You don't have to live in the Seattle area to get the medical advice of Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle's award-winning Children's Hospital. Dr. Swanson keeps one of the most popular blogs in the area, the Seattle Mama Doc Blog, posting a few times a week on topics that are important to her both as a pediatrician and as a mother.
With advice onsurviving colic, potty training tips, how much cartoon-time is too much cartoon-time and more, Seattle Mama Doc is well loved because her approach is gentle, but her opinion is strong. And, because she's a mother herself, reading Dr. Swanson's blog feels more like chatting with a friend -- who just happens to be a doctor.
What's the advantage to having a pediatrician who blogs? As busy moms, it's hard to keep up on every latest development in the fast-paced world of children's health, but by having a pediatrician who can break down the important topics, moms benefit.
Plus, pediatricians who also blog seem to be in better touch with what's happening in the lives of their families because they are connected to them outside of the waiting room doors as well as via their blog.
Medical advice in 140 characters or less? Seems funny, doesn't it? But, pediatricians across the country are using Twitter as a way to communicate with patients, the community and other doctors, bringing up-to-the-minute information concerning children's health topics and even just chatting about what's happening in the day-to-day lives of families.
Dr. Tanya Altmann, who tweets at @DrMommyCalls, has over 2,000 loyal followers and interacts with them on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, covering topics that are already on the minds of every parent -- breastfeeding, fevers, lice and more. Plus, she re-tweeting great articles from other parenting and health resources that are also on Twitter.
With parents having only a few precious minutes or even seconds in between school pick-ups, loads of laundry and soccer games, being able to jump on Twitter and grab a tweet or two on children's health from a pediatrician is as good as gold.
This might be every parent's dream -- a pediatrician who emails! Think of all the time you'd save with those pesky, non-emergency questions that come up after-hours or on the weekends -- the "he's had a lingering fever of 100.5 for the past three days, but with no other symptoms" type of emails where you need to know whether to stick it out at home or come into the office.
Sadly, emailing with your pediatrician is most likely only in your dreams. As you can imagine, opening up email communication with patients -- and parents, at that! -- would be a time-suck for doctors who are already sprinting from one ear-infection stricken 3-year-old to the next. Very few pediatricians (and doctors in general) are emailing with their patients, despite the fact that some offices are beginning to use both email and text for administrative purposes, such as setting up appointments.
Keep in mind when your own pediatrician is accessible via blog, tweet, text or email that in most cases, communicating with them in these ways does not replace having an in-office relationship with your child's doctor, nor does following a pediatrician's blog or Twitter feed that is not your own.
Is your pediatrician social media savvy? Does s/he blog? Share in the comments section below.
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