Readers' Responses to "Is There a Place for Medical Blogs in a Medical Media Company?"

Dale R. Richards, DO; ; Steven Hoffman


January 06, 2006

To the Editor,

I think that podcasting, especially video podcasting, has more potential for proliferation of medical specialty information.[1] Since the materials needed for making the podcast are relatively cheap, and locations like Apple's iTunes music store will hold and serve as a central distribution area for this material, one has the potential of putting together some rather sophisticated and specialized information for everyone to see. Maybe we could finally be able to separate ourselves a bit from the pharmaceutical industry's dominance of what we hear and see.

Dale R. Richards, DO
Columbus, Ohio


1. Lundberg GD. Is there a place for medical blogs in a medical media company? MedGenMed. 2005;7:5. Available at: Accessed October 7, 2005.



To the Editor,

I think that most people understand that these blogs are just blogs -- opinions. People know that anyone can post anything on the Internet. However, today more than ever, physicians and patients alike are being silenced by risk managers, dismissal threats, and malpractice threats. Having a blog is a way to communicate in a way that is otherwise unavailable today. This is one of the reasons I created my blog: . I was a patient who was dismissed by my doctor without any conversation, just a letter. I was also being abused by my husband and was afraid. My blog was a way to reach out to the medical professionals and other patients who would listen and perhaps help others in the same situation before it leads to a dismissal. This is a dialog that I couldn't have with my doctor because I was told that I was a "risk." I think that doctors feel the same way. We all need a place to communicate without worrying about "risk managers," "malpractice," and "dismissals." As long as privacy is respected, it's OK. Regarding the fakes out there, people fake everything; consumers, readers, etc need to be wise and always consider the source.

A Difficult Patient



October 11, 2005
Dr. Lundberg Is Wrong on Medical Blogs

Dr. George Lundberg has posted a video editorial over at Medscape last week titled, "Is There a Place for Medical Blogs in a Medical Media Company?[1]" His answer, unfortunately, is "no," and I disagree (no surprises there!).

I have the utmost respect for Dr. Lundberg, with whom I worked pretty closely while at Medscape. As a matter of fact, I helped develop the idea and format of these video editorials while I was there. But on this topic, I think he's wrong.

After a lengthy list of interactions from the past that he feels are similar to Medical Blogs today, Dr. Lundberg finishes with the following:


But since the blogger may be the author, editor, publisher, advertiser, critic, reviewer, and owner -- all at the same time -- and fake the whole thing, a trustworthy medical media company may embrace unfiltered blogging at its even greater peril.

Actually, I believe for all those reasons, it's important, compelling, and maybe even vital that a leading medical media company embrace the medical blogging world. The key word in the sentence above has to be "unfiltered." Of course, any time a media company gets involved in anything, by the very nature of the terms, it's not going to be unfiltered.

But, the killer feature of the medical blog world is it's transparency. The trick for a medical media company such as WebMD (the parent company of Medscape) is to try not to be a filter, but to be the check against the "doomsday scenario" (faking it) that Dr. Lundberg describes. If WebMD and/or Medscape were to present the leading medical blogs -- unfiltered, but verified -- they would be exposing these compelling and vital writers to the much wider audience that they deserve.

Here's the task -- Bring the best medical bloggers to your unmatched audience, but don't get in the middle. Then you'll be doing a service to all parties.

Steven Hoffman
Ardsley, New York


1. Lundberg GD. Is there a place for medical blogs in a medical media company? MedGenMed. 2005;7:5. Available at: Accessed October 7, 2005.



Editor's Note:

The editor stands on his opinion.[1] There are strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats to medical blogging. We here republish 1 piece from Steve Hoffman's blog with the author's permission. The readers may also hotlink to it if they wish. Medscape Med Students and Medscape Nursing have cautiously and carefully begun to use blogs. Keep tuned for progress.

George D. Lundberg, MD




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