Behind the Scenes of Medical Blogs: Kevin, MD

kevin.jpgThis month, I’m going to present famous medical bloggers to you. My aim is to get my readers closer to these quality blogs and the bloggers as well. I’d like to convince more and more health professionals/people interested in medicine to create their own blogs by providing interesting “behind-the-scenes” interviews. The fifth blogger in this series is Dr.Kevin Pho, a Nashua physician and internal medicine specialist; one of the most active and famous medical bloggers, who runs Kevin, MD.

  • How do you find information for your blog? You certainly read other blogs, journals but do you use RSS reader? How many blogs do you track?

I start the day off reading the blogs on my feeds page, and linking to any pieces that I find interesting. For an RSS aggregator, I use Google Reader, and subscribe to about 50-75 sources. I also browse keyword searches (i.e. keywords like “health”, “doctor”, or “patient”) from Google’s Blogsearch which often leads me to relevant medical stories.

  • Sometimes you have 10-15 posts a day. How can you maintain such a dynamically updated blog? How much time does it take?

I generally spend about 2-3 hours a day maintaining the blog and average between 10-25 posts daily. They are in 5 to 15 minute chunks in the morning, lunch and after everyone is sleeping at night. I generally find all my links in advance, then slowly publish them throughout the day.

  • In most of the cases, you work like an aggregator, but you also comment on the news and your articles. How often do you have time to create own content?

I create much less content now than I used to. There simply isn’t enough time to both aggregate and write original pieces. Occasionally I’ll write an op-ed on topics that I feel are important (such as the recent one on Medicare payment cuts and defensive medicine.

I prefer to comment and link to articles that I find interesting. It could range from an unusual case to serious talk on health policy. I try to blog in a polarizing manner to incite discussion and debate. Taking a position down the middle makes for a boring blog.

  • Do your colleagues know about your blog or comment on your articles? Do they appreciate your work? Do they know you’re considered a semi-professional blogger?

Yes, my colleagues are aware of my blog and support it. Most of them read my blog regularly, and it has been featured in several local newspapers.

  • The best aggregators, after some time, get many e-mails so they don’t really have to search for new content. About how much percent of your articles are based on suggestions/links received by e-mails?

I receive about 10-20 tips a day from readers, which I truly appreciate. I would estimate that around 10 percent of my content comes from my readers who email me.

  • I almost never see your articles in blog carnivals. Why don’t you want to participate more in the events of the medical blogosphere?

I link to Grand Rounds weekly and have hosted it 3 times. On many weeks, I simply don’t have the original content to warrant a submission, however I will still submit the op-eds that I write.

  • At last, what are your future plans with your blog?

Right now, the blog has received some mainstream media attention and is one of the more well-trafficked health blogs. I think it is an ideal medium to discuss and express problems facing practicing physicians today. People not involved with healthcare really have no idea what goes on “behind the curtain”. My goal is to pull that curtain back and expose the frustrations that doctors deal with on a daily basis.

Many readers have strong opinions and often disagree with my views. I encourage these voices, and believe that the more attention we can bring to these problems, the closer we can come up with a resolution.

There is no question that American health care will undergo a revolution in the next decade. Unfortunately, a lot of these changes will happen without input from the physician community. My blog will be one way doctors can have a voice in this sea of change.

Thank you, Kevin, for the interesting answers and keep on informing us about all the fields of medicine!

Behind-the Scenes interviews so far: