Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Mom-to-Mom Blogs: Hospitals Invite Women to Share Experiences

Published in the American Hospital Association’s October 2010 Hospitals & Health Networks

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Mom-to-Mom Blogs: Hospitals Invite Women to Share Experiences

Ask a mom where she finds advice about parenting, nutrition or child safety, and she’ll likely mention several other mothers before naming her pediatrician. Increasingly, moms are turning to social media as the vehicle to connect with other mothers, and now some hospitals are joining the conversation.

According to the Nielsen Company, which tracks consumer information, women between ages 25 and 54 with at least one child constitute 20 percent of daily online activity. In a July Yahoo! poll, women self-reported spending 20 percent of their time online interacting with women in similar life situations.

“Moms don’t necessarily want to hear from health experts all the time,” says Michelle Davis, marketing operations and community development director for Boston’s Lowell General Hospital. “They want to talk with people who are going through the journey of raising children with them.”

To fulfill that need, Lowell General and Boston’s Floating Hospital for Children held a Facebook contest to recruit five mom bloggers. They launched the Merrimack Valley Moms blog in June and, as of September, have received more than 4,000 unique hits. The hospitals have received more positive feedback about the blog than from any other community initiatives, Davis says.

Each blogger writes at least one post monthly on topics ranging from nutrition to getting children involved in volunteer efforts. Lowell’s communications office ensures topics are appropriate for the blog and corrects grammar mistakes. Hospital officials do not edit content.

Running the blog through the hospital—even if bloggers do not offer medical advice—ensures readers the posts are credible, says Jane Marshall, a Merrimack Valley Mom blogger.

“As a mom, you learn through experience, and not everything works for everyone,” Marshall says. “But it helps to see different parenting techniques other moms have tried.”

Confusing experience for expertise is easy, but a medically trained mother’s voice can stop others from overreacting to a flu epidemic or provide details about safely helping babies sleep through the night, says Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a mother and pediatrician who works and blogs for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Swanson has posted more than 100 blogs since January and says her patients connect with her blog and often ask questions during appointments.

“I have limited time with my patients during the day, so the blog gives them more of my attention,” Swanson says. “For providers, it’s an excellent way to arm patients with information to protect themselves and their children against disease or injury.”

To read the story online : http://www.hhnmag.com/hhnmag_app/jsp/articledisplay.jsp?dcrpath=HHNMAG/Article/data/10OCT2010/1010HHN_Inbox_internet&domain=HHNMAG


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October 13, 2010 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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