I am going up to Indianapolis this Saturday to talk with a group of medical student leaders. I was asked to present on the role of social media.
Along these lines, I have to show you something that I found this morning. I was studying the FDA review panel’s evaluation of the Block-HF trial, when I came across these pictures. (Block-HF is a pacing trial that evaluates an expanded role of biV pacing. For the purposes of this post, the subject of the science is not important; it could be any sort of scientific inquiry.)
Upon Googling the words “block hf nejm,’ look what pops up.
Check out the second entry. That’s regular-working-stiff-doctor Wes Fisher writing an analysis on his blog. This is remarkable, and I think quite a disruptive concept. To read Wes’ useful analysis, one needs only an Internet connection. No subscription is required.
But it gets better with this next jpeg:
Wes’ first comment comes from Dr. Anne Curtis, the lead investigator of the Block-HF trial. Dr. Curtis, a famous academic leader in the heart rhythm world, thought enough about a blog post to make a clarifying comment. That means she toggled through Wes’ captcha code and left her email. Remarkable.
Here is an another example, again using electrophysiology. I’m sitting in the press room at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam this summer. I’m reporting/writing about a just-presented trial on using echocardiography to predict response to biV pacing. ECHO-CRT is an important trial, which I especially liked because it shut down a prevailing dogma. So where did I look for help sorting this out? My friend, another regular-working-stiff-doctor (RWSD), Jay Schloss had this incredibly clear analysis of the ECHO-CRT trial on his blog, Left to My Own Devices.
Final example. You are a middle-age executive. Your company is promoting triathlon as a means to whip people in to shape. You’ve heard stories, though. You have seen videos of racers collapsing at the finish line. You wonder whether Ironman triathlons are healthy and so you type, “is an Ironman healthy” into Google:
All I did to get on the top of the list is write my analysis of the data. I’m nobody in the sports cardiology world, a RWSD with an interest and an Internet connection.
I will use examples like these to persuade the medical students that social media has changed the landscape of influence. They can have a voice. They should have a voice.
One thing about medical peeps is that they usually carry a passion for their vocation–medical training does that for you. Writing that is candid and useful and born from a passion is always useful, and never more so in this new world of healthcare, where informed-shared decision-making will be king. Patients and medical colleagues alike benefit when passionate people write about which they know best.
These examples only scratch the surface of what’s out there in the vast world of social media and healthcare. I’ve said this before: it’s a great time to be a doctor. Surely this is also true: It’s a great time to be a doctor-writer-blawger.