For the past few months we’ve been doing a summary of the #HITsm chats that happen each Friday. I once heard Michael Gaspar, who does social media at HIMSS, describe Twitter hashtags as a community of users. I think this is definitely true when it comes to the #HITsm hashtag. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the members of the #HITsm community and to learn from the members of the #HITsm community.
The first in this series of #HITsm spotlights is with @DrNanN (Nanette Nuessle, MD). She gives some amazing insights. Enjoy!
When did you get involved in social media? What got you started with it?
I got started in social media 2 years ago. I was at a national meeting of pediatricians. One of my colleagues said I needed to be on Twitter. I told her I didn’t know anything about it. She grabbed my phone, asked how the kids in my practice address me, then handed the phone back and said, “you’re on twitter.” I didn’t do anything but follow for 2-3 months. I didn’t really try to build a following until about 18 months ago. Now, I have nearly 4,000 followers.
What benefits have you received from social media?
Social media has given me a way to talk with patients outside the 10-20 minute office visit. I can post information that is specific to my practice, or tell them of late-breaking news. It gives me a vehicle for discussing that late-breaking news with other professionals. My attention to these 2 things has greatly improved my ongoing education. Finally, it has opened career paths that allow me to help other physicians who are transitioning to the use of electronic health records and social media.
Looking at the world of healthcare IT, what do you see as the most important things happening today?
The single most important thing in healthcare today is the budding widespread use of electronic health records. We must remember that this practice is in it’s infancy. It is still the most powerful tool to reach physicians since the development of the stethoscope.
As a doctor, what’s your view of the current EHR world?
The EHR world is in it’s infancy. I have been sending prescriptions electronically since 2005, and using electronic health records for even longer. Many providers are just starting into this world. The potential to change the face of medicine is obvious. We can get the record of a walk-in patient before the front desk finishes registering them for their visit. We have access to all visits and all studies done in-house at all times. However, there are still kinks being worked out that will improve efficiency for providers. This includes day-to-day ease of using an ehr, as well as sharing between different clinical entities (interoperability).
What is the most promising technology for pediatricians?
We live in a mobile society. Most adults don’t live in the same neighborhood or town where they grew up. Most children don’t stay with the same pediatrician from birth to their 18th birthday. For the pediatrician, the HIE is going to be crucial. This will allow us to track immunizations and routine labs for all children as they move through their childhood.
If you could wake up tomorrow and have one part of healthcare solved, what would it be?
I have 2 wishes, Magic Genie. One is to solve interoperability. The other is to see prenatal care and immunizations made free for all people living in the US. The first will revolutionize healthcare in the US, the second will revolutionize health itself.
What health IT issue do you see out there that not enough people are talking about?
Efficiency. Everyone is talking about Meaningful Use and Interoperability. These are certainly important issues. However, without efficiency, providers are going to continue to fight the use of ehrs. Before using an EHR, I routinely saw 30-32 patients a day. Now, I am exhausted at 20-25, depending upon the EHR. My staff complain that it takes over 10 minutes to “room” a new patient because of all the data entry involved. Rooming a new patient used to take 2-4 minutes. Consequently, we are working harder but seeing fewer patients. This translates to less money. Unless we address the issue of efficiency, EHRs will never reach their full potential.
Where or to whom do you look in order to stay up with all that’s happening in healthcare IT? What’s part of your daily routine?
I keep up with healthcare IT in 2 ways. One is by reading daily electronic newsletters, particularly HealthCareITNewsDay.The other is by networking with others in the field.
Any final thoughts?
Electronic health records are in their infancy. For them to grow, we need to nurture providers into this field. There has to be more dialogue between physicians, nurses and IT professionals. We speak different languages. We need to sit down at the table together and share our thoughts without letting our personalities get in the way. I think if this is done the potential in the field of healthcare IT is limitless.