Why I blog

From time to time, people ask me why I do this. For sure, it’s a significant time commitment, in addition to managing a full-time primary care panel.

I’ve previously stated that I intend to “pull the curtain back”, to expose what goes on behind the scenes at the physician’s office and the hospital. I wrote the following on my About page: “By shining a light on physician frustrations that the mainstream media may ignore, perhaps we can get one step closer to resolving these issues.”

There are plenty who have little sympathy for doctors’ concerns, chalking it up to whining by a well-compensated profession. What they fail to see is that problems physicians face will most definitely spillover to patients. And whether they like it or not, everyone will become a patient sooner or later.

So, it is gratifying to read that some of the themes of the blog are being positively received, like in this e-mail I received today:

Kevin -
I have recently begun reading your blog and find several of the stories you reference to be quite fascinating. The articles have helped me put what has been happening to me in context and provide me with a game plan for getting my issues addressed. I am not in the medical profession, but rather I am a patient. I was always healthy until a year and three months ago when I started experiencing a wide variety of symptoms including chest pain, hair loss, random stabbing pains and GI symptoms among others. I went to my PCP and have been subsequently referred to specialist after specialist for test after test finding it more and more frustrating that no one appears to be looking at the entire picture – only the symptoms that fall under their specialty, thus I have yet to be diagnosed.

Reading your blog has given me the knowledge of why this is happening. I have found especially fascinating the reimbursement procedures – both in your blog and my personal experience. I have had several appointments with a PCP over the past year lasting at least 30 minutes and have noticed the reimbursement from my insurance company rarely tops $100. I was referred to a GI specialist who spent no longer than three minutes with me and was reimbursed over $300. In that three minutes she was able to schedule me for an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy with very little evaluation of my problems.

Thanks to your blog I have a much greater appreciation for my PCP and a greater grasp on how my medical care is progressing and hopefully will be able to be a better advocate for my own care in the future. Keep up the good work.

You’re very welcome, and this is one of the reasons why I won’t go away for awhile.

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  • Anonymous

    Really nice post, Kevin. Thank you, and keep it up!

  • DR. MARY JOHNSON

    As an observation (assuming this comment doesn’t get “moderated” out), from the cheap seats, you’re not pulling very hard on that veil.

    Not going anywhere either.

  • Shaun

    Great point Kevin…”The problems doctors face will spill over to patient.” I agree!

  • Anonymous

    This is one of your best posts ever. Thank you for giving us a look at the real you.

  • Anonymous

    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 or eliminated. This occurred for a number of reasons, which included political ones. What I am referring to is pre-internet sources, such as media sources in the form of radio, newspaper, and television, for example
    Now, and with great elation (some may say), there is the internet, which has been useful to everyone from researchers to job seekers.
    Soon after the advent of the internet, web logs were created, that are termed presently and simply ‘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 the backgrounds of the creators of these journals, as well as their true intent of what they choose to present to possible readers. Furthermore, they are not exonerated from the legalities of what is written, such as cases of libel or plagiarism, for example. While we can presume that blog creators have at least an interest in a particular subject, ideally they should also have an interest and ability to annotate the written word. As with other printed material, the quality varies, as editing, I believe, is rare as far as what is posted on blogs.
    Yet presently, blogs have become quite a driving force for those with objectives often and apparently opposed by others, and are possibly and particularly a great threat to big business and politics- both of which have been known to often monitor often the progress and/or content of some blogs, which potentially provide instant and often accurate information for readers- which includes what is posted on blogs as well as what may be commented on these posts. Understandably, this weapon certainly has the potential to affect such groups unable to prevent or filter what could expose what has not been disclosed, and at times needs to be disclosed. Rarely do blogs involve trade secrets, for example, as far as I know.
    This also and fortunately includes information released from whistleblowers on certain blogs or directly to the creators of certain blogs- often and with good reason to remain invisible in doing so, as there have been such cases already through this blog medium- which is similar to YouTube, only blogs reflect what is written and not viewed. It’s an avenue of sharing information and overall assuring anonymity.
    Yet, blogs are not free of fallacies, as 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. Furthermore, blog owners, as with journalists, strive to verify any premise stated on their blog. 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 posted in completion on Dr. Rost’s blog site, “Question Authority”. It was instead a comment that was annotated as being 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. At the same time, the statement validated what others view of pharmaceutical companies in relation to their greed, perhaps
    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 could say that blogs are reaching a form of some sort of communication utopia. Also, as with the case just stated about the newsletter, some are more careful what is written than others.
    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, which clearly opens formerly closed loops.
    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. Personally, I have no interest in the financial future of a company, for example. More important to me is the importance of knowing if others may potentially harm others with deliberate intent.

    “Information is the seed of an idea, and only grows when it’s watered.” — Heinz V. Berger

    Dan Abshear

    Author’s note: What has been written is based upon information and belief

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