I wanted to give you a road map: How to get through the Holidays when you have a chronic, sometimes invisible, illness.

I started with good intentions, but I’m finding it difficult to find the words. I’m finding it difficult to come up with tangible things we can do to help us survive the Holidays while living with invisible illness. A check list of sorts.

The truth is: It is difficult this time of year when you are sick. The year is coming to a close, and as we think back over the year that has passed, we often times are left wanting. Thinking about what could have been if we felt better. Wishing we could have accomplished more. Wishing for health in the year to come. Wishing to experience the magic of the season as we have in years past.

Read More

Dignity Health recently put out an infographic detailing the effects of kindness on patients and healing. They suggest that when healthcare is given with kindness and compassion, patients have better outcomes and faster healing. Makes sense in theory, but having hard numbers to back it up is pretty interesting.

What stood out the most to me was this: “The statistical significance of kindness-oriented care on improved health outcomes is LARGER THAN THE EFFECT OF ASPIRIN ON REDUCING A HEART ATTACK, OR SMOKING CESSATION ON MALE MORTALITY” (infographic).

Read More

Last week was a strange week. It felt a little bit like groundhog day–with a prediction of six more months of winter.

About six months ago, I started infusions of IVIG for the treatment of Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy. Better today than I have been in the past three years, I would say the treatments are working. (Speaking of three years, Saturday marked year three of my sickness). Unfortunately, my improvements come at a price: the IVIG causes me to be very sick. Sometimes the reactions aren’t so bad, but other (most) times, I have a severe inflammatory reaction of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, known as aseptic meningitis. This causes out-of-this-world headaches, neck pain, nausea, visual changes, and pretty much the inability to do anything but lay in the fetal position. I take steroids to counteract this reaction, but unfortunately, if I take them, they also counteract the benefits of the infusion itself.

Needless to say, these past six months have been some of the worst days and some of the best days I’ve had in the last three years. Pain and misery from the infusions on one hand, and on the other, I’ve been able to do more than I ever have and I’m off the majority of medications I was on (which is a ridiculous thing to say if you know how many I used to have to take).

Read More

I’m excited to head to Scottsdale, Arizona next week for the 18th Annual Greystone.net Healthcare Internet Conference, HCIC 2014, –bringing together health leaders from many different disciplines to talk digital marketing.

I will be tweeting @SarahBethRN–consider yourselves forewarned.

The keynote speaker lineup leaves little to be desired. I am perhaps most intrigued by Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing@unmarketing.  He is “an expert in viral, social, and authentic marketing, which he calls UnMarketing.” With 174 thousand Twitter followers and 60 million views of client videos, he certainly has made his mark online. His newest book is entitled “QR Codes Kill Kittens”–need I say more? On November 4, he will present UnMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging.

If you are heading to the pre-conference events, check out Online Reputation Management facilitated by F. Brian Whitman, Partner and COO of Corrigan Partners. “What’s Important Now? And What Solutions, Tools and Techniques Work Best to Manage It?”

Here are a few break out sessions I’m excited for:

  • Monday, November 3, Cleveland Rocks! Insider Secrets from the Cleveland Clinic’s Email Program
  • Monday, November 3, Patient Engagement and Clinical Workflow: Success Stories on Integrated Health Communication Programs
  • Tuesday, November 4, SEM/SEO and Mapping ROI across Channels
  • Tuesday, November 4, Healthcare Everywhere: The Mobile Health Explosion by @karencorrigan

The most difficult breakout session choice is the Wednesday, November 5, 9-10am sessions where we will have to choose between:

  • Teaching your Physicians and Staff HOW to Blog
  • Chris Boyer‘s The Power of Search Marketing: Reaching and Converting Patients Online
  • Storytelling, Service and Social: A Multi-Faceted and Multimedia Approach to Building the Patient Relationship by the folks at Johns Hopkins
  • and Ed Bennett on Large Scale Healthcare System Web Site Transformation: Reports from the Trenches

Tough Decision. I’m still undecided.

Don’t forget to stop by Booth 28 to get your very own Corrigan Partner’s duck.

And Tweet me @SarahBethRN #hcic14



The director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia apologized for implying that the nurse in Texas was responsible for her own infection with the deadly Ebola virus. This comes less than two weeks after hospital officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and other prominent officials blamed a different nurse for releasing the patient with Ebola from the emergency department possibly causing an Ebola outbreak.

Read my post from last week explaining this controversy: Why the nurse is not to blame for the Ebola “mistake”.

The public at large is understandably concerned by the news that a nurse here in the United States contracted Ebola despite wearing full protective equipment. How is this possible? Dr.. Thomas Frieden of the CDC seemed to imply it was the nurse’s fault when he stated the infection was due to a “breach in protocol”.

Read More

There is a lot of talk about why the man diagnosed with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was sent home from the emergency room not having been tested for Ebola despite telling the triage nurse he had been in Liberia.

Because they let him go, he came in to contact with up to 20 people including a handful of school aged children. According to CNN, “Hospital officials have acknowledged that the patient’s travel history wasn’t “fully communicated” to doctors” (CNN article). CNN also reports that “‘A travel history was taken, but it wasn’t communicated to the people who were making the decision. … It was a mistake. They dropped the ball,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”

“They dropped the ball”. I certainly hope Dr. Fauci is not talking about the nurse. Read More