How to create a blog that makes a difference

“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” ~ Steve Jobs

It’s great to see the steady increase in interest for social media in healthcare. What’s your passion? If you are keen to start a blog or further improve your blogging skills, there are amazing bloggers you should follow, like Seth Godin, Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt.

My slideshow How to create a blog that makes a difference (above) contains quotes and tips from some of my idols in the blogosphere. I have also attempted to collect and present the (many) reasons why people start a blog in healthcare, common pitfalls, 3 steps for putting a great blog idea into action, and lots of tips for writing awesome posts.

Enjoy!

How social media is changing the healthcare landscape

How social media is changing the healthcare landscape
Image: Pixabay.com

There seems to be a significant growth of social media usage in the Australian healthcare industry.

In the past years we have seen surprisingly influential social media campaigns, like AHPRAaction, ScrapTheCap, InternCrisis, and very recently NoAdsPlease. These campaigns not only rally for better health care policies; they also signal a shift towards more transparency and accountability.

Characteristics of the social media campaigns are:

  • They spread quickly and generate a lot of media attention
  • The participants are very passionate about their cause
  • They are often supported by different groups including consumers
  • They may or may not be supported by professional organisations
  • They are very effective.

At the same time other social media movements, like FOAM (free open access medical education) are gaining momentum. Again, these grassroots initiatives are driven by passion – a powerful force. It won’t take long before health care professionals can do their continuing professional education via free social media sources.

I don’t think many professional and health care organisations are ready for these changes – yet they are coming whether we like it or not.

Psychiatrist and blogger Dr Helen Schultz is a social media enthusiast. Helen was involved in the successful AHPRAaction campaign. She believes social media skills are important for doctors: “I feel in the next 6-12 months there will be even more awareness of the need for doctors to know how to use social media professionally, but also how to use it to your advantage, building your brand, your platform and your voice.”

“The time has passed where we can be complacent and think patients will listen to us just because we are doctors,” she says. “We are largely absent from health debates currently, and others educate about health which may not always be necessarily evidenced based. In addition, we must claim our social media real estate, ie own our domain names and twitter handles to prevent others pretending to be us.”

Helen has taken it upon herself to organise a social media workshop for doctors and managers, and she has invited me to speak about blogging. Helen: “On the back of the success of the AHPRAaction campaign – and because I was so inspired by my colleagues around Australia, I thought we had to meet and put our heads together about how doctors can use social media in Australia to join health debates and run really successful campaigns.”

Some excellent speakers presenting at the workshop: Ms Dionne Kasian-Lew, Dr Brad McKay, Ms Jen Morris, Dr Jill Tomlinson, Dr Amit Vohra, Ms Mary Freer, and Dr Marie Bismark. Dr Mukesh Haikerwal is guest of honour.

Social Media by the Sea is a full day interactive workshop with practical tips and insights from the experts about their successful use of social media, whether it be as a blogger, advocate or part of campaign building. Time: Saturday, 15 November 2014. Place: Peppers “The Sands Resort”, Torquay, Victoria. Send email.

Amazing Australian GP Bloggers

What is it like to be a General Practitioner in Australia? What are Australian Family Doctors passionate about? What do they struggle with? The Amazing Australian GP Bloggers 2014 give readers a rare look behind the scene.

Bloggers like Justin Coleman, Jacquie Garton-Smith, Genevieve Yates and Penny Wilson are great storytellers with an impressive writing talent. Penny’s post Sorry… But are you really a doctor, reached number 7 in the most popular WordPress blog posts worldwide.

Then there are the GP bloggers who focus on teaching and sharing skills and knowledge, like Michael Tam, Casey Parker, Tim Leeuwenburg, Minh Le Cong and Robin Park. They are responsible for a vast amount of freely accessible medical information. Much of their work can be found via the excellent foam4gp blog.

It is good to see that some GP bloggers post valuable information for patients, such as Jo Kosterich, Brad McKay and Nick Tellis. Duncan Jefferson is creating a nice podcast collection on his blog.

Examples of posts I enjoyed: How to live to 150 in 10 easy steps, by Brad McKay; The art of uncertainty in general practice, by Marlene Pearce; When Terry Barnes and I bumped into each other on Twitter, by Tim Senior.

The stream of stories, confessions, opinions, experiences, tutorials, interviews and podcasts just goes on. It is impossible to mention everyone here, so I refer to the list below.

I would like to finish with acknowledging the hard work these doctors are putting into their blogs. From experience I know it can be a challenge to keep the momentum of writing going. Even though it is a passion, it is not always easy.

All these creative GP bloggers have inspired me, and I’m sure you will (continue to) enjoy their posts! Click on the WordPress/Blogger logo to go to a blog.


Dr Melanie Clothier

Rural GP | Always learning from my patients | Love music, good company, good food/wine/coffee. Views my own. Rural South Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Justin Coleman

President, Australasian Medical Writers Assoc. GP, Inala Indigenous Health. Medical editor. Snr lecturer UQ & GU. Blogger; The Naked Doctor. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Gerry Considine

Pilot | Rural GP | = better half | Tweets/thoughts my own. Eyre Peninsula, SA. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr George Forgan-Smith

Melbourne, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Jacquie Garton-Smith

GP, Clinical Lead, health communications advisor, fiction writer, wife, mum, gardener & doglover, keeps a paper diary & writes lots of lists. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Sam Heard

NT Specialist General Practitioner. Making health compute with openEHR, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Duncan Jefferson

Focus on Health. Medical Doctor: Writer: Podcaster. Founder of The Pilgrim Trail and Camino Salvado; can be a tad impish on occasion! Perth, Western Australia. Blogs at: Blogspot.

Go to Blog


Dr Joe Kosterich

An independent doctor actually talking about health. Perth, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Edwin Kruys

Husband, father, GP. I blog about healthcare, social media & eHealth. Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Minh Le Cong

Flying Doctor, rural GP, I work in the sky, live in the tropics, love my family and dream of how to make things better. Supporter of . Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Tim Leeuwenburg

Resuscitate-Differentiate-Prognosticate: Roadkill, Diff Awy & Checklist Fan – ATLS-EMST Director – Quality Care. Out There via & . Kangaroo Island, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Brad Mckay

Doctor & TV Presenter of Embarrassing Bodies Down Under. Skeptically Optimistic. Gadget Geek. Passionate about Health. Blogs at: own website.

Go to Blog


Dr Robin Park

GP on the Sunshine Coast QLD. Doing masters med ed through Flinders. Teaching at Deakin University Medical School. Writer for . Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Casey Parker

Rural doc, author of the Broome Docs blog. Generalist, supporter and contributor blog. Broome, NW Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Marlene Pearce

General Practitioner. Writer, Blogger. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Francois Pretorius

Procedural Obstetric GP; Ruralist; Passionate GP educator; Christian; Husband to 1; father to 4; wine lover and chef. Buderim, Qld, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Karen Price

GP, and Chair of Women in General Practice Committee Vic. RACGP. Interested in Most things. Melbourne. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Mark Raines

GP, photographer, kayaker, Dad…. and face painting victim…. Kangaroo Island. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Thinus van Rensburg

GP & skin cancer doctor. Fiddles with IT on the side. Canberra. Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Joe Romeo

Fulltime country GP, aspiring songwriter/ worship songwriter, father of 6, follower of Jesus Christ. Narrandera, Australia. Blogs at: Blogspot.

Go to Blog


Dr Tim Senior

GP in Aboriginal health & medical education. Writer of for a crowd at & other stuff. Tharawal Nation, Australia. Blogs at: Blogspot.

Go to Blog

Also blogs at AMS Doctor


Dr Michael Tam

Michael Tam is a Staff Specialist in General Practice at the GP Unit in Fairfield Hospital, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at UNSW Medicine. Sydney. Blogs at: WordPress.

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Dr Nick Tellis

Passionate about quality in General Practice. Glenelg, SA. Blogs at: WordPress.

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Dr Arron Veltre

Palliative care trainee (QLD). Locum GP. Loud shoe wearer. Triathlete wannabe. Scribbler. 80’s skateboard collector. Part time longboard rider. Blogs at: Blogspot.

Go to Blog


Dr Penny Wilson

GP obstetrician, rural locum doctor and blogger. Interested in teaching, leadership, advocacy, quality care. Local, national, global. and . Blogs at: WordPress.

Go to blog


Dr Genevieve Yates

Doctor, medical educator, writer and musician, who believes that you can do it all, just not all at once. Supports , & . Blogs at: WordPress.

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