[Note: This post offers an exclusive opportunity for doctors to receive an “alpha” version of the Online Activation for Physicians eBook; read on for details]

Face it:  Thinking that a re-tweeting of how much we want more doctors on Twitter by next year is just preaching to the social media choir.  After all, those on social media are already supporters.  How do we get physicians who are not on social media to understand its potential value to them?
– Dr. Westby Fisher, Let’s start a grassroots physician social media movement (via KevinMD.com, December 31, 2013)

Having studied physicians’ online behavior for more than 5 years now, I’ve had a chance to see the highs and lows of their adoption of social media. Doctors like Mike Sevilla, Wendy Sue Swanson, Bryan Vartabedian, and Jordan Grumet have been online for years and years – and seeing them leverage the power of social media to connect, organize and re-establish the voice of the physician in public health dialog has been an incredible inspiration to me and many others. It’s why I started to write about physician innovators under the MDigitalLife banner in 2012, and have featured these folks and many others for their work.

Dr. Westby Fisher is another one of those pioneers – though one I haven’t had the opportunity to meet personally. In the piece that I quoted above (which is a must-read, by the way), Dr. Fisher notes that physician engagement in social media isn’t going to become the norm just because social media is “cool.” It’s only going to happen en masse when more doctors see a clear value proposition in investing their precious time in pursuing that engagement.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last two years to train over 100 doctors in the W2O Group’s “Online Activation” model. As that model has evolved, there are a few things I’ve found to be most impactful in terms of “unlocking” doctors in social media:

  • Spending more time than you’d think on goal-setting … what is it that each person actually hopes to achieve in their career, their practice, their research, etc.
  • Explaining that social media isn’t just about yapping incessantly. Our model has 4 components: Read, Connect, Share and Create – and we don’t even cover the “creation” aspect in the initial coaching session!
  • Removing tactical roadblocks – the most basic “how-to” of using social media tools and channels to achieve each doctor’s “use case”
  • Showing real examples of doctors who are using social media to add value to their particular set of goals

It’s this last item that Dr. Fisher’s blog post called to mind.

Those of us who are believers have to show them a well-organized RSS feed reader containing journal articles and news reports they’re want to say up up to date with and likely read.  We have to show them how to use social media to collaborate (in near real-time) with colleagues to write an article or crowd-source a talk.  We need to show them the contacts — many who they’d recognize — you’ve made around the globe.  Show them how they can lurk and get the information they need without having to expose themselves to any potential legal issues. 
– Dr. Westby Fisher, Let’s start a grassroots physician social media movement (via KevinMD.com, December 31, 2013 – emphasis mine)

To that end, I decided to answer Dr. Fisher’s request – by sharing a bundle of RSS feeds representing the blogs of over 60 doctors (note: this is scratching the surface; we’re tracking over 2,500) using an amazing reading tool called Feedly*. So without further ado, here’s your physician-blogger “starter list” – along with the “alpha” version of the Online Activation Planning for Physicians eBook.

To subscribe to our list of physician blogs:

  1. Sit down at your laptop or desktop computer (This initial step can’t be taken via tablet or smartphone yet. After this initial step, you’ll be able to do everything via web, tablet or smartphone at your discretion).
  2. Download this OPML file you’ll find here [bit.ly/docopml] and save it to your desktop (Don’t try to open it; it’s gobbledygook to look at on its own).

If you’re already a Feedly user:

  1. Log in to your feedly account.
  2. Under the “My Feedly” menu, click “Organize”
  3. Select “Import OPML”
  4. Click “Choose File” and select the file you just downloaded
  5. Click the blue “Import” button

If you’re not a Feedly user, just follow the steps in this Slideshare presentation:

And if you’re a doctor and would like to get a copy of the “alpha” version of the “Online Activation for Physicians” ebook, just complete this form and I’ll email you a copy.

If you’d like to know more about our MDigitalLife program for understanding, engaging and activating physicians online, feel free to email me at gmatthews@wcgworld.com. Thanks to Dr. Fisher for giving the right airtime to this important topic!

*There are many reasons that we use Feedly for this purpose, but the most important ones are: (A) It presents a beautiful and consistent reading experience on the web, tablets and smart-phones. (B) It allows 1-click sharing and saving to any social network or note-taking tool. (C) The Feedly leadership team loves the idea of a reader tool as a part of the revolution in physician communications, and have been working with my team to add new features that support that goal even more seamlessly.