The Importance of Doctor Blogging

The Importance of Doctor Blogging


Let’s talk a little bit about doctor blogging. By now we’ve all heard of an awful lot about celebrity bloggers and how some blogs can attract hundreds of thousands of online readers every month. Of course, most physicians don’t write blogs in hopes of becoming famous. Instead, there are two good reasons to consider becoming a doctor blogger. The first is that it can actually save clinical time. A daily reality is that patients have lots and lots of questions more than there’s time to answer in exam rooms and in patient consults. In these settings, health care providers talk to patients one on one. But on websites and on social media They can deliver the same important information to hundreds or thousands of healthcare consumers over and over for months and years to come. Plus, a doctor can refer patients to a blog after an appointment as a reminder of a physician patient conversation during the appointment. The other reason for blogging is that it can be good for a doctor’s reputation and the bottom line. Doctors’ blogs are often among the most visited pages on their websites and frequently in the top ten of the most popular pages on those websites. Google tells us this by how it ranks blogs in its search engine, and by the number of visits it records to blog pages on doctors’ websites. Some of the most successful, busiest physicians are also prolific bloggers. Squeezing out a little more time for blogging once every month or two can’t pay huge rewards in patient growth and loyalty. One popular myth about blogging is that you have to feed the machine weekly or even daily. The truth is, however, that even occasional blogging can both bring more new patients to a medical practice and also generate personal satisfaction by serving as a public educator. So how often should a doctor blog? Well, much depends on the specialty. A primary-care physician tends to get more general health questions and thus has more patient curiosity to satisfy on more topics. Unfortunately, PCPs are also often the busiest providers. Given their time squeeze, PCPs might consider a telegraphic style of blogging once a month. That is, they can post stream-of-consciousness thoughts and general health issues and common patient questions once every four weeks or so. The writing style can be informal and conversational. You can even compose some blogs in a Q&A or FAQ format, though it’s not a good idea to write all of them that way because you’ll bore some readers. The situation is a little bit different for specialists and sub-specialists. New clinical information and research developments in certain specialties don’t always evolve as quickly or as voluminously as in primary care. The net effect is that specialists can blog at about half the frequency of PCPs: roughly every two months at minimum. This at least conveys some sense of regular activity on the blog and keeps readers coming back for more. We’re out of time now So, we’ll cover other topics on this subject of blogging and our next installment of the Wired Practice: namely, how to set up a blog, how to pick good blog topics, and how to keep each blog on topic and expert-opinionated within ethical and practical guidelines.

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