Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blogging, general - Confessions of a Health Care Contortionist

As an Internet blogger, I’m a bit of a contortionist, with my nose in the air, my ear to the ground, my eye on the horizon, my finger in the wind, my tongue in my cheek, my face in the sun, and my back to the wind.

What have I learned from being a contortionist?

Well, I’ve learned Sermo posting and Internet blogging can be powerful communication tools when they do ten things.

1.Posts and blogs must point new directions the health system is going-- more innovations, less employer coverage, more cuts in physician reimbursements, more restrictions from ancillary services revenues, more consumer-demands, more efforts to “engage” patients, more pressure for hospital-physician collaborations, more universal coverage experiments in States—and what to do and think about these developments.

2.Posts and blogs require comments, conversation, and constant feedback from physicians and other bloggers: you can’t improve the system by working in a vacuum or twisting in the wind by yourself.

3.You must always stand ready to engage in dialogue even if it leads to repartee, rejoinders, and outright disagreements. Controversies shed light and pierce the darkness.

4.Relay the message the system is moving towards a visual world to engage and educate patients, overcome health illiteracy, and to reduce misunderstandings between providers and patients: words alone will never do it.

5.Your posts and blogs are just part of a larger world, sometimes called the sermosphere or blogosphere: think of critics as friends dedicated to making sense out of your occasional nonsense. Distrust flattery and compliments, but take them like a gentleman. .

6.Ideally what you say will make a difference by bringing everybody together so we’re all singing from the same page – through synthesis, consensus, and commonsensus.

7. Highlight innovations that are changing the worlds of medicine and health care for the better.

8.Stress innovations that cut costs, enhance convenient, increase productivity, and prepare for incoming tide lest we be swept away by exploding health costs, and drowned in debt.

9.Always be humble, for you have a lot to be humble about. When engaged in a heated controversy, remember: it’s not the heat, it’s the humility.

10) Never over-promise innovation’s virtues, and recall this tale:

During the early years of the first century, the disciples wandered far and wide preaching and making converts. One day, St. Peter and St. Paul both arrived an inn in Jerusalem on the same night, weary and footsore. They called for wine and refreshed themselves, then fell into an argument as to who should pay. Peter suggested throwing the dice. Paul fetched them, shook the box and threw a four and a five. He handed the box to Peter, who shook, and threw two sevens. Paul gave him a long look, and said sadly, “Peter, all man, no miracles among friends, please.”

Offer no miracles, only guidance and examples of what can be done for a better future