We talk a lot about great blogging around here, and today I want to give you a good medical blog post to evaluate. Take a gander at Hey shorty! Height and heart – how does that work? by Dr. Nikki Stamp, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Sydney, Australia.
Go ahead and read it – it’ll only take about two minutes.
Dr. Stamp made several smart choices with this post. Here are a few.
- Timeliness of the topic. The topic addressed in this article was a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The media jumped on it and it’s been reported everywhere from NPR to Glamour. Because of the media attention, patients will want to know what their doctor has to say about the research. And potential patients will be impressed that they can get evidence-based, timely information from a legitimate source.
- Explanation of the findings. The New England Journal of Medicine is not light reading. Dr. Stamp provides a brief, clear report of the central findings of the study. No jargon or medical abbreviations, just straightforward English.
- Excellent readability. The piece was written at an 8th grade level. This makes it accessible to most adults so it broadens the audience. In addition, even folks who can read at a very high level shouldn’t have to decipher a lot of medical lingo to torture the meaning out of the article. Nobody wants to work too hard to get simple information.
- Clear voice. Throughout the piece, I could hear Dr. Stamp’s voice. It was as if she was talking to me the way she would if we were chatting away over a Starbucks. It creates a connection with her audience.
- The takeaway. Dr. Stamp didn’t just interpret the study, she gave us the real life meaning in personal terms.
That said, nothing is perfect, and I recommend some changes for a few areas:
- Could use an image. I admire the uncomplicated, easy to read look of Dr. Stamp’s blog. However, a great image can add visual interest and draw more readers in. She doesn’t have to go overboard; just one simple image will pop and catch attention.
- Needs another pass through editing. As I mentioned, the reading level and style make the post easy to read. There are a couple of sentences that could be tightened up. Verb tense issues show up here and there. But overall her pleasant voice carried me through the piece. Another edit would have made the piece a real stand-out.
- Needs direct link to the study. It’s not necessary in informal internet writing to footnote your references. It’s preferred to link to the source directly in the text – like I did in “Timeliness of the Topic” above.
- Needs a way to make an appointment. If I’m in Sydney and come across this blog, I’m going to have to do a lot of work if I want to make an appointment with Dr. Stamp. I realize her practice is most likely referral-based, but you never know who might stumble upon your post.
Overall, Dr. Stamp did a great job creating a simple educational piece for her readers.
Have you found any good medical blog posts that do a great job using evidence to educate readers? Please share them with us in the comments or on Twitter. We are always on the look out for excellent examples.