hand hygiene

Being a Healthcare Blogger

I’ve been blogging now for seven years. I believe I wrote my first blog post in May 2007. The experience has been fascinating. There are times when I’m able to step back and look at my blogging life as if I were a disinterested third party. It is at those times that it becomes apparent that my blog has taken on a life of its own!

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 5.15.02 PMOne thing I’ve learned is that successful bloggers are prized by commercial enterprises as potential distribution outlets for messaging about their products and services. I’m contacted daily by people who want me to share their press releases (this includes major health insurance companies and medical centers), to write about new technologies, or to place their advertising on my blog. People also contact me with genuine questions about a given blog post or topic. Because I’ve written a great deal about patient safety and hand hygiene, I receive all kinds of inquiries about those topics in particular. During flu season (right now), that activity escalates.

I am always open to people contacting me, grateful for their comments, and do my best to respond to their questions. Occasionally I approach these inquiries with suspicion because of the way they are worded (typically these are email messages). That was the case yesterday when a woman named Sarah emailed me regarding one of my blog posts dealing with a hand hygiene campaign my firm produced for Tufts Medical Center. Something wasn’t right about her email. Here is a transcipt of Sarah’s message to me:

Hi,

My name is Sarah________ and I am doing a project into the best way to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. I was interested to see the graph at https://thehealthcaremarketer.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/today-cmo-stands-for-chief-medical-officer/ showing the changes in MRSA rates along with the improving hand hygiene compliance at Tufts Medical Center. If it would be possible, I would love to be able to look further at this data, considering the other factors which could have influenced the decreasing MRSA rates and the costs behind putting in place the patients safety campaign.

I would like to be able to use this to evaluate the method of improving infection prevention and control practices in tackling antibiotic resistance. Please could you tell me more about this?

Thank you so much,

Sarah

Within her message, Sarah never disclosed who she works for? What organization does she represent? That is usually not a good sign. And she’s asking for access to our data? I was leery. So, I emailed Sarah, thanking her for contacting me and asked where she works. This was her response:

Hi,

I am 16 years old and still at school doing an extended project as part of my A levels. I am hoping to go to university and study veterinary medicine and am especially interested in antibiotics and the problems they could cause.

Thanks,

Sarah

Isn’t that cool? Evidently Sarah is in secondary school in the UK. 16-years-old and she’s emailing me for information about hospital acquired infections and antibiotic resistance! I love it. It makes me smile. From my perspective, Sarah contacting me was a gift. I was able to send her an article I co-authored with several physicians from Tufts Medical Center that appeared in the Joint Commission’s Journal of Quality & Patient Safety (Volume 37, Issue 1). Hopefully that will give her the information she needs for her school project. She was very appreciative and thanked me for the help.

When I started blogging, my philosophy was all about sharing. In my role at Jennings I come across interesting information on a daily basis. My goal was to share that information with other healthcare marketers and communicators who may not have access to the same information. For the most part, I’ve been true to that goal and have thoroughly enjoyed the life of a blogger. I am grateful for people like Sarah who actually read my blog, find something of value, and contact me for more information. That makes it worthwhile. Thanks Sarah.

3 comments on “Being a Healthcare Blogger

  1. Keep fighting the good fight. I’ve been blogging for about the same time. it’s amazing how the blogging just kind of becomes a part of what you do. I agree that the little stories like Sarah make it all worth while. Although, I’ve taken a little different angle. My 9 year old has started a blog at http://www.curtislynn.com It’s amazing how he’s taken to it. Last night he was telling me his blogging schedule for the next 6 months. It included 2 months each of: minions, mario, and angry birds.

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