#MDigitalLife is a WCG program designed to learn from and to showcase physicians who are blazing new trails in the digital world – changing the way that medicine is practiced and better health is realized. You can find previous posts here.
“I feel like blogging is my duty.”
Dr. Caitlin Giesler, FACC Cardiologist at Seton Heart Institute in Austin, Texas, started blogging a few short months ago as a compliment to an already existing web site. Adding the blog allowed Giesler to frequently update information on guidelines, news and diagnoses that patients in Austin and the surrounding areas could search for and find online.
“I wanted to share my knowledge as a physician with an interest in women and heart disease and present it with a regional focus,” says Giesler. “Blogging has allowed me a lot of freedom to share my ideas and other experts’ ideas with the goal of offering preventative guidelines.”
Giesler’s passion for cardiology and preventing heart disease goes back to her family. While attending med school, her father died of a heart attack. She and her family had always been aware that heart disease was part of the family medical history, but she now had an urgent desire to understand her own risks. When she started searching, Giesler found the dearth of information on women and heart disease alarming.
“My experience in med school and my father’s death led me to advocate prevention and awareness,” says Giesler. “Primary care physicians are often too busy to discuss prevention with their patients, so if I’m not going to do it, who is?”
For many doctors, blogging has become a scalable way to build a digital presence that’s relatively easy and inexpensive to launch and maintain – and an effective way to deliver their message and their passions in healthcare. Due to the nature of blogs’ dynamic content, they tend to index high on Google searches – enabling the physician’s audience to find their quality content more easily.
For Giesler, her goal in blogging is to provide realistic guidelines that most of us can incorporate into every day life. Since she started the blog in November 2011, Giesler has posted about heart palpitations, statins, pregnancy and heart disease, as well as nutrition.
“The blog allows me to share advice I give to my own patients,” she explains. “It’s also a creative outlet for me that has spawned new interests in nutrition.”
For Giesler, blogging has become an enjoyable experience for her and her patients, who can refer to her blog outside of the examining room. Giesler also uses her blog as a tool for primary care physicians who can read up on women and heart disease and possibly make better care decisions and referrals for their female patients.
“The more I get out there and talk to women’s groups and even men about heart disease in women, the more I really enjoy reaching out,” she “heart”-fully exclaims. “And the blog compliments all of that.”
One current reality, in her opinion, does cloud her blog’s impact among her elderly patients. Many of them are not using online resources to gather information on heart disease, and many of them are seeing Dr. Giesler when it may be too late for prevention.
“Maybe in 10 or 20 years, younger people who’ve read the blog can incorporate these ideas on prevention to make a huge impact on their health.”
It seems plausible that Dr. Giesler’s newfound passion for blogging – teaching all of us about the dangers of heart disease in women – will have an impact in the Austin community and beyond.