I recorded an episode of my podcast with Dr. Mike Sevilla tonight. You’ll hear it later this month, it’ll be well worth the wait. Among the many topics we covered was the dynamic of blogging from the perspective of the patient and the medical professional. I asked Dr. Sevilla if he had an ideal universe in which patients and doctors were engaging online in harmony – a utopia of sorts. I’ll save his response for the actual audio but I kept thinking about this hypothetical the rest of the evening. I think I’ve come to a point where I can articulate my two cents on the idea, which is why I’m here. And I suppose why you’re here, too.
I don’t want my endocrinologist to read my blog specifically. I don’t need him to. In a perfect world he would understand and respect that there is a community of patient bloggers (if you want an official title for it) out there. I don’t need him to keep up with every single diabetes blog, but sampling the perspectives and personalities would be nice. My hope would be that there would be an understanding of what the online community represents and the impact it has made (and continues to make) on my health and diabetes management.
On the other side, I want to learn as much as possible about the doctor’s perspective. I understand and respect that there are certain things that doctors cannot talk about publicly. Patient confidentiality and all that. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t teachable moments and opportunities to learn from their experiences and insight.
I think there’s a potential for a cycle of learning if the medical community can find a way to open up and share. It’s difficult because the risk is entirely on them. All I have to do is say ‘my doctor’ and I can go on and on. I’m not bound to any ethical standards (while I choose to be ethical about how I talk about things, that’s my choice, not a medical board or anything grand like that).
I choose to believe that there is a desire for an open, 2-way conversation among doctors and patients on both sides of the hypothetical dialog. I’m not sure what kind of steps need to be taken to get to my utopia. I’m not even sure how close we could realistically get to my utopia. But I know that writing silly little blog posts like this are a small, small step in the right direction.
And that has to count for something.
2 thoughts on “Social Utopia”
Without small steps we’d never get anywhere. Thanks for putting this out there.
Here’s what I’ve gathered about the best way to get patient-centered information in front of doctors: Make friends with the CDEs. These fine, hardworking (and overworked and underpaid) people are the conduits for all things that aren’t actually part of the patient visit. Endos barely have time to read their own professional journals, but they interact with CDEs all the time. (Even in large hospitals, there are occasional in-service educational sessions led by CDEs that doctors attend.) Getting CDEs to champion the idea of the DOC as a support system that complements traditional medicine is–in my opinion–what it’s going to take for our voices to be more widely heard.