In Memorandum

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

The medical blogosphere lost two important voices this week. FatDoctor was forced to shut down her blog due to privacy concerns. Flea’s blog mysteriously vanished. Given that he has been blogging about his malpractice trial, it’s likely that his blog also was taken down because of privacy issues. Hopefully, we’ll see his blog reappear when the litigation has finished.

Val over at Revolution Health suggests that it may be time for:

… us medical bloggers to create and adhere to a code of conduct to protect ourselves and our patients from harm.

I’ve written about a code of conduct for healthcare bloggers previously, although I was focusing more on the issues of reliability and credibility. Perhaps it is time to look to a healthcare code of conduct, one that protects both the author and the reader.

Kevin over at Kevin MD calls today “Black Wednesday: A dark day for the medical blogosphere”. He points out that:

“With blogs being at the forefront of the Web 2.0 advance, traditional medical institutions are again slow to adapt to the openness that defines the heart of the blogosphere.”

“Traditional medical institutions are either ignorant of, or not ready for, the blogging physician or the blogging health professional.”

Both Kevin and Val point to a recent USA Today article that discusses health blogs and patient privacy. The article raises two important questions:

“Should we all worry that our doctors are blogging about us “” and potentially violating our privacy?”

“Can you trust the medical information in these blogs “” especially those written anonymously?”

The problem I see is that these two issues are counter to one another. If readers expect doctors to fictionalize patient information for privacy concerns, how then can they expect to trust the medical information in those blogs?

About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.