Letter: Readers comment on Medical Economics stories

January 10, 2011

Letters discuss social networking and practicing solo.

Social networking can be a powerful tool

The article "Getting patients to 'Like' your practice" (by Morgan Lewis, Jr., senior editor, December 3 issue) has come at an opportune time, as the mere mention of terms like Facebook and Twitter conjure up images of only young people using these tools. However, these media have seen exponential growth and widespread adaptation. With this growth comes change, and unlike previously, this change affects all facets and sectors of life.

Unlike other phenomena that have taken place through human development, these social networking sites require each and every individual to stand up and take notice of them. As reported in the article, this requires medical professionals to start utilizing and understanding them. The old adage of the doctor-patient relationship is now changing. Whereas once the doctor was seen as the "oracle" in terms of his or her health knowledge, now patients turn not just to the World Wide Web, but to their social networking sites, where they have access to the minds and opinions of all those on their friends list and their followers. Thus, it is now imperative that medical professionals start thinking differently about patients after each visit. As much as the patient is empowered, the medical professional should feel just as empowered by being able to utilize the power of these social networks.

PRAJESH CHHANABHAI
Dunedin, New Zealand

Practicing solo can reap rewards

I am a solo family medicine physician, and I have been out of residency for 4 years and in my own practice for 1 1/2 years. I want to congratulate Russell Bacak, MD, and thank him for the honest tone of his article ("The good, the bad, and the ugly," December 3 issue).

I identify with almost 90% of his experiences. Like him, I am waiting for the time that our decisions to stay in solo practices will revive the field, since mismanagement and manipulation of physicians in corporate medicine likely will lead to loss of its credibility. We need to fight for the right of existence, and we can do this by practicing sound medicine and keeping our independence. If the projected shortage of physicians and demand for our services increases, then hopefully we can put an end to the corrupted insurance system and get the monkey off our backs. Then we will hopefully see the reward of practicing medicine without having to sell our souls.

NIKOLA LOZANOV, MD
Petaluma, California

Recent article provides insightful messages

Thank you to Dr. Richard E. Waltman for his excellent article ("The curious illness," September 10 issue). It had some great insights and wisdom. I liked his closing message that "the sun should come up in the morning."

I like to tell some of my patients the old Irish proverb: "Be happy while you live, for you are dead a long time."

DAN ACOSTA, MD
Corpus Christi, Texas

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