In March we opened the SERMO doors to physicians in the UK. Much preparation was given to the anticipation of cross-border collaboration, insight-driven real world medicine exchange and unification of doctors in a common cause – to talk medicine. It’s fair to predict that these commendable endeavors will be achieved. But let’s not forget that SERMO is equally about creating a safe place for doctors to simply download, to resuscitate their personal selves from what will always be one of the most demanding professions. In light of this, therefore, amidst the fanfare of altruistic achievement, we were fascinated and pleased to see that the first of the conversations between US and UK physicians was not about health systems, diagnostic guidelines nor a challenging patient case – but to pure socializing and getting-to-know you relationship-building as:
“so what’s with you guys removing all the ‘a’s from the English language?”
There was banter, bonhomie and bonding. There was even time to ask about the correct way to take high tea (at 3pm, with crustless cucumber sandwiches, Earl Grey leaves, and raspberry-laden scones). And then the patient cases started to come.
We know that SERMO is the number one social network for physicians in the US precisely because it allows doctors to be themselves. As Oscar Wilde wrote, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” and such words of wisdom prevail every day within SERMO. In the first few weeks we have seen 11 percent of the medical community of the UK become members already; like their US counterparts, British doctors are keen to talk. Dialect, colloquialisms, healthcare organizations may differ between regions but the practice of medicine itself still has a common language. We saw one discussion thread where language differences were a barrier (French-English), but once the medical acronyms, lab tests and scientific procedures were detailed, members flocked to help, galvanized by the common medical cause; HCV, HbA1, ECG etc is global terminology – common talk for SERMO members.
Which is why we are excited about what’s now and what’s next. Already we are seeing the power of medical crowdsourcing provide solutions, irregardless of the origin of posting. And the humour segues to humility of physicians diligently transforming real world medicine together. Or should that be humor?
Coming soon on SERMO:
— The UK election; what do the political parties claim as part of their manifesto healthcare promises?
— Different guidelines, same patient: what experience would they have in the UK versus the US?
— Medicine – with an American accent or the Queen’s English; the differences, the similarities
If you’re an M.D. or D.O. in the US or UK, please join us inside SERMO.