DSMA September Carnival: Is There A Doctor In The Internet?

doctor-cartoonThe September DSMA blog carnival picks up from where the DSMA live chat left off at the AADE conference in August: assuming online interactions with HCP becomes a “mainstream” thing, what would you like those conversations to be about? The live chat took place with dozens of bloggers participating in the DSMA Live radio show while simultaneously the DSMA Twitter chat was taking place. Lots of interaction going on! I really enjoyed the experience, and what I said at that event still rings true for me.

Earlier this year, I was at a board meeting with my endocrinologist. Since we were “off the clock” I felt like I had more time to talk to her about things unrelated to me specifically as her patient, so I brought up social media. I asked her if she read or recommended social media blogs or sites to her patients. She knew that I was already involved in that area, and in fact, I’ve interviewed her a couple of times for stories, but I wasn’t sure the extent of what she talked about with other patients.

She told me that as a rule, she doesn’t read the blogs of people with diabetes. To her, that’s a private place where they can talk about their experiences and she doesn’t want them to feel like they might be judged by having a medical professional or their own doctor reading their work. She felt that it was a place for them to communicate specifically with other patients.

As for recommending blogs, she knew that there were a lot of good ones, but she felt that as a doctor, she couldn’t put her “stamp of approval” on anything that she didn’t have editorial control over. She said there were a lot of legal and ethical boundaries that would be crossed if they started specifically recommending a blog to patients that may or may not agree with their medical advice.

I definitely understood why they might not want to outwardly recommend blogs, because it can often be twisted. For instance, often times you’ll see a product mentioned by Dr. Oz and then all of a sudden their are advertisements saying that Dr. Oz endorses the product, which is not the case at all. So I can see why doctors would be less inclined to recommend a website or social network because if someone were to say something that was medically unsound, it could come back to haunt them.

I didn’t like so much her thoughts that doctors have no place reading the blogs of patients. I routinely tell people at conferences that I blog and I even made out business cards for educators and vendors that I met. Heck, I even stood up in front of a large audience of educators during one session and mentioned my blog (as an aside, my actual comment was about diabetes apps…). All I’m saying is that I’m not shy about having medical professionals reading my blog. I want them to see what the real lives of patients are like because I think a lot of doctors forget about the day to day struggles of integrating a very complex and mysterious disease into an already complex life!

I personally would welcome doctors, educators and nurses to comment on my blog if they had something to add or if they had a question for me, or an email if they felt like that would be a better area. However, I also understand wanting to give patients their privacy and space (very nice of them) and I also understand that keeping up with social media is quite time consuming. I think we all agree that our time is spread pretty thin and it’s difficult to keep up with all the blogs we enjoy reading. Just think about trying to do this while also seeing 30 patients every day, plus paper work and phone calls and referrals! I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

I’m not sure we’ve made enough progress where I can comment on what I would want our conversations to be about specifically. But in general I think I want any and all dialogue between patients and their providers to be one of open and honest communication. In whatever form that takes, whether it’s in the office or online, I hope that’s the basis for our exchanges. It’s the healthiest and the most productive, and yet all too often, it just doesn’t happen.


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3 Responses to DSMA September Carnival: Is There A Doctor In The Internet?

  1. Very well said. I personally think you as someone with diabetes I (and anybody going to anydoctor with any type of ailment) should walk in with a copy of Dr. Richard Bernstein’s (http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Bernsteins-Diabetes-Solution-Achieving/dp/0316182699), and ask them whether their dietary advice is in line with this brilliant and if not… why?


    Very good post.

    • Thanks for your comment! I’m actually not the biggest fan of Dr. Bernstein personally although I know he does great work for others. I’m just not personally inclined for that kind of lifestyle. But I’m glad you enjoyed my post!

  2. Kelley says:

    I love this post! It was very interesting to read your doctor’s take on blogs. This statement was right on: “I want them to see what the real lives of patients are like because I think a lot of doctors forget about the day to day struggles of integrating a very complex and mysterious disease into an already complex life!”

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