What Do I Look for When I Write? I Like Lines Not Dots

Posted on February 20, 2013 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.

As most of you know, I’m surrounded by planning for the HIMSS Annual Conference that’s happening in about a week and a half. I apologize for those that get tired of all the HIMSS discussion, but it literally overwhelms most things for me. I have about 200 emails in my inbox from PR people asking me if I want to meet with a healthcare IT company while at HIMSS. At this point I’ve mostly gathered those emails to see what companies are offering and starting today I’ll start replying to those emails as I fill out my HIMSS schedule.

I must admit that my initial look at the pitches I’ve received is pretty underwhelming. I think part of this might be that a year is not a lot of time for many things to change. As I said in my 2013 Healthcare IT predictions post, I think that it’s much more valuable to look at a 5 year horizon as opposed to a single year. A year just isn’t enough time for most innovations to really take shape. However, in 5 years you can see some amazing changes.

I was really impressed with Neil Versel’s post about his HIMSS being all about quality and patient safety. If you’re a PR company or someone interested in working with Neil, then you’ll want to take a good look at that post. I hope that Neil is sending a link to that post to all the PR people who email him. I can imagine if I’d lost my father to poor healthcare quality I’d take a similar view. His post started me to think about what interested me most. What did I want to write about at HIMSS.

This is actually a common question that I get from PR people. Many of them ask, “What stories are you looking for at HIMSS?” I’ve always hated that question. I’ve never gone to HIMSS with specific stories in mind. Instead, my goal is to go to HIMSS to discover what stories should be brought to my readers. Sure, I could probably predict some of the stories that will come out of this year’s HIMSS, but my goal is to be open to discover something my readers may not have thought about before.

Plus, I’ve found that it’s pretty rare that I write about something after one meeting. I’m not as interested in a one off experience with a vendor where I write about whatever they’re selling at the moment (a dot on a chart). It does happen on occasion, but I’m more interested in writing about trends I see happening over time (a line). Where were you last year or the year before that or when I last spoke to you at another conference and where are you today? This makes for a much more interesting story.

Another aspect in the line vs dot coverage is that one EMR vendor discussion is a dot, but my discussion with dozens of EMR vendors creates a line that is often much more interesting to my readers.

There you go. A few of my thoughts on what I like to cover. This is true at HIMSS and throughout the year. If you know of lines I should be writing about, I’d love to hear them. Now time to dig through that stack of emails to see what lines I can find.