I’m very pleased that Dr. Kevin Pho, aka, Kevin, MD, agreed to participate in Media Bullseye’s “Five Questions” series. Kevin MD authors a widely read medical blog, and is regularly featured in high-profile mainstream media sources like the Wall Street Journal and was on the CBS Evening News, and he also serves on the Board of Contributors for USA Today. I was introduced to the Kevin, MD blog through client work, and I read it regularly not only for the very interesting content, but also to glean insight into how the very public nature of social media is interacting with the very private world of health care. And, like many great social media minds, I have to note he’s based right here in New Hampshire.
1) What prompted you to blog/use social media?
With health reform in the news daily, what was lacking was a physician’s point of view. I found that doctors were rarely involved with health policy, and their voices were silent.
Blogging about the challenges physicians face was a way to capture mainstream attention, and it has worked. I have a wide readership, and my blog is regularly read by mainstream media. It has been featured on the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Secondly, many of the medical news are reported inaccurately, leading to plenty of patient questions. Having a physician blog and comment on medical reports can give patients instant, informed, opinion.
2) What benefits–direct and indirect–have you discovered using this communications tool?
Blogging has offered me opportunities to express my ideas and opinions to a wider audience. In addition to the people reading my blog, I am a columnist at the USA Today paper and appeared on the CBS Evening News.
None of this would have been possible without my blog.
3) Writing is tough work, and blogs, with the need to be updated on a fairly regular basis, can be particularly challenging. How do you stay inspired, and how do you keep things interesting?
Blogging is indeed tenacious work. In order to be successful, it has to be regularly updated. Luckily in health care, there is breaking news on an hourly basis. Many studies come out daily, and there is regular medical controversy in the news that provides ample opportunity for commentary.
4) What three blogs do you read regularly, and why?
WSJ Health Blog (http://blogs.wsj.com/health/): Being a national news organization, they have access to go behind the scenes, and interview the major players of breaking medical stories.
Rural Doctoring (http://www.ruraldoctoring.com/): Despite the name, this hospital physician talks about issues relevant to every physician, both in rural and urban settings. She provides insight on the challenges physicians face and writes fascinating stories on some of the cases she sees.
Health Beat (http://www.healthbeatblog.org/): To our detriment, doctors receive little formal training in health policy. Upcoming health reform has the potential to transform our professional lives, so it’s up to us to understand and be conversant with the issues involved. Maggie Mahar provides a detailed, readable, take on current health policy topics that every physician should know about.
5) Are there any other social media tools that you have found particularly useful (like Twitter), or, if you’ve tried other tools and prefer to focus on blogging, why?
The blog is my focus. Social media outlets are helpful in building a community that can enhance a blog user’s experience. When utilized correctly, sites like Twitter and Facebook can expand your blog’s audience.