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Blogging Forces You to Raise Your Standard

Posted on July 6, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

e-Patient Dave has a great story up about his wife’s knee replacement surgery done by the popular social media orthopedist Howard Luks. There are many items to note in e-Patient Dave’s write up of his wife’s experience with Dr. Luks. However, I couldn’t help but consider the impact that Howard Luks’ blogging has had on his practice.

The most obvious impact is that he’s gotten new patients from his blogging. While e-Patient Dave’s wife is one example, he’s done many posts talking about how new patients have found him through his blog and social media efforts. I won’t dig into this more since I think most doctors realize this can happen.

What I think is less obvious is that I believe blogging holds Howard Luks to a higher standard. Think about what happens when you choose to blog about something. You’re now on the record for how you’d approach something and you’re now accountable to it. By its very nature, this accountability requires a doctor (or anyone in any field) to step up to the plate and make sure that they’re working at the highest level possible. No one wants to blog about something and then be called out for not doing what they were telling other people to do.

This is a scary thing for many people and no doubt it’s why many people choose not to blog. They don’t want to be accountable to their blog. I should also note that blogging about something doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. Some blogs can be exploratory and can help you learn and grow so that you can reach “perfection.” In fact, one of the best reasons to blog is to help you refine and improve what you’re doing. I’m sure Howard Luks has benefited from this as well. There’s nothing like thousands of people educating you on why and how you’re wrong you can improve.

While this accountability is powerful, what’s even more powerful about blogging is that it requires you to really sit down and think through why and how you do something. This is especially true for physician bloggers. That time spent thinking through and evaluating your processes is powerful. I think you see the results of this type of deep thinking in the results described by e-Patient Dave above. His wife likely benefited from Howard Luks spending time thinking deeply about how he practices medicine and ensuring he is practicing in the most effective way possible.

I’m not saying you have to be a blogger and share your processes publicly to think deeply about the way you practice. However, blogging publicly about how you practice medicine is a great way to force yourself to do this evaluation. Plus, the fact that people are going to read, evaluate, comment, rip to shreds, give feedback, and help you refine your approach forces you to raise your standard.

I’ve seen this happen over and over again with blogging. It’s had that effect on me as a father once I started my daddy blog. I had to start upping my game as a father since I couldn’t write about how I was an average father that had average experiences. I was forced to become the father I wanted to be. My wife has benefited too since who wants to write about being the lazy husband who doesn’t do the dishes? It doesn’t work. However, I can write about the amazing experience of putting the dishes away even though I wanted to sit down with some TV.

How often in medicine do doctors prefer to sit down with TV as opposed to going the extra mile to optimize their practice? Blogging can change that paradigm.

I’ve seen the same happen for healthcare IT and EHR companies. Once these companies blog about the importance of EHR up time or making EHR software usable, they raise the standard for how they approach those two problems. First, they’re not going to blog about those things if they haven’t worked hard to make sure they’ve done a good job in those areas. Second, once they’ve blogged about it, it often becomes part of the culture of who they are at the company. In fact, healthcare IT CEO’s have to be a little careful about what they blog about since it’s a powerful medium that can push their company in the right or wrong direction. A few pointed blog posts can really impact a company’s culture. Although, as a user I definitely prefer a healthcare IT vendor that blogs. I think it forces the company to think critically and deeply about the challenges their customers face. Plus, it gives you a view into the culture of the company.

Going back to where we started. Would e-Patient Dave have written such a glowing article about his wife’s visit to Howard Luks if Dr. Luks wasn’t blogging? The obvious answer is no since it would have been unlikely that e-Patient Dave would have known about Dr. Luks. While this is true, I also think that many of the processes and approaches that e-Patient Dave describes would likely not be in place if Dr. Luks wasn’t such an avid blogger. Blogging about your business forces you to raise your standard.

#HIMSS14 Highlights: Enthusiasm for Patient Engagement

Posted on March 7, 2014 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Patient engagement solutions abounded at HIMSS14, though their levels of sophistication varied. Like many other commentators, I felt this was a big jump in interest over last year. It will be interesting to see if this level sustains into 2015, and how the same products will mature come HIMSS15 in Chicago.

The theme of engagement was heard most loudly in several educational sessions I attended. I was happy to pre-register for an Orion Health / ePatient Dave event; and make time at the last minute to attend a live demo of the new Blue Button Connector, and a brief presentation by Regina Holliday, founder of the Walking Gallery.

I believe ePatient Dave (aka Dave deBronkart) has been at this awhile, but the Orion Health lunch and learn I attended was my first opportunity to hear him tell his story live. And what a compelling story it was! It certainly resonated with the audience of about 75, and I couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t up on stage in a “From the Top” session. The theme that ran throughout his presentation and audience questions was the need for online patient communities, and the subsequent need for providers to let their patients know about them. Websites like and were brought up as interesting resources.


I headed from there to the exhibit hall, where HIMSS had set up a very nice learning gallery, complete with comfy chairs, swivel desktops and a nice presentation area. Lygeia Ricciardi spent a good 20 minutes going through the new Blue Button Connector website, which you can find here: While not a true, live demo, she did offer several screenshots, and was very forthcoming about the ONC’s plans and goals for the site. Apparently they see it as almost a marketing tool, similar to the Energy Star label you see on just about every appliance these days. The Blue Button symbol will hopefully come to be recognized as an endorsement of easy access to patient data. She was frank in saying that it’s not a panacea, but will be a powerful tool in the hands of consumers, and developers who choose to take advantage of its open source code and bake it into their own apps.


It is literally a connector. The new website simply allows patients to connect to third parties that may house their medical records, such as payers, pharmacy, labs, physicians or hospitals, immunization registries and health information exchange portals. Knowing I already have a provider that participates in Blue Button via their athenahealth patient portal, I went through the “Physician or Hospital” steps to see how the Connector worked. I didn’t see my physician listed, so I’ll likely send an email to The Connector is in beta right now, and Riccardi mentioned they are very interested in gathering as much user feedback as possible during this process, so I encourage you to check it out and drop them a comment or two.

I was back at the Learning Gallery the next afternoon to hear Regina Holliday of the Walking Gallery speak, and she did not disappoint. Like a preacher that just can’t stay in the pulpit, Regina passionately talked about the power patients have when they come together and demand change. It was my first time hearing her speak live and I was not disappointed. It was a powerful sight to see close to 30 Walking Gallery members stand up at the end of her session and show their jackets. Why they were not on a larger stage in front of a capacity audience is beyond me.


That’s it for my notes from HIMSS. Next up on my conference dance card is the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference, taking place April 7-8 in Las Vegas, and hosted by I hope to see you there!

#HIT100: Healthcare IT Embraces Twitter in a Big Way

Posted on July 20, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

It’s not secret that social media continues to play an increasingly powerful role in connecting folks within the healthcare IT community. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter offer easy-to-navigate platforms that enable communication with peers on any continent, in any time zone. Twitter has become a personal favorite – both for its brevity and its simplicity. (Yes, I’ve heard promising things about Google+, but haven’t yet checked it out.)

The healthcare IT community has also embraced Twitter. Follow a variety of hashtags, including personal favorite #HITsm, and you’ll encounter a variety of opinionated, educated, and often humorous industry folk who, through their activity in the social space, are either emerging as thought leaders or bolstering their credibility as one.

The hashtag #HIT100 has been popular of late thanks to the crowdsourcing efforts of Michael Planchart, aka @theEHRguy. According to his Twitter profile, he is a “Healthcare Interoperability Consultant, Enterprise Architect for Healthcare IT and Standards Specialist.” According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a chief software architect at ProKSys. One thing is for sure – he is passionate about the healthcare IT community on Twitter. So much so that just a few weeks ago he began compiling nominations from his peers on Twitter of the top 100 tweeters (personal or company accounts) in the healthcare IT space.

The resultant list, published earlier this week, can be downloaded here: Final HIT100 Nominees. It is a great resource of folks to keep up with. (Be sure to check out @billians at #78!) Anne Zieger at (@ehroutlook at #86) has helpfully distilled the list into the top EMR/EHR tweeters.

I’ve met many in person at industry events, and know even more through Twitter. Hopefully I’ll run into Michael Planchart himself at some point. In the meantime, I chatted with him via email about why he wanted to take on this project, and why the healthcare IT community has embraced social media, particularly Twitter.

Why did you decide to embark on this project?

I wanted the healthcare IT community to vote for their most valued peers. Many well-intended folks would come up with their personal list and publish it. I wanted everyone to participate to create a more objective and transparent selection. This one may not yet be perfect, but it is open and publicly created. Hopefully, for 2012 we will have greater participation from many more folks. But for now, we have this to evangelize from.

Do you think there are more influencers in the #HIT space this year than last?

I know many of the folks that I follow and those that follow me. I’ve personally met many at RSNA, HIMSS and other healthcare events. But I’ve noticed a lot of newcomers to the social media space. Many of them I know as excellent contributors to healthcare IT, since I belong to the same standards committees that they do, although many times we work on different projects. What’s new is not them being in healthcare IT, but being in social media representing healthcare IT.

But answering your question more directly, yes there are many more participants this year. To be an influencer like John Halamka, Brian Ahier, Keith Boone, Matthew Holt and Dave deBronkart, just to name a few, most have some miles to go.

And why do you think there has been such an increase?

Twitter has been an open platform to create networks from the beginning. Linkedin and Facebook are too closed to create peer-to-peer networks. So Twitter has been highly influential in creating these peer-to-peer specialized networks like our #hcsm or #HIT groups.

I encourage you to take a look at the list and start connecting, communicating and educating. Be sure to follow this blog – @ehrandhit, and myself – @SmyrnaGirl, while you’re at it!