Social media and #healthIT

Nominations for the #HIT100 list are in full swing. Well, at least it is full swing in the US. It doesn’t seem to be making many waves elsewhere in the twitterverse – a curious phenomenon from my POV.

In the first #HIT100 list (2011), there were definitely 3 (maybe 4 or 5 at most, correct me if I’m wrong)  twits/tweeters/tweeple (whatever the correct term is) from outside the US. I remember two from Australia and one from UK. I know because I specifically went looking.

Certainly if you search for health IT-related topics on Twitter or follow some of the health IT related lists, the predominant topics are about US-based activity – Meaningful Use, ONC etc.

If you believe Twitter, then the US is the go-to place for all things health IT. But we know that is not the case. Clearly the use of social media, and specifically Twitter, is vastly different between USA and… well… anywhere else.

I nominated some people to the #HIT100 list this year. Most were non-US-based. My small attempt to try to subvert and upset the balance a little.

It was pleasing to see Keith Boone took a similar view.

I’ll be very interested to see how the results of the nominations are presented. If it is truly not a personality or population contest then I would like to see the range of people highlighted, especially with an international focus to broaden the world view and enhance international discourse.

I see evidence of much excellent work happening all around the world related to eHealth, EHRs and health informatics but it is disproportionately represented if you rely on Twitter.

A curious dichotomy.

One thought on “Social media and #healthIT

  1. As I tweeted earlier on, there are a couple of things that influence this particular list:

    -People tend to focus on the problems/issues in their own country, and this is true for the UK, Australia, the Netherlands as well as the US. As such the US is bound to have more active twitterati because it’s a big country with a high expenditure on healthcare IT. There are some excellent twitterati on this subject in the UK, but it makes no sense to mention them – their sole focus is on the UK, and they don’t stand a chance of ever making the final list. It’s difficult to translate best practices HIT from one healthcare setting/system to another one, one has to be aware of the context of the information. I try to do so in Europe, and it’s hard trying to keep track (even at a high level of abstraction) as to what goes on HIT-wise accross 28 countries.

    Ah yes, there’s also the language barrier, Twitter doesn’t as of yet have a build in Google translate option for those Spanish/Finnish/Japanese/Dutch HIT tweets.

    -The use of twitter (as with other social media types) differs across countries. The Netherlands happens to be a country with a high adoption and use of Twitter, whereas Germany is not. The use of blogs widely differs, as does the use of LinkedIn (high over here, very low in e.g. Germany and Russia). Ans even if one uses Twitter, does one use it for business or just privately? Again, customs differ accross the globe.

    So although it’s nice that people like Keith identify that there are sources of information about HIT outside of the US – such sources are unlikely to ever make the final list, for they force the reader outside of their own “comfort zone” and their own “problem space”.

    Note that I’m not complaining – the HIT100 is a nice idea, and its purpose is to point people to new sources of information. That has to be applauded; it probably never had the aim to be truly global in nature anyway, so let’s accept it the way it is.

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