Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Another medical journal piles on

---in the criticism of medical blogs. A couple of weeks ago it was the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This time it’s CMAJ: Online medical blogging: don’t do it! (Is there a redundancy in that title?). As one rapid response commenter (our own DB) suggested, the authors are inappropriately painting all bloggers with the same brush:

Drs. Baerlocher and Detsky have made an interesting observation, but they have titled it poorly. I suspect that they have not spent much time reading medical blogs.

As blogger for over 6 years, I have never had an entry that resembles their example. Rather my blog focuses on the big ideas in medicine –

what is quality?
what is professionalism?
how does our
payment system impact health care delivery?
what is the impact of residency

I do sometimes include patient stories, but only for the purpose of discussing diagnostic issues.

The world of blogging is quite diverse. I agree with the authors that the type of blog in which one vents about problem patients, with enough information that one could identify the situation, is unprofessional. However, I strongly believe that the best medical blogs represent the 21st century version of Hyde Park, in which we explore ideas and present our opinions on the issues of the day.

I would echo those sentiments. Before I started blogging over 3 years ago there were at least a couple hundred active medical blogs. Many of them were the kind of on line diaries mentioned in the article. I wanted to do something different, and after thinking long and hard decided that clinically focused blogging, which I thought I would enjoy, was an under represented niche. While I’ve maintained that focus for the most part I can’t resist occasionally weighing in on certain hot button issues such as medicine’s New McCarthyism concerning Pharma and doctors and the egregious incorporation of quackery in mainstream medical education.

H/T to Clinical Cases and Images.

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