Doctor Bloggy, please report to the nurses station
April 10, 2006 1:46 PM   Subscribe

There are lots of doctors who blog. Among them, two recent entries were particularly notable: a heavy one about a grieving 15 year old father and a light one about child cancer survivors.
posted by mathowie (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How are these not HIPPA violationa?
posted by delmoi at 1:57 PM on April 10, 2006

Er, I mean 'violations', of course.
posted by delmoi at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2006

What do you mean? These entries don't appear to disclose any real names. (Nice stories, btw.)
posted by brain_drain at 2:05 PM on April 10, 2006

delmoi: How are these not HIPPA violationa?

Names changed to protect the innocent? Just a few seconds of looking on the website reveals this:
For privacy concerns: I’m always cognizant of these issues, and respect patients’ privacy. If I have any hesitation to write about someone else for any reason, I choose not to write about it at all. All names and identifying characteristics have been altered or deleted in order to protect confidentiality and conform to HIPAA guidelines. 28 year-old Steve may be 33-year old Rachel. These details are rarely the focus of my stories.
That said, what an interesting (and good looking) blog. I like the clever name too.
posted by tweak at 2:05 PM on April 10, 2006

How are these not HIPPA violationa?
posted by delmoi at 3:57 PM CST on April 10 [


There is no Patient Identifying Information.

HIPAA protects PHI ("Protected Health Information"). If the guy is changing the individuals name, there isn't any HIPAA violation at all because no PHI is being used and/or disclosed.

And, its HIPAA not "HIPPA"... Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
posted by dios at 2:28 PM on April 10, 2006

I also like Push Fluids, a group blog by three young anonymous MDs at a NYC hospital.
posted by nicwolff at 2:28 PM on April 10, 2006

Doctors write about patients all the time in medical journals. This isn't any different. As long as they don't give identifying information, I don't see a problem.
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on April 10, 2006

I love Polite Dissent. Ever wanted to know how realistic a comic book's depiction of a surgery scene is? He'll tell you. House also gets an accuracy checkup.

Doctors who blog apparently take turns doing a weekly compilation of entries, called Grand Rounds. Here's last week's.
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:49 PM on April 10, 2006

Thanks a lot for the grand link bnl. It is absolutely no HIPAA violation if you keep names out of talks. Medicine is learned in essentially this way and even though HIPAA can be obtrusive it would never have been adopted if denied such speech.

What is very much a HIPAA violation was something like on the Sopranos a couple shows back where Tony asks the hot hospital case manager what happened to the patient next door and she says point blank "I heard that he got his larynx out." As for a show that might pride itself on realistic writing such a scene should never and, post-HIPAA, probably never occur in a hospital.

As for doctors blogging, I find it can be a scary but good thing -- once you got some perspective. That's why I would slightly hesitate from doctors blogging young in their career unless they punctuate their writing and make you known of their naivete as much they can.
posted by narebuc at 3:05 PM on April 10, 2006

Ring, my friend I said you'd call
Doctor Bloggy
Day or night he'll be there any time at all
Doctor Bloggy....
posted by horsemuth at 4:01 PM on April 10, 2006

I blog, mostly about the lived experience of practicing in a busy emergency department, less about the "fascinating cases" that might be of interest to other physicians. As for HIPPA, it's essentially a non-issue if you dont mention the patient's name or any other identifying info.
posted by mert at 4:33 PM on April 10, 2006

As long as no one can say "hey, that was me!" (or my sister, etc). it's not a HIPPA violation. That said, I would love to write a blog about my job, but HIPPA is what concerns me.
posted by 6:1 at 4:47 PM on April 10, 2006

It's HIPAA, people, HIPAA! And 6:1, it doesn't matter if someone can identify themselves in a posting/article/whatever, it's if someone else can identify them. In the post of mine mathowie linked to, I'm certain that my patient's mother can identify her (of course, I also know that she reads my site and happily obliged me), but that's not the point.
posted by delfuego at 5:33 PM on April 10, 2006

Healthcare Renewal is a terrific doctor blog with a slightly different approach. It's not about practicing medicine but about identifying corruption and abuse of power in medicine.

I love Fat Doctor and Kevin MD is good for the latest news in medicine.

There's also my blog trying to remind doctors that we could do a lot more to treat patients respectfully.
posted by DrAmy at 5:35 PM on April 10, 2006

Thanks for the link, mathowie. If you're interested in health care blogs, there's Medlogs which links a TON of healt-related blogging: docs, nurses, med students, patients, etc.

We also have a weekly Grand Rounds, which features our self-reported best-of-the-week's postings. It's due to come out tomorrow, at Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments. If health policy is more your style, there's now a health policy weekly as well.
posted by gramcracker at 5:43 PM on April 10, 2006

i really like Random acts of reality. It's written by a guy who works in an ambulance in London. Good stuff.
posted by muthecow at 5:50 PM on April 10, 2006

posted by blendor at 6:25 PM on April 10, 2006

WTF delmoi?

Callout on Aisle #11662

Why do you have to constanly preach your gospel about HIPAA?
posted by blasdelf at 10:25 PM on April 10, 2006

delfuego/Dr. Levine had a great entry in his blog about how he saved a child's life a few years ago. He wrote that it was the first time he realized that a person would have died w/o his intervention. My memory's sketchy, but he was visiting a low income home with paramedics when he recognized that an infant with a fever had a serious condition that required immediate care. If he hadn't been there the child would have died, because the paramedics wouldn't have recognized the severity of the child's condition and probably chalked it up to a cold or fever. Can anyone link to it? I can't find it now and delfuego himself can't self-link...or perhaps he can, since it's a comment within the thread, and I specifically asked for it. It's a great entry.

Rock on delfuego
posted by Devils Slide at 1:01 AM on April 11, 2006

(Also previously.)
posted by slimepuppy at 3:03 AM on April 11, 2006

What? Dr. Who has a blog?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:21 AM on April 11, 2006

Devils, this is the story. Glad you liked it.
posted by delfuego at 8:49 AM on April 11, 2006

Thanks delfuego :) What a heartwarming story.

I'd obviously forgotten some of the details, such as the baby being hypothermic rather than having a fever, but I did remember that he wasn't the patient you'd gone to see in the first place. What a stroke of good luck that you happened to tag along with the nurse. I assume you did become the baby's pediatrician and trust he's a healthy five year old now.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:08 AM on April 11, 2006

delfuego: Thanks for keeping a web log, I like to be able to live vicariously through stories like yours.
I'm with Devils Slide, how is the boy from your story now?
posted by jpf at 10:21 AM on April 11, 2006

I'm sad to say that I don't specifically know how he's doing! I became his pediatrician at that point, and then finished my pediatrics residency training in New York City in mid-2003. I'm now at the end of my pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship training in Boston, so I'm not his doctor anymore. (Of course, that's a *good* thing, since I'd only be his doctor right now if he had cancer or a serious hematologic condition!)

All that being said, I spoke with the pediatrician I passed his care off to about six months ago, and he's a thriving kid with two younger siblings, so I'm assuming all's still well.
posted by delfuego at 10:44 AM on April 11, 2006

This is good, even if it is too much like real life to me.
posted by TedW at 7:42 PM on April 11, 2006

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