I am not the first, and probably will not be the last one. I had my doubts about certain aspects of health care social media. Most of my value concerns were focused on Twitter.
For at least four years, I have been an active healthcare and technology blogger, and the content and subsequent discussions found within this community have been very useful. We have gained a great deal of value from blogging. No doubt.
When it came to Twitter, it just seemed like an audience of Gen Y kids with no health care involvement. They were just texting, essentially, about getting up in the morning and what people ate for lunch… just a bunch of nonsense.
When it came to Facebook, it seemed more geared to families and lonely people looking to rekindle old friendships. Few business (and virtually no healthcare IT) conversations were happening.
So, as an organization, we placed little wagers on both Twitter and Facebook. We dipped our toe in to have a presence or be there just in case something of value ignited. For me personally, I stayed away from Twitter and had an incomplete profile on Facebook.
Two key general things then happened:
- As an organization, we hired a Gen Y social media maven. She took our “toe dip” and plunged us in up to our neck. What started to happen were real exchanges… yes, conversations through Twitter were occurring. The universe of content available to us to learn from climbed exponentially. A new world of insights and meaningful conversations are taking place today. Solid value.
- Facebook began to light up with Likes. We have a solid fan base that use Facebook regularly and more engagement opportunities began to unfold.
The one continuing disappointment, however, is that there are more health care professionals involved in health care social media (or, #hcsm) than health IT professionals.
Health IT professionals need to get more involved. To begin to facilitate the health IT conversations, we are starting a corollary to #hcsm which is #hitsm – health IT social media.
What I discovered by getting personally waist deep into Twitter, specifically, is that there are insightful, meaningful and, yes, sometimes irritable tweets going back and forth between physicians and clinicians. There are great conversations taking place on the patient care side of the equation, but little from the health IT side.
Here are some excellent physicians and healthcare professionals (some practicing and others not) to follow:
- @SeattleMamaDoc – You will quickly see a caring mom coming through as well as very conscientious, respectful physician… someone who really has her patients top of mind.
- @Doctor_V – An insightful, humorous, and sometimes cranky, (I’m going to get in trouble for that) physician who tells it like it is and gives great advice.
- @KevinMD – A very studious, well-intentioned wealth of information and insights.
- @HealthIsSocial – One of the leaders in health care social media and thoughts.
- @consultdoc – as his ID suggests, thought-provoking and delivering best practices and innovation to the forefront.
There are others, but these are the people who are top of mind.
Health IT professionals need to join the social media network. Just to be clear, when talking about health IT professionals, I mean hospital, radiology, lab, and clinic CIOs, IT directors, IT managers, IT professionals, etc. I know there are some out there like @marxists (Edward Marx, CIO, Texas Health Resources); however, either I am not plugged in to the right group, or there is a big void.
Three thoughts to summarize this post…
First, my confession is that I doubted the initial value of some aspects of social media. In reality, I have been re-energized by the conversations and the content going back and forth between various people. It has been entertaining and valuable.
Second, there is fantastic content being exchanged about patient care, being healthy, etc. There needs to be an equivalent level of fantastic content and exchanges by health IT professionals. Health IT professionals are working hard to deliver the best IT infrastructure and applications possible to enable the physicians and clinicians to deliver the best patient care possible, and they need to share more on their experiences, insights, and best practices.
We need more than the health IT media and consultants on Twitter, we need the actual health IT practitioners.
Third, get involved. Use #hitsm in your health IT tweets. Let’s begin building this community. If there are health IT professionals on Twitter which we need to include, please mention them in the comment field below. We want to recognize, follow, and learn from them.
Also, if there are other leaders in health IT who are not currently using social media, encourage them to participate. There is a unique opportunity to engage in conversations using these tools, and the more people we can get to connect, the more meaningful those conversations will become.