, formatted and displayed influences how and if it will impact its intended audience.  Why 500 words?  People consume information in chunks.  Long-format is cool but you have to be really, really good to pull it off.

The ability to summarize and share an idea in a few hundred characters.  Understanding how to convey an idea in 140 characters is an key skill for sharing and engaging in a networked environment.  If as we intend to influence health behavior, public policy or even other physicians, we must master the art of microstyle

The ability to shape an idea and put it on a short video clip.  This might include the very basic steps of how to use a portable video device to film a clip.  As physicians we all should know how to take a basic one minute clip made on a smart phone and upload it to a public platform.

Understand the limitations of patient-specific dialog in public networks.  As the one thing that will potentially get a doc in trouble, this should be day one of medical school.  Literally.

Understand how to manage input and consumption of information.  Information overflow will represent one of this generation’s biggest challenges.  Be it social dialog or the latest clinical research, knowing where to listen and how to efficiently access information and knowledge represents a key network skill.

There are many, I’m sure.  What have I missed?  Add it below as a comment and maybe I’ll add it to the list with attribution.

Image via the National Library of Medicine/WHO.



Michael Negraeff September 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Not withstanding the thoughts in the book you reviewed, Present Shock: The ability to monitor and respond in real time (soon) to the concerns and comments of patients, family and colleagues about the care they receive or the relationships they have with the physician.

But also, the ability to hold the long term best interests in mind for those same people without the distraction of the urgent. (again, nod to Present Shock)

PS. As you can see I haven’t mastered the 140 character idea yet, but I’m under 500 words :)

Karen Solis September 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm

All this is like a new world for me, my country has a thousand miles of distance about being epatient or ephysician.
The real thing is, all of us (epatients) needs a better understand of our condition and a new for of our doctors to help us. The immediate feedback, reinforcement and clarity of medical indications are like mashed gold.
As an epatient and psychologist I’m tremendously needed to know much more about networks, social media, and all those incredible spaces where the information it’s dependable and could be easy shared to help others.
Really, my mind it’s now rolling and rolling every moment thinking about the best way to transform my society to this new world.

Thanks Brian!

Kathryn Bowsher September 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I would say a system for managing patient/caregiver dialogue within a clinical team framework.

As a patient, it creates huge inconvenience that I can’t fire off a quick email to 2 or 3 doctors with a question and get the same sort of reply all dialogue that I get when I do that in a work or volunteer situation.

We are never going to improve adherence and patient engagement if we keep making it harder for patients to answer simple healthcare questions than it is to accomplish any other basic daily task.

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