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AHA Health Forum – A Valuable Potential Partner for HealthIT Companies

Posted on March 26, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

In the hyper-competitive HealthIT market, getting to your target audience within healthcare organizations is critical to success. Cutting through the noise and gatekeepers, however, is difficult. One effective strategy is to partner with an organization that has a trusted relationship with healthcare organizations and collaborate with them to leverage those connections.

The team at the AHA Health Forum has been helping companies for years do just that. I had the chance recently to sit down with Kathleen Wessel, Vice President of Business Development at AHA Health Forum. I asked her about the Forum and what recommendations she has for breaking through the noise in HealthIT.

Kathleen will be a panelist and a sponsor at the 2018 Healthcare IT Marketing & PR Conference.

Tell me about AHA Health Forum and the work it does.

Kathleen: Health Forum is a strategic business enterprise of the American Hospital Association, dedicated to providing insights, resources and innovative services to support our hospital members . This position makes us an indispensable resource for businesses seeking to engage the hospitals we serve.

Can you give an example of how a company might work with AHA Health Forum?

Kathleen: In addition to event sponsorships, conferences, and networking opportunities that connect you with the c-suite, we offer a level of program sophistication and service that isn’t seen elsewhere in the health care space. This includes opportunities such as multi-channel behavioral campaigns to nurture highly targeted audiences, trusted health care data to identify market opportunities, intimate executive events with attendees who have pain points aligned to a vendor’s solution, and lead assist programs to pre-qualify sales ready leads.

What are three things Health IT marketers should do to help identify and deliver messaging to hospital decision makers more effectively? 

Kathleen:

  1. At a high level, educate yourself on latest health care trends and challenges. In account-based marketing, know what is important to the hospital or hospital system. Annual reports, press releases and other public information sources provide a good starting point for individual hospitals.
  2. A closer focus on data can help you learn more about your audience. Leveraging your own internal client data and trusted external health care industry data can lead to breakthrough thinking—helping you grow markets, uncover new opportunities, and can help sales engage in higher value conversations with prospects.
  3. This brings me to my next point. A solutions provider that knows its audience inside out can use this intel to make content that is relevant. As health care leaders face unprecedented change, they don’t just need any content, they need quality content and are looking for solutions.

How is Health IT marketing changing?

Kathleen: Marketers have their work cut out if they’re going to get their message and brand noticed by hospital leaders. In the age of content and information overload, to be heard, you have to be credible and intentional. Health care leaders pay attention to information coming from their peers and institutions they trust. This will require marketers to cultivate client champions and integrate their stories and voice into their marketing campaigns. Marketers would also be wise to make investments in co-branding with trusted associations.

Being a “partner” vs a “vendor” is something we hear a lot about in health care, what does that exactly mean? What makes a company a good partner? 

Kathleen: Vendors focus on why their solution is best in the category; and if the challenge doesn’t fit, a ‘vendor’ tells the client to change to accommodate their solution. In contrast, a partner understands what is important to the hospital and focuses on how their solution can help the hospital achieve its strategic objectives. A partner will work to adapt to a specific challenge. In addition, the hospital looks at the partner for thought leadership, as a trusted advisor who can help guide them through the changes and disruption taking place in the industry.

Disruptive Innovation vs Incremental Improvement – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 18, 2017 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/21 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung) on the topic of “Disruptive Innovation vs Incremental Improvement”.

The term “disruptive innovation” has been driven into our minds by technology and business media. It is the goal of many #HealthIT startups as well as innovation teams at healthcare organizations. Everyone is hoping that their technology or service will be labeled as the next disruptive innovation. I dare say that we are in danger of becoming so obsessed with being disruptive that we are ignoring the here-and-now.

When Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation” back in the 90s, he used a very strict definition:

A process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

In a more recent 2015 HBR article Christensen warns about labeling every improvement as disruptive:

Many researchers, writers, and consultants use “disruptive innovation” to describe any situation in which an industry is shaken up and previously successful incumbents stumble. But that’s much too broad a usage.

If we get sloppy with our labels or fail to integrate insights from subsequent research and experience into the original theory, then managers may end up using the wrong tools for their context, reducing their chances of success. Over time, the theory’s usefulness will be undermined.

Using Christensen’s definition, a disruptive innovation in healthcare would be something that starts off in the underserved part of the market (ex: people who don’t seek care or can’t afford it) and would be seen by incumbents (healthcare providers) as an inferior solution. Slowly that new product/service would go up-market until it replaces the incumbents. Using this lens, many of today’s supposed disruptive #HealthIT innovations fall short. There aren’t many that are aimed at the underserved healthcare markets.

When you use the more common definition, a disruptive innovation is anything that shakes up an incumbent’s market. In a perverse way, this common understanding leads to fear and self-preserving actions. By labeling something as disruptive, you immediately put incumbents on notice – and in response they raise barriers to protect themselves. In a risk-adverse environment like healthcare, convincing someone to adopt a new technology or process is difficult enough but when you label a technology as disruptive, additional barriers get raised: How will it affect privacy? How will clinicians react to it? Will it impact billing? Very few healthcare organizations want to be first to adopt an unproven technology/process.

So the question is, do we even need to proactively seek disruptive innovation in healthcare? Can we not just focus on rapid incremental improvements instead? Let’s fix EHRs so that they aren’t administrative burdens on physicians. Let’s redesign patient portals to be easier to use and let’s fill them with the content patients actually want. Let’s figure out ways to make healthcare payments more transparent. Are we so desperate for a label that we’ve lost sight of making an everyday difference?

Join me on Friday April 21st at 12:00pm ET as we discuss the following questions on #HITsm:

The Questions
T1: Is healthcare too biased against adopting disruptive innovations? Can this bias ever be overcome? #HITsm

T2: Are #HealthIT companies too focused on finding/funding TOMORROW’s disruptive innovation (aka moonshot) vs improvements TODAY? #HITsm

T3: Is the problem just one of labeling? Does it matter in #HealthIT that something is disruptive vs incremental? #HITsm

T4: What do you believe will be the next disruptive innovation in healthcare?  #HITsm

T5: What can be done in healthcare to create an environment where innovation AND improvements are welcomed & encouraged? #HITsm

Bonus: If you had unlimited resources and budget, how would you use them to disrupt healthcare? #HITsm

Be sure to also join tonight’s #hcldr chat where Colin is starting the conversation around disruptive innovation vs incremental improvement.

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/28 – Where Did You Start and How Did You Get Here? The Story of Your Healthcare Career Path
Hosted by Lizzie Barrett (@eliztbarrett)

5/5 – Precision Health 101: Understanding the Keys to Value
Hosted by Bob Rogers (@ScientistBob) from @IntelHealth

5/12 – TBD
TBD

5/19 – Patient Education Using Healthcare Social Media
Hosted by Anne Zieger (@annezieger)

5/26 – TBD
Hosted by Chad Johnson (@OchoTex)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always let us know if you have ideas for how to make #HITsm better.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Healthcare Content Creation for the Audience Economy – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on April 11, 2017 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.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/14 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Jess Clifton (@jslentzclifton), Sarah Bennight (@sarahbennight), and Steve Sisko (@shimcode) on the topic of “Healthcare Content Creation for the Audience Economy”.

The Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC) took place last week and, as would be expected from an event largely attended by “marketing people,” social media lit up with content, insight, opinions and a bit of wackiness. Almost 2200 tweets were shared on Twitter alone during the three-day conference with the lion’s share of those tweets addressing the following topics:

  • Inspiration including leveraging influencer/champions, employees and the importance of passion
  • Content including case studies, personalization, repurposing, strategies, and use of experts as content creators.
  • Buyer Personas & Customer Journeys
  • Importance of Video and visual content
  • Innovation
  • Pitching media outlets and others to convey your content
  • Tips, tips and more tips

Based on the above and all the good information emanating from the HITMC event, this week’s #HITsm chat will explore “Healthcare Content Creation for the Audience Economy” via the following topics:

The Questions
T1: What are some of the ways content & messages can be made inspirational and humanized? #HITsm

T2: What are characteristics of a ‘good’ SME and how do you identify SME’s in your organization, tribe, circle of associates? #HITsm

T3: What are most effective types of ‘personalized content’ to share w/ a buyer & at what point in their journey? #HITsm

T4: What are some of the ways video can be used to market and support healthcare products/services?  #HITsm

T5: What’s not going to change in Healthcare in the next 10 years and how will content remain the same as it is today? #HITsm

Bonus: What are some of the best content marketing tips you learned at the HITMC? Or would like to share if you didn’t attend? #HITsm

Content, Insight, Opinions, Tips & Bits of Wackiness from #HITMC
For a curated list of tweets emanating from the HITMC event, check out this blog post.

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/21 – Innovation vs Incremental
Hosted by @Colin_Hung

4/28 – TBD

5/5 – TBD
Hosted by @IntelHealth

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always let us know if you have ideas for how to make #HITsm better.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Healthcare IT Marketing Is Needed – #HITMC

Posted on April 7, 2017 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.

The past 3 days, I’ve been deep in the thralls of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC). It brings together a few hundred of the leading healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. This year we have quite a few healthcare (not IT) marketing and PR professionals as well. I think at HITMC 2018 we’re going to have to expand the conference to include all healthcare marketers as well. Regardless, I’m extremely proud of being part of such a great community.

Yes, I said community, because that’s what HITMC really is…it’s a community of healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. It’s something special and I think those in attendance at the conference feel it when they attend the event. Those who attend, care for each other and want to see the rest of the community be successful. At this year’s event we’ve also incorporated a number of outside perspectives to try and make sure we’re not just an echo chamber of the same people saying the same things. That’s a challenge that we’ll continue to battle.

What’s been amazing to me about this community is how much they want to improve healthcare. Certainly there are a few outliers that are only in this for the money. However, the large majority of marketing and PR professionals do the work they do because they believe they can impact healthcare in a good way. They believe that the products and services their company offers can make healthcare better. That’s a powerful idea and I assure you that most of them have this as their goal. They could probably make more money pedaling nail polish or other consumer product, but they chose healthcare because of the unique mission healthcare offers.

At last year’s event I had this epiphany when I realized that the work we do with the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR community is important not just for the individuals who attend the conference and not for the companies whom they represent, but for healthcare as a whole. Many of the marketing and PR professionals in the HITMC community work for companies that can make healthcare better. Many doctors, nurses, front desk staff, etc are suffering needlessly because they don’t know that there’s a solution to their problems out there. That’s where marketing and PR professionals come in. If they’re not doing their job, then many people suffer in ignorance.

As I mentioned, there are some rotten apples out there that are only in it for the money. They aren’t trying to market something of value, they’re just trying to line the coffers of their company. However, my experience is that these people are more the exception than the rule.

This conference is exhausting to organize. Especially for my wife who bears the largest burden as I’m busy working on the conference. However, when I think about the importance of the work we do, it makes me proud to be a small part of the extraordinary HITMC (Health IT Marketing and PR Community).

Healthcare Scene Quotes

Posted on July 8, 2016 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.

My kids are out of school and driving my wife nuts. You know the drill if you have children. Since I work at home, I’m fully aware of what’s going on with the kids during summer break and so I try and help my wife where I can. This summer I had a great idea. I’d put my kids to work!

My kids love computers and anything to do with technology and so I figured if they were going to spend so much time in front of a screen, then they should find something productive to do. With that idea, I grabbed a bunch of quotes from previous blog posts we’d done on Healthcare Scene and asked my kids to turn those quotes into social media images I could share online.

Well, it turns out that only my 12-year-old had enough knowledge to do the work. The younger kids still have quite a bit to learn. The only other problem is my 12-year-old son is colorblind. So, that does produce some interesting results.

Long story short, take a look at some of the Healthcare Scene quotes that my son made. Not bad for a first try. I mostly love that he’s learning something useful. Let me know what you think. Each image links to the original post if you want to read the context.
Andy Slavitt - Physician Data Paradox

If you want patients to be prepared to care for themselves, treat them like adults and include them in what you’re doing.

Your online searches say a lot about your health, both physical and mental

Anyone could be breached and HIPAA will only protect you so much

How many healthcare ideas have been shot down because

HIM professionals should continue to assist in the quest for interoperability and electronic data sharing at the notion of patie

Small Practice Marketing Strategies Twitter Chat (#KareoChat)

Posted on April 12, 2016 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.

Health IT Marketing and PR Awards 2016

Last week we held the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR conference which is organized by Healthcare Scene. By all accounts, the conference ran well and the feedback I’ve gotten is that people really enjoyed the event and the healthcare marketing and PR community we’ve built. During the event, we held the HITMC Awards and Kareo won the award for Best Social Media Program. This is a well deserved honor since they put a lot of work into hosting the weekly #KareoChat.

Coming out of the conference, Kareo asked me if there were some topics from the conference that would work well for the #KareoChat audience of small practice physicians. After reviewing the sessions at the conference, I realized that there was a lot of lessons from the conference that could be applied to small practice marketing. In fact, so many of the topics could be a #KareoChat of their own. With that said, they asked if I’d host this week’s #KareoChat based on topics from the conference. So, I decided to pull together a potpourri of topics that applied well to small practices.

Kareo Chat - HITMC

Here’s a look at the topics for this week’s #KareoChat:

  1. When and why should a physician practice go through a rebranding? #KareoChat @HealthITMKTG
  2. How can you use your and your competitors’ online reviews (good and bad) to your benefit? #KareoChat @mdeiner
  3. Could small practices benefit from their own podcast? Is it worth it?  #KareoChat @GetSocialHealth @Resultant @jaredpiano
  4. How and when should small practices use visual content in their office? #KareoChat @csvishal2222
  5. How can the 4 communication preferences (Facts, Futures, Form, Feelings) help small physician practice marketing? #KareoChat @ChartCapture
  6. Where and how can we use the power of storytelling in small physician practice marketing? #KareoChat @ctrappe @stacygoebel

If you’d like to join us to discuss these topics, just follow the #KareoChat hashtag on Thursday, April 14th at Noon ET (9 AM PT). I expect it will be a really diverse and interesting chat across a wide variety of topics related to small practice marketing.

Full Disclosure: Kareo is an advertiser on one of the Healthcare Scene websites.

#HIMSS16 Day 0 – Exhibit Hall Tetris

Posted on February 29, 2016 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Arriving the day before the craziness of HIMSS is an annual tradition for most vendors. The Saturday and Sunday before the main conference are the days when most of the booth building activity happens inside the HIMSS exhibit hall.

I have always enjoyed these pre-conference days at HIMSS. Being in the exhibit hall while booths are being constructed is like watching a life-sized game of Tetris. It’s fun to watch the army of tradespeople unpack crates and piece together complex booths while following instructions that look eerily like those you find with Lego building sets.

#HIMSS16 features move vendors than ever before. Over 1300 booths sprawl across multiple halls in the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas Nevada. With this many vendors, the aisle-ways were especially difficult to navigate during setup. It’s a testament to the skill of the forklift drivers that they managed to squeeze all the crates in and round the booth areas for setup.

HIMSS16 Exhibit Hall 1

As a marketer and engineer, I relish the opportunity to have a preview of the booths before the hall opens. Every year I find at least five or six booths of unique/fresh design that I add to my must-visit list.

This year was no exception.

HIMSS16 Philips Booth
The Philips booth (3416) looks very impressive this year with four floor-to-ceiling LED displays that look like the ones they use in Football stadiums. The booth itself is beautifully accented with a stunning chandelier in the center. I can’t wait to see it in action when the hall opens.

The CDW Healthcare (3606), SalesForce (10525) and Cerner (2032) booths are also intriguing. I’m particularly interested in the SalesForce booth – partly because of the design but mostly because I’m curious to see how their healthcare offering is shaping up.

If you see a cool or interesting booth over the next few days, I hope you’ll tweet out a notification or post something to the HIMSS16 mobile app.

Periscope and Blab #HITMC Twitter Chat

Posted on November 2, 2015 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.

For those in the health care marketing and PR community, we wanted to remind you of the monthly #HITMC Twitter chats that we host on the first Tuesday of every month at 9 AM PT (Noon ET). They’re a great opportunity for health care marketing and PR professionals to connect, share, and learn about the unique aspects of marketing and PR in healthcare.

This month (November 3rd for those keeping track at home) we’re excited to have Charles Webster, @wareflo, hosting the health care marketing and PR Twitter chat where we’ll be talking about using Periscope and Blab for Health Care IT Marketing and Public Relations. Should be a lively conversation talking about two of the most exciting platforms out there and how health care can (and can’t) utilize them.

Right after the #HITMC Twitter chat we’ll be hosting a post chat #HITMC blab where we can talk about what was said on the chat, share more stories, and connect with those who participated. Plus, if you’ve never been on a blab before, this will be a chance for you to hop on and watch (or even jump on camera if you want). You can subscribe to the blab here.

For those not familiar with Twitter chats and blabs, all you need to do is visit this link at 9 AM PT (Noon ET), Tuesday, Nov 3. Then, visit this page at 10 AM PT (1 PM ET) for the post chat blab.

It’s all a bit meta, but if you’re interested in these topics we hope you’ll join!

Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference
The early bird registration for the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference is open and will save you $500 if you register between now and November 30th. Plus, since you’re a reader of a Healthcare Scene blog, you can get an additional $100 off by using the promo code: HITRocks when registering for the conference.

Also, the call for speakers is still open for a few more weeks for those who have a great health care marketing and PR experience to share. Don’t be shy. Be creative and share your knowledge with the community.

The 3rd Annual Health IT Marketing and PR Conference (#HITMC)

Posted on September 25, 2015 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.

We take a short break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about the announcement of the 3rd Annual Health IT Marketing and PR Conference. For those not familiar with the event, it brings together the leading marketing and PR professionals working in healthcare. It’s an extraordinary group of people even if I’m quite biased since I organize the conference.

My own bias aside, each year I’m amazed at the community that’s formed around the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference. It’s a really unique event since there’s no other place for health IT marketing and PR professionals to get together and talk about the unique challenges of marketing to healthcare.

This year we decided to move the conference out of Las Vegas to Atlanta. It made sense to try an east coast location in 2016 since HIMSS and ANI are both in Las Vegas next year. We’ve got a great venue at the Loews hotel in midtown Atlanta. The conference center at the Loews is on the 14th floor and has floor to ceiling windows with amazing views of Atlanta which will make for a really nice event.

As per usual, we’re holding the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference about a month after HIMSS on April 6-8, 2016.

If you have some expertise in healthcare marketing and/or PR, then the call for speakers is open for the event as well. We always get a lot of great submissions, but we particularly love those who provide some real life case studies of their experience marketing to healthcare and those that think outside the box in how and what they present. We’re always trying to implement new ways to create unique conference engagement.

We’ve already gotten a lot of support from sponsors for the event, but there is still room for more if you offer something valuable for healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. You can check out the HITMC sponsorship options if you’re interested in the options we have available.

The early bird registration for the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference will save you $500 if you register between now and November 30th. Plus, since you’re a reader of a Healthcare Scene blog, you can get an additional $100 off by using the promo code: HITRocks when registering for the conference.

We’re excited to see many of you at HITMC 2016, but if we don’t see you there we hope to see you at one of the other healthcare IT events we attend.

The Magic of Community

Posted on May 9, 2015 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.

Today was the final day of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC) which I organize. The event is a lot of work, but the community that it’s created is absolutely golden. I really happened upon a unique community that had never been brought together before. Before this conference, healthcare marketing and PR professionals really didn’t have a place to go and learn and connect with people doing the same work they do. As Brian Mack mentioned at the end of the conference “This is the first conference where I didn’t have to explain to people what I did for work.” Someone else commented on how every person they talked to at the conference was someone who spoke their same language.

There’s really something magical about growing a community of like minded individuals. There’s value in expanding your horizons and hearing people from outside of your niche as well. Both can be valuable, but when you’re dealing with challenging problems, it’s great to be able to work with people who have seen those challenges before. That’s something that’s really hard to replace and is golden when you find it.

I think that’s why in healthcare websites like PatientsLikeMe have been so successful. Last year one of the HITMC attendees described his experience like “finally finding his tribe.” Patients have that same need. For example, my wife has hashimoto’s and whenever she meets someone who has the same issue, there’s an instant bond of shared experience. It’s a beautiful thing.

What’s going to be interesting as healthcare evolves is what new online healthcare communities will come to be. Will hospitals create communities for their patients? Will primary care doctors in an area create a community of users interested in being healthy? Will an ACO require these types of healthy communities?

Don’t underestimate the power of bringing together people facing similar challenges. There’s a magic in community that’s really special. Back to the HITMC community, I feel lucky to be part of such a caring group of individuals who really want to improve healthcare.