Category: Blogs

Getting the hang of blog-related marketing

published date
December 18th, 2006 by

Marketers are trying to figure out how to use health care and medical blogs to pitch their products. A lot of the early attempts have been ham-handed, such as advertising for bariatric surgery on a cancer patient’s blog or surrounding posts that criticize drug makers with DTC ads for the drugs mentioned in the blog.

Thinklabs is being more intelligent with its sponsorship of this year’s Medical Weblog awards. The company is providing an electronic stethoscope as a prize, touting its sponsorship online and having its PR agency contact bloggers like me.

Clive Smith, Thinklabs’ CEO and a blogger himself, says in a press release:

Thinklabs’ electronic stethoscope helps doctors and nurses listen to their patients’ hearts and lungs with greater clarity. Blogs are the stethoscopes of the Internet, listening out for anything that doesn’t ring true, and bringing attention to problems that would otherwise go undetected.

Pretty clever positioning.

Just to make sure people are interested, Thinklabs is throwing in an iPod, which lets users record heart and lung sounds from the stethoscope… or listen to AC/DC while writing up patient reports.

Turning journal articles into comment-enabled blog postings

published date
October 17th, 2006 by

Turning journal articles into comment-enabled blog postings

Mickey reports in from the MedNet conference:

I was at a talk today at the MedNet conference by Jeffrey Ellis, MD, President of They have a site that takes the PubMed listings (with permission) and adds the ability to leave comments. The advantage is that comments can be made without having to get a letter to the editor accepted by the original journal; it treats articles like blog postings. The disadvantage is that content is separated from the original article and as with Amazon, people can review their own work (though you need to register to comment). Since you can use their site instead of PubMed the separation issue would not be a problem if everyone uses the site.
There was no discussion of the business model, and from a quick run through the site I didn’t get a sense of how they were planning on making it work financially.

Health Affairs blog launches

published date
October 5th, 2006 by

Health Affairs blog launches

Health Affairs, The Policy Journal of the Health Sphere, has launched a blog today. It’s a little closer to an online version of the journal than a typical blog. Users have to register in order to comment, and comments will be moderated. The posts are basically short journal articles or long letters.

Nature opens the peer review door a crack. Will anyone step through?

published date
September 14th, 2006 by

Nature opens the peer review door a crack. Will anyone step through?

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal (Journal Nature Opens Peer-Review Process to Comments Online) describes and experiment by the journal Nature:

Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific research journals, has embarked on an experiment of its own.

In addition to having articles submitted for publication subjected to peer reviews by a handful of experts in the field, the 136-year-old journal is trying out a new system for authors who agree to participate: posting the paper online and inviting scientists in the field to submit comments praising — or poking holes — in it.

Lay readers can see the submitted articles as well, but the site says postings are only for scientists in the discipline, who must list their names and institutional email addresses. Nature says its editors screen out those they find irrelevant, intemperate or otherwise inappropriate.

Meanwhile, the papers also make their way through the journal’s traditional peer-review gauntlet. Nature says it’s taking both sets of comments into account when deciding whether to publish.

Sounds like a potentially promising development that could spread to medical journals. That could be useful, for example, if reviewers used the opportunity to more heavily scrutinize industry-sponsored submissions. I asked Mickey for his view:

It is interesting that it makes the paper available more quickly. This may be a crucial element to attract people to view the papers and possibly comment. Such a system is used in economics, where the crucial release of a paper is into pre-publication review that is viewed by many people. However, I don’t see a single comment on the 10 pages that are listed on the Nature site.
What I like about this approach is that it associates comments to the article text. An alternate model is bloggers talking about papers, but the problem there is that the comments are scattered in many places and hard to find.
This is an interesting move by a prominent journal such as Nature, which can hope to get reader participation because of its prominence the same way the Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today” column gets submissions in part because of the prominence of the Wall Street Journal. Less prominent journals would be better served by the independent blogger approach.
It will be interesting to see which approach wins. The continued prominence of journals such as Nature depends on it. In the past such journals had advantages that have been reduced by the ability to measure impact of papers not just by the prominence of the journal but by counting citations of the paper. If the blogging model beats the group review model as illustrated by this effort by Nature the prominent journals will have lost much of their prominence.

Grand Rounds XL

published date
June 27th, 2005 by

Welcome to Grand Rounds XL, this week’s best of the medical blogosphere.

If you think HMOs are tough, wait till you hear about DrTony’s encounter with a Glock-wielding dope fiend.

Kevin, M.D. laments that defensive medicine means you can’t treat anything over the phone anymore. Is that why DrTony’s patient was so worked up?

If you’re wondering whether The Well-Timed Period merits its tagline, “At the intersection of medical fact and fiction,” read Fetus in Fetu, about a 16 year old boy carrying his twin brother in his body, and all doubts will vanish!

Information is Free explains that “the terror threat system doesn’t work, on a basic logical, psychological level.” Luckily the rest of the Federal government is working so smoothly.

Anyone reading from pharma product development? GruntDoc wants to know, Where are the combination products for drug resistant bacteria? The recommended treatment is two drugs and pharma loves combination products –so what’s up?

Catallarchy picked up where my Health business blog left off on the role of technology in driving up health care costs. Turns out things are not so simple!

Iatremia: The Chaplin.News reports on an innovative scheduling scheme to comply with laws limiting house staff to 80 hours per week.

Despite all the abuse, Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. “Orac Knows”) just can’t help making one more post challenging attempts to link thimerosal and autism.

Red State Moron writes about the difficulty of establishing quality measurements in OB and the pervasive culture of perfection in medicine.

Turns out doctors use Google, too, according to Clinical Cases. (Maybe that’s why the stock’s up to $300.) Luckily, most physicians are a little more discerning than the typical layperson and don’t make decisions based on what they read on blogs!

Although the country has a nonviolent reputation, apparently you can get away with murder (or at least manslaughter) in Canada, as long as you’re a pharmacist. Interested Participant tells us all about it.

In case that’s not bad enough, I pointed out in the Health business blog earlier this week that Shopping Around for the Best Prices Can Kill You.

Different River tells us that providing food and beverage can be considered “heroic measures,” that can be denied.

Two (presidential) terms later summarizes the resolutions passed at this year’s AMA meeting.

Aggravated DocSurg is bent out of shape about spending public dollars on chiropractic services.

In case you’re stuck, HealthyConcerns has a three-part series on how one doctor is trying to escape the “trap.” (He didn’t have to resort to gnawing his leg off.)

In the Examining Room of Dr. Charles, we learn about one man’s unpleasant encounter with a ten by eleven centimeter “stool ball.” (Threat level: Orange.)

Insureblog wants us to give Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s compulsory health insurance plan a chance. If nothing else, it will be a good preview of Mitt’s rumored run for higher office.

A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure comments on the success of anesthesiologists in improving patient safety and reducing their own malpractice premiums, but laments that it may be more difficult and less successful as surgeons try to follow in their footsteps.

Dr. Jennings wants us to know about Pulmonary Roundtable, a new blog for discussion of cases about pulmonary or critical care medicine.

Dr. Bob writes a touching tale about a family that lost its children in a tragic plane crash in Alaska. Has anyone else noticed the number of fatal small plane crashes in Alaska? It’s not a coincidence –it’s dangerous.

MSSPNexus Blog reflects on the competence of older physicians, drawing a parallel with firefighters. The problem sometimes isn’t age, but complacency.

Speaking of danger, Parallel Universes provides an update on the status of malaria in the Philippines. You can’t always keep the mosquitoes away, so avoid places where malaria is endemic.

Who’s that lurking in the corner (and will he buy my staff some pizzas?) The Krafty Librarian reports that drug companies are keeping tabs on every prescription doctors write.

Next week’s Grand Rounds XLI will be hosted by self-described Connectologist, Tim Gee at Medical Connectivity. In this post, he discusses the Current State of Medical Device connectivity in hospitals.