Experts Don’t Matter

Experts don’t have a monopoly on heroism. In fact they can be downright dangerous.

Do you think all those people involved in the mortgage-backed securities travesty were stupid, inexperienced amateurs who had no clue about what they were doing? Many of them were but there sure wasn’t a shortage of experts. In fact, those experts knew exactly what they were doing, expertly so.

Experts are good at what they do because of their experience, not necessarily because of their heart-felt caring for other people. People need expertise, not titles. If you claim to be an expert, then love what you do and care for the people you work for. If that’s what you do then you’re more than an expert: you’re a hero. Heroes matter.

For example, Social Media experts are everywhere. When they’re everywhere, they’re nowhere. In other words, they don’t matter.

So if you want to tout your expertise then you better possess a passion for making other people’s lives better, not yours. And you better do what you love in a way that sets you apart from the experts. 

Don’t get fooled by words. Experts don’t matter if they don’t care about you or if they’re all over the place.

Don’t trust the experts when you can invest in heroes.

Healthcare Has No Shortage of Blogging Content!

personal health information - the wrkshop    

Image by Esthr via Flickr

There are many health care professionals who don’t blog. Some don’t blog because they’re cool people who just aren’t nerdy enough to blog. At least until they figure out that blogging isn’t what MSM makes it out to be.

Others, however, are concerned about the liability consequences of using social media and they believe that shuts out what’s most important (Beth’s blog is worth a drop into your reader.)

I understand that perspective but I don’t agree with it. The healthcare industry perhaps offers more interesting blogging content than any other topic.

There might be a nursing shortage but there’s no shortage of things to blog about the healthcare industry.


Healthcare blogging isn’t about compromising patient or coworker dignity and confidence. It’s just common sense not to blog personal and confidential information. There’s more to it than that. If you’re a stunad, you’re on your own.

Here are some off-the-cuff examples of what healthcare bloggers can cover:

  • The economics of healthcare (e.g. exploring the elasticity of demand and supply curves of various healthcare services)
  • The need for appropriate healthcare technologies
  • The success and failures of good and bad HIT systems
  • The growing shortage of willing nurses in the profession
  • The growing shortage of family physicians entering practice
  • Mentoring the next generation of healthcare workers
  • Discussing the day-to-day problems facing health care workers (generalizations will do fine)
  • Emphasizing the strengths of the healthcare system and highlighting its weaknesses
  • Covering political discussions about healthcare reform
  • Debating the proper roles of private enterprises and governments in healthcare provision
  • Providing high-quality, up-to-date content for practitioners
  • Providing a sharable platform for the progress of on-going research projects
  • Providing regular, clinically accurate and practical medical knowledge
  • Contributing proposals on how to improve healthcare
  • Healthcare fiction is an un-tapped blogging genre (no shortage of inspiration)
  • Hammering the need for HIPPA and liability reform
  • Educating the public on the need to protect their privacy AND the potential benefits releasing their stories to the public in a dignified context

The list can go on for miles. If you have topics to add, type in the comments below (and get a Disqus account if you haven’t already). Each step has liability implications, of course. Hurdles are meant to be jumped. It’s hard work. So is blogging. Get over it!


Healthcare imposes more limitations on public discussion on certain matters. By no means, however, do those limitations preclude intelligent, creative, insightful dialogue. In fact, the blogging platform is a powerful way to raise public awareness.

Healthcare blogging is a specialized niche and requires extra skills that most other blogging niches need to succeed.

My advice for healthcare professionals who are discouraged from blogging because of liability matters is to forget about blogging the details of confidential experiences. Those details, interesting as they may be, are not at all the foundation of consciousness-expansion.

It’s more important to find the meanings of those experiences, connect those meanings to the public at large, and convey relevant opinions and information.

Public discussion certainly would benefit from the insight gained from colorful illustrations. Then again, the public had no idea about every gory detail involved in our visit to the moon. The public still supported the mission and we got there.

Time will tell if we accomplish for healthcare what we accomplished for inter-planetary travel. I sincerely hope that we get healthcare right. Blogging is a small part of getting right. But it’s a part.


In the meantime, if you want to become a healthcare blogger, use your brain, your imagination, your passion, your dreams. Work hard to say something meaningful to the public. Just because you can’t talk about that fecal impaction and the exploding colostomy bag, doesn’t mean you have nothing to say.

Don’t be discouraged by the limitations. In fact, use them to offer high-quality, interesting and socially-redeeming online content.

You who deeply care about using the web to improve healthcare: things aren’t going to change without your voice.

Blog on!

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National Socialism Slouching Towards America?

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold

A week ago Sunday, on the eve of Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy filing, I asked a simple question on Twitter:

View philbaumann’s tweet

I can’t say for sure if we’re headed for the kind of National Socialism that the Third Reich adopted in the 1930’s. It’s kind of eerie, however, that what started last week in the financial sector distantly resembled the events that preceded the Great Depression. The rise of Fascist dictatorships in the 1920s and 1930s saddled the Great Depression. Although global events are different, there are patterns we aught to recognize.

Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several ...

Image via Wikipedia

We are in a Twilight Zone. For too long speculative investing was permitted to go unchecked. I believe strongly in free markets, democracy and capitalism. I also understand the problem of what economists refer to as market externalities.

Times like these are dangerous not so much because of market swings, foreclosures and bailouts as much as the psychological impact these convergences have on a public’s mind.

During times of crises, it’s natural for people to seek out scapegoats when they can’t find solutions or ways to remain calm. So it’s with some concern that in the confusion, anxiety and possible panic we could find ourselves mired in a dangerous cultural upheaval.

We can’t necessarily avoid political, economic and cultural tsunamis. Sometimes when your country loses its sense of direction, you need to focus on what you can do to preserve your own sanity.

What can we do during a dangerous time like this? I haven’t entirely figured that out, but here are some thoughts:

  1. Be optimistic about the long-run, but focused on your current needs
  2. Realize that it’s not the end of the world: our ancestors survived all sorts of hells
  3. Know that it’s never to late to change your mind, to see the world in ways you never saw them before
  4. Be kind to others
  5. Learn how to do at least three new things every week
  6. Find out what you love
  7. Find a way to do what you love

I wish that I could offer more specifics. What I can say is: think about the issues that matter most to you and our country. We have an election coming up in less than two months. Regardless of who wins, don’t despair if your candidate loses. There’s more to our political future than one election. However you vote, vote with consideration of what matters. Personalities come and go. Actions ripple forever.

With the specter of terrorism looming, with wars between industrial nations becoming more likely and with national economies entering dangerous times, it’s easy for nations to resort to the comfort of false gods.

If America deepens its journey into the darkness of national socialism, this century will be uglier than the last.

If it’s any help, remember what the doorman said:

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

NEVER give Fascists an even break. Not a single one.

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