Geoff Simon for Webpronews wrote an interesting post about whether health blogs are a good idea. In his post, he highlights how historically, the medical and legal industry rarely, if ever, advertised their services. There was a negative stigma attached to doing that, and in many ways, it still exists today. Oftentimes, when you see a commercial of a law firm on television, you are inundated with personal injury attorneys or the ambulance chasers of the industry. In many ways, this stigma is very apparent in the medical industry as well. When was the last time you saw a television commercial for your local dental practice?
I don’t believe that my private practice physician even advertises. With the advent of health blogs, there are tremendous opportunities for a physician or health care practitioners to establish themselves as a value added resource to the Internet community. In many ways, a doctor blogging can be equivalent to that physician paying for a radio ad, with the negative stigma attached to it. The physician’s peers have traditionally frowned upon this sort of practice, and this will change very soon.
With over 117 million U.S. adults searching for health information online, wouldn’t it be great to have physicians educate the public on various illnesses and treatments, rather than some social network flavor of the month located at the top of the search engines? The beauty of the Internet is the ability to find relevant, up to date information, and WebMD has been a benefactor of an increasing trend.
The downside to this is we have no idea how accurate, nor the full disclosure to determine whether the information we search for is presented from an objective point of view. There still are major hurdles that we need to overcome, which makes us all better off. There needs to be blogging networks, that enable physicians to educate the public, but an oversight community to ensure that the information that is disseminated is accurate, and with full disclosure of conflicts of interest. This is indeed easier said than done, and a great deal of the change has to start with the physicians tapping into the marketing power of the Internet, with tools such as SavvyDoc.
As a tech enthusiast who has followed some of the great technology blogs such as Mashable, Techrunch, and ReadWriteWeb, the conversations and exchange of information has really augmented the pace at which innovation occurs. I believe that it can also occur in the health space with minimal oversight where their only objective is to maintain accuracy and full disclosure. If this can happen, SavvyDoc benefits, but more importantly, we all benefit from the content that can be produced and syndicated. Web 2.0 has been all about the exchange of information and the two-way conversation. By incorporating more of Web 2.0 within the health space, we may be take innovation and discovery to the next level.