31 May Dear Dr. Wong….
I want to share this with you. It is a testament to how valuable a medical website, using social media, can be in terms of providing value…to both patients and doctors.
If you’ve been reading here for awhile, I firmly believe in the power of social media (a blog is the purest form of social media) and how it can improve public health information.
Amy and I founded a medical marketing company to share what we have learned and lecture/teach nationally on social media and medicine.
Dear Dr Wong
I am 60 years old and live in the UK. I discovered your blog while surfing for further info on prognosis following repeated retinal detachments and the use of silicone oil to stabilize. Your pages gave me so much comfort, and I felt much better after reading them. I had an epiretinal membrane problem and early cataracts diagnosed last year. My surgeon offered me vitrectomy, membrane peel, and lens replacement. The op was successful, a textbook case, and for a few days I could see like a newborn! Then the retina detached…..A second surgery 3 weeks later, (vitrectomy, gas bubble and cryo) was carried out. During this op there was, I gather, one of those moments when “the room goes quiet”. There was unexpected bleeding and the cornea became waterlogged. I had to have the lens removed, the iris retracted and the cornea removed. Not fun. Over the following weeks the cornea degraded and shredded twice, two trips to the ER for debridement (ouch). I had a little strip of blurred vision left, which narrowed daily and eventually disappeared, leaving me totally blind, no light perception. This was due to massive proliferative vitreo-retinopathy scarring and pulling the retina off again (macula off). Because of the state of the cornea my surgeon decided to leave the third surgery for an extra week, at the moment of seeing him it was inoperable. I had the surgery to try and save some vision (vitrectomy again, silicone oil fill) in March of this year. I was prepared to be blind in that eye for ever. I now have no peripheral vision on one side, no vision above eyebrow level, and huge distortion and blurring in that eye.
But – I can see SOMETHING!
Your writings gave me massive comfort, in my case the disease is winning, but I accept this. My surgeon is an excellent man, and a really nice guy too. The disappointment on his face each time the surgeries’ outcomes were not positive was plain to see. The final surgery was “successful” in that my retina is now attached, thanks to the silicone oil, and stable for the time being. Who knows what’s ahead!
So I’m just saying thanks to you and all of you guys who go the extra mile to try and save our sight. Without your care and expertise we would ALL be blind. Disease of any kind is just bad luck, and retinal disease is such a bummer!
What Does This Mean?
This site now reaches over 15,000 new viewers every 30 days. I’ve answered over 2500 comments/questions on the 400 or so articles I’ve written about retinal disease or my personal life.
I have readers from all over the world. Many have become actual patients. Over the past 3.5 years, I’ve experienced how this blog and social media have become so pivotal in forming relationships between patients and doctors.
Here’s how it works..
Every website, medical or otherwise, must create value. Websites without value are boring and receive no traffic.
The value of this site is the information I provide, for free, regarding eye disease. Using my expertise as an eye doctor, I write articles regularly and on subjects relevant to my followers.
With value comes trust. This doesn’t happen over night, but is evidenced by the numerous comments/questions generated by the posts (aka articles).
The most compelling aspect of a blog is when the doctor chooses to respond to the comments/question, thus generating the so-called “conversation.”
The conversation is compelling. At first, it attracts other readers with similar questions/problems…they can identify. Most powerful is when the doctor responds. It reveals practice philosophy, “bed-side” manner and some of our personality.
So, in the end, it’s the articles that gain attention, but it’s the “conversation” generated by the articles that are so powerful.