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Your Doctor Reads Your Blog (and other things to think about while you’re in the stirrups)

So there was a piece in the New York Times this week about how doctors Google their patients, written by a doctor.  Haider Javed Warraich writes,

Doctors do “Google” their patients. In fact, the vast majority of physicians I know have done so. To my generation, using a search engine like Google comes as naturally as sharing pictures of our children or a recent vacation on a social networking site like Facebook.

If my doctor Googled me, well… first he would find Melyssa Ford (uh… and he might be disappointed when I walk through the door in my very unsexy yoga pants and Batman t-shirt)… but slightly further down the results page, he would find my BlogHer page, my author site, my Amazon page, and linked to all three places: my blog.

I don’t know if it makes me happy to think that my doctor possibly know what I’m going through emotionally before I walk into the office, or if it creeps me out to consider that he may be thinking about my dead hamster while he gives me a Pap smear.

Do you always want to know if someone is reading your blog?  Or is ignorance bliss when it comes to certain family members, friends, and doctors?

21 comments

1 Michaela { 01.09.14 at 1:10 pm }

Part of me wishes when I created my blog I used an alias. I had no idea about that at the time (or wasn’t smart enough to come up with an alias).

Being someone else I could tell my story without censorship.

But I do find that when someone comments to me that they’ve read my blog or like my blog it makes me feel like my words aren’t going off into thin air and are actually being read…

I was recently at a Christmas brunch and a friend walked up to me and said: “I love your blog”. I had no idea she read it and well…it’s a good feeling….

2 KeAnne { 01.09.14 at 1:31 pm }

If a doctor has time to Google me and find/read my blog, it would be nice if s/he were as up on my chart so I didn’t have to restate everything at every appointment!

I kind of wish I had stayed anonymous b/c there are some issues I need/want to talk about but don’t feel able or ready yet. I like knowing when someone is reading my blog if they like it 😉

3 Jamie { 01.09.14 at 1:42 pm }

This is one of the reasons I keep a paper and pen journal and not a blog.

4 Sharon { 01.09.14 at 2:22 pm }

I’d want to know if my doctor was reading my blog. However, as my real name full legal name is no way associated with the blog, it’d be highly unlikely.

5 a { 01.09.14 at 2:22 pm }

What KeAnne said! I’m not buying that they bother to Google me if they can’t be bothered to read my chart. I’m pretty sure they Google SOME patients though – just like anyone else who meets someone interesting in the course of their job.

6 Nogoodeggs { 01.09.14 at 2:29 pm }

I hope my doctors do read my (or your, or any IF, blog). I would always try to tell them my emotional responses to things (and let them see me cry) so that they knew I was a human and this was hard. For example, I explained to my doctors that, for me at least, choosing an egg donor was the most difficult part of the journey and I never wanted to go through that again even if it meant paying my preferred donor to cycle twice in a row. At least one doctor on my team really appreciated the insights into what it was like from my side.

7 Catwoman73 { 01.09.14 at 2:37 pm }

I can’t fathom that my doctor would have the time to sit around googling me, or any other patient for that matter. Even if he did, there are lots of people out there with my name- he would have to search through pages and pages of search results to find even an insignificant reference to me. I take some comfort in that.

I do worry a lot about who is reading my blog. Since it is not anonymous, I find that I will filter my content based on who I think (or know) is reading. I regret not keeping it more private- there are a few topics I would like to discuss on my blog, but I have to be careful. I can’t share anything that I don’t want to be public knowledge. Fortunately, I am a pretty open person, so there are only a few things that I have been forced to keep quiet. As much as I hate to do it, there may be a few password protected posts in my future.

8 Lisa { 01.09.14 at 2:43 pm }

I think that’s bogus! I don’t google my patients. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I will say that some families I work with have given me their blogs and I do read them on occasion if I have down time or if I haven’t heard from them in awhile. It’s good for me to read what they got out of an appointment – especially since it’s not always what I thought I conveyed! I have run across other families’ blogs that way and I do read them. If they are using a pseudonym and don’t have photos (but I’ve figured out who they are anyway) I feel yucky that I’ve found them out so I stop reading.

9 SciChick { 01.09.14 at 2:49 pm }

I gave my RE the address to my blog. He decided to give it a newspaper reporter who was doing a story on family building by surrogacy. My blog address then got posted in a story than ran on the first page of the biggest newspaper in India. Face, meet palm. Nonetheless, that is unusual. Most doctors would have the sense never to do what this guy did.

Overall, I don’t mind my doctors finding/reading my blog. I’ve reviewed a few of them on it, and I’d be very gratified if some of the shitty ones googled themselves, found my blog, and found what I had written. Just like I would be really happy when the good ones found the nice reviews I had written.

10 Mo { 01.09.14 at 4:09 pm }

I agree with Lisa – “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Have I ever googled a patient? Yes, when I was trying to find out something quickly. If they had a blog and I knew about it would I be reading it?

Nope. Absolutely not enough hours in the day for that.

I have wondered though, and expect, that some of the RE’s might assign support staff to conduct regular web searches to find out who is posting about their centers by name and to keep up on what is being said. But the doctors themselves? I’m doubtful.

11 Kitten { 01.09.14 at 4:29 pm }

What doctor has time to Google every patient?! Even if my blog wasn’t anonymous, I don’t think I’d be concerned with that. As far as friends and family, I definitely would want to know if they read my blog. And I wouldn’t want them reading it.

My primary RE and I follow each other on Twitter and our blogs. I don’t associate my name with either, but if she’s paying attention, she knows exactly who I am, since I share the details of my appointments.

12 Laurel Regan { 01.09.14 at 5:04 pm }

Now that I’ve “outed” myself by using my real name instead of a pseudonym on my blog, I suppose it’s possible that anyone I know could find me. It’s a little creepy, so I try not to think about it. 😉

13 Anat { 01.09.14 at 8:48 pm }

I’m a writer for Sex and the City!

14 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 01.10.14 at 9:49 am }

I’ve never googled a client. Although I’ve had a couple request to add me on Facebook. Which is one more reason I don’t put very much on Facebook. On the other hand, one of them did tag me in a news article warning about weather conditions and water sports and safety so that was sweet, and may have saved one of our family members from drowning, so I guess in that sense it can be good.

Seriously, though – the entire world is like some tiny island village where everyone knows everyone else’s business now. We’ll have to go back to being upright citizens again, or something.

15 Aislinn { 01.10.14 at 10:38 am }

I’m torn about that question. While I’m not “in the closet” about my infertility (i.e. I post about PCOS and IF somewhat on my Facebook and my parents and in laws know what we’ve been dealing with,) I’d much rather know if some random high school acquaintance has been reading about my lady bits. I also wish sometimes that I had used an alias when I started my blog so that I could talk about friends and family members without them finding what I’ve written and getting hurt. I have suspicions that my father has found my blog, and I find myself censoring what I write due to that.

I’m fairly open with my doctors, so I wouldn’t be worried about them reading my thoughts on them.

16 kateanon { 01.10.14 at 12:44 pm }

Just another reason I’m glad I’m fairly anonymous.

17 loribeth { 01.10.14 at 1:41 pm }

I don’t think I’d care if my dr read my blog… if I he was my infertility dr (& I was still in treatment) it might help him understand me & my needs better. I don’t like the idea of my family & friends being able to read my blog, though, and I had to pull my blog offline for awhile about two years ago because a distant cousin stumbled onto it & posted a link to a post I’d written about my grandparents on a family Facebook forum (!). It was a sheer fluke that she found it — I was careful not to use names, etc. — but she Googled an obscure reference that I included in both the post and on the Facebook group — and up popped my blog. Oops. :p As one of the forum admins, I deleted her post before too many people got to see it (and PMd her why), and changed some of the details in my blog post in case someone else did the same thing. I left everything offline until I thought (hoped?) it might have blown over and then resurrected my blog.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it’s not something I’d care to repeat.

18 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.11.14 at 10:27 pm }

I bet Melyssa Ford’s doctor is disappointed when she shows up and isn’t you in a Batman t-shirt.

I feel like almost no one IRL reads my blog (whom I didn’t find by blogging in the first place). I would love it to know that someone read my blog, and I would prefer to know who’s reading.

I can’t imagine, though, my doctor taking the time to google me. I’d be honored if she did.

19 {sue} { 01.13.14 at 4:27 pm }

I’m almost sure that someone at one of my daughter’s doctor’s offices was reading, just based on Sitemeter. It forced me to reign in my sarcasm a little.

20 Mali { 01.13.14 at 5:04 pm }

I cannot imagine that anyone at my doctor’s office would read my blog. For one, I write under a pseudonym. (Though they are easily found if searching my real name. Doh!) If they want to spend their day that way, I don’t care.

21 Tiara { 01.14.14 at 11:07 am }

What would bother me is if someone IRL was reading but didn’t tell me that they were or pretend like they don’t know things they’ve obviously read on my blog.

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