We host weekly Tweet Chats called Health IT Social Media, or #HITsm. During one of our conversations, we were discussing why more hospital IT professionals, as well as other provider IT people, are not involved in social media. One of the answers was: “We don’t have time.”
My initial reaction to that statement was: “How can you not take the time!”
Social media is an active channel of communication and dialogue between physicians and clinicians. It is also an engaged channel on the patient side, between patients and within the larger healthcare community.
“When thinking about social media and healthcare I see two main areas of focus: from the industry side, and from the consumer side. On the industry side there are government organizations, hospitals, physician groups and individual providers, the biotech industry, pharmaceutical companies and a host of others engaged in this space. On the consumer side we are primarily talking about patients.”
I believe there is another segment, and this segment is mostly unengaged. This segment includes the information technology professionals working in hospitals, radiology practices and groups, labs, and clinics. These are our health IT professionals who are enabling healthcare workflows, the delivery of patient data, and the interoperability between applications and providers.
In other words, health IT is an essential voice in healthcare.
So, we come back to time and the reason to participate. Let’s take a look at both.
Time to Engage in Health IT Social Media. First, let’s assume that our normal work day consists of eight hours; I know there are many who work more. What if we just took 28 minutes a day to learn something new or share something we did that worked well? Would we enhance our skills? Would we get better at what we do?
My argument is that the clear answer is “yes.” We are talking about 6% of our work time, and it is time well spent to learn, grow, and get better at what we do. With all the changes occurring in healthcare and being enabled by information technology, it is essential that we keep up-to-date, and it is essential we learn from similar experiences.
Social media is a channel to a real-world classroom. Spending 28 minutes a day is time spent in a worthwhile way, serving as both a teacher and a student in this classroom. We can never stop learning in a world of constant change. It is survival at a minimum.
Spending the time to improve our practical knowledge is critical for our health care system.
Second, what are the reasons to participate in the health IT conversations?
4 Reasons to Participate in Health IT Social Media.
- HITECH & Meaningful Use: There are many changes happening today, and we need to learn from each other as new initiatives unfold; new technologies are implemented; and new systems are used and supported.
- The People You Support Are: Physicians and clinicians are already participating actively in many different social media channels. How will you support them if you are not participating? How can you share social media experiences if you have none? Open the door to the new world that is happening, so you can be an active participant in it.
- A New Health IT Library: Each health IT professional has something to share by the very nature of the work they do. Each health IT professional is building a library of knowledge that now needs to be “checked out” by someone else. Sharing knowledge will lift everyone up to the next level in supporting our new connected healthcare system.
- Shared Experiences: A health IT professional in Seattle implementing a similar application as someone in Dove may have a reason to engage. What if they shared their experience through a blog post or through a Twitter conversation? Would they both learn something to enhance their approach? I believe the answer is “yes” by a mile! Example after example can be given where two different organizations, doing similar work, can share best practices and key insights. Call it benchmarking or best practices or just learning from each other… it is about learning and growing our skills.
As we continue to move our healthcare IT systems from “here” to “there,” we need to enhance our skills and knowledge in order to implement with the best practical knowledge available. The only way we will continue advance in our role is by learning, and social media opens up so many convenient ways to learn.
We need to make the time. We need to use our time to engage with our colleagues, no matter where they are. We need to engage in health IT social media now.
To facilitate this engagement, we now have a Health IT Social Media Primer available for download. It covers all the social media channels available and provides an overview of how to get started. This primer is comprehensive and practical. Download this free guide today!
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