EMR Advocate Tops the #HIT100

Red carpets, velvet ropes and glitzy award events are not typical fodder for healthcare IT blogs. The recent release of the annual #HIT100 list, however, does give our industry a nice, fun excuse to pat each other on the back. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point readers to a slightly different take on the list from John Lynn, who thankfully is never afraid to mix things up a bit. Not to mention 5 Healthcare Scene bloggers made the list as well.)

While the #HIT100 didn’t give me a good reason to don an awards-worthy get up, it did give me a great excuse to chat with #1 on the list, Linda Stotsky, aka @EMRAnswers. Linda wears a number of different hats at Ignis Systems Corp., which provides workflow integration and electronic interfaces between EMR systems and lab vendors. She is currently Senior Solutions Manager and Healthcare Social Media Strategist, and handles strategic business development.

What sort of value do you think lists like the #HIT100 bring to the healthcare community?
The #HIT100 list recognizes the #HITsm and #HealthIT communities on Twitter. This community is comprised of clinicians, physicians, health IT consultants and patient advocates. The purpose of the list is to recognize co-contributors in healthcare social media. The value in our collective voice includes enhanced collaboration, networking, support, emerging technologies and expanding one’s understanding of healthcare from the perspective of others. We are a social pulse over a wide spectrum of the healthcare community. Together, we champion for interoperability, data security, patient safety and better outcomes. Social media reflects real-world “Interoperability.” One voice doesn’t do the talking any more. We all do.

When did you start using social networking professionally? When did you set up the @EMRAnswers Twitter handle, and why?
A large part of my professional life has revolved around networking through every available format. Social media merely amped up this capability.  I stumbled across Twitter in 2008, during a downsizing. I hoped to extend my circle of connections. I was hooked almost immediately. @EMRAnswers was born out of my knowledge of electronic medical records and data systems.

How has social media impacted you professionally?
I’ve taken several companies into the Twitter-sphere kicking and screaming to show them the value of #hcsm. The professionals I’ve met through social media are some of my closest and most trusted business associates and friends. It is much larger than our individual title, product or pain. What I’ve witnessed is that we are part of a social conscience that connects through a deeper sense of purpose. Our chats include personal observations, information, shared ideas, best practice, progress and goals. I equate it to a professional “Think Tank,” with a simple agenda. We want to leave information technology a better place because of our passion, our solutions and our purpose. It’s an exciting place to be and I am fortunate to be a part of it.  We connect as a collective voice for patient safety, interoperability, and meaningful “Use-ability.” I cannot imagine my professional life without social media being a large part of it.

What will you do with this newfound notoriety? Any plans to go to Disney World?
Absolutely. My bags are packed.  Are the tickets in the mail?

Seriously, though, how do you see social media impacting healthcare – both now and in the future?
Social media represents a new frontier for healthcare. It offers a venue unlike any other. It allows physicians, clinicians, service providers and patients to open the lines of communication. It allows hospitals and physician practices to promote wellness and sponsor support forums for patients dealing with chronic health issues. It provides a voice for physician and patient to open a dialogue outside of normal working hours.  Companies like Symplur have made it easier to find information through “The Healthcare Hashtag Project.” The communication channel social media opens up establishes the groundwork for future sustainability. Clinical trials are being conducted using social media to study medication adherence in chronic disease management. Healthcare consumers are using social media to find the best physicians, services and hospitals.  Social media provides healthcare organizations with an easy to use predictive analytics tool, available at our fingertips. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg.