This is the final installment of a three-part Q&A series with Stanford Nephrology Fellow and Renal Fellow Network (RFN) deputy editor Graham Abra, MD. The series focuses on how Abra and colleagues are using social media to provide a forum for discussing nephrology cases, scientific papers and clinical topics. Below he discusses why researchers, physicians and health-care providers should consider creating a blog to foster communication or share information with colleagues and the public:
Blogging is a truly egalitarian way to fulfill the Hippocratic oath allowing you to share your knowledge with an unrestricted audience. It enriches your science and practice and helps you clarify how best to communicate ideas to both patients and colleagues.
I remember initially feeling uneasy about the role of the physician writer in this public space. Something that helped me find the right tone was obvious but worth repeating, writing on the web is not a form of physician patient interaction. Nothing substitutes for this. Blogging on a medically themed site is targeted public discourse, sort of like giving a public lecture at a university. There will be a range of technical knowledge in the audience and some hecklers.
On a practical note beginning a blog is incredibly easy using free intuitive programs like Blogger from Google. You can focus on writing and if you become more interested in the technical side of publishing on the web you can easily add complexity to your site.
Previously: Q&A with Renal Fellow Network deputy editor: Part 2