#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.com (@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!