Ten Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes To Be a More Connected Health Professional

July 20, 2008 at 4:14 am 4 comments

You need a break and, instead of heading to the coffee pot, take 10 minutes to follow one of these 10 suggestions to be more connected and better at communicating health messages:

  1. Become a social networker: Take your pick, LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, … Create a profile, including a picture, and invite some colleagues. If you search, you’ll find many of them already there. (You can connect to me!)
  2. Try twitter: Join twitter and try out micro-blogging. Invite some colleagues or find some who are already there. Try following me (I am a sporadic user but I post health links occasionally) or try BBC Health.
  3. Read a blog: Health blogs range from very professional and constantly updated to navel-gazing ones that were last posted in over a year ago. I recommend you start with Well, Tara Parker-Pope’s health blog at the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog, Consumer Report’s Health Blog, or Health 2.0. For contrast, try Leroy Sievers’ NPR blog or one of WebMD’s blogs. Not feeling overwhelmed yet? Do a search on “health blogs” or even “health blog directories” and I guarantee you will be suffering from information overload. Now comment on a blog. Not only do bloggers like to know you read a post, but you undoubtedly have something to contribute. After all, if you wrote a blog post, wouldn’t you like to know what your readers think? Be a producer, not just a consumer!
  4. Create a blog: You knew this was coming! But only do it if you can commit to posting regularly. If you think you can only post sporadically, start one with a few colleagues. I recommend wordpress but there are many other blogging tools.
  5. Create a community: try ning and set up an online community about your health specialty. First search to see what else is there. If you find some, check to see how many members they have and the date of the latest site activity.
  6. Do a search on a health topic: Select a topic of interest to you professionally and do a search. Look at the number of results first. Next look to see if there are sponsored links. Finally, look at the first 10 results and see if you think they represent your topic well. If your work isn’t there, come up with a plan for greater visibility. (If you don’t know what SEO stands for, then at least become conversant with it.)
  7. Learn how information spreads: Post an article you like (or wrote) to digg, mixx, StumbleUpon, or reddit. Or post a picture to Flickr or a video to YouTube. If you aren’t ready to post, then participate by commenting on or voting on it.
  8. Use Wikipedia: Have you read Wikipedia’s entry on your health specialty? Read it and enhance it. If there isn’t one there, create it. There are other wikis out there too – for instance, you might want to add your name to the list of Health 2.0 people – and see who else is on it.
  9. Connect with a person: Email a colleague about something you read or are thinking about. Or pick up the phone. Or even invite someone you’ve been meaning to talk to out for coffee. (See, you get your coffee break after all.)
  10. Just for fun: What would it take for you to be the first health specialist on TechCult’s Top 100 Web Celebrities list – besides a blog (see #4) and funky hair?

Finally, think of your own idea for a 10 minute activity that can improve your health communication skills and post it as a comment below so others can benefit.

Thanks to the students in Emerson College’s Summer Institute for Social Marketing and Health Communication who inspired this post following my lecture on New Technologies for Health Communication.

Entry filed under: health, online health communities, Web 2.0. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. VCA direct  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Many people grimace at the sound of music theory. It can conjure up bad memories of grade school music classes, rattle the brains of college students, and make self taught musicians feel self defeated. Music Theory may seem tedious and unnecessary, especially since not many people can read music. Luckily, Music Theory for Dummies shows you the fun and easy way to understanding the concepts needed to compose, deconstruct, and comprehend music. This helpful guide will give you a great grasp of: note value and counting notes; treble and bass clefs; time signatures and measures; naturalizing the rhythm; tempo and dynamic; tone, color, and harmonics; half steps and whole steps; harmonic and melodic intervals; key signatures and circles of fifths; scales, chords, and their progressions; elements of form; and music theory’s fascinating history. This friendly guide not only explores these concepts, it provides examples of music to compliment them so you can hear how they sound firsthand. With a bonus CD that demonstrates these ideas with musical excerpts on guitar and piano, this hands on resource will prove to you that music theory is as enjoyable as it is useful. Don’t get discouraged by the seemingly complicated written structure. With Music Theory for Dummies , understanding music has never been easier! Note: CD ROM/DVD and other supplementary materials are not included as part of e-Book file.


  • 2. VCA direct  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    VCA Cursus

  • 3. Lisa Neal Gualtieri  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Of course, time – even 10 minutes – can be very hard to find. For the students in the class, which was on social marketing and health communication, knowing how to reach people is essential. For health professionals in general, I would argue that it is primarily important to the extent that they understand what their patients are doing online. So I don’t think we disagree, only need the clarification about role and priorities.

  • 4. Kate Britt  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    “Take 10 minutes….” ??? Hmmm, was there ever a blog post that took just 10 minutes? What can a health care professional write in just 10 minutes that would be educational for us or communicate anything of real value about our health?

    In my personal journey through the battlefield of regaining health during my recent challenges, I learned to be my own health care broker. I sought ways to access health professionals, communicate with them (demand their attention, is what it amounts to!), and get good service.

    Before approaching any professional, I surfed for information and read many health blogs; reading a variety of informational and research reports is like one of those tag clouds (like the one on this site in the right-hand column) — gradually one’s knowledge on a topic grows and the more accurate or relevant information begins to stand out from the rest. It’s best to go to a doctor’s office well equipped for specific and advanced level discussion about our own bodies and symptoms.

    Nevertheless, my first reaction to this article, Lisa, was that my druthers would be for health care professionals to NOT spend their time writing blogs. I’d rather they invest their time in treating their clients and, of course, in ongoing research about advancements in methods, technologies, discovering and trying new approaches, especially those that address health enhancement rather than those that simply treat the symptoms of illness. I want to know I’m getting the best and most up to date treatment and knowledge from my health care professionals.

    In short, being a person who is all too familiar with how creating blog postings and other online communication eats up my time enormously, I’d rather not have my health care professionals doing that with their time.

    Of course, if they’re writing/publishing articles about their own research, practices, findings, new approaches, etc., it would be a good idea for them to post a copy of those articles online as well as publishing them in medical journals, etc. I’d prefer they do it on their own business/professional websites rather than all over the ‘net in various blogs. Search engines will collect the articles for me; I don’t necessarily need to rely on just reading health-based blogs.

    I agree with Lisa’s post in that I certainly want to trust that health information found online comes from the professionals — preferably those who have time to stay current in the field of health advancements. We consumers need access to all the wisdom and knowledge we can get when it comes to finding out more about our health as well as symptoms of dis-ease.

    I guess it comes down to this: If my health care professional is writing up their knowledge or research findings, then yes, please post it online. But if we ourselves are asking them to spend more time doing that, let’s first consider the other ways in which we would prefer that they spend their time.


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu


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