Sunday, April 30, 2006

[Roy] Doctor Google

[posted by Roy]

Now that's an interesting job... to be the doctor at Google Headquarters in Mountain View. Dr. Razavi is a physician working part-time for Google, answering questions in her blog about ticks, whooping cough, coccygodynia, among other things. She appears to also have a private practice on the side (or is the Google job on the side?).

At one point in my life, when I had a handful of "side jobs"; one of them was to run a chat room in AOL's Depression Forum on Sunday nights, answering general questions about depression and its treatment. I started doing it for a friend gratis, and it eventually turned into a paid job for a couple years. Until the internet bubble burst, and all these start-ups went belly-up. What I provided was education and information. No therapy. No treatment. No advice (other than to say to "ask your doctor").

My malpractice insurer asked all the insureds about their internet activities. I dutifully explained what I did. They asked for a transcript of a chat, which I provided. They then told me that, not only would I not be covered for this activity (which I wouldn't expect) but that if I did not stop doing it, they would drop me, as they could not quantify the risk exposure. I recall being incensed that providing needed education about what the symptoms of depression were, or what common side effects of Prozac were, was not being embraced but strongly discouraged. (No wonder our health care system is imploding.)

My building righteous rage to fight "the man" on this one was quickly snuffed when AOL ended the contract with my friend's company, thus ending the service. My drive to share information has not been quenched, however. I later ran an e-newsletter about psychiatric medications for a couple years, stopping because the squeeze wasn't worth the juice (it took up too much time).

So I understand Dinah's blogging apprehension. Writers and educators (even physicians, for the most part) have a desire to share their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge with those who are interested. So, the rabbit hole gets deeper. Yet, the number of blogging and sharing netizens in the World Wide Wonderland continues to grow.

I can't help but wonder where it will all lead. Hopefully, we'll all get there before... someone yells, "Off with their heads!"

No comments: