The Launch of GoodRads

July 31, 2018
Eric Postal, MD

Radiologists now have a safe haven where they can ask questions, share ideas or just enjoy interacting with others in the profession.

Going back at least a year or two, I wrote a column here about a hypothetical website where radiologists could communicate with one another about any topics of interest. The idea was to provide a forum unlike others currently available, one where a user could have reasonable confidence that other participants were known-quantity fellow rads, as opposed to sites of varying anonymity, where the guy you’re talking to might be anyone at all.

So, for instance, a rad contemplating working for rad-group Y might get trustworthy intel from others who had worked there, or at least knew someone who had. The Wild West of the internet is rife with reviews that might be skewed or contrived by folks with axes to grind.

The rad might read an enthusiastic endorsement of Y from someone claiming to be a new associate of the group…when in fact the “associate” is actually one of Y’s senior partners, desperately looking for fresh meat to abuse. Or the rad might hear something falsely horrible about Y…which turned out to be a smear-job from one of Y’s competitors. Perhaps a rad is dissatisfied with how his own group is doing things, or just looking for new ideas.

How many of us interact with rads outside of our own team with any regularity for fresh perspectives? It could be nice to have a “brain trust” handy for consultation-folks you knew to be capable, trustworthy, etc. As opposed to a mixed bag of individuals on other sites who might talk a good game, but IRL (that’s “in real life” for you non-geeks) could be complete failures, professionally or morally speaking, or possibly not even actual rads.

In the column, I imagined how the website might go, but ultimately it remained a passing fancy, because I had neither the skills nor the time to create and manage an actual website.

Recently, however, I was fiddling around a bit on Facebook, and found out how easy it was to create a page for just about any social or professional interest one might have. Regular readers may recall I mentioned actually doing it for another social interest, a few columns ago. That was easy and successful enough that I thought, why on Earth not give GoodRads a try?

So presto! Up went the page. Very simple rules to join: One has to be personally known to and vouched for by a current member. A current member can invite or suggest a newbie as a GoodRad, or the newbie can inquire directly. (If it should ever happen that a complete unknown inquires, I suppose a bit of interviewing and checking of references could suffice.)

This is clearly not a formula for rapid, massive growth, and it’s not intended to be. So no, for anyone thinking this might be a good way to get a bunch of folks’ contact info and sell it to third parties, you’d best move along and find yourselves another scheme. Right now, less than a month after launch, we’ve got a whole 13 members, mostly along the Eastern seaboard.

Thus far, postings haven’t been all that complex or profound. A few polls, some comments on the quirks of individual rads’ and groups’ ways of doing things. Especially with the current job market, I would not be at all surprised if there started to be some related chat: Who’s heard of good job prospects, what’s considered competitive compensation, etc.

One might consider it a foregone conclusion that this concept would have been hatched by a teleradiologist like myself. After all, if you work in a hospital or imaging-center where you’re already rubbing elbows with colleagues each and every day, you might not feel the need to reach out and contact any one. It might just take working for a few years in the isolation of a home-office for me to have had this motivation.