Kevin Pho, M.D., is an internist in a five-physician Harvard Pilgrim primary-care practice in Nashua, N.H. Allen Roberts, M.D., is an emergency room physician in Fort Worth, Texas.
The two physicians share a profession and a hobby. Both run weblogs.
A weblog, or blog, is a form of Web site that lets the owner post his or her writings on any topic imaginable and get reader feedback.
Pho, a graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine who completed his residency two years ago at Boston Medical Center, started reading blogs about a year ago and launched a blog of his own (kevinmd.com/blog) this spring.
Pho estimates there are only a few hundred physician blogs out there now, but he thinks the number is growing.
An aggregator of medical weblogs, Medical News Feeds (medlogs.com/indexfeed.php) lists a few iconoclastic blogs, including CodeBlueBlog, SoloDoc and Trust Me, I?m a Doctor.
A fair number of physician blogs--in fact, many blogs regardless of the author--are given over to self-indulgent rants. Pho's blog, called Kevin, M.D. Medical Weblog, is a bit more subdued, with a balance of useful information--there's a link to the Harvard Pilgrim Ask a Specialist Web page, for example--as well as a column of Pho's essays and personal opinions. But Pho says he doesn't mind a writer on a good rant now and then.
"That's the beauty about blogs," Pho says. "If they want to be self-indulgent, they can. This is not for business. It's for patients, but it is for myself and other doctors, too."
The blog service is free, and although he had a relative help him with the site's design, anyone can get a blog up and running within 30 minutes, he says. It's the quality of the postings that keeps readers interested, he says. Pho says his site draws about 200 visitors a day.
Roberts earlier served as a regimental and battalion surgeon with the Navy on assignment to the Marine Corps, hence his blog name, GruntDoc: Ramblings of an Emergency Physician in Texas (gruntdoc.com).
Roberts says he's been blogging for about two years and spends an hour and a half a week writing and replying to postings. Still, he's developed quite a following, averaging about 8,000 unique visitors a month.
Unlike some of his peers, who parse and analyze and produce painstakingly crafted postings, "I light up on something that interests me and I add my 2 cents," Roberts says. "It combines my interest in computers and venting my spleen. It's given me a great outlet for the minor amount of creativity I have."