When we think about doctors using tools of communication, we assume that the only thing they are capable of is creating for patients. When people look at my blog they say, ‘why would a mother of a child with intestinal problems care about that?‘
I never said that they would.
And who said that a physician’s only use of public media is to translate health info? It’s a great service but its not all we can do. Our capacity to publish can be used in all kinds of ways. Advocacy, policy, political action, business development, health awareness, personal reflection, literary narrative, humor, quilting, and emerging technology represent a few of the pent up passions of the modern provider.
It used to be that a doctor’s ideas, thinking and avenues of expression were restricted to narrowly defined medical spaces. Everything happened in a journal when we were given permission. Public commentary was filtered through those with access to presses and broadcast towers. Pictures were taken with the white coat and stethoscope. Without them, we weren’t doctors. Not anymore. Providers once without a voice are now empowered to speak. And they’ve got more than ‘easy-to-understand health information’ on their minds.
Our ability to connect with and about patients shouldn’t be dismissed. I’ve done plenty of creating for patients. I cut my teeth writing for parenting magazines in the mid 90’s, I wrote a couple of books for parents, I have penned (or tapped) hundreds of posts centered on children’s health. But for now I find myself preoccupied with technology and medicine’s entree into the public realm. It defines me in a way that never before would have been possible.
Creating material for patients is good. But the ability to be public has created opportunities for us to think about, discuss and influence some really interesting corners of the world.
What drives you as a physician or, more importantly, as a person? What’s your passion? How can your ability to publish change the world?