Reflecting on my physician blogging 2005-2008

I am in Oakland, California, today, participating in an discussion sponsored by Kaiser Permanente about Web 2.0 applications in health care. As part of the discussion I presented my story as a physician who wrote a blog internally for our medical group, and since October, 2007, on the public Internet (here).

From 2005-2007 I managed an internal blog that ended up having 748 posts total, so for 2 years, I posted something almost every business day, along with other physician informaticists on my team with me. That’s quite a commitment. This blog has 298 posts on it since October, 2007. I actually never thought I’d keep a blog, but I’m (a) glad I’m doing it and (b) glad I have a story to share about it as a Health Information Technology leader. I want people to know how I am serving them.

I also got to moderate/interact with two industry experts in the field, Tim Collins, SVP of Experiential Marketing for Wells Fargo Bank, and Lee Aase, Manager for Syndication and Social Media for the Mayo Clinic. It’s an honor to meet other industry leaders who are embracing this technology, and they are embracing it. I know this is the future (or the present…)

Given my experience, the idea of patients bringing their user generated content into the physician patient relationship really interests me. Could an electronic health record of the future subscribe to specially tagged RSS feeds from our patients? I don’t think physicians can or would be following 2,000 lives worth of lifestreams. However, if there’s something in a patient’s life that they want us to know about and can get it to us without double entry, I think that information would change the content of our relationship a lot. And in a good way.



Keep on blogging! I think that blogs from the learned in the healthcare add tremendous value to information on the web – instead of cluttering it like other blogs. With blogs like yours and George Van Antwerp, one gets to experience conferences, interviews, panel discussions, etc… from someone who is there and has an opinion.

In regards to an RSS feed and UGC, doesn't this tie back to emailing doctors? With most of the health related social networks, patients and communicating with patients. A few times I have seen an MD in the mix or an Rn moderator add their comments. I think a real value within the EHR, would be for charts or a daily update of how the patient if feeling, reactions to treatment, etc… that the doctor could monitor every once and awhile – or be notified about if a problem were to arise.

I think the EHR that doctor Jay ? from the Health 2.0 conference works with has a feature like this, although I am not entirely sure.


Thanks so much for helping to make yesterday's Web 2.0 Summit a success. It was great to meet you and hear your story. I know everyone else enjoyed your presentation as well. Rock on.


All right – I'll keep doing this! I like that Web 2.0 makes health care improvement "democratic."

The tie in on blogging and e-mail is that several leading edge health systems allow patients to securely e-mail their doctors. However, the content of that communication is just what the patient decides to write proactively to their doctor.

If you take a look at the post I wrote on my allergies, you'll see that there's a lot of stuff in there that might be valuable for my doctor to know about if I were to see her about this issue. Maybe in the future I'll be sending her a secure e-mail if I have questions, but she would only get a small slice of what the experience was for me. I think for her to know the whole story would make a difference in my care. It's interesting to think about how you/we experience a health issue, and then when we go to the doctor how hard we work to boil things down to what we think they want to know. In the future, maybe they can just know about the whole experience.

Thanks for staying engaged and for the encouragement,


Ted, I'd like to echo Susannah's kind words about your incredible contribution to our event. I'm very pleased to make your acquaintance and hope we work together again soon.

Keep on Rockin' in the Free (2.0) World (with apologies to Neil Young)


It was really great to present with you and Lee. I took away many learnings about how to blog in really delicate situations. Banking may not face the life and death situations that you and Lee face, but we share the need for diplomacy in dealing with sensitive subjects.

Thanks for the education.


Well likewise. I learned that the best organizations are good at listening to their customers and promoting expression of the best that they have to offer to their communities. Web 2.0 is great at helping us get better every day, by participating, which is what most people in most organizations come to work hoping to do. Thanks for sharing your expertise as a maverick in the field,


Ted Eytan, MD