Some of my readers have asked me why I write this blog. They ask, “Why do you bother? You don’t get paid. Why bother?” Well, I recently wrote an article, Why Doctors (like me) Blog, over at on the company site, Anicca Media. That article helps explain why I blog. That is a company that helps hospitals and medical practices to better connect with their patients in the digital world. I’m the CEO of that company. I was one of the co-founders. That company helps fulfill a mission that I am passionate about: an obligation to our patients to provide accurate, useful healthcare information.
Have you ever noticed that a huge amount of so-called medical information on the internet is really crap? It is in fact MIS-information. The scary thing is, you may NOT have noticed, unless you have some amount of medical education. That is the unique aspect of online medical information: unlike information about less medically-technical content that we search for online (info about golf clubs, cars, jeans, or recipes, as examples), people without a medical education have little basis to evaluate the validity of “healthcare information” that they find online.
So: who should provide great medical information online? Who else is better-positioned to provide accurate and useful healthcare information than a physician? Or a collection of physicians at a hospital?
THAT is why I blog: because I feel a profound obligation to my patient community – and now my readers – to provide a repository of accurate, useful healthcare information. In fact, I believe that ALL of us in medicine – physicians, nurses, hospitals – have an obligation to our patient communities to provide that information.
Curation: Collect the Good Stuff
And if we are simply too busy to prepare such information ourselves, we should go and find it on the internet. Find the good stuff, weed out the bad stuff – the stuff that has no evidence to support it – and collect it. Just like collecting the best art for a collection, termed curation, we should be curating the best online healthcare information for our patient communities.
Some hospitals already get this. Examples include Cleveland Clinic, the University of Maryland, and Henry Ford, among many others. They have huge archives of great medical information. And some doctors already get this. Be sure to check out Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson’s blog at Seattle Children’s Hospital; and Dr. Claire McCarthy’s blog at Boston Children’s Hospital; and Dr. Greene’s blog at Stanford (Packard Children’s); and the resources on Larry Rosen’s site, too.
Consider the Source
So when you search for medical information online, please consider the source. Use caution. Do your research. Do they include references to the studies to support their claims or recommendations? Do they back up claims with evidence? Or are they simply including articles that contain many keywords to that you will find them in your search results and click on their adword links to make them money? This is not a criticism of adwords, simply a criticism of how some slimy online sites use them.
I guess that’s a long way of answering the question, “Why do you blog?”
I do it for you, my loyal readers.
I do it for the feedback and thanks of grateful readers who tell me how the information on this site has helped their children become healthy, and decrease (or even eliminate) their need for drugs. I do it for comments like the recent one from Ali Perez, about her daughter Sofi (May 5, 2013, if you’re curious to read her comment on the post, 5-Step Program).
Thank you all!
Hi, I’m Russell Faust, author of this medical education blog.
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Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor ;~D)