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How Doctors Can Make Use of Social Media?

Posted on June 17, 2014 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Alex Tate.
alex
By using the right strategy doctors can gain a lot by making a proper use of social media to market themselves, share their rich experience and knowledge and carry out discussions with the colleagues in the industry.

Many of the doctors are afraid of the unknown and thus decide to remain silent over the social media due to privacy concerns. It is possible to create a good balance between having a transparent communication and matching to the necessary limitations of the industry.  Around 24% of physicians use social media at least once a day to post, share and seek medical information. The use of social media is still in its early years and it is a great opportunity to take advantage of these digital platforms and build credibility for your career as a doctor or a physician. The medical industry is very less saturated online as compared to other industries mainly due to the fear and apprehensions of health care organizations and professions as they would want to avoid liability issues related to social media related platforms.

As a doctor it is possible to make an effective and profitable social media strategy to market your practice and career. It will require a lot of time and effort but the results can have a far reaching effect for the long term success. If you are a physician or a doctor there are many ways you can make yourself stand out among others and effectively reach the right people in your social media.

  1. Set up personal account in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Having social media accounts is one of the ways to increase your social footprint and expand it. Make a personal profile in all these three networks and optimize them to the fullest.

  1. Make Use of Visuals

Visuals are more effective in engaging people than text therefore include more pictures in your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This is one of the important things to implement on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When you are sharing content make sure you use original and non copyrighted photography in order to boost your engaging posts. Another way is to make use of photos in the blog posts, videos and articles when you are posting things on these networks.

  1. Share the knowledge

It doesn’t matter that which platform you are sharing your content on but make sure you whatever you are saying is helping you to make connections, followers and friends. Make use of your unique expertise and share the relevant information about what you know best.

Apart from joining the existing twitter chats, LinkedIn groups and relevant online discussion related to your area of expertise and industry, plan and start your own sharing hub on social media in order to bring the depth of knowledge to your professional interests.

Whether your knowledge hub is a LinkedIn Group, Twitter chats, Google plus profile or other relevant discussions online related to your industry, it is an important way of sharing what you know and build your credibility as you educate others.

As doctors it is important that you follow the rule of thumb to make sure you are providing the value to others and making use of your time spent on the social media networks. Doctor’s job is to make sure they share their expertise and execute their advice.

  1. Frequency of posting on LinkedIn

As one of the largest network of professionals online LinkedIn allow doctors to highlight each aspect of their career path using text and visuals. LinkedIn can offer lots of benefits to doctors because of its professional nature and a large network of likeminded people sharing and connecting with others. Begin by sharing the content from your profile that reflects your expertise and knowledge as a healthcare professional.

On LinkedIn content needs to be of a professional nature and little more reserved than the one shared on Facebook or Twitter. Share the links to those articles and other information that can be of some value to your connections and at the same time adding your own perspectives through commenting on posts.

  1. Follow other Healthcare Professionals on Social Media

Using Facebook and Twitter you can reach out to existing network of your contacts that you already know and you can find them by searching for colleagues, peers and friends working in the healthcare field. Follow and make connection with these individuals. After that you can use each networks search feature for to look for individuals in the similar role or industry. By connecting with a large number of people on these platforms you will have the like- minded people to interact with and share your views and experiences.

  1. Participate in conversations on twitter

Twitter is the best social media platform for having a public one to one conversation at the basic level. Start your conversation with doctors and medical professionals and discuss current trends in healthcare industry or new findings.

You can also find the conversations from other you have followed by searching through hashtags or keywords related to your interests a physician

  1. Join Useful Twitter Chats

In twitter chats, on particular topics and hash tags occurs weekly, monthly or quarterly. Search and discover what chats Twitter chats are available for medical professionals and join these conversations with other participants and learn new things. When participating in the twitter chat answer some of the questions asked by participants or posted by moderators by adding your views and opinions. Follow other participants and moderators in the chat and include proper hash tags in all of your tweets.

  1. Go For Accuracy

There is a large amount of misinformation online when it comes to medical field that confuses consumers and dilutes the effectiveness of accurate medial insights. As a doctor it is important that you act as the voice of reason when sharing important information about healthcare online. Go for accurate coverage of information on social media that could affect your credibility for the long term.

Spend a limited time on social media at a certain part of the day or few times a week to help you make your efforts to be more accurate. Again it needs to be quality over quantity when it comes to content sharing and the discussions that you are having online.

  1. Ask Questions

One of the benefits of having social media is the ability to have actual conversations online with your friends, family, peers and other connections in your network. As a doctor you should ask questions from your audience in order to get their feedback on some decision or a perspective on industry news.

As you will ask questions you will be able to learn the insights of your network. No one knows everything but still someone has something to share with others. Make use of your network on social media to get more insights and establish your credibility as respected and reputed doctor.

About Alex Tate

I am a health IT consultant with experience in management and training consultants across private and public sectors. I frequently write on Health IT for various blogs and websites. I am currently managing ehrsoftware.info website that helps practices and physicians select the right EHR. If you wish to connect with me follow me at https://twitter.com/alextate07

Healthcare Optimism and LinkedIn

Posted on April 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Some of you might be wondering how I grouped these two topics together. It’s simple. I recently was invited to participate in LinkedIn’s Influencer program and so I’ve written a few posts on the LinkedIn platform to see how it works. It’s been a hit or miss experience so far, but I’m intrigued by what they’re doing.

It turns out, my first post on the LinkedIn Influencer platform was titled “Why We Should be Optimistic in Healthcare.” What’s amazing to me is that the post is still getting a ton of traffic and social media tweets. I think that I struck a chord.

I think if we’re honest, we often like to kind of dwell in the challenges that we face every day in healthcare. Sometimes it’s hard to take a look at what we’re doing and be optimistic about the future of healthcare. However, when you take a second to step back from the day to day grind and challenges, there is a lot to be optimistic about in healthcare.

If I hearken back to my first job in healthcare, I’m reminded of all the times I told someone about my new job. I always highlighted how cool it would be if something I did in healthcare could actually save someone’s life. An ambitious goal indeed, but it’s the reality of working in healthcare. Now that I’ve worked in healthcare a number of years, my view has slightly changed. I still love the idea that I could save someone’s life, but I love just as much the ability to make someone’s life better.

Let’s not forget the potential of the work we do. It’s incredibly important.

5 Health IT Marketing Resources You Didn’t Know You Needed – #HITMC

Posted on April 9, 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.

The inaugural Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference concluded with tears of gratitude, many tweets of thanks and too many takeaways to list here. (I suggest you check out the #HITMC tweet stream before it disappears, or watch the recorded sessions, which will soon be available via the conference website.) I will take a moment to highlight several marketing resources and tools that I heard about from attendees and speakers – services and solutions actual HIT marketing professionals rely on to more easily create engaging campaigns that connect with prospects and customers on a Human2Human level.

TheShortCutts.com
Don’t know who Matt Cutts is? Neither did I until I attended Kristine Schachinger’s session on the realities and myths of SEO. Cutts is the man at Google who can make or break a website’s Google rankings. Officially, he is head of Google’s webspam team. No matter how you refer to him, he’s certainly worth paying attention to, especially if SEO is your thing. The folks behind ShortCutts.com provide easy to understand interpretations of Cutts’s videos, which he produces prolifically to help “struggling site owners understand their site in search.”

cutts

Smartsheets.com
Smartsheets seem to be about helping users better manage workflows via online tools that allow you to “assign tasks, attach files, share sheets, view timelines, set alerts, create rollups and go mobile.” It features specific marketing templates for event marketing, campaign tracking and product launches. I’m not quite sure how it works, only that it came highly recommended from the HITMC community. I also found this article from my local paper on the way Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s paramedics and cardiologists have used Smartsheets to improve cardiac care.

smartsheet

Whiteboard Animated Videos from JillAddison.com
One attendee recommended Jill Addison as her go to source for high quality yet cost-effective animated whiteboard videos.

whiteboard

Abukai.com
Abukai provides a free service that lets you snap photos of your receipts with your phone, and then automatically dump them into an expense report – perfect for healthcare IT marketers on the go.

abukai

Rev.com
Do you have any idea how laborious it is to transcribe a phone interview? It’s extremely time consuming, and can often cost big bucks to outsource. Imagine my pleasant surprise when someone mentioned Rev.com, which provides transcription services at $1 a minute. That is incredibly inexpensive, and worth its weight in gold if you’re in a time crunch.

rev

The Health IT Marketing and PR Community on LinkedIn
“A community of health IT marketing and healthcare IT PR professionals. First started after the inaugural Health IT Marketing and PR Conference as a place to collaborate with colleagues across the health IT marketing & PR community, but welcome to anyone interesting in healthcare IT marketing and PR.” This should serve as a great resource, and I’ve already submitted a discussion around a question I didn’t get a chance to ask panelists from Agency Ten22.

linkedin

#HIMSS14 Highlights: the Snail’s Pace of Interoperability

Posted on February 26, 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.

Ah, HIMSS. The frenetic pace. The ridiculously long exhibit hall. The aching feet. The Google Glass-ers. As I write this, day three for me is in full swing and I’ve finally managed to find some time to reflect on what I’ve seen, which includes a ridiculously long taxi queue at the airport, more pedicabs than I can count, beautiful weather and lots of familiar faces, which is what makes HIMSS so much fun. I’ve heard lots of buzzwords and sales talk, and seen only about an eighth of the exhibit hall, barely scratching the surface of what’s out there on the show floor.

Several common themes stand out based on the sessions and events I’ve been to, and the passions of those I’ve encountered. Whether it’s vendor breakfasts, social networking functions, exhibit elevator pitches or educational sessions, interoperability and engagement are still the buzzwords to beat. This particular HIMSS has given me a different perspective on each, and offered new insight into what’s happening with the Blue Button Connector. I’ll cover each of these in HIMSS Highlights posts over the next several weeks, starting with interoperability.

The industry seems far more realistic this year regarding interoperability – downright frustrated by the slow pace at which such a lofty goal is proceeding. Industry experts Brian Ahier and Shahid Shah perhaps expressed it best during a lively panel discussion at the Surescripts booth:

interoppanel

interoptweet3

interoptweet1

interoptweet2

Putting vendors’ feet to the fire will certainly initiate a quick and painful reaction, but probably not a sustainable one. True momentum will occur only when providers get singed a bit, too. Panelist comments at a Dell / Intel breakfast on analytics for accountable care brought this into sharper focus for me. The fact that too many disparate EMRs (and thus too many vendors poised to cause inertia) are making it hard for analytics to successfully be adopted and utilized at an enterprise level, highlights a bigger problem related to hindsight and strategy.

From my perspective – that of an industry observer and commentator – it seems many providers felt compelled to purchase EMRs because the federal government offered them money to do so, and hopefully just as many were optimistic about the role technology would play in positively affecting patient outcomes. Vendors saw a great business opportunity and moved quickly to develop systems that met Meaningful Use criteria (not necessarily going for best-fit as related to workflow needs and usability). Neither group truly knew what they were in store for, especially regarding longer term plans for health information exchange.

Providers now find themselves wanting to move forward with health information exchange and greater interoperability, but slowed down by the very IT systems they were so insistent on purchasing just a few years ago. Vendors (some more than others) are hesitant to crack open their products to allow data to truly flow from one system to another, and who can blame them? The EMR market, in particular, is poised to shrink, which begs the question, who will survive? What companies will be around at HIMSS 15 and 16? Those who keep their systems siloed, like Epic? Or those who are trying to break down the silos, such as Common Well Alliance members like athenahealth and Greenway?

It makes me wonder if providers wouldn’t have been better served with just had a handful of EMRs to choose from around the time of HITECH, all guaranteed to evolve as needed and play nicely with each other in the interest of health information exchange. Too many options have caused too many barriers. That’s not just my opinion, by the way. I’m willing to bet that a sizeable chunk of the 37,537 HIMSS 14 attendees would agree with me.

Do you disagree? Are providers (and patients) better served by more IT options than less? Let me know your thoughts, and impressions of interoperability advancement at HIMSS, in the comments below.

Mulling Over EMR Market Consolidation

Posted on September 27, 2013 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.

I had the pleasure of attending a Technology Association of Georgia Health Society event last week on mobile health. It offered me a chance to chat with colleagues, and hear from a panel of payers, providers, startups and vendors on the current state of and predictions for mobile health. While networking beforehand, I found myself trying to succinctly answer a colleague’s question of, “Where do you see the EMR market heading in the next few years?”

My short answer was, “It is consolidating and will continue to consolidate.” I had more details and theories on the tip of my tongue, but didn’t get the chance to back up my statements before we were ushered in to the evening’s presentation. It was a big question – one that I think has only one correct answer, but also one that potentially has a variety of explanations behind that answer. Needless to say, I mulled it over that night and into the next day, when, coincidentally, I awoke to news of the Vitera/Greenway Medical deal.

If I had the chance to do it over again, I’d break my response down like this: Meaningful Use obviously provided incentive for businesses to get into the EMR game. Some were already in healthcare, while others were on the fringes. Combine those new industry entrants with companies that have provided EMRs since before HITECH, and you’re left with a crowded market.

Implementations and go lives coinciding with Stage 1 left many providers dissatisfied with the EMR experience thus far, but still willing to forge ahead. As they look to Stage 2, some realize their vendors – whom many are already disenchanted with – will not be up to the task of helping hospitals meet digital patient engagement quotas, among other Meaningful Use guidelines. And so began the rip and replace movement.

Vendors deemed not up to par looked at their options. Many took a step back and reassessed product development and strategy, deciding to either: get out of the healthcare game, close up shop altogether, merge with a competitor, or make themselves available for possible acquisition.

That’s one wave of consolidation. I’m fairly confident we’ll see another wave in the next 12 to 18 months, if it hasn’t already started. (I don’t think we’ll see too many Phoenix-type situations like Google.) As providers dive deeper into using technologies around Stage 2 engagement requirements, they’ll experience a second wave of acceptance or denial. At some point, the EMR replacement market will die down, providers will settle into the technology they’ve settled on, and purchases of new systems will stagnate. EMR sales will thus dry up a bit, forcing vendors to again look at their options. I would think that many will turn into consulting services once the demand for new software has died down.

Now that I’ve put pen to paper and laid out my thoughts, I wonder what readers predict. I encourage you to let me know whether I’m on the mark, totally off base, or somewhere in between.

Connecting the Dots Between S2MU and #HCSM

Posted on September 5, 2013 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.

I gave myself a pat on the back last week for attending Friday’s #HITsm chat. Moderator Brian Ahier (@ahier) and the usual suspects did a great job of zeroing in on the positives and negatives of what not only a delay to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use could look like, but what modifications to the requirements could look like as well.

As I mentioned during the chat, I feel that delaying it further would only delay the ultimate benefits we are all hoping healthcare IT like EMRs will bring to patient care. It will also add copious amounts of fuel to the already burning fire of provider discontent. Modification, however, might actually ease the burden on both providers and vendors. I’ll defer to the chat commentary, which you can view via the transcript.

If a recent CMS presentation on providers likely to incur Meaningful Use penalties is any indication, modifications might just let them breathe a small sigh of relief and focus a bit more on their patients, rather than hurriedly struggling to meet IT deadlines with ill-fitting or non-certified products.

Concurrently with all of this Stage 2 coverage has been a rise in commentary on providers’ use of social media. I have to assume that physicians and hospitals are becoming more attuned to the benefits of social networking in light of the industry’s push towards more patient engagement. While hospital social media strategies may be considered an offshoot of engagement initiatives tied to Stage 2, I have a feeling providers are beginning to realize such strategies are a valuable means of marketing and education outreach in their own right.

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between the types of doctors and hospitals CMS has identified as being most likely to incur Meaningful Use penalties and the social networking activity of that same group. I’d venture to say that providers at penalty risk don’t have social strategies in place, and face more systemic problems related to lower reimbursements, fewer resources, not enough qualified IT staff available, too many patients and not enough physicians, etc. It’s also probably safe to assume that providers that do have a social networking strategy have more resources, and have been able to devote those resources to preparation for Meaningful Use well before their less fortunate colleagues.

What do you think? Feel free to play devil’s advocate by leaving a comment below.

Digital Health Could Seal Fate of Small Hospitals

Posted on August 30, 2013 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.

I am not a healthcare investment expert by any means, but two recent pieces of news make me wonder if the digital health movement will inadvertently result in the hurried demise of already struggling small and rural hospitals.

According to a recent CB Insights report covered by MedCity News, 362 digital health deals last year accounted for an all-time high of $1.5 billion. Of those deals, 55 were exits – smaller digital health companies bought up by larger players. CB Insights notes the majority of these acquired companies were those that provided products that make administrative health processes more efficient, such as EMRs and revenue cycle management systems. This is an assumption, but I’m inclined to think these EMR companies priced their products below their more corporate competitors. These companies may well have supplied their systems to the budget-conscious small and rural hospital market.

As most everyone knows, small and rural hospitals are facing an uphill battle these days when it comes to keeping their doors open. A recent Georgia Health News item noted that three rural hospitals in the state have closed in 2013, with some predicting an additional 20 facilities will close within the next two years. The article cites constant cash shortages, claims disputes with payers, lower projected payments to hospitals from Georgia’s new state employee benefit contract, and reduced indigent care funding as contributing factors to the poor financial health many small Georgia hospitals find themselves in.

While these may be specific to Georgia, they are almost surely indicative of similar problems seen by similar institutions in the U.S. At least 849 facilities across the country will soon face the common problem of increased scrutiny by Medicare as a result of the current “bloated and unwieldy” state of the critical access hospital program, which was designed to financially stabilize small hospitals by providing them with higher Medicare reimbursement rates.

It looks to me as if the digital health exits noted above are perhaps indicative of a broader industry trend. Small and rural hospitals are already under enormous pressure to care for underserved populations in a fiscally responsible way. As the healthcare vendor market consolidates and looks to digital health as the next best venture, will we see more affordable EMRs folded into those that are less so? Where will small healthcare facilities turn for their healthcare IT?

Where do you think these two trends will converge in the next year or two? Please share your comments below.

Must-See Sessions, Exhibitors at HFMA #ANI2013

Posted on June 13, 2013 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 that time of year again. The Healthcare Finance Management Association’s annual ANI conference is just days away. I’ve come to associate the month of June with all things revenue cycle and the anticipation of learning more than I ever wanted to know about financial risk, reimbursement strategies, RACs, coding … the list could go on and on. I do enjoy the show, almost more than HIMSS, because it is smaller, shorter and so much more manageable from a logistics standpoint. HFMA puts out a great mobile app each year, and this year marks the first time I’ll be able to take advantage of it thanks to a (finally) upgraded phone.

Last year in Las Vegas, the show floor and educational sessions were largely focused on ICD-10 and ACOs. Flipping through this year’s brochure, I see that health insurance exchanges, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use and payer relationship strategies will also see a bit of the limelight. Personally, I’m looking forward to learning what healthcare finance folks think of this surge in healthcare consumer cries for price transparency. Are they paying attention? Will charge masters ever change (for the better)?

I thought I’d share some of the sessions I’m most looking forward to attending. I admit that I’m a big fan of panel discussions. Solo presenters can turn into sleep-inducing monologues far too quickly.

To Merge or Not to Merge: Hospital Executive Panel Discussion (Monday, 6/17)
What are the advantages and challenges of maintaining stand-alone status? What factors could influence a decision to see affiliation partners? What various affiliation strategies have worked for others?

Living in Atlanta, which has seen its fair share of hospital mergers and partnerships, I’ve often wondered why some facilities choose to go it alone and some choose to affiliate. I’m looking forward to hearing some inside scoop from the four scheduled hospital executives.

Transitioning to Value: Barriers, Solutions and Opportunities (Tuesday, 6/18)
Former CMS administrator Don Berwick will give this keynote address, which promises to “identify the barriers that must be overcome to reform the delivery system, the outcomes of successful delivery models, and the signals of progress within provider organizations.”

I can’t help but wonder how his stage presence will compare to Farzad Mostashari’s, and what sort of neck attire he’ll don.

Physician/Hospital Revenue Cycle Integration: a Panel Discussion (Tuesday, 6/18)
This session will cover the “opportunities and challenges of unifying the revenue cycle to reduce overall costs while increasing collections and patient satisfaction.”

I think it will be interesting to hear from providers just how important patient satisfaction (and presumably referrals) are to a provider’s bottom line. I expect at least one of the panelists will bring up Stage 2, as I’m learning that patient engagement and satisfaction are closely intertwined.

Women as Leaders: Charting the Course (Tuesday, 6/18)
As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m looking forward to learning how the HFMA board members (dare I call them #RevCycleChicks?) on this panel manage careers, families and communities.

Quiet: Harnessing the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead and Innovate (Wednesday, 6/19)
This keynote from author Susan Cain seems tailor-made just for me. Until social media came into my life, I’d always considered myself an introvert. But social networks have turned that idea on its head in unexpected ways, and so I wonder if Cain will touch on digital media in her presentation.

Best Practices for Managing Consumer Payments in the Current Environment (Wednesday, 6/19)
This “late-breaking session” promises to share best practices on improving collections and patient satisfaction.

I hope they’ll touch on the “future” environment, as it seems reasonable to assume that 2014 will likely make a number of current best practices out of date.

Then, of course, there is the exhibit hall, which I always enjoy roaming around without plan or purpose. A few recent postcards have piqued my interest in several companies:

sock

I’m not even sure what the name of this company is, but the idea of a singing sock intrigues me.

emdeon

I fared poorly at Emdeon’s Cash Stacker games last year, and am determined to do better this time around. Plus, the company always seems to be doing interesting things in the revenue cycle space, so I look forward to catching up with several of their team members to get the inside scoop.

relayhealth

I’m very intrigued by the idea of provider benchmarking at the moment, so I’m planning to learn more about what RelayHealth is doing in this area.

athenahealth

While this postcard doesn’t allude to athenahealth’s recent claims of guaranteed ICD-10 compliance, it will definitely be my main talking point when I stop by their booth.

Good works are always a good idea, and several companies are making charitable contributions in lieu of giveaways:

optum

jpmorganbnymellon

What sessions and exhibitors are you looking forward to? Let me know what I shouldn’t miss via the comments below.

“Breadwinner Moms” and #HITChicks

Posted on May 30, 2013 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.

You’ve got to wonder at the title of a new Pew Research Center survey, so aptly called “Breadwinner Moms.” It’s catchy, for sure, but at the same time carries with it a hint of guilt that so many of us working moms are all too familiar with.

The survey found that “40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.” That’s up 29% in the last 53 years, which isn’t all that surprising since, as the survey found, women now make up 47% of the labor force. I hope that we’re all fairly familiar with the historical and cultural forces behind these increased percentages.

Though not surprising to me, as the majority of my female contemporaries work and have children, I do wonder what portion of women in healthcare IT – or #HITchicks, as I like to call them on Twitter – are a part of this growing group. I’d safely bet that at least 50% of the women I work with have children at home. Ladies, do you see similar statistics play out at your organizations?

While this number seems to be increasing, I think it is also causing the “mommy guilt” so many of us feel at one time or another to ease a bit. At least we have other moms to commiserate with once we get to the office. I think parents today are fortunate that many in the corporate world have embraced telecommuting and working from home. (Though with young children at home this summer, I find myself more productive working in the office. My four-year old just can’t wrap her head around the need to not bother me when my home office door is closed.)

I wonder if this survey, and the general topic of women in the workplace, will be brought up at the “Women as Leaders” session at the upcoming HFMA ANI conference in Orlando. This will be my third time attending, and I find that I enjoy it just as much as I do HIMSS.

The session description reads, “Join a lively and inspiring conversation with the women on HFMA’s Board of Directors about how women can thrive as leaders in a highly demanding environment. Although women have long held leadership positions in health care, barriers to these roles continue to exist. Learn how the women on HFMA’s Board of Directors have achieved a seat at the leadership table and made their voices heard.”

They’ll “identify core skills women need for leadership success, such as self-confidence, team management, and negotiation; help women new to leadership roles excel and embrace the challenges they face; and share success stories for managing careers, families and communities.”

It’s the “families” part I’m most interested in hearing about. Though I love my career so much that I don’t see myself ever totally give it up, I’ve realized the term has to be fluid – changing in shape and definition to meet the needs of my family, which at the end of the day trumps career – and being the breadwinner – every time.