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BLOGS: Why Blogs?

Independence Blue Cross medical director Alan Adler has written a fairly comprehensive piece on medical and health care blogging in Managed Care Magazine. It’s called Why Blogs?

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  1. The Prevention of Ignorance
    Historically, information sources provided to American citizens were limited due to the few methods available to the public. And also this information was subject to being filtered and, in some cases, delayed. This occurred for a number of reasons, which included political ones.
    Now, and with great elation, there is the internet.
    Soon after the advent of the internet, web logs were created, that are termed ‘blogs’. At that time, about a decade ago, the blogs were referred to as personal journals or diaries visible on line. As time passed, blogs became a media medium, and blog communities evolved on topics that often were not addressed in mainstream media. In addition, blogs provide immediate contributions by others instead of the cumbersomeness of opinion and editorial pieces historically and not always presented in such media forms as newspapers. The authors of blogs vary as far as their backgrounds and intent of what they present are, just as with other media forms. Furthermore, they are not exonerated from the legalities of what is written, such as cases of libel. While we can presume that they like to write, they may not be quality writers.
    Yet presently, blogs have become quite a driving force for those with objectives often opposed by others, and are a threat to big business and politics both who presently monitor the progress and content of blogs that provide instant information on events, which might affect their image and activities not yet exposed.
    This includes information released from whistleblowers
    While one disadvantage of blogs is the potential lack of reliability, blogs however do allow the posting of documents that typically are not created for view of others besides perhaps a select few. For example, blogger Dr. Peter Rost, a whistleblower himself, not long ago posted a newsletter on his blog site given to him by pharmaceutical maker AstraZeneca employees who called themselves the ‘AZ Group of Seven’ to bring to the attention to others the illegal activity of off-label promotion of one of their cancer drugs. Yet this is not what caught the attention of so many with all of the content of this newsletter. It was instead a comment stated by former regional AZ manager Mike Zubalagga, who in this newsletter referred to doctors’ offices as ‘buckets of money’. Again, the statement was authentic and in writing in this newsletter.
    Mr. Zubalagga was fired the next day due to this comment. His manager resigned soon afterwards.
    And there have been other whistleblower blog cases in addition to this one, so blogs have become a very powerful and threatening medium of information release that does not allow others to prevent such releases. This is true freedom of information, free of alteration or omission. One step closer to social utopia.
    Yet again, the information on these blogs should not be taken as absolute truth without proof to verify claims that may be made. Of course, documents that are authentic are in fact proof, as illustrated with the above example. And this, in my opinion, is the blog’s greatest value, combined with the comments on blogs from the growing number of readers who are allowed to contribute to the subject matter so quickly, which fuels the objectives of the blogs.
    Because we, the public, have a right to know what we are entitled to know and what we want to know. This is especially true if the information could potentially be adverse to our well-being.
    “Information is the seed of an idea, and only grows when it’s watered.” — Heinz V. Berger
    Dan Abshear

  2. Hmmm… you cannot leave a comment on Alan Adler’s post. Stupid. He did not actually mention blogs that are BY and FOR patients — at LEAST as relevant as all the blogs on health providers and on blogging itself.

  3. You don’t go to blogs or discussion boards for information per se, but rather for new ideas. Simply reading the comments is an excellent learning process. They are a way of sharing information and stimulating ideas. A great way to get new perspectives and information.

  4. blogs are important because they keep people informed and it is a great way to share current information

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