Keeping Pace With a Blog
- Posted on: 5/3/08
- 0 Comments
- 3615 reads
Most physicians look to an information technology department or specialized Web site developer to create their online presence by way of Web sites. While useful, these can be expensive to develop, cumbersome to update, and limited in their ability to interact with visitors to their site. More recently, a growing number of physicians are turning to a web log, or blog, to meet the ever-growing Internet marketplace head-on. For colleagues in the cardiovascular or cardiac electrophysiology fields, blogs can serve as a rich resource for information for patients, lab staff, hospital administration, and colleagues regarding one s program or interests.
What is a Blog?
Blogs are nothing more than electronic diaries containing a reverse chronological set of entries, called posts, that can be authored by one or more individuals. Posts can contain writings, photographs, videos, music (like MP3 recordings), or audio (podcasts). Because these diaries are electronic, not only can they contain a rich variety of electronic media forms, they can also link to virtually any Web page on the Internet, enriching the information content delivered to the reader. Some blogs contain short, brief entries. Others contain long, detailed discussions with extensive cross-references. In addition, some blog entries extend over several days, while others post daily or only sporadically. While some corporations use private blogs to communicate within their organization, the majority of blogs exist in the public domain.
Once developed, a public blog can be syndicated so its content is distributed worldwide to potential subscribers each time a new post is added. This powerful feature has developed into an Internet standard called RSS (Really Simple Syndication). By registering your blog with a syndication service (e.g., Feedburner at http://www.feedburner.com) and adding a small bit of the software to your blog s Web page, subscribers are alerted to new content. To receive these syndicated feeds, many news-aggregating programs exist (e.g., BlogLines at http://www.bloglines.com or Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader) that accumulate multiple feeds into one easy-to-access location. Professional bloggers and news organizations routinely use these feed-readers to review hundreds of news sources daily.
What a Blog Isn t
Despite the ease provided by blogs to disseminate information and provide two-way communication with readers, extra caution must be applied to blogs that deal with healthcare issues, particularly topics regarding patients. Blogs are an inherently public communication vehicle, and patient discussions or communications could violate the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (Privacy Rule) imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To avoid this challenge, most physician blogs use disclaimers to limit their liability in this regard.
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