Medlogs Milestone – 200 Medical Weblogs!

Today, I added the 200th blog to Medlogs.com.  Here's how blog addition works. 

  • Someone wants a blog added to medlogs.  They click "add a feed" and fill out the little form.
  • The form enters the blog into the database and sends me an e-mail requesting approval.
  • These days, perhaps due to the increasing popularity of the site, we're getting more commercial submissions.  Rarely true spam … but medically related sites or services that want to increase their exposure.  Since Medlogs isn't a web directory .. I don't add these, and I don't e-mail the submitters with an explanation.  Perhaps I should .. but I don't have infinite free time.  So I don't.  I add medical weblogs .. or weblogs that are relevant to medicine.  the "geeks" section includes some technology stuff that is not directly to medicine .. and the "law" section does as well, but I find that these sections are both frequently visited … and are of course potentially relevant medicine.  The "more" section is a bit more complicated.  I invented it for the "mercola" blog (absence of hyperlink is intentional) which is on a physician's website .. but it is not clear that the physician actually does all of the writing .. and the website is devoted to selling his books.  So this is a commercial blog.  But he clearly has a passion and I didn't want to be accused of censoring him (his views are unconventional, and several medlogs readers objected to his inclusion at all) .. so I created a new category and left him in.
  • Once I review the blog and see that it is relevant to medicine & Non-Commercial .. I add the feed and put the last few posts into medlogs.  From there on .. it will flow, and we'll pick up all future feeds.
  • Of course, the RSS or ATOM needs to be working.  I would say that the most common reason that a blog is not included is that I can't find an RSS/ATOM feed.  No feed, no inclusion.  Simple as that.

Here's the "I remember when" part:  Nearly five years ago, I started Docnotes.  Here's the first post.  I think I was writing a similar web-based discussion for a while before that, but my entries are not archived .. so .. lost forever.  The first iteration was with Userland Frontier.  Then I moved to Seth Dillingham's Conversant.  Next it was back to Userland Radio .. and then to MovableType, where the blog remains.  I'm tempted by Ray Camden's BlogCFC.  We'll see.  I like MT .. and it's working pretty well, despite some quirks.  I also have a TypePad account, which is used for other little blog projects.

Here's the question: (you didn't know there was going to be a question .. did you?) .. as Medlogs has grown, I've been finding that the signal:noise ratio is decreasing.  Medical Blogs used to be a good way to find useful information quickly.  They were also a way for us to provide a window into our thinking and our practices .. which I think all of us agreed was good.  There have been several well written articles on medical weblogs .. but I still think the best was in Medicine on the Net .. by Bonnie Darvies.  Unfortunately, it's not free or (!) available on the net .. which of course is silly.  Kinda like Gartner research .. it's good stuff, but you have to pay to get to it.

Oh yeah .. I was asking a question.  How to we keep the usefulness of weblogs high.  Go ahead and click on that one .. it's a link tot he UVA website, and includes an image of the Pyramid of Information Mastery.  Where do weblogs fit on this pyramid?  How can I help to filter this (or how can you help filter this) .. so that weblogs remain (become?) a part of the pyramid. 

One thought that I have had is "hits."  Since we changes the main medlogs pages to include only excerpts of every post (the poll is still open .. but preference for partial feed remains at about 75%) the number of times that readers click the link to go read the full post is sored and displayed on the page.  Presumably, the authors who generate the most hits are of the greatest interest to the readers.  Are these the most useful Blogs?  Should they be "featured" in some way? 

Is the recent "grand rounds" effort a good way of accomplishing this?  Perhaps … hmm .. maybe I link to (or include full text of) the current week's grand rounds on a special page on medlogs .. hmm

Please share your opinion .. either with a post of our own .. or with a comment here.  We didn't address this much at last year's bloggercon (video feed of the medical session is here … moderated by some nerd .. yeh .. me).

If you're going to Bloggercon III this year, I'd suggest that this may be a topic for conversation at the medical weblogs session .. which Enoch will be moderating.

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Not Enough Generalists?

SoloDoc writes a nice entry on family medicine .. and the problems we're having recruiting students to go into our specialty:

One of the solutions has got to be increasing the reimbursement rate for primary care physicians so that they can make a decent living without working themselves to the bone. If medical students see happy family doctors, they will want to become a happy family doctor, too.

At our local Medical Mecca, we graduate 130 students every year.  Back in the old days – 7 or 8 years ago, we would routinely see 20% of the class go into family medicine.  This year, it may be less than 5%

Of course, this is exacly the opposite of the trend that should be ocurring, if we consider the healthcare needs of the United States (or the world, for that matter).  But the pressures that generalists feel are real, and the solution is unclear.