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We Need More HIM Professionals Actively Using Twitter

Posted on August 3, 2015 I Written By

Erin Head is the Director of Health Information Management (HIM) and Quality for an acute care hospital in Titusville, FL. She is a renowned speaker on a variety of healthcare and social media topics and currently serves as CCHIIM Commissioner for AHIMA. She is heavily involved in many HIM and HIT initiatives such as information governance, health data analytics, and ICD-10 advocacy. She is active on social media on Twitter @ErinHead_HIM and LinkedIn. Subscribe to Erin's latest HIM Scene posts here.

We’d like to welcome a new guest blogger to our ranks. If you’re on social media and enjoy HIM topics, then you’ve probably seen Erin Head (@ErinHead_HIM) tweeting about those subjects. Erin is the HIM Director at an acute care hospital in Florida and a real advocate for the HIM profession. I’m excited to have her blogging with us from her unique perspective.

When I look around on Twitter, I don’t see enough Health Information Management (HIM) professionals. Most of the people I interact with have health IT or Informatics-focused careers and are not what we refer to as “traditional HIM professionals.” Don’t get me wrong, there are many engaged HIM professionals on Twitter; however the participation level is nowhere near matching the workforce population.

Why is that? I do not believe it is a generational difference as my Twitter interactions have been with people from all ages and backgrounds. There has to be another reason. Are HIM professionals really “too busy” to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and networking available on social media? Is it rude or disengaging to use social media in the physical presence of others?

This is no excuse – Twitter is very easy to navigate and the content is constantly updating so it is available no matter what time of day or how long you choose to login and interact. Following thought leaders on Twitter or a simple hashtag search will get you instantly connected with others and will get you comfortable using the application quickly. Do HIM professionals feel they are already subject matter experts and don’t need to join the Twitter conversation about new innovations, technology, and changing regulatory matters? If that is the case, I would certainly hope that traditional HIM professionals are garnering this knowledge somewhere else other than social media.

HIMers are a tight-knit group who look forward to annual conferences and events to catch up with fellow HIM professionals and gather information. This in-person interaction is great, but why wait for these events to network and converse? If you are unable to travel to attend an event, a great benefit is “live-Tweeting” where others will share the information that is being learned at an event with those who may not be able to attend in-person. But you must follow the event attendees by using the hashtag associated with the conference; in other words, you must be an active participant in social media to take advantage of this benefit.

Social media gives us an instant connection to other engaged professionals and gives us an opportunity to learn from each other, no matter where we are located physically. Selfishly, I want more interaction with HIM professionals through social media- traditional and non-traditional alike! I encourage all HIM professionals to create a Twitter account (or dust off an unused account) and start connecting. There really is no excuse to miss out on valuable, real-time HIM networking and information that is available at your fingertips.

If you’d like to receive future HIM posts by Erin in your inbox, you can subscribe to future HIM Scene posts here.

My Surprise Breakfast with Epic CEO Judy Faulkner

Posted on October 29, 2012 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.

One of the highlights of my experience at CHIME 2012 was a surprise breakfast that happened on the final day of CHIME. I actually was a touch late to breakfast after skipping out of a mostly empty room talking about HIPAA (imagine that on the last day of a conference). I got my breakfast and sat down at a table of what turned out to be mostly hospital CIOs.

Meals at CHIME turned out to be a great time to meet, connect and learn from the hospital CIOs that attended. A lively conversation was happening when a lady sat down next to me. I looked up and to my surprise the lady sitting next to me was none other than Judy Faulkner, CEO of Epic. I’m sure she had no idea who I was and I later realized that she likely sat next to me because on the other side of her was a hospital CIO she wanted to apologize to for something that had happened months before.

As an EHR blogger, I admit that I was probably a bit star struck sitting next to Judy. This was probably accentuated by the stigma (right or wrong) that Epic doesn’t like the media very much. So, I decided that rather than probe into Judy like a normal media person (I prefer to be a thought leader as much as I am a journalist anyway), I decided to just sit back and mostly listen.

It made for a really interesting experience since one of the first things Judy talked about was apologizing to this hospital CIO. I’m sure the cynics out there would say that she was probably apologizing because she wanted to further Epic’s business with that CIO. However, that wasn’t the impression I got from Judy. Instead, I got the impression that she had a real feeling of guilt that something she had done had caused other people some amount of trouble. In fact, how troubled she was by something most of us wouldn’t think twice about I think says something about Judy. I think some like to characterize her as a tough, driven, hard-nosed, business woman. Maybe she is in the boardroom, but my experience at breakfast was of her as a very thoughtful caring person.

When I told some of my colleagues about my experience with Judy, she told me I’d been seduced. Maybe she’s right. From my experience I saw a very kind, compassionate Judy.

I’ll wait to share all of the things I learned from my time with Judy for another time, but I did also have an interesting conversation with Judy about Twitter and social media. I think the conversation began because I playfully suggested that she should post whatever we were talking about to Twitter. I say playfully, because I was quite sure I’d never seen Judy on Twitter or any other social media and so I was interested to see her response. She responded something like, “I hope I live my whole life and never go on Twitter.”

While I was partially taken back by the sharpness of her response (Although, thinking back I shouldn’t have been surprised), I replied that “Twitter’s not about ‘what I ate today’ and that there was real value to engaging on Twitter.” To Judy’s credit, she then asked why I thought she should be on Twitter.

My response in the moment was pretty terrible. I told her about Twitter’s ability to “connect people.” While this is valuable to many people, the last thing that Judy wants in her position is more random people connecting with her. After giving such a lackluster response, I decided a broader answer I could have given would be, “Social media is about people and people are the most valuable asset in the world. Social media leverages people in amazingly powerful ways.”

That answer is still not perfect without examples and application, but at least the answer applies more broadly in a way that she could benefit from social media. After this experience, I asked myself if I was doing a keynote on healthcare social media, what would I say?

I’ve already come up with 21 ways to benefit from social media. I’ve also started creating a list of very specific examples of social media in healthcare. If you have more examples, I’d love to hear them in the comments. It only seems fitting that I’d use social media to help me put together this resource, right?

I’m still debating the best way to spread what I gather about healthcare social media, but I think it needs to happen. I still run into far too many people that think that social media is just about what you ate for lunch or your drunken pictures with friends. More people need to be informed about the amazing possibilities with healthcare social media. Plus, next time I happen upon breakfast with Judy Faulkner, I’ll have a much better answer for her.

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Patient Info Sharing?

Posted on July 12, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

Today, when I was skimming my tweetstream, I caught a message that stopped me dead in my tracks:

We spend a lot of time on these pages mulling over the best ways to get information from one provider to another, be it via the Direct Project approach, EMR integration across sites or HIEs. And all of this discussion is predicated on the notion that more sharing is largely a Very Good Thing.

And we have good reason to do so. For all of the bitterly skeptical things we can say about EMRs, in the rare cases where they’re humming like a fine ‘Vette they can improve care and avoid patient harm in a long list of ways.  They can also serve as a repository for data which can be manipulated, studied, and learned from for both commercial and public health purposes.

But I had never taken a moment to stop and think how ease of sharing patient records might come with downsides of its own. I’m not sure which ones Dr. Trainer had in mind, but my guesses would be:

–  HIPAA mistakes become much easier to make and much harder to fix, as data tends to stay where its sent.

–  Clicking one button and sending 600 pages of information may be easier for the sending provider, but it may be far more data than needed, which can actually distract from finding the right information.

While security is of course a top priority for the business, making it simple for doctors to send just what’s needed isn’t at the top of the charts for EMR vendors to my knowledge.  Maybe it should be.

Hospital IT and Meaningful Use at AHIMA

Posted on October 6, 2011 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.

When I was at AHIMA I didn’t have too much time to attend many sessions. However, I did drop in for 10 minutes here and there for a session. I wrote about the healthcare social media session over on EMR and EHR and how messed up some of the comments were about it.

Another session that I attended was one where HIM professionals were talking about meaningful use. As many of you know, most of my background is on the ambulatory side of things. Certainly there’s a lot of crossover between ambulatory EMR & EHR and Hospital EMR & EHR, but then again much is quite different. For example, hospitals use so many committees. In fact, as I thought about this reality at AHIMA I sent the following tweet:

Are there any hospitals that do decision making in any other way than by committee? #ahima11
John Lynn

I’d love to hear the answer to that question. Although, I’d guess the answer is No.

At this same session I sent this tweet:

How many of you have achieved meaningful use? Only a couple hands raised. #ahima11
John Lynn

I was surprised to see so few hands. Although, a part of me wonders how many people would have raised their hands if you asked if they cared about meaningful use. I guess maybe that’s an exaggeration. After all, the session on meaningful use at AHIMA was the fullest session I’d seen.