I recently got into a discussion with a couple friends about doctors and blogging. Why don’t we more doctors out there? Of the hundreds of thousands of doctors I’d expect more taking a voice. Even during the U.S. health care reform debate. Crickets.
Of course there are doctors who blog, but the numbers are slim. What’s behind it?
Passion. Pushing great content requires a passionate interest in changing ideas and making a difference. There’s malaise in medicine right now. Margins are slim. Physicians are losing control of what’s happening around them. The fire in the belly that drove so many doctors to choose medicine has given way to a preoccupation with survival.
Late adopters. Most doctors think a blog is something that deviant teens do on a cell phone. There’s endemic ignorance in the medical community surrounding social technology. Can we teach ‘em? Maybe. But I think this is a generational issue that will work itself out with time. The use of social technology to facilitate dialog between doctor and patient will evolve over the next several years as 1) technology evolves and 2) digital communication becomes a standard. Keep in mind that many of us still work with doctors who grew up using rotary phones.
They don’t need the business. Sure there are the tummy tuckers and the lapband docs who are lobbying for customers. But for most primary care doctors, the market is such that more patients doesn’t necessarily add up to a healthier bottom line.
They don’t have a business. Physician practices are folding faster than beach chairs at high tide. Consolidation of medical business will mean that personal and practice branding will take a back seat to hospital and clinic marketing. If it hasn’t happened already, your small town solo practice doctor will be working 9-5 under a hospital or large managed group.
Blogs are so…2000. Communication is moving closer to real time. The revolution that started as Moveable Type has given way to new platforms. Blog entries are becoming shorter and lifestreaming applications like Posterous gaining ground. I see more physicians finding their voice in the fast moving streams of Twitter and Facebook. Maybe these better suit the mindset and lifestyle of today’s doctor.
As the medical profession is redefined and resurrected expect excited, passionate voices to emerge. I’m just not sure that the weblog will be where those voices will live.