Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D.

Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital
Author, Mama Doc Medicine

Bringing doctors and patients closer together through innovative, digital solutions.

Add to Shortlist "Seattle Mama Doc" blog @SeattleMamaDoc


The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013 — TIME

As the Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson leverages the wisdom of clinicians, patients, and researchers to transform health care delivery in the digital age. She points the way to the future of medicine — a world where healthcare providers and patients use new technology to collaborate more closely and build deeper relationships than ever before. Dr. Swanson is a practicing pediatrician, a weekly TV reporter, Huffington Post blogger and active thought leader online.

She is working to revolutionise health communications by using social and digital media to bridge the gap between parents and doctors. Dr. Swanson speaks in the U.S. and internationally on physician use of social media, digital health and innovation in advocacy and public health.

Dr. Swanson is currently piloting two innovative healthcare technologies at Seattle Children’s in addition to using social and traditional media in healthcare. Virtual Handshake, launched in 2014, gives patient families information about the doctors and care team they’ll meet during visits, as well as education and tips to help before, during and after their appointment or hospital stay. The tool allows families to build a community around their child. Swanson’s team has also built a peer-to-peer and expert-to-family educational app co-designed with patients and families, that leverages pharmacist and subspecialist expertise for solid organ transplant patients and their families. The app helps support families’ understanding of necessary medications and care after transplantation. Her team measures engagement, experience scores and quality metrics.

Strong caregiver-patient relationships are built on communication, Dr. Swanson argues, and the new tech landscape offers outstanding new opportunities for in new media for efficient communication. As the first pediatrician to blog exclusively for a leading children’s hospital, she works diligently to offer patients and parents relevant, practical and timely health information in accessible, online formats. Her online presence on her blog alone has touched the lives of 2 million people who would have been beyond her reach without social media and the Internet. She uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and various other platforms to educate and improve public health. She also launched a podcast called The Seattle Mama Doc Podcast.

Healthcare professionals across the board are looking to Dr. Swanson as a model for how to embrace and mold the future of healthcare delivery and hone engagement. More than ever, patients do their own research online and come to their physicians already equipped with information from outside the clinic or hospital walls. Healthcare systems and insurance companies recognize that patients expect frequent and accessible communication, and that, when done right, this communication can improve patient care, build trust and reduce redundancy. Dr. Swanson believes innovation must embody “duel-centricity”: novel solutions must be patient-centered but also clinician-centered to create long-lasting change. Striking a balance here is key for successful innovation.

Navigating these challenges will be difficult for everyone. We all want to understand where medicine is going, how the roles of patients and physicians will change in the 21st century, the role technology will play, and how we can meet patient expectations while still delivering quality care. Dr. Swanson explains how to face these issues with savvy and heart.


  • Chief of Digital Innovation, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Pediatrician, Seattle Children’s Hospital, The Everett Clinic
  • Author, Seattle Mama Doc, a Seattle Children’s Hospital blog, Huffington Post contributor
  • Weekly health reporter on local NBC affiliate station
  • TIME Best Twitter Feed 2013
  • Clinical Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Board of Advisors for Parents Magazine
  • Platinum Fellow & advisor to the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media


Mama Doc Medicine

Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance

Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D.

This resource is a compilation of some of the most popular posts of pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson's "Seattle Mama Doc" parenting blog. Entries are organized into 4 sections: Prevention, Social-Emotional Support, Immunizations, and Work-Life Balance/Mothering.

American Academy of Pediatrics (25 Mar 2014)


A funny, irreverent, compassionate, and timely guide to how to raise a child in an era when misinformation often rules the day.
— Paul A Offit, MD, FAAP; Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children't Hospital of Philadelphia, and author of Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and the Search for a Cure

In Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health and Work-Life Balance, Dr. Swanson effortlessly tackles some of the most difficult and controversial parenting topics with guidance, facts and real-world examples — leaving you informed and inspired. Life would have been a lot less stressful if my wife and I had had this book when we were starting our family.
— Seth Mnookin, Assoc. Director, Graduate Program in Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy

Medicine and the digital era are finally converging, and no none could capture that better than Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson in Mama Doc Medicine. @SeattleMamaDoc is my go-to source on Twitter for pediatric pearls, and this book will undoubtedly be regarded as a treasure trove of best parenting and child health practice. The savvy parent's must-read if there ever was one.
— Eric J. Topol, MD; Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health; Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute; and author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson embraces the art and science of children's health and add a dose of reality for parents who are in the trenches. A must-read for all parents struggling to do their best and maintain their sanity in the process!
— Ari Brown, MD, FAAP; Pediatrician and author of Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Baby's First Year


Dr. Swanson tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Digital Innovations Provide Hospital Solutions and Enhanced Patient Experience

Strong caregiver-patient relationships are built on communication and Dr. Swanson speaks to how the new tech landscape offers outstanding, innovative opportunities for efficient, yet humanistic, exchange of information in the hospital environment.

Drawing on her experiences as Executive Director of Digital Health for Seattle's Children's Hospital, as well as her broader observations, Dr. Swanson shows how technology can create efficient communication solutions while enhancing patient care and caretaker experience.

For example, in the pre-clinical space, Dr. Swanson built a private online community (Virtual Handshake) to introduce patients and their loved ones to the doctors and care team they'll meet during visits, education and tips to help before, during and after their appointment or hospital stay, and allows families to build a community around their child.  Her team has also built a peer-to-peer and expert-to-family educational app co-designed with patients and families, that leverages pharmacist and sub-specialist expertise for solid organ transplant patients and their families. The app helps support families’ understanding of necessary medications and care after transplantation. Her team measures engagement, experience scores and quality metrics.

A pioneer in the use of the digital space to provide humanistic doctor-patient information, Dr. Swanson is a warm, authoritative voice on using new technologies to efficiently and effectively deliver an enhanced healthcare experience.

How 140 Characters Are Changing Healthcare

Social tools, widespread use of smartphones, and savvy entrepreneurs are changing health care forever. It's a new time when it comes to seeking advice about your health. While widespread social media and evolving online networks change access to information for patients and their families, they also dramatically shift physician and provider responsibilities. Improved communication is the future of smarter healthcare. With the changes emerging technologies have presented to everyday life, clinicians must problem-solve with patients and share expertise unlike ever before. Dr. Swanson will speak to how novel technologies wed with patient involvement is (for the better) forever changing the future of healthcare delivery. We can leverage patients as partners in advancing health. Through her work as a pediatrician, her experience sharing health information in social and traditional media, and her leadership running a team in digital health and innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Dr Swanson will share lessons learned, tips for technology implementation and the rich opportunities that reside in patient and family co-designed healthcare delivery solutions.

Mama Doc Medicine: 10 parenting topics worth talking about

All parents want to do what’s right, yet many parents find that defining what’s right can sometimes be elusive. Dr. Swanson helps decipher today’s conflicting medical opinions, offers helpful online resources, and shares what she’s learned over many years from her patients, friends and family in this enlightening talk on parenting. Stories can trump data in parent decision-making, but Dr. Swanson uses narrative and stores to bring science into focus. Topics span issues such as: safety and prevention, social/emotional support, immunisations and the ever-elusive, work-life balance.

Immunizations: Essential To Wellness

Dr. Swanson has been an advocate & champion for immunizations and vaccines the better part of her career. She most recently presented at the 2015 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) flu season press conference in Washington, DC. She was a sought after source of information and knowledge during the 2015 measles outbreak. She speaks internationally on vaccine-hesitancy, vaccine science & safety, and the role of smart storytelling in building trust in the immunization schedule. She has presented throughout the U.S. to health care workers and public advocates about new approaches.

Nearly 95% of parents consult their “people network” when making decisions on vaccines. Dr. Swanson will highlight topics like: cocooning infants, using social media tools & text messaging to spur uptake in vaccines, vaccine schedules and debunking vaccine myths.


How 140 Characters Change Responsibilities | Philips Healthcare User Summit

Social Media & Healthcare | Stanford Medicine X

Why are patients not finding their doctors online? | TEDx

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases


A non-profit association for healthcare legal issues:
Our members thought she was great! We heard many good comments and she really held their attention.

A state hospital association:
[Swanson was] terrific... Her skill and poise is outstanding. Her knowledge and info is wonderfully thought-provoking.

A private not-for-profit health care system and provider:
Dr. Swanson [was a] huge hit with our audience! [She] was our homerun close of the conference and she knocked it out of the park.

A group of full service community hospitals:
Dr. Swanson was awesome as always. She is so smart, so beautiful and so articulate. It was a joy to have her there. And, she took a few minutes after the talk to chat with our Chief Information Officer, which we so appreciated. Everyone was very impressed. She had talked with our folks prior to the talk, so she incorporated the thoughts of “technology is here to stay and we have to adapt to it” as we have some physicians who seem to be fighting this every step of the way. She did an incredible job.

An annual practice and medical conference:

  • Great passion and delivery. She brought up some very compelling points.
  • Dr. Swanson's passion and energy to utilize social media to reach out to patients and community members was so inspiring!
  • Wendy's presentation was awesome. Great energy, content and encouragement. I felt her story gave me a great example to take home and share with clients and team members.
  • WOW. Completely changed my thoughts and will further change how I consult clients on physician involvement with social media. Awesome.
  • Amazing speaker. Great content. Very inspiring! Highlight of the conference.
  • BEYOND AMAZING!!! Wendy's passion, enthusiasm and energy was so incredibly inspiring! Not to mention the extremely informative presentation packed with powerful stats and examples. I absolutely loved and enjoyed every moment of her keynote and am so thrilled that she was a part of the conference!
  • Probably my favorite session of the conference. Inspiring to hear from a physician with a passion for connecting with patients in real life and also with social media.

An international health care information technology corporation:
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Wendy Sue — her passion, excitement and dedicated focus to improving health care. It was great to hear people mention her talk a few times throughout the conference and just how much different the health care world is today than it has ever been. I believe the audience related to her more because she is a practicing physician with a busy life very similar to theirs.