Viewpoint: Write, and write often

January 9, 2009

Medical Economics 2009 Doctors' Writing Contest is open for business.

A request came in a while back from someone hoping to pen an article for Medical Economics about physicians who want to become writers. The pitch mentioned something about how countless doctors would love to supplement their income by breaking into the fabulous world of publishing.

You'll get no argument from this corner that the world is better served by doctors who write than by, say, writers who doctor. But this particular author's thesis didn't seem to ring true; though some of you clearly could write for a living, probably none of you aspire to such a career.

Happily, physicians contact us all the time with suggestions for articles they would like to author for Medical Economics. Usually, these revolve around first-person accounts that yield new insight into patient care or more effective practice management. These submissions allow you, the physicians we serve, to put to words the thoughts and emotions that drive your work and to share them with your colleagues. But these articles also form a crucial element of our coverage, cutting to the soul of your life's work in ways that those who do not practice medicine cannot.

Our Grand Prize-winning article, authored by Lawrence Rifkin, MD, of Bloomfield, Connecticut, chronicles a stern test of the author's commitment to doctor-patient confidentiality.

Our winner for Best Practice Solution, by Miriam Griggs, MD, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, provides a cautionary tale about entrusting the management of your practice to a single individual.

And our Young Doctor Award goes to Jonathan Roylance, MD, of Marietta, Ohio, whose ongoing treatment for a heart disorder inspired his own career in medicine and approach to patient care.

The winning articles can be found in this issue "Viewpoint: Confidentiality laws bring moral concerns for one doctor".

The three top entries were accompanied by scores of other compelling submissions. One highlights the physician's role when a family member becomes gravely ill. Another offers a prescription for dealing with rude colleagues. Still another rues our nation's collective obsession with determining health simply by reading a scale.

We look forward to sharing many of these tales with you in future issues of Medical Economics. We also look forward to receiving new articles from you-about the challenges you face, the obstacles you've cleared, the emotions you feel, and anything else that shapes your world in medicine. The 2009 Doctors' Writing Contest is open for business; see the ad to learn more.

Naturally, not every novel experience requires the validation of a printed page. As Medical Economics' 360 Network of interactive content continues to develop, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new blog at http://www.memag.com, where you can share your views with peers in the time it takes to craft an e-mail. It's another way that Medical Economics is dedicated to bringing the physician community together.

It's often said of scribes that it doesn't matter how well you write, just that you do write often. Whether you've been putting thoughts to paper for years or are considering it for the first time, please consider this your invitation to write, and to write often.