If there were such a thing as royalty in the medical blog world, Kevin, MD, might well be king.
The alter ego of Kevin Pho, ACP Member, gathers medical tidbits from around the Web, then briefly summarizes and links to them. Sounds simple enough, so why has Kevin, MD been name-checked by illustrious media like the Wall Street Journal, the CBS Evening News and NPR, and frequently referenced by many other health and medical blogs?
For one thing, the Kevin, MD blog is reliable. This can go a long way in the blogosphere, which is littered with fledgling sites that are abandoned after a few months of half-hearted scribbling. The site also follows a magic formula: frequent updates, short and snappy posts, and lots of shout-outs to fellow bloggers.
“I made a concerted effort to raise readership, and to incorporate techniques other blogs use to get more readers,” said Dr. Pho, a general internist in Nashua, N.H. “I also had it professionally optimized so when people do a Google search, they find my blog.”
Recent posts covered the topics of pro-suicide Web sites, defensive medicine, ED overcrowding, retail airport clinics and a photo of a man who had the image of his own skeleton tattooed on his back.
“There's no scientific method to what I post; it's just what interests me. I do a lot of health care politics,” Dr. Pho said. “Anything that stirs up debate and gets people commenting, or anything medically bizarre, I will post, just to give the blog some flavor.”
Kevin, MD also has regular features, such as the MedBlog Power 8, a weekly list of medical blogs that have had an outstanding week of blogging; and Reader Takes, occasional op-ed pieces from Kevin, MD's loyal audience of 10,000 to 15,000 readers.
In the beginning, Dr. Pho wrote many more original opinion pieces himself, but he's moved to “link blogging”—combing the Internet for interesting news and serving up his choices to readers, links and all.
“People can use my blog as a starting point to launch to other interesting stories,” said Dr. Pho. “This is a way I can stay in tune with medical news and help others get up to date, too. I try to give little quips and one-liners to give it a bit of color.”
The blog has remained true to its original intent, Dr. Pho said, which is to provide a perspective on medical issues of the day that he feels isn't always represented in the mainstream media.
“A lot of times when news is reported in the media, it is done so sensationalistically, and it can leave important facts out,” Dr. Pho said. “I thought it was important to have a physician's perspective on breaking medical news, and to get other physicians' thoughts through the comments sections on issues as well.”
Since he hasn't made an effort to hide his identity, as some other doctor-bloggers do, Dr. Pho never writes about patient cases. While anonymous bloggers may experience catharsis by sharing difficult patient situations with readers, the benefits from Kevin, MD are a little different.
“I've actually had a few younger, new patients find me through the blog. They want a physician who is tuned in to the Internet,” Dr. Pho said. “The blog also helps me really consider and temper my opinions. I can't spout off crazy things … because people know who I am.”