Top Australian GP Bloggers

If you enjoy reading health blogs, look no further! This list of Top Australian GP Bloggers in 2015 contains some pretty amazing Family Medicine blogs with many new and upcoming writers.

In previous years I have listed the sites alphabetically, but this year I thought I’d categorise them as follows:

  1. Lifestyle tips
  2. Doctor’s diary & storytelling
  3. Medical education
  4. Patient information
  5. Healthcare, innovation and health politics

Each blog mention contains a brief description and/or quote taken from the ‘about’ section of that blog. Enjoy!


1. Lifestyle tips

‘Lean Green and Healthy.’ By Dr Lyndal Parker-Newlyn
Top blog: ‘Lean Green and Healthy.’ By Dr Lyndal Parker-Newlyn

‘Lean Green and Healthy.’ By Dr Lyndal Parker-Newlyn

Healthy eating, exercise and weight loss ideas, motivation and support. No scams or fads – just a sensible lifestyle approach. A great blog offering healthy tips, news, information and inspiration.

http://lean-green-and-healthy.blogspot.com.au

‘Eat move chill.’ By Dr Kevin Yong

On his blog Dr Yong shares ideas about healthy living: “It’s about getting back to basics and building a strong foundation of health. It’s about turning your good intentions into lasting change. It’s about you taking control and living a better life.” Very inspiring.

http://eatmovechill.com

‘The healthy GP – Live intentionally, love relentlessly and enjoy your health.’ By Dr Jonathan Ramachenderan

Dr Ramachenderan and his family live in the country in Western Australia where he practices as a General Practitioner and anaesthetist. He has some excellent advice for men and dads.

“We are in the busy, child rearing season of life coupled with the beginning of my career and hence achieving a balance is important. I am passionate about men’s health, helping and communicating with other dads, building stronger relationships with our wives and becoming wiser, stronger and more insightful men.”

https://thehealthygp.wordpress.com


2. Doctor’s diary & storytelling

‘Medical history.’ By Dr Gillian
Top blog: ‘Medical history.’ By Dr Gillian

‘Armchair rants from Dr Deloony, musings on Medicine and Life.’ By Dr Claire Noonan

Dr Noonan is a country GP and freelance writer. “My interests, medical and otherwise include but are not limited to: humans, science, general practice, bariatric medicine and surgery, fiction, music, travel, food/nutrition, mental health, philosophy and kittens. I am VERY interested in kittens.” Personal and well-written posts.

https://drdeloony.wordpress.com

‘Medical history.’ By Dr Gillian

Dr. Gillian is a GP Obstetrician, writer, wannabe photographer. For those with an interest in medical history, her blog has a lot to offer:

“In this blog I combine my love of salacious celebrity gossip, medicine and history to give you all the dirt on Henry VIII’s sex life and how it might make his penis fall off.*”

*Not actually true

http://medicalhistory.blogspot.com.au

‘Ailene Chan.’ By Dr Ailene Chan

Dr Chan has worked in many Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Asylum Seeker and Refugee health in Christmas Island and Nauru.

“Being a doctor means being a global citizen. I will share with you my travels, the people I meet and the things I’m learning in medicine and in life.” Beautiful blog!

http://www.ailenechan.com

‘DrJustinColeman – Medical writer, editor, blogger.’ By Dr Justin Coleman

Dr Justin Coleman is a well-known GP-writer who looks sceptically at health interventions where the evidence suggests they might not actually be worthwhile. This is part of his broader interest in the public health concept of equity – fair access to primary health care for everyone.

As he writes on his blog: Despite earnest intentions, he frequently breaks out into lighter reflections on GP practice, with its quirks and oddities – often discovering the oddest person in the room is him!

http://drjustincoleman.com

‘Genevieve’s anthology – Writings to amuse, teach, inspire and entertain.’ By Dr Genevieve Yates

The multi-talented Dr Yates is not only a freelance columnist and novel/play writer, but she also finds the time to play and teach violin and piano, sing, and play in two orchestras.

“This website features a collection of my writings. Here you will find links to and samples of my newspaper columns, novel, short stories, plays and creative medical educational material, plus the odd blog or two.”

http://genevieveyates.com

‘Dr Charles – The blog musings of Dr Charles Alpren.’ By Dr Charles Alpren

Dr Alpren worked at (and blogged about!) the Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone. He is currently a locum GP who works all over Australia. He has an interest in children’s health, vaccinations and infectious disease, and is also interested in teaching and Public Health.

https://doctorcharles.wordpress.com

‘Jacquie Garton-Smith.’ By Dr Jacquie Garton-Smith

Working as a General Practitioner with a special interest in counselling and family medicine has given Dr Garton-Smith insight into relationships and communication as well as responses to life events:

“My experience is that we can often access our emotions, learn and better understand ourselves through fiction.”

Dr Garton-Smith was the Western Australian Winner of 2009 Medical Observer Short Story Competition for GPs. She is currently working on two novels.

http://jacquiegartonsmith.com

‘KarenPriceBlog – Hippocrates meets Xanthippe.’ By Dr Karen Price

Miscellaneous topics and reblogged posts – often with thought-provoking commentary by Dr Price. Dr Price is Chair of the Women In General Practice Committee of the Victorian RACGP.

“I am active on Twitter and interested in technology as it relates to health. I am prone to an occasional rant so the picture of me with a thistle is probably appropriate. I welcome respectful debate as it contributes to the Science and Art of Medicine.”

http://karenpriceblog.com

‘Peak Health – Challenging the assumption that our health and our longevity will inevitably improve.’ By Dr George Crisp

Our health depends on a healthy environment, says Dr Crisp – who is passionate about our environment.

http://georgecrisp.blogspot.com.au

‘A fig page – Random thoughts from someone who loves Jesus.’ By Dr Joe Romeo

A spiritual blog by Dr Romeo, who is a full-time country GP, aspiring songwriter/ worship songwriter, father of 6 and follower of Jesus Christ.

http://afigpage.blogspot.com.au


 3. Medical education

‘Bits & Bumps – Obstetrics and Gynaecology FOAM.’ By Dr Penny Wilson and Dr Marlene Pearce
Top blog: ‘Bits & Bumps – Obstetrics and Gynaecology FOAM.’ By Dr Penny Wilson and Dr Marlene Pearce

‘FOAM4GP – Free Open Access Meducation 4 General Practice.’ Various authors

Excellent and comprehensive collection of blog posts and podcasts by various rural and city GPs.

“This blog and podcast is for Australian General practitioners, training to be one or already working as one. We cover the whole range of our medical specialty and give you what you need to pass your exams and keep learning in your clinical practice.”

The blog was founded by Dr Rob Park, Dr Minh Le Cong, Dr Casey Parker, Dr Tim Leeuwenburg, Dr Jonathan Ramachenderan, Dr Melanie Considine and Dr Gerry Considine.

http://foam4gp.com/about

‘Bits & Bumps – Obstetrics and Gynaecology FOAM.’ By Dr Penny Wilson and Dr Marlene Pearce

Excellent podcasts including useful links to resources for anyone with an interest in obstetrics and gynaecology – produced by two passionate GPs from Western Australia and Queensland.

http://bitsandbumps.org

‘Michael Tam – Publications archive.’ By Dr Micheal Tam

Michael Tam is a Staff Specialist in General Practice at the Academic General Practice Unit in Fairfield Hospital, in Sydney. His blog is a collection of interesting research articles and interviews.

Dr Tam’s clinical interest is in comorbid substance use disorder and mental health disorders. His research interests are in the detection of at-risk drinking in the primary care setting, and in e-learning in medical education.

http://vitualis.com

‘GreenGP – Reflections of a Rural GP.’ By Dr Melanie Considine

An interesting blog with lots of medical conference reports, tips for students and GP registrars – including how to use social media. Dr Considine is a board member of the SA/NT RACGP Faculty and the RACGP National Rural Faculty.

https://greengp.wordpress.com

‘Broome Docs – Medical education blog for rural GPs.’ By Dr Casey Parker

Top blog intended to provide a single source of up-to-date educational material for country doctors.

“I hope this site can expand this brain pool of rural doctors – please feel free to leave comments on the cases and posts presented – we can all learn from one another – no matter how far we are from the really smart guys in the big centres.”

http://broomedocs.com

‘THE PHARM – Prehospital and retrieval medicine.’ By Dr Minh Le Cong

Dr Le Cong’s comprehensive blog is for the health professionals working in remote locations, outside a hospital, on aircraft, ambulances, in outposts who have to deal with emergencies and the unexpected.

“My focus is rural Australia but my journey will be international, hearing from folks in other countries and how they deal with out-of-hospital emergencies. Of course I am a flying doctor so there will be a healthy dose of aeromedicine.”

http://prehospitalmed.com

‘KI Doc – Kangaroo Island doctor blogging about Rural Medicine in Australia.’ By Dr Tim Leeuwenburg

Encouraged by emergency medicine and retrieval medicine blogs such as EmCrit, Resus.me, BroomeDocs and Prehospitalmed, Dr Leeuwenburg has embraced the #FOAMed paradigm: “Whilst the lifeinthefastlane emergency physicians have lead this in Australasia, I reckon #FOAMed has a lot to offer rural doctors.” Excellent blog.

http://kidocs.org

‘Rural GP Education – Thoughts and experiences on the journey to enlightenment.’ By Dr Ewen McPhee

Dr McPhee is an experienced rural GP and educator in Central Queensland. On his blog he shares his thoughts and other interesting posts about healthcare and medical eduction.

https://ewenmcphee.wordpress.com


4. Patient information

‘PartridgeGP – professional, comprehensive and empowering healthcare.’ By Dr Nick Tellis
Top blog: ‘PartridgeGP – professional, comprehensive and empowering healthcare.’ By Dr Nick Tellis

‘Dr Ginni Mansberg.’ By Dr Ginni Mansberg

Ginni Mansberg is a well-known, celebrity doctor in Australia. She is a Sydney GP sidelining for Sunrise & Morning Show, various magazines, and is a self-proclaimed wannabe Masterchef and caffeine addict.

http://www.drginni.com.au/blog.html

‘Do It Yourself Health DIY Health), Healthy Living and Health Information from Dr Joe.’ By Dr Joe Kosterich

Dr Kosterich is a well-known GP, author, and keynote speaker. “Your well-being is the most important thing you have.  My passion is empowering you to take charge of your own health through easy to understand steps enabling you to live well for longer.”

http://www.drjoe.net.au

‘PartridgeGP – professional, comprehensive and empowering healthcare.’ By Dr Nick Tellis

This is a great example of a practice website with health tips and interesting newspaper articles and reblogged posts including comments by Dr Tellis. Dr Tellis is passionate about great quality General Practice and is enjoying beach-side practice after seven years in rural South Australia.

http://partridgegp.com

‘The Healthy Bear.’ By Dr George Forgan-Smith

Dr George Forgan-Smith is a GP and passionate gay doctor in Melbourne Australia: “I have a strong interest in male health, mental health and health promotion. I enjoy writing and teaching and I hope that this website may help to inspire other men to move towards health in all aspects of their life.”

http://thehealthybear.com


5. Healthcare, innovation & health politics

‘Lean Medicine.’ By Dr Moyez Jiwa
Top blog: ‘Lean Medicine.’ By Dr Moyez Jiwa

‘The Influence of the Tricorder.’ By Dr Tim Senior

Dr Senior has an interest in Aboriginal health & medical education. Other themes he often writes about are environments that keep us well and social justice.

His blog is an amazing collection of various articles he has published over the years. “I write stuff. It ends up in various places on the web. This site keeps track by linking to it all from one place.”

http://iofthet.blogspot.com.au

‘Lean Medicine.’ By Dr Moyez Jiwa

A well-written and beautiful blog about solving healthcare problems with creativity, intuition and insight with lean and inexpensive innovations. Dr Jiwa is Professor of Health Innovation at Curtin University and a GP practicing in Western Australia. He is also the Editor in Chief of The Australasian Medical Journal.

http://leanmedicine.co

‘Dr Thinus’ musings – This is Canberra calling.’ By Dr Thinus van Rensburg

“Canberra – we love it and, despite what the rest of Australia might think, it is not just about pollies and Public Servants. It has it’s ups and downs but this is our hometown and I hope readers enjoy my occasional posts.” Honest commentary on a variety of articles and reblogged posts by Dr Van Rensburg.

https://tvren.wordpress.com

‘Doctor’s bag.’ By Dr Edwin Kruys

Health politics and e-health. I’m living in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, where I work as a GP. When I’m not working I spend time with my family or blog about healthcare, social media and e-health.

http://doctorsbag.net


 Follow me on Twitter: @EdwinKruysDisclaimer and disclosure notice.

The no. 1 blogging tip you should always keep in mind

My first blog was a travel blog. Nancy and I were working and travelling around Australia and New Zealand and, like so many others, we blogged about our down-under experience. The audience: Family and friends. Number of daily visitors: 3-5.

In 2004 there was no Twitter, and LinkedIn and Facebook were the new kids on the block. Still, it was good fun. We were passionate about our travel adventures and we enjoyed uploading the pictures we took with our 4 megapixel Sony Cybershot.

Professional blogging

Four years later we settled down in Western Australia and started a business. A blog became part of the new practice website.

In the early days the blog attracted 20-30 visitors per day, but after a while the number grew to 40-60. Connecting the blog to the practice social media accounts made a big difference. I learned a lot about content – what works and what doesn’t.

In 2013 we decided to move back to Queensland and I left the practice. I began to focus more on my Doctor’s bag blog (it’s good to see the Panaceum blog is still very much alive).

Keeping a blog going is hard work. There is no ‘easy way’ to do it. The competition is fierce and as there are many great bloggers out there, it’s not that simple to get noticed.

I really enjoy blogging – which helps of course. I am fortunate to work in an industry that’s a constant source of inspiration.

Slowly the visitors number started to climb to 80-100 per day.

The struggle

But just as I thought my blog was taking off, writer’s block hit me hard. My creativity was gone. I didn’t blog for a while. The longer I didn’t post anything, the more attractive the thought of deleting my WordPress account.

English is not my first language and I often struggle to find the correct words. So, I argued, why not save myself the trouble and stop blogging altogether?

One evening I was reading an article about writer’s block. It was the break-through I needed. The author, Jeff Goins, simply said: “You overcome writer’s block by writing.” His message was short & sweet: It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you get going.

That’s what I did and somehow it worked. Before I knew it, the inspiration was back and the blog ideas started flowing again.

The first time my daily visitors number reached 1K, I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a one-off, just luck, but last month over 15,000 people visited Doctor’s bag.

Although I want people to read my posts, it has never been my goal to get more visitors – nor do I think the hit counter is a measure of success. I enjoy producing content that makes others think. If it leads to change – even in the smallest way – I’ve reached my goal.

There will always be people with more writing talent, better posts and more followers, so I try to keep Bill Gates’ words in mind:

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world… if you do so, you are insulting yourself

But there is one thing that is more important than anything else…

The best tip

The one thing that determines success in blogging, and in many other ventures in life, is perseverance. It is important to follow your passion. If you enjoy writing, the best tip I can give you is: Don’t give up.

Everybody has a story to tell, so keep writing. You will get better at it and people will find your blog.

Picture from my first travel blog in 2004, dropped off at Lizard Island, North Queensland, with food, water, tent & map.

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.

Blocking social media at work is not the answer

Restricting social media usage at work is sometimes done out of fear. “We don’t want our staff to be distracted.” And: “They shouldn’t waste their time on social media.” Other understandable reasons may include perceived cyber risks or the cost of excess data usage.

An organisation that blocks social media sites may send out one or more of the following messages:

  1. We don’t trust our staff
  2. We don’t really understand what social media is all about
  3. Even though consumers are using social media for health purposes, we’re not really interested

In most cases decision makers are probably unfamiliar with social media and may see it as a threat.

Why staff should have access

Here are five reasons why health care staff should have access to sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs etc:

  1. Social networks are powerful learning tools for staff
  2. Social media are increasingly used as health promotion tools (such as embedded YouTube videos)
  3. Shared knowledge accessible via social media will assist staff in finding answers and making decisions
  4. Interactions with peers and thought leaders can increase work satisfaction (and will contribute to staff retention)
  5. Participating in social media and other new technologies will raise the (inter)national profile of an organisation

When it comes to cyber security, I believe there are alternatives that are more effective than blocking social media access including upgrading and updating operating systems, updating antivirus software, improving backup procedures, clever password management and online safety training for staff.

A simple social media staff policy also goes a long way.

Blogging: What do you write when you have nothing to say?

The SoMeGP team was presenting about social media and blogging at the recent GP Education & Training conference (GPET13) in Perth, when this great question came from the audience: “What do you write when you have nothing to say?”

It is a common problem and the fear of every writer and blogger: not knowing where to start. Yet, the medical profession is full of topics to write about. In fact, most doctors, especially GP supervisors, have enough experience to explain a range of topics to patients, registrars, students and staff. It’s just a matter of putting these words in writing.

If you can email, you can blog. But the great thing of online media is that there are many ways to present information: traditional blogs, videos, podcasts, slide shows etc.

Take time to figure out what you want to do with your blog before you begin. Here are some tips to get started:

#1: Write for patients

Debunking myths is always a hit, and (de-identified) questions from our patients are a great place to start: Does hypertension always cause a headache? Is tonsillitis contagious? Can the flu shot cause influenza? Are antibiotics effective against sinusitis? Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented? Should I have an annual cancer test? Blog about smoking cessation, healthy foods tips, how to perform CPR, etc

#2: Write for colleagues

Most doctors have a passion or field of interest, and sharing this knowledge or skills is fun and much appreciated by many colleagues. GP supervisors could help registrars by blogging about exam preparation, study tips, or asking & answering questions in blogs and online forums, like FOAM4GP.

#3: Write about the profession

Never a dull moment in health care. We have got a wonderful profession, but the ever-changing rules, ‘good ideas’ and intentions by policy makers and the flood of bureaucracy and red tape need to be reviewed and discussed, and blogging is a very effective way to do this. Work-life balance is another ongoing challenge. If you are passionate about a topic, do your research and share it with the world – we want to hear from you!

It sometimes helps to write things down during the day or use one of the many free apps, like Evernote, to collect and organise your thoughts and ideas. The advantage of Evernote is that it captures anything, can be accessed from mobile devices and computers and syncs between them.

And remember, a good blog post doesn’t have to be long: 300-500 words fine. Still in need of inspiration? Have a look at my number 1 blogging tip you should always keep in mind.

The list of Australian GP Bloggers

Who said GPs don’t have time to blog? Here’s the evidence to the contrary: An impressive list of awesome Australian GP bloggers, also present on Twitter and other social media in 2013. You’ll find some amazing stories here. It’s definitely worth checking out on a lazy afternoon… Enjoy!

Dr Linda Calabresi

GP, blogger, writer, Australian Doctor stalwart, mother, wife, friend. Sydney, Australia. Blogs at: Cirrus Media

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Jen Carrick

Christian, wife, mum, General Practitioner, sewer, cook, walker in parks, medical educator. Interested in interesting things. Also known as Jen Morrison! Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr David Chessor

GP Registrar. Loquacious in real life. #closethegap ‪#Indigenoushealth ‪#FOAMed ‪#FOAM4GP. Port Macquarie. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Melanie Clothier

I’m a rural GP trainee & am always learning from my patients. I love music, good company, food, wine & coffee. Excited about #FOAM4GP. Views my own. Clare, South Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Justin Coleman

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Gerry Considine

Rural GP in the making @AOGPtraining | ‪@RA_Aus pilot | ‪@StompTheOrange guitarist | Tweets/thoughts my own. Get around ‪@gmeporg & ‪#FOAM4GP. South Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr George Crisp

Lives in the most exciting, precarious time in history. Could see transition to a just and sustainable future or total collapse. Perth, WA. Blogs at: Blogspot

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr George Forgan-Smith

Melbourne, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Andrew Gunn

Just another chimp. Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Duncan Jefferson

Thirty five years of medicine have given me some unique insights into Medicine: yet there’s still so much to learn. Perth, Western Australia. Blogs at: Blogspot

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Joe Kosterich

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Edwin Kruys

Husband, father, GP. I blog about healthcare, social media & eHealth. Western Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

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 #FOAMed. Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Tim Leeuwenburg

Kangaroo Island doc, enjoy roadkill recipes, kitty-Minh, airway enthusiast. EMST-ATLS Director #FOAMed & ‪#SMACCGOLD. Kangaroo Island, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Go to blog (ruraldoctors.net)

Follow on Twitter

Dr Jocelyn Lowinger

Mum to 4 kids (& their chickens), doctor and writer. Tweets aren’t medical advice. RT not endorsement. I blog about ideas and stuff. Sydney, Australia. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Ginni Mansberg

Sydney GP w extracurricular activities at Sunrise & Morning Show (Channel7), Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, various mags + lots of kids & failed opera career. Sydney, Australia. Blogs at: Mane Creative

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Casey Parker

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Marlene Pearce

Rural GP Registrar. Indigenous Health. Social conscience. Professional writing. World traveller. Crafty nanna-before-her-time. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Francois Pretorius

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Karen Price

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Mark Raines

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

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

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

Follow on Twitter

Dr Tim Senior

GP in Aboriginal health & medical education. Find almost anything interesting. Amateur writer, violist, gardener. Opinions could be mine, and aren’t employers’. Tharawal Nation, Australia. Blogs at: Blogspot

Go to blog

Go to blog (Indigenous Health)

Follow on Twitter

Dr Michael Tam

Michael Tam is a Sydney General Practitioner, and Lecturer in Primary Care in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales. Sydney. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Arron Veltre

Locum itinerant GP who dabbles in long course triathlon and collects 80’s skateboards… Blogs at: Blogspot

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Penny Wilson

GP obstetrician and rural locum doctor. Interested in teaching and training, leadership and advocacy. Enthusiastic about SoMe and #FOAMed. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

Dr Genevieve Yates

Doctor, medical educator, writer and musician, who believes that you can do it all, just not all at once. Supports #FOAMed #FOAM4GP #MedEd #SoMeGP. Blogs at: WordPress

Go to blog

Follow on Twitter

10 reputation management tips for doctors

A patient complained about a doctor on Facebook and generated a lot of online traffic. The story was reported in the newspapers. The Medical Board started an investigation. Pending the outcome the doctor relocated to another city. This left the local community without a doctor as no replacement could be found.

A year later the doctor’s name was cleared by the board. But the damage was done. And for many years the article kept showing up in Google search results in relation to the doctor as well as her old practice.

The good news is that I made this scenario up. The bad news: reputation damage can happen to all of us. Pro-active online reputation management should be part of a healthy risk mitigation strategy.

Here are 10 simple tips about how I manage my online reputation and improve Google rankings. You can do it too, it’s easy. It is applicable to your personal brand (your name) as well as your organisation.

#1: Respond to customer needs and expectations

Prevention is better than cure. Our managers act on complaints immediately, as negative comments have the potential to spiral rapidly out of control, especially online. Here is an example of how not to handle a social media crisis.

Our quality assurance committee starts its meetings with a ‘good, bad and ugly’ review of the past month. The group looks at any problems or feedback received, including e.g. Facebook comments. We’re not perfect by any means, but this approach allows our organisation to improve patient services on an ongoing basis.

#2: Create, promote, and update your own online content

Develop a professional website but don’t stop there! Start a Blog. Create social media profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter, and update your profiles regularly. This will improve search engine rankings so your own content will show up first.

#3: Interconnect your online profiles

This will further improve rankings. Splash pages like about.me help to connect your profiles in one place.

#4: Encourage constructive criticism and respond timely to feedback

Engage when people post comments. Respond preferably on the same day. Look at feedback as free business advice. Thank the reviewer and explain your point of view. We have learned from the comments on our practice website and practice Facebook page.

#5: Don’t argue online (and offline)

Set an example. Be a leader. I know this is not always easy, but an angry response is as bad as no response. Be aware that clients/patients/customers may be watching. Avoid deleting comments as this will usually not help your case.

#6: Monitor the web

Google yourself and your organisation at least weekly. Set up Google alerts for your own name and other brands or topics you would like to follow. Free services like peekyou.comSocialmention.com, and Veooz.com can be helpful. There are lots of other tools to watch your web presence.

#7: Correct and improve information on external sites

Most sites will update your details at no cost. Some sites like HealthEngine or HealthOptions Australia may have added your name and address but will only allow you to update details or improve your listing after paying a subscription fee.

If you feel a review about you or your organisation is incorrect or unfair ask the owner of the website to make amendments. If that’s not an option request to write a comment on the feedback. Google will only remove reviews if they contain unlawful content, are spam, off-topic or if there is a conflict of interest.

Google offers useful tips about how to respond to reviews.

#8: Improve positive content, push down negative content

There are many reputation management services on the web. They improve rankings and make it harder for negative content to show up high in search results. Brandyourself.com is a free reputation management tool to improve your personal search results. You need to have a social media profile and a website before you start.

#9: Be ready to engage with traditional media

Have an official spokes person. Consider media training. I like to give journalists a written summary of the main message our organisation wants to bring across.

#10: Know the rules

The AHPRA guidelines explain the advertising limitations under the ‘Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009’. The Good Medical Practice Code of Conduct includes principles about how to respond to complaints. If in doubt, ask your medical defence organisation.

If you want to know how not to use social media – and stay out of trouble – have a look at the AMA social media guidelines.

Doctors, this is why you should be blogging

Most people today google their health problems. Unfortunately, not all information Doctor Google throws at us is correct. Sometimes online information is downright misleading.

Providing accurate information through blogs and social media platforms is a good way to respond to incorrect online health messages.

Doctors are in a unique position to educate. By sharing knowledge online the public, the health care system and the doctor, will all benefit.

The two reasons why doctors should be blogging are:

  1. Debunking myths: Clarifying the common misunderstandings about health issues.
  2. Sharing information about health, disease and its management.

Advantages 

UK GP Dr Anne Marie Cunningham has a great blog called Wishful thinking in medical education. In this post she mentioned two things she enjoys about blogging:

  • To learn from others via the comments she receives on her blog.
  • To help develop her thought process and “get some way to understanding what has been perplexing me”.

US cardiac electrophysiologist Dr John Mandrola gives another six reasons in his blog:

  • Doctors are passionate about what they do and blogging is a way of sharing this.
  • To educate; both the student and the teacher can learn from a blog.
  • To help others help themselves.
  • To give a look behind the medical scene.
  • To archive useful thoughts and notes.
  • To show that doctors are humans too. He writes: “Though doctors seek perfection, we tire, become frustrated, make mistakes, and harbor regrets. We are you. We are human.”

If you can email you can blog

A common question patients ask me is whether the influenza vaccine can bring on an infection with the viral disease – so I wrote a post about why the flu shot cannot cause flu. To answer questions about bulk billing I wrote this post. I refer patients actively to my blog.

Most doctors are experts in discussing health concerns and educating their patients in a one-on-one situation. There are many health messages doctors share with their patients. All that is needed is to write these down, just like writing an email, and post the information on the web in blog format.

Setting up a blog takes 20 minutes. Not sure how to start? Here are some of my tips summarised in a slide show.

Doctors, this is why you should be tweeting

Our practice accountant looked concerned when I told him our practice had joined Facebook and I had started tweeting. He rightly said that even de-identified patient data had the potential to create a medico legal nightmare.

But I wanted him to join social media because he has a wealth of knowledge about general practice and health care, and I thought it would be great for doctors to follow him.

Change

In the months after our little chat I kept feeding him articles and blog posts about the benefits of Twitter and social media in health care and business. He read all the articles and did some thorough background research. Finally he made the jump.

He revamped his website, opened social media accounts, and started tweeting and posting on Facebook. He even started sharing recorded YouTube videos. Now, a few years later, his LinkedIn account has over 500 connections.

He really got it. He understands the power of social media like no other and is using it to share his ideas and dreams about a sustainable and socially responsible health care system. He interacts with clients and reaches a larger audience than ever before.

Twitter

Tweeting changed my life in many ways. I’ve learned new things from the people I’ve met online, including patients. Tweeting forces me to think things over. I believe Twitter has the potential to make makes us better persons and better doctors.

Publisher and social media coach Michael Hyatt has written a blog post everybody should read: 12 reasons to start twittering. His reasons range from staying up to date, to enriching his life, and sharing friendships. If you’re new to Twitter he also has a useful beginner’s guide to Twitter.

And yes there are risks. I already mentioned sharing patient data on Twitter which is a big no-go, like it would be anywhere else outside the health care setting. The RCGP (UK) has published a very good ‘Social Media Highway Code’ for doctors, which deals with the most common pros and cons of social media. When promoting services, keep the AHPRA guidelines in mind.

Doctors and social media

The time I spend on social media is often down-time, when I’m waiting, or taking a break. I spend between 5-30 minutes per day on Twitter and other social media, mostly reading posts and articles – like this one shared by GP Gerry Considine (Twitter handle:@ruralflyingdoc) about the use of social media by doctors. The conclusion of the article:

[…] the use of social media applications may be seen as an efficient and effective method for physicians to keep up-to-date and to share newly acquired medical knowledge with other physicians within the medical community and to improve the quality of patient care. (Article here)

Starting with Twitter takes 10-20 minutes. Not sure where to begin? Here are some of my Twitter tips.