How to Start Your Medical Blog:
An introduction to the medblogosphere.

Medical-BlogCreative Commons License photo credit: Bull3t

Medblogosphere?!?!

Yes, the medblogosphere. It is the part of the Internet where medical blogging takes place.

Now for those of you who know nothing about “blogging”, you may be wondering “what is a blog?!?”

What is a blog?

A blog is a contraction of the word Weblog, and a Weblog is a website that provides commentary, information, or sometimes acts as an online journal. Basically, it is a website that you can update frequently. These days, bloggers are often the source of the most cutting-edge content available online.

More than ever physicians and other medical professionals are blogging to provide credible information to the healthcare industry, increase their professional credibility and market their professional skills and services.

In fact, medical blogging has become so popular that they now give weblog awards for the Best Medical/Health Issues blog. http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-medicalhealth-issues-blog/

So, let’s get you started…welcome to the medblogosphere.

Starting a medical blog.

If you decide you’d like to start a blog, it’s best to start a blog in conjunction with your practice website, but blogging alone is an option. First, you will need to select a blogging platform. There are several free blogging platforms available. Our personal favorite is WordPress http://wordpress.org/. WordPress offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and support, so it’s a great place to start.

Once you’ve set up your blogging platform, you will need to create content for publishing (more on medical blog content in future posts). Before you start blogging, define the slant of your blog. In other words, decide if your going to write about your personal experiences with cases (while complying with HIPPA), or write posts on medical studies, maybe you want to journal your experience as a physician, or comment on the latest medical news. The possibilities are endless, but pick an area as it relates to your practice and commit to it.

Blogs are most effective when each entry has relevant subject matter and is a minimum of 300 words. You must also post to your blog frequently to gain high ranking in search engines. To start, you should post at least 3 times a week. As your blog grows in readership and entries, you will probably get away with posting once a week or even twice a month.

Medical blogging with caution!

Blogging in the medblogosphere adds several considerations to blogging. No blog should ever be offensive or unreliable, but medical blogs also should never violate the doctor-patient code of ethics or HIPAA regulations.

Medical bloggers must take great caution to abide by HIPAA regulations, like avoiding “health information identifiers” and similar HIPPA mandated restrictions. Medical bloggers should also uphold what has been referred to as the “Medbloggers’ Hippocratic Oath.”

Created by Professor David D. Perlmutter of KU School of Journalism & Mass Communications the “Medbloggers’ Hippocratic Oath” http://blog.oup.com/2008/08/medblogs/ is designed to help guide medical professionals in their blogging endeavors.

Here is a snippet of his initial draft:

I swear that:
• I will never reveal information about patients in my blog that allows readers to identify them in any way.
• If I blog under a pseudonym, I will still inform readers of my correct credentials and degrees so that they can assess my expertise.
• If I refer to controversial health care information, I will make sure to recognize opposing views and to provide my readers with adequate citations so that they can read more on the subject themselves.

Get blogging now!

Medical Blogging must be done with professionalism and caution (to protect patients and your reputation), however, done correctly medblogging can help propel your professional reputation and medical practice to the next level.

Once you’ve begun blogging on a regular basis, apply for an HON icon. HON is the Health On the Net Foundation. HON has made an effort to standardize the Code of Conduct for medical and health information on the Internet. Visit: Health On the Net for more information. https://www.hon.ch/HONcode/HONcode_membership.html

Most importantly, no one can read your blog if you don’t write it, so don’t delay, start today!!!

Need help? Contact Rx MD Marketing Solutions, we are you medical marketing gurus and we can help you today!

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