Today Wikipedia and other websites have gone dark in protest of the online privacy bill. This got me thinking about the issues of copying the online work of physicians across the country. There is a growing group of physicians like me who are involved in social media, blogging and online patient outreach. Most of us do this based on a passionate belief that patient engagement matters. We believe that providing high quality information online is important. We believe that these efforts will lead to more engaged patients and ultimately better patient outcomes. We believe that by using technology we can expand the doctor-patient relationship beyond the four walls of the office.
I have given dozens of lectures across the country teaching physicians how to develop a social media strategy. I am well aware that as a result of these presentations many physicians will go check out the work MacArthur OB/GYN is doing and seek to replicate it. I have seen some physician’s Facebook pages that bear a striking resemblance to the MacArthur OB/GYN Facebook page. To that I say “Great! Go for it.” Imitation is the best form of flattery. Those of us leading the way, like my Twitter friends in #HCSM and fellow Healthtap docs, are trying to create a movement. We hope to develop more E-patients and more “E-doctors.” In fact, most of what I am doing online I learned from following smart, progressive people on Twitter. I love reading blog posts by @dr_v on 33charts.com. I enjoy reading the thoughts of other physicians and patients on KevinMD.com. @hjluks is now my friend. #HCSM moderator @danamlewis is one of my internet idols. Following smart people and adapting their ideas into our lives is the way we make progress.
If using my words and thoughts help move this movement along then, by all means, copy me. Share our Facebook posts, retweet me, share my Healthtap answers and follow me on Google Plus. I am all for it. By doing this together we can show patients and physicians the value of integrating social media into their practice. More and more physicians will develop a strong web presence and patients everywhere will benefit.