Increasingly, Singaporeans are utilizing the Internet to self-diagnose, look for "doctor reviews", and research recommended treatments. So why the relative lack of medical blogs?
Some may argue this may be so as medical information can be boring to digest, as opposed to food-related websites. Indeed, Dr Meow finds food sites infinitely more palatable than her dental textbooks! (We all know Singaporeans can never get enough of food).
Given the number of Korean medical dramas and hospital-based TV series however, it's probably a bit of a stretch to believe that there's no interest in doctor blogs.
Plenty more where that came from..
So if it's not lack of readers, why the lack of doctor-writers?
I believe there are 2 contributory factors:
- Doctors here are generally busy and also fiercely private people. Furthermore, there are strict but fair SMC regulations regarding online medical information, especially where clinics are concerned, which put many doctors off writing.
- Secondly, information dissemination online has changed drastically over the last 5-10 years, driven by social media such as Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Doctors have been slow to catch up with this new form of online engagement. Consider savvier websites such as The Smart Local, Buzzfeed and various food review blogs - they're learnt to adapt headlines, content and language to appeal to the younger demographic, while the medical profession by and large has been left behind.
If you belong to one of those interested readers, I've compiled a list of doctor blogs in Singapore below that are "unaffiliated" to any one clinic:
1. A Doc's Life
A Doc's Life is a blog run by Dr Og, an anonymous Singaporean doctor sharing his day-to-day life and humorous views of working in a public hospital. He frequently runs light-hearted-commentaries on the state of Singapore's healthcare system, and the plight of over-worked doctors.
His website header sums it up best - "A Doc's Life is an underground Medical Blog about some poor Singapore doctors. They are sibei sian and very buay song".
There's limited medical information, but it's my favourite blog to read for an uncensored version of the shenanigans within Singapore medicine. Even though it's mainly written for laughs, some of his entries can be surprisingly poignant at times!
MIPHIDIC belongs to Dr Li Yang Hsu, a professor of Infectious Disease medicine who's also a cult hero amongst junior doctors - I swear I know a couple of female collegues who go full on fan-girl mode in his presence.
It's not hard to see why - I've heard from those who've worked with Dr Li that as a doctor, he's incredibly insightful with his analyses and deliberate with his medical decisions; this readily comes across in his writing as well.
Dr Li uses MIPHIDIC to address infectious disease-related topics pertinent to Singapore. Even though the subject matters can be complex, he manages to break them down with refreshing clarity.
As an Infectious Disease specialist, he writes authoritatively - I closely followed his regular updates and detailed coverage of the Zika outbreak. Dr Li also regularly discusses interesting infectious disease cases, so if you enjoy cracking medical mysteries, this is the blog for you.
Infectious disease aside, MIPHIDIC also covers nuances of the Singapore healthcare system - I found accounts of his experiences within the public and private sector particularly enlightening.
Overall, MIPHIDIC is probably more catered towards medical professionals, but those who fancy themselves as a bit of a Dr House will also love his blog.
3. Dr Tan and Partners
Dr Tan and Partners blog comprises a group of doctor writers who work for Dr Tan And Partner clinics.
I made a sole exception to the "unaffiliated rule" just for their blog, as I'm a fan of the manner in which they explain information simply through a combination of short videos and blog posts. It's regularly updated with mainly GP-related topics, and probably contains the largest amount of medical content in Singapore.
The blog is particularly useful for sexual health-related content (as the clinic has a special interest in STD screening and sexual health). Do note that some articles naturally have a slant towards their clinic's services, especially with regard to aesthetic medicine.
4. Winnie the Pooh's Medicine Pot
Winnie the Pooh's Medicine Pot is run by Dr Gerald Tan, a radiologist who shares tips and insight into NUS medical school life, undergraduate education, and the healthcare system in Singapore. It contains plenty of useful resources for medical students and junior doctors.
There's also a news archive section dedicated purely towards health-care related news articles in Singapore.
The website could probably do with a layout overhaul for site navigability (Dr Tan has been running the website since 2002 at least), but I find the Winnie the Pooh themed design compellingly charming myself.
DxD is written primarily for the "Buzzfeed-conditioned" crowd, so there's more emphasis on accessible, social content for Singaporeans in their 20s to 30s.
It serves as an unaffiliated platform for doctors and dentists to share accurate medical information and personal experiences. There's also a free Ask A Doctor section that allows readers to address questions to a team of independent doctors and dentists.
The premise behind DxD was: Wouldn't it be amazing if more doctors could reach out directly to Singaporeans and positively influence health, a spin on the social influencers of today whose sole purpose is to influence you to go out and spend money?
Some examples of popular posts include:
The government spends a lot of money on "upstream prevention" of disease by encouraging good diet and exercise from young.
I feel that the lack of doctor blogs in Singapore is a real shame, as it represents a missed opportunity for more doctors to connect directly with the youths of today.
As an increasing number of doctors collaborate to share their knowledge online, DxD hopes to collectively create a much better awareness of healthy living in Singapore.