Do Doctors Read?

Okay, after monitoring and The Health Care Blog, I have to ask:  Do doctors read?  And if so, what?

I know four things from my own experience (and watching “Grey’s Anatomy”).

First, physicians are busy often exhausted individuals who deal with life-and-death matters.  For some, a robust sense of importance, if not their institutional setting, makes them deaf to patient input.  The Work to the Max ethic and lifestyle is inculcated long before medical school.

Second, physicians in my daughter’s chain of medical events were highly resistant if not resentful of patient input regarding new sources of information, from medical to newspaper to Internet articles.   Regardless of how tactfully the material was presented.

Third, as is clear from my own posts, the ones I encountered don’t read The New York Times.

Fourth, the doctors I know, when they do have leisure time, spend it at the health club, on the ski slopes, at the theatre or flying jets.  They don’t read for leisure and thus are unlikely to familiarize themselves with the irony, say, of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels.  Irony is useful here in that it, and the humor in Spenser, arises from the skepticism of a Single Joe dealing with large, but not efficient, corporate and government entities.

So I raise the question:  Do doctors read?  And if so, what?

Whatever they are reading, or not reading, seems to contribute to the ossification of attitude implicit in David Kibbe’s recent post on The Health Care Blog about his quest to urge physicians to adopt up-to-date Information Technology.  Of all the entities involved in transformation of the health care system, the physician community seems least able to adapt to changing times.


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7 Responses to “Do Doctors Read?”

  1. Barb Tunstall says:

    Yepper, buddy!

  2. Jason says:

    “the doctors I know, when they do have leisure time, spend it at the health club, on the ski slopes, at the theatre or flying jets.”

    I wish I was one of the doctors you knew.


  3. Christine,

    Our medical community is well read, whether in the medical literature or other leisure publications. I would also comment that there is a much greater use of the patient-centered care model, not only at our hospital but in the community that we serve. Just remember that the e-patient community/movement is relatively new, so much work still needs to be done. We all need to be more actively involved in reaching “full participation” of all health partners.
    Harlan R. Weinberg, MD, FCCP
    Author, “Dr. Weinberg’s Guide to the Best Health Resources on the Web”

  4. Christine Gray says:


    Check out the discussion on same on the health care blog :)
    And also the discussion on the Kibbe “Confessions . . . ” piece on thbc

    Best to you.


  5. Susannah Fox says:

    Here are the links for the discussions Chris refers to:

    Confessions of a Physician EMR Champion by David Kibbe

    A patient’s perspective: Do doctors read? by Christine Gray

  6. Muchos Gracias for your blog.Really thank you! Great.

  7. Lucy Doroway says:

    My mom is general practitioner and she is still sort of old school doctor. She reads a lot and educates herself all the time.

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