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SurroundHealth Online Community Reaches 1,000 Members

CLARK, N.J., March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kerri Eckroat, RN, BSN, OCN, an outpatient oncology clinical coordinator, became the 1,000th member of SurroundHealth, a free online community for health extenders, educators, and other professionals.

Eckroat said: "I believe that educating myself is crucial to being the best nurse I can be. My patients deserve the best. By learning from other healthcare professionals' experiences and utilizing the resources they have found, this network will serve as a community to help many. I am grateful that it is here."

SurroundHealth is a new kind of healthcare social network where health professionals from different backgrounds come together to learn from one another's expertise, share resources, and stay current on best practices. Popular topics on the site have included: behavior change strategies, educational technology, medication adherence, health literacy, and healthcare reform.

The SurroundHealth community was developed by HealthEd Academy, a division of HealthEd that is dedicated to fostering research and development in health education.

"We envisioned SurroundHealth as much more than a social network, but as a place health professionals and practitioners could turn to for guidance and support as their industry goes through rapid change," said Susan Eno Collins (@sqcollins), Community Leader, SurroundHealth.

"With patients having greater access to health information via the Web and mobile apps, with millions of new patients entering the healthcare system as a result of healthcare reform, and with models of care changing rapidly in response to rising care costs, we're seeing a need for multidisciplinary support quickly emerging across healthcare. Reaching this milestone confirms the need for greater collaboration and support."

One of the fastest-growing categories of SurroundHealth membership includes health extenders. These patient-focused professionals include certified diabetes educators, nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, and social workers, who are becoming increasingly important to the delivery of healthcare outcomes. Often it's the extender—not the doctor—who is a patient's primary contact at the point of care and across the lifecycle of chronic disease management.  

Collins said: "Health extenders are the unsung heroes of the healthcare system. They don't always get the attention paid to other stakeholders, yet they are bearing the brunt of many of these changes in the healthcare system and are looking for practical solutions that can help their patients manage and thrive."

SurroundHealth is also gaining traction among public health professionals, including health educators, advocates, researchers, and disease prevention specialists. These professionals are searching for innovative approaches to prevent disease and provide continuity of care from the healthcare system into the community. 

Collins said: "By bringing together public health professionals with those inside the healthcare system, SurroundHealth is uniquely positioned to spur innovation in how we connect with healthcare consumers before, during, and after they become patients. That is how the greatest healthcare cost savings will ultimately occur."

SurroundHealth was named the best online community of 2011 by Kentico CMS, a Web content management system which powers SurroundHealth. Collins said SurroundHealth is looking forward to a successful year in 2012, including continued membership growth, feature upgrades, and partnerships with healthcare organizations.

Facts About SurroundHealth Membership

Date founded: April 29, 2011

Total Members: 1,025

States Represented:  44

Countries Represented: 14

Breakout of expertise:

  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: 33%
  • Health Communication: 26%
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management: 24%
  • Other varied: 17%

Members are employed by over 900 organizations and leading academic institutions, including:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • California Department of Health
  • Florida Department of Health

About SurroundHealth
SurroundHealth,, is a free online community of health extenders, educators, and other professionals from diverse backgrounds who share a passion to help people live healthy lives. SurroundHealth allows members to come together to discuss and share ideas, knowledge, news, and resources. The community was launched by HealthEd Academy, a division of HealthEd dedicated to fostering research and development in health education.

Mary Lou Szekeres
Client Development & Media Relations, HealthEd
Tel: 732-587-2707
Twitter: @mlouann

SOURCE SurroundHealth
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