You are invited…..

This past September I was delighted to see an email arrive..  “You are invited ” it started out.  A good friend online had presented my name – and I did not expect to be invited but there it was in black and white!

I am thrilled to participate in the up-coming Social Media Conference with the Ontario Hospital Association in Toronto on January 23, 2015.   This will be the first time that I will meet online connections that I have made over the past 4 years on Twitter. Certainly I have had phone calls, Google chats, Skype calls but nothing can compare with real life meetings.  Social media is how I connected with these wonderful people – as I would not have met them by walking my home town streets.

I have watched with interest and a bit of envy I must admit – as other friends and contacts have joined in other real life events.  It has been heartwarming to see people take part in speaking, presentations, taking Selfies with their online connections.  I always wondered what it would feel to be there and now I will get to find out.

The main reason for the conference is to explore connecting patients with community and health care facilities – and that is something I embrace.  It is an honor to use Social Media to learn, listen, learn and share.

As a patient living in a city isolated by miles of road and hours of travel or expensive flights – to participate in this conference is welcome and timely.  I live in Timmins  famous for long cold winters.  This is a welcome opportunity to escape the cold and meet the many good friends I have met online.

You can learn more about this conference on January 23, 2014 by going to  Ontario Hospital Association The conference is also available online as a webinar.

The focus of the conference is Engaging Patients and the Community through Social Media.  Being an epatient online – having some experience as a family member, as a patient myself, as a retired Personal Support Worker I value this opportunity to share in the discussion.

We live in a very different world from even 20 years ago.  Everyone is connecting via smartphones, computers, laptops I-pads and tablets.  We are now able to communicate, get support and information via Social Media and email.  We can connect with Health Care Professionals via Teleconferencing – a boon to patients who live in isolated areas of the province and country.  Health records are also becoming available online to doctor and patient alike, so i have heard.  Electronic Health Records – EHR is in our near future.

We are more involved in our own care and decision-making than ever before.  We are a valid part of the circle of care – in fact without the patient – there is no team.  We now voice our questions and opinions, participating fully in the details of our care and treatment.  We also find other patients who blog, Tweet or Facebook with passion.  This is so valuable – ending isolation and fear for many.

Attending a conference will add to my online experience in so many ways.  I am very pleased to be given this opportunity.

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