Cary A. Presant, MD, a hematologist and medical oncologist who practices at Wilshire Oncology Medical Group in West Covina, California, is on the faculty of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Currently the chairman of the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, he is past president of both the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the American Cancer Society-California Division and previously served on the board of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
He blogs at Medscape Connect: http://blogs.medscape.com/carypresant, and the titles of some of his recent posts show what he wants oncologists to be thinking about:
* Are We Becoming the Specialty of Medical Oncology and Genetics?
* CT or not CT, that is the Question.
* Palliative Care in Oncology Practice: How Soon to Use?
* ACO Proposed Rule: For Oncology, a TKO or A-OK?
Why do you blog?
As chairman of the board of the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California and as past president of other cancer-related organizations, I feel that there is information that needs to be taken into account by physicians as they run their practices and as they contact their elected officials in order to try to keep oncology very strong, and I felt that the most effective way of doing that was to have a blog.
How much time and energy do you put into your blog?
I started out with one post per month, and then they asked me to go to two posts per month. Thinking about the blog is something that I am doing all the time as I am reading journals, as I am talking with my colleagues, and as we are doing work in the Medical Oncology Association. I'm always thinking, “Gee, would this be something of interest to more oncologists all over the country?”
In terms of actual writing, it takes me about a half hour to get the first draft of the blog down to my satisfaction, and then I go back and edit it a couple of times. The actual posting takes about 15 minutes.
Why do you consider blogging worthy of your time?
I think there is value in becoming involved with social media because it forces you to make decisions about topics that you might not normally think of exploring. Participating in a network community aids in your ability to think about what you need to do within your practice and for your individual patients. In that sense, I believe that the people who are writing blogs and articles get a lot more out of it than the people who may be reading them.
Writing forces us into more comprehensive analyses of issues and requires that we bring our expertise forward to opine on a particular topic. Because of that, there's a great deal of personal growth and a great deal of added information that I know I take home from this.
Also, physician bloggers don't just leave that at home, and through the scientific organizations and practice associations or their own practice affiliations, authors become better leaders as a result of that process.
Do you use other social media?
I use Facebook. I have not used Twitter or LinkedIn myself, but our hospital does use both. I am working with the hospital social media expert to look at expanding the cancer footprint through the social media.
Using social media from a business perspective is different from using it on a personal-use basis—from a business perspective, it has to be done very well and with a consistency of effort towards maintaining it. So yes, it is time-consuming, and takes a great deal of responsibility if you are going to do it well. And if you're not going to do it well, you probably should not do it.
Why do you encourage other oncologists to use social media?
Health care reform is upon us, and all of us are going to have to find different ways to more efficiently practice medicine within the next 10 years. That will require using the efficiencies of networks and digital communications more effectively than we have in the past, both from a scientific standpoint as well as from a practice standpoint.
I am not certain where we will be in the next five to 10 years, but it is clear that the social networking communities that have facilitated business practices for other professions will have a major role in medicine.
#6 in a Continuing Series
Check the “Profiles in Oncology Social Media” Collection on oncology-times.com (http://bit.ly/OT-OncSocialMediaProfiles) for the others in the series