It is undeniable that today doctors are bombarded with information as never before. We have all seen the graphs plotting the exponential growth in the number of published randomized controlled trials, or of new practice guidelines, or of websites devoted to medical news. Each of us is feeling pressed, if not occasionally overwhelmed, by the volume of new material of every sort, and the constant competition for our attention and “eyeballs.” Surely there has to be a better reason to start a blog than sharing new information.
Fortunately, there is.
This blog isn’t about sharing information; it’s about starting conversations. And since good conversations require good listening, I decided to call this blog “Auscultation.” With an obvious nod to my being a cardiologist, I believe auscultation has long been an act that defines us as physicians and connects us in a profound way with our patients. The act of leaning in, touching the patient, listening, concentrating, and interpreting is a powerful metaphor for the entire clinical encounter: getting close to the patient and listening. I think it also has lessons for how we should relate to each another: getting closer with one another, listening and sharing and learning from our insights.
The real purpose of using this online forum is to get us talking about important issues that are shaping the practice of medicine. I look forward to sharing my observations about new models of care, or about how new “disruptive” technology changes the way we think about medical practice. Perhaps, it will be just conversation about how doctors do their work. I will try to provoke more than inform, question more than answer, invite more than opine and listen to you, as much as you may listen to me.
I hope you will join the conversation.