MDs + Social Media. What do we want and why?

Social Media - Peter Kirkeskov RasmussenBlog by Bryan Vartabedian MD.

[Introduction by Colin Hung.]

This week on #hcldr we are excited to have a healthcare social media star as a guest – Bryan Vartabedian, MD (aka @Doctor_V).

Dr. Vartabedian is considered one of health care’s influential voices on social technology and medicine. He has served as a consultant to a number of health care start-ups and has independently advised health care organizations and national physician groups in the area of policy and digital strategy.

His unique expertise lies in understanding the emerging digital culture of medicine and how new media can be leveraged by organizations and individual stakeholders in health care. At Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Vartabedian directs programs in digital literacy and advises leadership in the area of training and emerging technology. He is the co-founder of the Medical Futures Laboratory, a Rice University based collaborative for insight and solutions into the problems facing medicine at its intersection with technology.

Present in the health blogosphere since 2006, I’ve been an active witness to the social health revolution and its influence on doctors and patients. I write about the intersection of medicine, social media and technology here on my blog, 33 charts.

33 charts, a site which has come to serve as a center of community and thought surrounding physicians and their transition to the digital space is often cited as an example of 21st century thought leadership, 33 charts was recently chosen to be archived in its entirely in the National Library of Medicine.

Dr. Vartabedian recently released his book “The Public Physician” – a practical guide designed to help doctors survive and thrive in our digital age. The book, fittingly, is available for download via

If you follow Dr. Vartabedian you will know that he has been blogging and speaking passionately about the challenge that physicians have in creating/managing their identity in an online world. Although many of his early posts are on the topic of the online tools (Twitter, Facebook, Doximity, etc), many of his more recent posts have centered around a fascinating question – what do we (as patients & physicians) want to get out of all this online interaction?

I’m truly excited for this upcoming #hcldr chat with Dr. Vartabedian. He kindly wrote the following blog to set up the chat and in it he poses some truly interesting questions that should generate a lot of discussion within the #hcldr community.


Dr. Vartabedian’s blog.

I am excited to be guest hosting Health Care Leader chat this coming Tuesday, February 10, 2015. We’ll be talking doctors and some of the issues surrounding doctors in the public space. This topic is timely as more and more physicians make their way out ‘in public.’ While physicians may have the tools to create and publish, few know the rules and boundaries. So as physician peers or communications professionals, we need to do our part to educate and mentor our new generation of public physicians.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get into some of the real value that comes with public engagement. I see a lot of discussion about the wonderful shiny tools at our disposal, but I’d like to see more examples of specifically how those tools have been used for good. I’m sure you have stories and experiences and I hope you’ll bring them along to #hcldr.

Here are some of our topics to get you thinking and what we’ll be chatting about next Tuesday:

  • T1 As an MD or patient, why do you think MDs should engage on social media?
  • T2 What are best avenues for MD engagement on social media vis a vis patients?
  • T3 What content is best for the public MD to share on social media?
  • T4 Would you choose your MD on basis on social media presence?

So loosen up your fingers and get ready for Tuesday evening. Join me on Tuesday February 10th at 8:30pm ET (click here for your local time) for the weekly #hcldr tweetchat.


“The Physician Redefined”, Bryan Vartabedian MD, Kru Research, March 3 2012,, accessed February 6 2015

“DrMikeSevilla Live w Dr. Bryan Vartabedian”, August 27 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“Understanding the Factors That Influence the Adoption and Meaningful Use of Social Media by Physicians to Share Medical Information”, McGowan et al, Journal of Medical Internet Research, September 29 2012,, accessed February 6 2015

“Online Reviews, Pediatricians and the Democratization of the Parental Voice”, Bryan Vartabedian MD, Pediatrics, October 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“Physician tweet thyself: A guide for integrating social media into medical practice”, Laura Budd, BC Medical Journal, February 2013,, accessed February 6 2015

“Go where the patients are: Why this doctor is active on social media”, Howard Luks MD,, February 26 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“Social Media has been introduced to Physicians”, Bryan Vartabedian MD,, January 24 2015,, accessed February 6 2015

“How Doctors View and Use Social Media: A National Survey”, Brown et al, Journal of Medical Internet Research, February 12 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“Using Twitter in Clinical Education and Practice”, Lindsay Melvin MD and Teresa Chan MD, Journal of Graduate Medical Education, September 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“How Social Media is Disrupting Healthcare (And What to Do About It)”, Brad Smith, MedCrunch, April 24 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“The Impact of Social Media on Medical Professionalism: A Systematic Qualitative Review of Challenges and Opportunities”, Gholami-Kordkheili et al, Journal of Medical Internet Research, August 28 2013,, accessed February 6 2015

“Social Media and Rating Sites as Tools to Understanding Quality of Care: A Scoping Review”, Verhoef et al, Journal of Medical Internet Research, February 20 2014,, accessed February 6 2015

“The impact of online health information on the doctor-patient relationship. Findings from a qualitative study”, Susanne Christmann, LSE, August 2012,, accessed February 6 2015

Image Credit

Social Media – Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on HealthcareVistas – by Joseph Babaian and commented:

    We at #hcldr are thrilled to have Dr. Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) joining us this Tuesday at 830p E for our weekly chat. Please read the blog and then join us, you’ll be happy you did!

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