Interesting Balance of Connections vs Bias

Posted on May 13, 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.

Since it’s Friday and most of you have already headed home for the weekend, I figured I’d write about something that I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s the interesting balance of being well connected versus bias.

First, I should start off by saying that I think everyone is biased. We all have biases in everything that we say. The work we do, the people we know, the experiences we’ve had, the way we were raised, the person we marry, etc etc etc all biases and/or influences who we are and what we believe.

Since I believe everyone (yes….everyone!) has a bias, the important thing for me is to be aware of the biases people have.

Honestly, that’s one of the things that I love about the conversations on the Healthcare Scene LinkedIn group (Hint: You should join). The LinkedIn group is great because when someone makes a comment you have basically their resume attached to their comment and you can learn about them and their potential bias. No doubt users can clearly see why I’m so fond of the family of websites.

I try to offer readers the same disclosure on these blogs. While you could certainly see any possible biases I have in the right side bar, I also fully disclose any time I write something about an advertiser on my site. Not only is that an FTC rule, but it’s also the right thing for me to do. You should know about any potential biases I have.

The same goes when it comes to talk about EMR adoption. I have a bias towards EMR. From first hand experience, I have little doubt that an EMR in a doctors office can be a benefit to that office. Although, I offer that bias for everyone to read and I add in the caution that it has to be done right and you need to choose the right EMR. Of course, that’s my bias as well. I think the EMR select matters. Although, that won’t necessarily stop me from arguing the other point on occasion.

One of the interesting challenges of writing well is balancing connections and bias. Certainly it’s a great thing for your writing to be well connected to a lot of different people. Those people provide interesting information, interesting perspectives and information about trends that you might not have known otherwise. Although, those connections can also be considered a bias to the things that you write.

My method to combat this is to just know everyone. Assuming you know everyone, then your bias is spread across a large group and the power of crowds should help to balance things out. My mother would likely tell me (as she did when I was younger and wanted to do everything) that I can’t know everyone. Much as I did as a little kid I say, “She’s right [never good to argue with your mom]. Although, that doesn’t mean I can’t try.” Needless to say, I have a long way to go.

I think the problem I have with much of the health IT and EMR related press out there is that they’re often working for a paycheck. A paycheck bias might be the worst of all bias. Then, your bias is to write something that will 1. keep your paycheck and 2. not get you in trouble. Ok, that’s a bit cynical of me. Certainly there are plenty of great journalists out there that really want to cover the important angles of the story. They really want to get the story right and provide value to the readers. However, let’s just not believe that your paycheck isn’t its own bias.

Why do you care? Well, maybe you don’t, but it’s Friday, my wife’s out of town and I felt like getting this off my chest. If nothing else, now you get to know some of my bias. If you ever want to know my bias, just ask. I’m always happy to share. In fact, don’t be surprised if you ask and I share it with everyone. I’ve got nothing to hide.