Dr. Kevin Pho is a hero to health and medical bloggers everywhere, because his blog, Kevin, M.D., has done so much to increase interest in our little corner of the blogosphere. Kevin offers a candid view of problems in the U.S. healthcare system from a doctor’s perspective — and unlike many medical bloggers who are rightly fearful of employer reprimand or legal reprisals, he is able to put his name and face by his opinions.
Kevin is such a medblog idol, in fact, that he has even inspired poetry from other physician bloggers.
We asked Kevin about the origins of Kevin, M.D., some of his readers’ favorite posts, and his plans for the future.
Cary: What inspired you to start Kevin M.D.? Are you blogging for the same reasons today, or have your purpose and/or goals evolved over time?
Kevin: I started Kevin, M.D. in May of 2004. At first, it was a way to “pull back the curtain” and have the public take a look at the issues facing physicians today. Gradually, the blog has evolved into a forum where current hot topics are blogged, debated, and discussed. During this process, attention is given to various issues that are important from a physicians’ perspective. Health care reform is an issue that won’t go away anytime soon. The fear is that many of the changes will occur without physician input. My blog is a way to give physicians a voice during the upcoming changes.
Cary: Of all the topics you write about, what areas of healthcare seem to be of greatest interest to your readers? What topics are the most controversial?
Kevin: Since the beginning of time, physicians and lawyers have different priorities and goals, leading to historically dissonant views. Any topic pertaining to defensive medicine, tort reform, malpractice premiums will always bring out the two sides in passionate debate.
Discussion of the different approaches to covering the uninsured, and whether the government should play a greater role in health care also is a hot area. I try to give my posts an air of controversy to spark debate. By doing so, it will bring attention to important healthcare issues that mainstream media may ignore or minimize.
Cary: Do you have an all-time favorite post?
Kevin: I have almost 7,000 posts to date. It is difficult to choose one favorite. In terms of the most commented post, it has to be the one where I talked about a case about someone eating a lot of ice. It has blossomed into a support group of sorts, with almost 300 comments.
Two other series consistently garner significant attention. The first would be the “I practiced defensive medicine today,” a series of posts where I invited other providers to give sobering examples of how they ordered extra tests to protect themselves from possible malpractice litigation.
My recent essay on defensive medicine summarizes my views on this important topic.
Another would be the “Doctors Gone Wild,” a series of oddball stories of physicians doing some ridiculous things.
Cary: What are your favorite blogs?
Kevin: I browse about 50+ medical blogs daily, looking for interesting starting points of discussion. In no particular order, here are three that I enjoy:
Cary: You say in your profile that the day Kevin, M.D. becomes a chore, you’ll stop writing it. Are you any closer to that day, or is it still just as enjoyable for you as when you started?
Kevin: Kevin, M.D. is still going strong. I am fortunate to be in a position where my employer supports my blogging endeavors, so I can avoid the recent controversies about being “outed” in the blogosphere. I am also thankful for my loyal readers, who waste no time supporting or disagreeing with what I say.
American health care and how physicians practice medicine will change significantly in the coming years, with health reform being in the forefront. If physicians don’t speak for ourselves and make our opinions known, others will make these significant decisions for us. Giving physicians a voice in this sea of change will continue to be a primary reason why I’ll continue to blog.7