Health IT List Season – A List of Lists

Posted on July 11, 2012 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.

Everyone on the internet loves a good list. I know that when I see a list tweeted by someone I feel that natural impulse to click and see who made the list. There’s something about a list that is captivating and fascinating. Plus, if there’s a potential that we could be on the list, then our interest in that list skyrockets. Most of the time the order of the list doesn’t matter. There’s little need to put any sort of rigor into who makes the list or not. People are naturally attracted to lists. I’m sure there’s some cultural reason for this, but regardless of the why it’s just the current state of affairs.

Over the past couple weeks, it seems like it’s the season of the Health IT lists. Every other day or so another health IT list comes out. I predictably click through to see who or what’s made the list. Every once in a while I even make a list and I must admit that it’s quite exciting. There’s something beautiful about having your name in lights. Add in the social media response that often accompanies making a list, and it’s really quite intoxicating. I of course try not to inhale.

I actually partially questioned one of the current list making efforts, the #HIT100, near the end of the #HITsm chat this week. I tweeted, “That’s the real problem with the #HIT100 It’s hard to really rank it and is easily gamed. #HITsm” Michael Planchart that puts together the #HIT100 replied, “I don’t understand why it would be easily gamed? #HIT100 #HITsm” Instead of sharing how people could game the ranking, I instead replied, “It’s not a large enough community to really do a ranking. The list is interesting regardless of how they are ranked #HIT100 #HITsm”

Interestingly enough, someone who saw our conversation privately sent me this message, “Here’s some reasons: New accounts created to vote. Non-industry people voting, staff voting en masse for boss, Mom voting, etc.” and then this follow up “We all have out pet projects and little ego things! :’) Thinking of a blog post about this – but don’t want to alienate #HIT100 friends :)” He was right about treading lightly (a challenge for me) so you don’t alienate others in the Health IT community. Although, by doing so we also miss out on some really meaningful conversations.

Michael also responded, “The purpose of the list is to introduce #HealthIT folks to each other. The ranking is just the fun part of it. #HIT100”

I agree with Michael that it’s a great way to learn about new #HealthIT people on Twitter. Although, I think Michael underestimates the power of the rankings. As I described above, being ranked and where you rank has a much bigger impact on people both consciously and unconsciously. To be honest, it’s part of the reason why I haven’t actually nominated anyone to the #HIT100….yet(?). I’d probably have to sit down and nominate 100 health IT people myself to do it justice. There’s just so many good ones, that I’m not sure where I’d start.

I actually like the way that Michelle McNickle (I’ve fallen in love with her work lately) handled her list of 10 Health IT bloggers on Healthcare IT News. Instead trying to rank them and instead of trying to be complete, she just said that these were “some of the best HIT bloggers actively using Twitter.” The ironic thing was that similar to that telephone game we’d play as kids, the list got tweeted as “Top 10 Health IT Bloggers.”

I also loved that Kristi Ellis (one of the @HealthyComms Twins) took the #HIT100 and made it into a blog post. I hope that the #HIT100 spawns more lists like this from people in the industry. One thing I would have loved to see in that blog post was a short description of why Kristi added that person to her list.

We need more blog interaction like Kristi is doing and now to some extent I’m doing with this post. I’ve discussed this a bit before, but I think in the age of Twitter were losing out on some of the deeper conversations. Instead of putting together a thoughtful blog post reply to someone else’s blog post we just post it on Twitter with 2 words or hit the retweet button and move on. Each of those has its place, but a part of me still yearns for those blog responses which add depth to the conversation.

There you have it. A few thoughts on the various health IT lists I’ve seen being passed around. What do you think? I know I can’t wait until I see the next list. Let me know if you know of others.