Physician perspectives: Mike Sevilla

Rebecca Aris interviews Mike Sevilla

Mike Sevilla, a family physician, was formerly known as doctor anonymous and currently blogs at the site ‘Family medicine rocks’. Through his blogs, podcasts and social media activity he broadcasts his views on social media and issues he feels are important to physicians such as himself.

He speaks here with pharmaphorum on how to encourage physicians to engage through social media tools as well as his own experience in this area. As a self-confessed blogaholic, Dr Sevilla also shares how to recognise valuable content in a world where increased online content makes it hard to filter out the good content through the online noise.

Please see a transcript of the interview below.

Interview summary

RA: Dr Sevilla, Could you start by telling me about your background and how you become to be so heavily involved in social media?

MS: First of all, thanks so much for the interview. I very much appreciate it. I’m a Board Certified Family Physician in a small town in the Northeastern part of Ohio. I’m in a group with four other Family Physicians and a Nurse Practitioner. I was born and grew up in this community, but I have been in practice for about 10 years. With regard to social media, I’ve always been interested in technology and computers growing up. I see social media as an extension of that. I first became involved in social media in 2005 with reading blogs. Soon after that I started my own blog, and then moving to creating a podcast, you tube channel, twitter account, facebook account, etc.

“Giving a Family Physician voice to social media is what I’m trying to do now”

RA: What inspired you to set up your blog, and what made you decide to change from “Doctor Anonymous” to “Family Medicine Rocks”?

MS: As I was reading physician blogs back in 2005, I kept asking myself if I had a story to tell. I didn’t think I would be blogging for a long time, so I did not use my real name and used “Doctor Anonymous” as my blogger name. Back when I started, many physician bloggers did not use their real name. “Doctor Anonymous” seemed like a mysterious name, so I went with that. As far as rebranding to “Family Medicine Rocks,” I found that I was already revealing a lot of information about myself on the “Doctor Anonymous” blog and was becoming less and less anonymous. Giving a Family Physician voice to social media is what I’m trying to do now. So, I changed my brand to “Family Medicine Rocks” and things have worked out well.

RA: You’ve been involved with social media from its infancy, what do you think can be done to encourage more physicians to engage in this way and what benefits does social media bring to you as a physician?

MS: For more physicians to become involved in social media, people like me have to really show the value of social media to my colleagues. One of the values that I have seen in social media is from a marketing perspective. I have had many new patients who have found me using social media. More and more in the future, patients will be using the internet to find their physicians. Another value that I’ve seen with social media is in real time and live communication with physicians – particularly during medical meetings and during breaking news events. Social media has the ability to reach many physicians at the same time in different locations throughout the world. This has a positive networking effect and has the possibility of situations like peer consultations on medical cases in the future.

“For more physicians to become involved in social media, people like me have to really show the value of social media to my colleagues.”

RA: How do you see pharma engaging online with physicians?

MS: More and more I see pharma using technology and social media tools like webinars, twitter, facebook and other platforms to engage online with physicians. The entire industry is moving toward mobile technologies, and I see pharma better engaging with physicians using their smartphones

RA: In your opinion how can pharma better engage with physicians?

MS: The big challenge for pharma will be engaging physicians in the normal flow of their work day. For example, if there could be a way that pharma could give information at the point of care during the office visit, then this would be effective. Many physicians have told me that if there was a way to better integrate pharma information during the process of e-prescribing in the electronic medical record, then this would be more helpful for physicians.

RA: You recently wrote and broadcast on the topic of social media fatigue and taking a break from social media, can you tell us more about that?

MS: I’m a full time clinician and I see patient’s every day. For me, social media is a hobby and will be for the foreseeable future. It is so easy to get caught up in the health care social media community – to a point when it feels like a full time job. Balancing my responsibilities of patient care and home life, with social media, has been difficult, and frankly tires me out at times. So, recently, I took a week off from social media and it was a tremendous experience. Even with just a brief break, it helped me to realize what was really important and how to try to better balance my work and my home life.

“…quality content is recommended by people I trust in the health care social media community.”

RA: You’ve mentioned before that with an increase in online content it becomes harder to filter out the good content through the online noise. How do you recognize quality content online?

MS: For me, quality content has a degree of innovation. Quality content either talks about a completely unique idea, or a totally different way of looking at a common idea or problem. Quality content also promotes constructive (not polarizing) discussion. Finally, since I do not have a lot of time as I did a few years ago, quality content is recommended by people I trust in the health care social media community.

RA: In what ways do you think physicians and the healthcare industry could work better together to improve patient care?

MS: Physicians and the healthcare industry can work together to improve patient care, by including patients in their own care as much as possible. Participatory Medicine (better known as the E-patient movement) will continue to gain momentum in the future and physicians, as well as the industry, need to recognize this. I know this may be difficult, but if there was a way that the industry could get better feedback from grassroots physicians, I think this would be helpful – especially when it comes to research, development, implementation, and roll out of healthcare industry products.

RA: Thank you for your time.

MS: Thanks again for reaching out to contact me for the interview. I appreciate it.

About the interviewee:

Mike Sevilla started his social media life as @DoctorAnonymous, but now tries to be a social media ambassador to the Family Medicine Physician community, and anyone else who will listen on platforms like blogging, twitter, facebook, youtube, podcasting, and others. Check out his website at FamilyMedicineRocks.com.

What benefits do you think social media offers physicians?