MDchat logoPhysicians are an important part our society, possessing a wide array of knowledge and experience and insight into the human condition. The public value of this collective reservoir of talent is priceless. As the pace of our world quickens and the demand for information rises, needs for easily accessible commons for physicians to air their perspectives – from health to technology to politics –  will grow.

One such simple and easily accessible commons is the ambient chatter that Twitter can foster. To the uninitiated, Twitter may appear to be a frivolous stream of drivel and narcissism. As a matter of fact, it does enable a lot of that.

But Twitter enables other purposes beyond drivel and narcissism.


I started RNchat (@RNchat) over a year ago and have found it to be a simple means to enable nurses to connect and network; share experiences and information; and express their diverse views and opinions and knowledge with others from around the world instantaneously.

For one physicians’s perspective on Twitter, read Dr. Westby Fisher’s story on his journey from Doubting Thomas to power user.

I think it’s time that physicians are offered a similar opportunity to find each other, crowdsource other physicians and otherwise learn to participate in the ever-evolving communications and social platforms of our century.

A Twitter chat may not be for all physicians – medicine is a diverse profession. But it can facilitate new exchanges and catalyze the learning process for physicians who need to acquire a better apprehension of today’s media.

Twitter epitomizes the general direction of 21st Century communications. It’s core feature is a flexible simplicity which enables endless permutations of re-purposed utility.

Twitter is not one thing. It is by itself neither social nor conversational. Rather, it’s a pliant and ambient technology that permits several different purposes which can grow around it.

Physicians certainly have many other platforms to share their ideas and convey their messages. But we also need physicians to experiment and learn and use the novel communications protocol that is Twitter. The serendipitous radiation around its ambient intimacy is hard to replicate elsewhere.


So rather than waiting for doctors’ orders, I am launching @MD_chat for physicians to participate in advancing our collective understanding of the influences of emerging technologies on our culture, health, privacy, dignity and many other aspects of the human condition.

Below is a slideshow introducing MDchat and explaining how it works (if you can’t see it, you can view it here or here):

The hashtag will be #MDchat.

MDchat is not limited to MDs – all physicians are welcome to join. I merely selected it for its catchy feel. Over time, I believe specialty chats will develop.

If you’re a physician, please don’t think you’re an exception or exclusion from conversations orbiting emerging technologies – quite the contrary!

Follow @MD_chat on Twitter. If you don’t have an account, sign up here. I’ll be available to guide interested parties.

Transcripts of chats will be posted on this site as well as on Scribd and Slideshare.

My goal is for physicians to eventually lead and moderate these chats. I’m merely acting as facilitator. If you are a physician and are interested in leading – or wish to submit topics – you can do so via email or Twitter. Or you can just call me the old fashioned way: 484-362-0451.

For now, I’d like to welcome all physicians to the usefully serendipitous – and often amusing – world of Twitter.

Mayo Clinic recently announced the formation of its Center for Social Media. Missing in the first member of its advisory board was a physician. But that won’t last long: soon enough a physician will be involved – and not just on Mayo’s Center. We hope #MDchat helps nudge physicians to add their priceless input to 21st Century communications.

Our inaugural #MDchat will be held Tuesday, October 5, 2010.

If you got through organic chemistry in one piece, Twitter should be a no-brainer to figure out.

Welcome to @MD_chat! (mind the underscore)

Phil Baumann, RN