Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Coincidentally, it is also my 150th post to my web site, RetinaEyeDoctor.com.
Dr. King had a wonderful dream. He had a specific vision. He shared his inspirations. In honor of this day, I share my hope of doctors, patients, healthcare…and the internet. He was an orator. I blog.
I started 9 months ago. I now reach over 1000 views/month. I have achieved a Google page ranking of “2.” In terms of blog ranking, I have climbed from number 13,746,224 to now, 6,667,254 (an increase in almost 50%). My blogging has strengthened my web presence.
In short, I am getting results. I am getting closer to my…hope.
Patient Education – The immediate advantage to creating a web site, authored by a physician, is the power of authority and credibility. Creating this site has provided you with a credible source of information about diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. It is written by me, a retina specialist. By definition, I am an authority on this stuff. Who better? We need more docs to do the same.
Equality – With credibility comes equal access. Access to information. Accurate information about health should be free and available, to everyone. I am not equating this to free healthcare, because I don’t believe that’s possible right now. I am just focusing on information. With technology, the web and social media, we now have the ability to quickly, easily and cheaply disseminate information. It costs no more to provide information via the internet to a few or to thousands.
Doctors’ Duty – My hope is that through improvements in patient education, via similar web pages/social media, that more health providers, especially physicians, embrace the internet. It is our (docs/health care providers) social obligation to improve the quality of information available to our patients.
Doctors have the ability to empower the public, by providing information, to participate in their own health. This can only start with education, but quality education. Information that is free of bias, and information that is accurate. It’d be really easy, docs just have to publish what we preach every day in the office. Why is good information so hard to obtain?
Social Media means many, many things, but there are a few immediate applications of “social media.” By the way, examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter and LinkeIn. Practically speaking, it is a means to share information, hopefully quality information, via social networks. The format can be a web page (text), video (YouTube), slide shows (Slideshare.net allows you to upload Power Point presentations) or audio (podcasts).
As providers, docs have a variety of ways to participate and educate. For instance, perhaps a web page isn’t ideal, how about a Power Point presentation?
Social Media empowers patients/public to become active participants of the internet. In terms of spreading ideas/information, social media allows one person to tell many others, quickly and in real time. For instance, I use Twitter daily to broadcast my latest post. The “ReTweet” button on each article is an easy way any reader can share the article with others. If John Q. Public wants to share a great web site on, er, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration, it is now easy to share via social media.
On my own page, the quality illustrations have come from JirehDesign.com. Mark Erickson, a very gifted, medical illustrator, and I formed a relationship via Twitter.
Empowering the Public on Healthcare. Web site, i.e. blogs, have become interactive. When docs start participating, the “ivory tower” will start to erode. Information becomes less “priveleged.” Interactivity allows patients to ask questions, on their time, through a media which is convenient and comfortable for them; the Internet. It allows them to understand.
In the end, everyone may benefit.
Dr. King had a dream. I, humbly, have an idea.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist