September DSMA Blog Carnival: Are you listening, Doc?

September’s DSMA Blog Carnival topic goes back to the August 7th #DSMA Twitter chat, where we discussed online interactions between patients, healthcare professionals, and others. So ask yourself:

Assuming online interactions with HCPs become a “mainstream” thing, what would you like those conversations to be about?

I remember this chat. There was a lot of talk about what we share, how much we share, and how comfortable (or uncomfortable) we all were with sharing information online.

So first, let me restate something I mentioned that night: If you’re posting something in an online forum, you need to be comfortable with the fact that anyone (and everyone) can view it and respond. If we get comfy with that idea, it makes it easier when online interactions do (or will) occur. Oh, and remember: Those interactions may happen online, or they may happen the next time you see the person you’re interacting with offline.

That has certainly happened in my case. I have had interactions with my endocrinologist based on things written on my blog. In fact, we discuss (briefly) my blog during every appointment. Again, I brought up the blog during an appointment about six months after I started it. I had to be comfortable with the fact that she could say anything she wanted about it before I could let her know. Freedom to say whatever you want goes both ways, you know?

Anyway, this isn’t about the conversations I do have. It’s about the kind of conversations I would like to have online with my healthcare professionals. Okay… So let’s say those conversations happen online.

I would really like it if those online conversations wouldn’t be entirely online (there I go again). I still believe there is great value in face-to-face, in person meetings with my doctors. But I definitely see great possibilities in online conversations too, and I would like them to be like the conversations about my blog that I have with my endocrinologist: I want them to be an extension of the doctor-patient relationship. Not the entire relationship, but rather an addition to what we already have.

I think it would also be helpful if a doctor and patient could share important information during a critical phase in care. For instance, when a patient starts on an insulin pump the first time, how great would it be if the patient could get online feedback from their doctor to help them with questions and adjustments? How helpful would it be for a doctor to get online feedback from the patient on their CGM data after the doctor updates a patient’s basal rates or changes their insulin?

And what about support? I’m talking about support that a healthcare professional can give that lets a patient know that they recognize the effort that’s being made to manage diabetes on a daily basis. Support from a doctor could be worth its weight in gold to a patient who’s struggling, and all it costs is the time spent on an e-mail or a blog comment. I think a lot of patients would find that kind of interaction priceless.

Honestly, with examples like that, I don’t see why more online interactions aren’t taking place already. Overly optimistic? Maybe. I’m just talking about the kind of interactions I’d like everyone to have with their HCPs.

Remember: If you’re going to post something online, make sure you’re comfortable with getting feedback about it. But if you are ready for the online conversation to be two-way, here’s hoping your discussion is helpful and supportive.

This post is my September entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

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