From an article entitled Doctor offers opinions on the Net, from the Nashua Telegraph, reprinted in yesterday's Keene Sentinel:

Like most doctors, Kevin Pho keeps a busy schedule. But when he gets a break in the middle of the day or after he has finished seeing patients, he likes to log in to his Internet diary.

Pho's oasis is his Web log (, a place to express his opinions, clarify his thinking, or argue a side in any number of debates on current medical topics.

It is also part of a small, but growing, trend: medical blogs where doctors or other health care professionals vent their frustrations, summarize key points in new studies, or correct distortions that find their way into the popular media.

Pho says there are an estimated 100 medical blogs nationwide and few, if any others besides his, in New Hampshire. But he says the trend, which began several years ago, is gaining steam. His blog, for example, attracts 200 visitors daily -- both patients and colleagues. [Nashua Telegraph]
From the get-go, I knew that blogging was bound to disrupt information monopolies not only in IT and politics, but in other realms too. Now it appears that the medical blogosphere, something I've long expected, is finally emerging.

The numbers are small. Starting with Pho's blogroll, I began assembling a list of the medical bloggers who cross-reference one another. What I found confirmed Pho's estimate that there are no more than 100 of these medbloggers, many of whom are aggregated at Nor are these medblogs yet widely subscribed. Pho today has 14 Bloglines subscribers. One of the founders of the movement, medpundit, today has 58. Those numbers are one or two orders of magnitude shy of the readerships of many of the tech blogs I follow. But unless fear of malpractice strangles this baby in the cradle, that will be a temporary phenomenon. In the long run there will be many more people hungry for informed analysis of medical issues than for informed analysis of tech issues.

This looks like a great opportunity to watch the blogging meme replicate throughout another community of practice. I'll be fascinated to see how it changes, but also is changed by, that community. Corporate techbloggers, for example, are learning to walk a fine line between acceptable sharing of information and punishable transgression. Medbloggers face a different set of issues: libel, privacy, and of course malpractice. See this American Medical News article for a useful overview.

Here's the nugget I took away from that article:

Like many physician bloggers, Bob Centor, MD, says researching and writing every day for his blog makes him more aware of news and clinical advances than he would be otherwise.

Dr. Centor's employer, the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, believes his blog, DB's Medical Rants, would have the same effect on other doctors -- it offers one-quarter CME credit for reading it. [American Medical News]
The key word: awareness. The blogging medium is a superconductor and amplifier of awareness.

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