I was not interested in blogging. In fact, I was against it. Off the top of my head, I directed at the clinic’s business manager a number of reasons why a specialist physician should not need to write a blog: “It’s just not done! Medical specialists don’t market…..We don’t need to….It looks unprofessional….what would my colleagues think!”
I admitted to not having a Facebook account. I couldn’t possibly see myself as a twit or should that be, twitterer. I avoided social networking as I had wanted to keep a low profile and had little understanding about how it worked. It seemed too scary and full of risks. I knew I was right and that this was not a good idea.
A few months later, and the business manager became more insistent. He had spent time learning about social networking and was convinced that it was an important space for BJC Health to inhabit. BJC Health will one day, be the leader in the provision of Connected Care. At present, we operate clinics at Chatswood, Brookvale and Parramatta. We constantly strive to provide patients with exceptional care, and are working hard to create an exceptional work environment and culture. We focus on rheumatology, physiotherapy and other allied health services. In such a dynamic environment where we focus so strongly on the needs of both our patients and the people who work with us, should we not embrace the fastest growing mode of communication?
Communication. That did hit one of my buttons. I email a lot. I get frustrated a lot by tardy replies. I like the gratification of a quick response, some sort of acknowledgement. Still, that wasn’t enough and social networking for me was again placed in the to-do list for some other day.
The business manager kept reading, talking to friends, learning. He even attended a webinar or two. It’s an efficient way to market an idea or a clinic. It’s a way to be heard, loud and far. We passionately care about BJC Health, and the model of integrated, high quality, multi-disciplinary healthcare we provide. Social networking was a way to spread our philosophy and to reach a broader audience. This did sound good in theory. I was still not sure the benefits would outweigh the risks I perceived. Not to mention all the extra time it would take.
A few more weeks passed. During this time, I experienced a strange run of patients developing unpredictable, serious side effects to medications I commonly use to treat their pain and to prevent their joint destruction. In all cases, the patients attended hospital and there were aspects to their treatment that suggested a lack of understanding about their underlying disease states and the medications they were using. And this lack of understanding occurred on the part of the staff treating them, and to an extent, the patient’s family members. I had previously thought that I was good at communicating and educating my patients. I need to do better. I accept that I have a responsibility to educate the people around them, both medical and social. One way of doing this is through this blog.
I hope to share with you my thoughts on musculoskeletal disease, healthcare in general, and our Connected Care philosophy. While I know that I am opinionated, I hope that I can interest you and maybe, even educate you in some way. Who knows, I may even be able to use social media to actually help someone.Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here. Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.