UMMC Blog Promotes Sharing Among Professionals Patients and the Community

For immediate release: April 27, 2010

Contact:

Sharon Boston

sboston@umm.edu | 410-328-8919

'Life in a Medical Center' blog draws thousands of readers


The University of Maryland Medical Center has recently launched “Life in a Medical Center,” a blog that allows patients, employees, friends of UMMC and others to share their stories, health tips, hospital experiences and more. The blog --  http://medcenterblog.org -- offers an insight into what life in a large academic medical center is like from a variety of perspectives.  More than 25 people have posted entries so far.

Early blog posts touched on the following areas: advice on how to prepare for surgery, personal reflections from UMMC volunteers helping earthquake survivors in Haiti, information on UMMC's “green” initiatives, and a heart transplant patient success story, to name a few. “The UMMC blog is the centerpiece of our social media program, which includes 11 Twitter accounts, two Facebook pages and a YouTube channel,” says UMMC Web site and blog editor Chris Lindsley.

“It's a place where medical professionals, employees, patients and others can go to share their UMMC experiences, to connect with each other and to comment on what others have written. It's these heartfelt first-person experiences that bring the blog to life,” adds Lindsley, who adds new blog entries each week.

Many of these reflections have come from members of the University of Maryland medical teams who have been rotating in and out of Haiti to care for earthquake survivors since the end of January.  The blog provides an outlet for sharing the emotions, personal stories and photos of the volunteer medical providers. Here are several excerpts from its Haiti-related posts:

  • “I've hit my wall, fatigued, with muscle and back pain. Chronic dehydration. I have no more socks, underwear, or food. I guess it's time to go home. It's been an incredible experience.”

  • “For the first time in Haiti I felt invisible, and I was struck by the fact that people were getting back to the daily hard work necessary to survive in Port-au-Prince.”

  • “I couldn't imagine what it must have felt like knowing her infant was hungry, hearing her cries, but being stuck ”” unable to provide the breast milk that was her birthright and lifeline.  It was too painful.”

Since the blog's debut in December 2009, it has been seen by more than 6,700 people. Visitors have gotten a behind-the-scenes glimpse of many aspects of hospital life, such as how UMMC coped with two record blizzards during one week in February.

"Blogs serve an important role in social media programs, but they are missing at many organizations. In fact, out of more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals, fewer than 100 currently have a blog,” says Ed Bennett, Director of Web Strategy at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “We are fortunate to have the support of UMMC leadership, who see this as an essential communications tool," he adds.

The medical center promotes the blog internally and externally, encouraging employees, physicians and patients and their families to contribute.

“Life in a Medical Center adds a new, more personal dimension to UMMC's array of communications channels, opening up a way for people within our hospital community and beyond to share their thoughts, insights and ideas,” says Ellen Beth Levitt, director of Public Affairs and Media Relations.

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This page was last updated: July 23, 2013

         
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