The story continues … online

How do you talk to patients? Do you use e-mail or avoid it like spam? Do you use medical terms or lay language to talk to patients? Find out more about what your peers do on ACP Internist's blog.

ACP Internist has expanded its online offerings in recent months, with a redesigned Web site and our frequently updated blog, which is already drawing a loyal and growing readership. ). The Internist blog features daily posts by our writers, columnists and guest contributors about the latest medical studies, intriguing articles or statistics, and offbeat facts that provoke discussion or inject a little humor into your day.

Our staff writers scour the news daily, making the blog our most up-to-date source of news for internists. Below are a few excerpts from recent posts:

To e-mail or not to e-mail. Results from an ACP InternistWeekly poll show that our readers (or at least those who responded to the survey) are ahead of the curve with patient e-mail: 38% said they communicate with patients online, and another 19% are interested in the idea. The remaining 43% said “No, and I'd like to keep it that way.” Time, technology and money were cited as the biggest hurdles to implementation.

Be careful what you say ... and how you say it. Patients get more anxious when you use the medical terms for conditions and diseases than the lay terms, a new study in PLoS Medicine finds. When study subjects were given the medical term for a condition—like “erectile dysfunction”—the condition was perceived as being more severe, more apt to be a disease, and more rare, than when they were given a layperson's label—like impotence.

Want more patients? Charm the ones you've got. There are hundreds of health care rating schemes out there that aim to help consumers pick a doctor or hospital. Trouble is, people don't use them. A new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change finds that, rather than use price/quality information to pick a physician, most Americans ask their friends and family, or take referrals from their current physician.

Medical News of the Obvious. Tune in every Monday for a roundup of medical studies with less-than-startling conclusions.

In addition to providing highlights from other sources, our writers regularly attend major medical conferences and provide their own daily updates on the blog. The best way to get all the news is to subscribe to our RSS feed for daily updates. Tune in and let us know what you think. Thanks for your support.


Janet Colwell