I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Randy Martin and the team at HealthWatchMD at a blogger event hosted by Piedmont Healthcare at their Piedmont West location here in Atlanta. Dr. Martin is the Medical Director, Cardiovascular Imaging for Piedmont Hospital, Chief Structural & Valvular Heart Disease, Piedmont Heart Institute, Echocardiography, Piedmont Heart Institute and Medical Correspondent for HealthWatchMD.
We met with other bloggers to brainstorm about how to use social media to provide good, trustworthy health-related information to help educate and empower consumers. Many of the bloggers present were women, which is not too surprising, since 80% of women make the health care decisions for their families.
One of the things that Dr. Martin said that resonated with me is that “an educated consumer is critical to a patient’s well-being.” There is a lot of reputable health information out there on the internet, but people can become quickly inundated with too much information, or it can be hard to establish credibility (sources not cited, information being taken out of context, etc.) Also, while those health sources are great for finding out detailed information about diseases or conditions, they may not have much in the way of trending news about health topics and their impact on consumers.
The primary goal of HealthWatchMD is to find a way to reach out to people and share trending health stories in a way that is fun to watch, informative and interactive. The site’s main feature are video clips of Dr. Martin discussing the latest health news in an unscripted, natural way that takes advantage of his previous on-camera experience as the WSB-Atlanta Channel 2 medical expert. The site also features content aggregated from various news stories on selected topics, and they recently added a Q&A section.
As bloggers, we were given a unique opportunity to provide feedback on the website. We also had a lively discussion on ways to cross-promote using social networking platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. Finding ways to actively engage communities of interest was probably the strongest thread of our discussion. As bloggers active in social media, that’s primarily how we connect with others. For example, I tend to follow and engage with other people on Twitter and Facebook who are interested in and are promoting:
- healthy birth choices for women (doulas, midwives, childbirth educators and lactation consultants)
- other women’s health issues, including Pelvic Pain Disorder (because of my own experience living with and healing from Interstitial Cystitis)
- Sensory Processing Disorder (my daughter has mild SPD)
- healthy living (organic, locavore and healthy nutrition for kids)
- mind/body/spirit topics such as alternative medicine, spirituality, meditation and fitness
It seems eclectic, but there is actually more crossover with audiences than you’d expect! Some of the topics are personal to me (and may be featured on this blog) and some are related to my other sites, Danatopia and Dragonfly Reiki.
I enjoyed meeting Dr. Martin and was pleased that he asked me specifically about the work I do with Reiki. He expressed support for some complementary therapies, including meditation. He understood their usefulness for promoting a patient’s overall state of well-being, which I found very encouraging!
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting, and I hope to get to know the other bloggers now that we’ve been acquainted. Some were “mommy bloggers” but several focused on other topics, including breast cancer awareness, nutrition and fitness. Among those present were:
- Susan Eppley – A Little Slice of Life
- Lynn Epstein – Mama Says
- Shameeka Ayers – The Broke Socialite
- Christie Crowder – The Chatterbox
- Lorraine Robertson – Run Wifey Run and My Atlanta Moms
- Meghan Cooper – JaMonkey, Atlanta Moms on the Move and My Atlanta Moms
Stay tuned for more! Meanwhile, check out HealthWatchMD’s “Fast Friday” segment where Dr. Martin talks about two new studies that show just how much of an impact parents have on their children’s eating habits: