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Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care

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Posted by Bonnie Sheeren (@bonniesheeren) · Aug 8, 2014

Bonnie Sheeren - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014

I have had many adventures in health care. I endured hit or miss interactions with the medical community most of my life up through my twenties. Ignorance was not bliss, but it was the only option.

After college, I went into educational video production, my friends talked me into coming to the Texas Medical Center. Working at M.D. Anderson Cancer as a writer/producer convinced me that patients need to know as much as possible in order to make their treatments successful. Then, being transferred to UT-Houston Health Science Center, I covered all medical topics and spent a great deal of time in the Hermann Hospital ER, documenting trauma treatments. All this would hold me in good stead during the next decade when I went from standing around a procedure room to being the one on the stretcher.

My many sinus surgeries reflected the evolution of the field and also the uncertainty of the actual diagnosis. I spent hour upon hour researching everything so that I could be the best possible partner in my own care. Then, I needed hip surgery. My research led me to conclude that hip resurfacing was my best option, but it wasn’t FDA approved at the time. Yet, I found a doctor who agreed that hip resurfacing would provide the outcome I needed and helped me make this happen. Emerging from all these surgeries and procedures, I began to realize that many people didn’t have my background to successfully maneuver through the health care maze. I began to help friends and family answer their questions when confronted with medical issues.

Then two national patient advocacy groups came to my attention: APHA (Alliance of Professional Health Advocates) and NAHAC (National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants). I felt it was time to try to help others on a professional basis and I joined both organizations. I incorporated my business (Houston Health Advocacy, LLC), acquired a website (, created a Facebook page (, generated a Pinterest page (, Tweeted (, connected with a nationwide group of like-minded advocates on LinkedIn (, and attempted to blog (

As much as I love being right in the middle of this exciting new world of helping health care become accessible and understandable to as many people as possible---I feel a little overwhelmed by the world of social media. I actually had someone recommend that I also do Instagram---I can’t imagine adding more to the mix! Yet, it’s hard not to try to be on every platform—learning more and passing on that information to others.

I am thrilled to be part of this new age in medicine. I love reading “Kevin Pho, MD” with the many voices chiming in as well as books by Drs. Nuland, Groopman, Gawande, and Makary among many others. Thank you for offering this medical Social Media Summit---it will lead to great things for the future of U.S. health care.

Questions about the contest or the voting process? Click here.

SM Scholarship 2014

Judy A, James Neff, susanlieberman and 18 others like this

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TeresaMaron (@teresamaron) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Nothing is scarier than being sick, or hurt, and feeling helpless and confused. There are so many choices, and so many conflicting opinions. Houston Health Advocacy is present on social media as a resource, an advocate, and as a compassionate voice, thanks to Bonnie Sheeren.
Teresa Maron

Susan in Houston, Janet, SJC like this

ynotcare (@ynotcare) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Social media is an ever evolving process, kind of like medicine. Houston is an epicenter of so much and Bonnie, we are lucky to have you in our city. Having a patient advocate to help navigate what is real information versus hype is so necessary! I wish you all the best in all you do.

Janet likes this

Doni Wilson (@dmwilson) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Houstonians are very fortunate to have Bonnie's health advocacy. Not only does she do the hard work of research and writing on so many timely and important topics, she is there for many as a resource for health advocacy. Her presence is important as health care becomes more difficult to navigate, and she also has the gift of empathy for those facing health challenges.

Janet likes this

Charles Beck, Publisher MDNews Houston (@mdnewshouston) · Sep 13, 2014 · #

Bonnie, feel free to submit your press releases to
You will reach over 15000 physicians and hundreds of healthcare executives in area hospitals.

Bonnie Sheeren (@bonniesheeren) · Sep 13, 2014 · #

Hey Charles!

I was so delighted that we have a local Houston physician media group!

I would love to get together and talk after mid-October to see the scope of
your business plans.



Bonnie C. Sheeren
Houston Health Advocacy, LLC

281-624-6676 business line
832-428-4104 personal cell

"It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease
than what sort of a disease a patient has.
Osler, M.D.

Karen Zorn (@karenzorn) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

With health care the way it is today sometimes you need
help navigating the system. If needed, Bonnie Sheeren
is here to offer you that guidance that you may need
with any health care issues you may be having.

Janet likes this

Janet (@janetschoice) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Wonderful work that Bonnie does. Thank you.

Janet and Janet like this

SNCrawford (@sncrawford) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Bonnie Sheeren has identified a much needed area of expertise as a healthcare advocate. She is adding to the quality of life of patients and their families with her attention to detail as she helps them navigate the maze of the healthcare industry.

texglam (@texglam) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Bonnie Sheeren is a great advocate for many good causes.. She is one who can empathize as well is very knowledgable in this field of medicine from hands on experience. She is my choice when I need a HEALTH CARE ADVOCATE, as of recent.. She was promptly on top of the details.
Melissa E. Noble hairstylist

Edited: 08/09/2014 @ 11:27am

Janet likes this

Portushead (@portushead) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Great essay and great work Bonnie!

Janet likes this

Emilie (@filmgirl99) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

I wish I had someone like you here in Orlando. Healthcare, even under the best of circumstances can be confusing...and having a compassionate advocate like you would make the process so much more workable. Thanks for your service

Janet likes this

Dawn Bell (@dawnbell) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Terrific work and a wonderful service that Bonnie provides.

Janet likes this

Risa (@rbmyers) · Aug 9, 2014 · #

Having someone with insight from multiple perspectives (observer, patient, now advocate) is invaluable in helping people learn to navigate the system. Good luck!

Janet likes this

zmass (@zaramassoud) · Aug 10, 2014 · #

Bonnie knows how to see both sides of the coin. She is compassionate and caring and should be the 'go to' patient advocate for anyone and everyone. She works from the heart. Great work Bonnie.

Edited: 08/10/2014 @ 5:28am

Janet likes this

Bonnie O'Brien Al-Rifai (@bonniealrifai) · Aug 10, 2014 · #

When it comes to medical advice I am always focused on what Bonnie has to say on the subject. Her wealth of knowledge is constantly inspiring me.

Janet likes this

Janet (@angelgirl111) · Aug 10, 2014 · #

When it comes to navigating through our healthcare system, we all need a Guardian Angel to guide us. Bonnie Sheeren is one of those Angels! Her own personal healthcare experiences, coupled with her adventuresome spirit, her compassionate heart and her quest for knowledge is unparalleled! What a "beacon of light" she is ... both personally and professionally!!! I say HOORAY for Bonnie Sheeren!

Janet likes this

Susan in Houston (@suenerlove) · Aug 10, 2014 · #

Wonderful essay from a person who is passionate about her work. This training would give her the tools to do even more for the patients she cares for. I vote for Bonnie!

Jan S (@janmstephenson) · Aug 11, 2014 · #

Bonnie brings a unique perspective to the arena of patient advocacy with her diverse background and experiences in the field. Her connections and research help her bring together valuable resources that are a tremendous help to her clients.

Judy A (@judyjudy) · Aug 11, 2014 · #

Bonnie is so knowledgeable about medicine and so willing to go the extra mile to research options for a patient. She deserves support as she navigates the complicated world of health care for those she serves.

Deanna Cochran (@deannacochran) · Aug 27, 2014 · #

I love your commitment Bonnie. I want everyone to know I have actually met you when I was in Houston on behalf of a family I was advocating for and you are as delightful as you are knowledgeable. I know if I needed someone and if I ever do, I WILL call you. I talk about you here in Austin. Good luck! peace, Deanna,