I’ve been on vacation since a few days before Christmas, and am taking a break from writing the blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts I wrote and scheduled to go up all this week, but the next week or so are going to be marked by radio silence. I’m actually contemplating a move to a different blogging platform for the new year. Stay tuned for details and enjoy the rest of 2011 and the start of 2012!
Category Archives: Blog Updates
Writing a blog can be a fulfilling experience, but it can also be a demanding one. Mostly, that’s because it takes a lot longer to write than to read, and the readers always want new material. A blog updated once a month will soon cease to be a blog at all. The thing is, I feel like I’m starting to regurgitate some of the same material. It’s not my intention to beat a dead horse, but it seems to happen anyway. I think that this space could be improved by the addition of a few extra bloggers.
In the past, I’ve issued a call for guest authors, with varied success. This time, I’m looking for people who would like to blog on a more regular basis. Maybe you want to write a blog, but can’t seem to write more than once a week. Maybe you had a blog and had trouble maintaining it. Whatever the case may be, if you have a passion for health care, politics, policy and the like, and a desire to communicate your ideas to a diverse audience, I’d love to hear from you.
I’m seeking 2 or 3 individuals to join me not as guest authors, but as blogging partners. This may even lead to a change in the name of the blog to signify the expansion. There are lots of possibilities, but it depends on you. If you’re interested, send me a note. It would also be helpful if you included a resume and/or a writing sample. The deadline for consideration is October 31, 2011. Please forward this call on to those you know who might be interested, applicable listservs, etc.
It has been an awfully long time (or so it feels) since I have written anything on the blog. So long, in fact, that I thought I should allay any concerns about my whereabouts. I’m still here in Durham, NC passing the time. For those who don’t know, I officially received my degree on May 8, and my fellowship draws to a close at the end of June.
Right now, I am figuring out what’s next, and that’s ultimately why the blog has been put on hold. First, I’ve been traveling for job interviews, which has kept me busy. Second, I’ve been thinking about the papers I want to get out of my dissertation. Third, I’ve started volunteering my time to co-author a manuscript with someone at UNC. Fourth, the blog has become a potential liability. Let me explain.
While I have always considered this a forum for the free exchange of ideas, the echo chamber phenomenon has kept most of the comments more left of center. That is, most of the people who read it seem to be liberals, and that is especially true for those who comment. That isn’t really the goal of this blog. I didn’t start it to advance an agenda or advocate a particular position. I really wanted it to be a place to present information–as close to “fact” as exists in politics. To date that hasn’t much happened, and I’ll admit, I have certainly injected personal opinions here.
In the world of non-partisan research and analysis, the appearance of opinions can be a real threat to the sense of objectivity. In some way, I do think that all researchers are biased–beginning with the questions they choose to ask, the ways they choose to answer them, and to some extent the lens through which they view the results. However, my goal is to conduct objective research, distinguishing between personal opinions and methodological rigor, and letting the data speak for themselves. Therefore, just like a judge may recuse himself or herself from a case to avoid the appearance–real or perceived–of a conflict of interest, having a blog like this may make some people–especially those who can’t validate the methods themselves–question the results of my research.
This is more of an issue with some jobs than others. But, until I figure out where I’m headed next, my desire to conduct sound empirical research is more important to me than is my desire to write this blog. So, at this point, consider things to be in a bit of a holding pattern. Perhaps pretend that you’re trying to make a connection in Atlanta. This will seem brief by comparison. Once I figure out what’s next, I’ll come back with an update. It might be the last time I write anything here, or it might not. Stay tuned.
Five days ago, I wrote this post, which outlined the implementation of a New York Times-style paywall for the blog. From the comments I received, some of you “got it” and some of you didn’t. Today is April 6th, which means that five days ago when that post went up it was…….April Fool’s Day. In fact, if you clicked the link to “subscribe” it took you to aprilfools.com. But, in case of any of you are still under the impression that I’m charging for access to the blog, let me clearly state that I am not. Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming…..
For nearly two years now, I’ve enjoyed writing this blog. But writing a blog takes time, and time–as they say–is money. Of course, having been a student for approximately 26 of my 30 years, money is not something I am terribly familiar with, as many of my most beloved commenters are quick to point out. Fortunately, that’s about to change, as I complete my education and prepare to head out into the “real world.” To think that I’ve spent three decades in some sort of imaginary world is a little unsettling, but I digress.
Today’s post serves as an announcement that beginning tomorrow, all “Wright on Health” content will be made available only to members of the site with a paid subscription. While I hesitated to make this transition initially, the recent implementation of a paywall on the New York Times website convinced me that requiring people to pay for content is the only solution to maintaining the quality of this blog for the long-term. I mean, seriously, how can I continue to justify doing this for free?
So, starting tomorrow, non-members who access the site will only be able to read the title of each blog post. They will then have several subscription options. Using PayPal, which accepts credit and debit cards as well as electronic transfers from checking and savings accounts, individuals will be able to purchase access to a single blog entry for $2.99. They may also purchase a 1-day pass, allowing them to access, save, and print all content for 24 hours. The 1-day pass is $4.99. Monthly subscriptions are also available for $9.99, and for a limited time, special lifetime memberships are available for $249. To subscribe, please visit this site, and thanks again for your loyal readership.
If you’re tired of reading the blog in the same old way, you should try this. Then use the pull-down menu to select different views. It isn’t necessarily user-friendly (well, sidebar is pretty good), but it sure is different.
If you’re anything like me, you have habits. And, if you like me, I’m hoping one of your habits is reading my blog every day. Of course, the downside of that is that it requires me to keep writing new content, and that can get a little bit challenging sometimes. There are a lot of reasons why. For starters, sometimes there’s not much “news” to report. That’s why I started supplementing health reform updates with common sense interpretations of current research. However, even research is cyclical and sometimes lulls. On top of that, I’m working a lot on my dissertation, traveling the country quite a bit for job interviews, and, you know, living life. It’s enough to keep me pretty busy, and sadly, they don’t hand out PhDs for writing a blog, so I’ve had to prioritize. That may not change much for a while.
Now, the blog’s not going away, but it’s quite likely that the recent trend in declining frequency of posts will continue. What I want to avoid is having those of you who check the blog daily, become disappointed when new material doesn’t show up for a few days or a week, and stop reading altogether. I’m not committing to a particular schedule, so don’t expect to see a new post every Wednesday or anything like that. I’m just giving myself some room to breathe. Setting a boundary. Returning my writing from a place of “have to” to a place of “want to.” Just wanted to keep everyone in the loop.
Lest any of you should see the lack of new posts and begin to worry that I have fallen in a hole, let me reassure you that I have simply gone out of town for a few days. Just exactly how much this will disrupt the blog, I don’t know. You should check back later in the week (say Thursday), but if nothing new shows up, then just come back on Monday. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great week, and is enjoying the kind of fall weather we’re having here in North Carolina. We’ll talk again soon……..
It struck me recently that while I have often pointed you to a particularly good post I’ve come across, I have neglected to establish much of a “blogroll” — the list of links to blogs I think are worth checking out regularly. One of the ways I can improve the blog is by collecting these references for you in one place. So, beginning today, I’ll be doing that, but I also need your help. If you write a health care blog, read a health care blog, or just know of a health care blog that you think is worthy of telling others about, send me an email or leave a comment and let me know about it. I’ll take a look at it and decide whether to include it in the list or not.
Today, I’m introducing you to Pulse–Voices From the Heart of Medicine and Christopher Johnson, MD. Pulse is full of narratives and poetry about the practice of medicine. It’s not a place to learn about policy, but it is a place to get inside the mind of the clinician. One of the recent entries, “Broken”, by Jordan Grumet paints a vivid picture of the process physicians go through in confronting so much human misery–and hopefully finding their way back to peace. Dr. Johnson is a pediatric intensive care physician with much to say on a variety of subjects in health care, including a recent piece on the value of electronic medical records and why some physicians are more willing to use them than others.
Give those pieces a read, check those blogs periodically, and send me your suggestions for others….
The good people over at The Health Herald just informed me that they selected my blog for their list of the top 50 blogs for nursing assistants to follow. Am I being biased if I agree with them? What if I think it should be in the top 50 for everyone to follow? You can help that happen by continuing to tell people about the blog. It’d be great if it ended up turning into an online health care summit with opinions from all sides. In the meantime, you can see the full top 50 list here.