“DrAbelsonConnects” with the world
For the past three years, the potential readership for Park Nicollet CEO David Abelson’s blog was 8,000 Park Nicollet team members. Now, however, his potential audience is limitless.
Abelson’s CEO Blog is now available worldwide on the internet as DrAbelsonConnects. The blog is hosted on Tumblr, a popular web site that hosts blogs for President Barack Obama, the National Archives, the New York Times and 42 million other users. Visitors to ParkNicollet.com will also find a direct link to his blog.
Abelson, who joined Park Nicollet as an Internist in 1983, began his blog in October 2008 when he was Park Nicollet’s Chief Clinical Officer and continued it when he became CEO in January 2010.
Abelson has published blog entries on a wide expanse of health care topics, ranging from stories of Park Nicollet team members to economic and policy issues facing Park Nicollet, stories of the patient experience, quality, safety and access, to health care reform and, occasionally, stories from his personal life that illustrate larger issues in health care (such as his wife’s recent illness).
Why does Abelson take time from his very busy schedule to write his blog?
“I’ve experienced what it’s like to have family members face serious health issues and to feel vulnerable as you sit by their bedside in a hospital room,” he responds. “I am also a patient myself with several chronic illnesses, including functional blindness in one eye. At the same time, I’m also a physician and a health care CEO, which gives me a unique and privileged perspective that I hope will help demystify health care for people who read my blog.”
Just as Abelson felt a calling that led him into medicine 40 years ago as a first year medical student, he also feels a responsibility and a calling to use his influence as a health care leader.
“I believe that change begins with conversation. When you’re willing to talk about difficult issues, you can help influence what may ultimately become the norms and behaviors of our society,” he says. “For example, Park Nicollet was an early advocate of reducing smoking in the workplace and in businesses. In 1982, Park Nicollet became the first smoke-free non-public health facility in the country. As late as 1990, 70% of health care organizations in Minnesota tolerated smoking inside their facilities. Today, all health care facilities and most businesses in Minnesota are smoke free. As health care leaders, we have a voice in influencing important conversations in society and bringing about positive change.”
This sense of responsibility is the topic of Abelson’s most recent blog entry, “That’s society’s problem, not healthcare’s.” Abelson is optimistic that a substantial audience for his blog exists beyond Park Nicollet.
“My blog began as a direct communication to our team members and existed only inside our computer servers here at Park Nicollet,” he recalls. “It didn’t take long for people to start sharing the blog with friends and family and soon the entries were circulating far beyond our system. Everyone is affected by health care on a personal level, and, whether they’re aware of it or not, on a political and policy level. The universality of these issues makes the blog relevant far beyond the walls of Park Nicollet.”
And now Abelson’s blog moves into a world without walls with the ability to reach across the country and beyond.