Blog | Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blogging gives voice to doctors in the trenches

My name is Dr. Rob, and I am the newest contributor to the ACP Internist blog. (That sounds a lot like a 12-step meeting, doesn't it?) Perhaps that's appropriate, as many of us internists feel powerless at this point in time, and we could certainly use help from a higher power (or at least from Washington, D.C.)

Since I will be a regular contributor, I thought a little bit of background information is appropriate:
--My full name is Rob Lamberts, ACP Member, and I am part of a private practice in suburban Augusta, Ga. I grew up in New York and went to medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Read between the lines: I get called "Yankee" a lot.
--I did a combined internal medicine/pediatric residency at Indiana University and my practice is a mix of both. Read between the lines: I have a masochistic streak.
--Our office has been on electronic medical records since 1996, and was recognized by Health Information and Management Systems Society for our excellent implementation, receiving the Davies Award for 2003. Read between the lines: I am a geek.
llamas by ECohen via Flickr--Since 2006, I have authored the blog Musings of a Distractible Mind, which is a mix of personal musings about life as a doctor, an insider's view of our ridiculous system, and humor (with the inexplicable appearance of llamas in an inordinate number of posts). Read between the lines: I write whatever strikes me at the time.
--Since July of 2009, I have hosted The House Call Doctor podcast, part of the Quick and Dirty Tips family of podcasts. My goal is to give concise and accurate medical information that the general public can understand. Read between the lines: the apocalypse may already be upon us.

One of my main passions--and what I will concentrate on in this blog--is to give a voice to the practicing internist. The health care debate rages in Washington, lobbyists vie for influence, and bills are passed; yet, the people who are at the center of the whole debate have very little voice. Doctors do have their advocacy groups (ACP is among the best), but even those representatives don't truly understand our situation.

I make my living off of seeing patients in my office. I have to meet payroll, pay rent, and cover my other expenses before I can get paid at all. This means that I don't have time to spend in Washington giving my very important perspective. I only get paid for days I am at work.

Blogging has given the doctors "in the trenches" a voice. I have been honored to be able to actually have some influence on the debate through my blog. I have been cited by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and have appeared on NPR. I contribute to the website MedPage Today. It boggles my mind that a practicing doctor in the deep south could actually have the opportunities to voice my views before such a large audience; but, the reason I have gotten this opportunity is that I voice a very important perspective that is rarely heard.

So I hope you enjoy my contributions to this fine blog. I am going to start out re-posting some of my more popular posts. Read between the lines: I am being a little lazy but will cover hot topics when they come up. I am truly honored to be part of ACP, and relish the opportunity to contribute on this blog. I doubt llamas will come up much. Read between the lines: It's irony.

Rob Lamberts, ACP Member, writes the blog Musings of a Distractible Mind and is on Twitter. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and was an early adopter of electronic medical records.