Crowdsourcing Top Health IT Thought Leadership on Social Media: The #HIT100


Each year since 2011, beginning on the Friday of Independence Day weekend, the health information technology (IT) social media community is atwitter with nominations for thought leaders to include on the annual #HIT100 list. The tweets fly fast and furious for a period of 7 days, controversy over nomination criteria erupts and subsides, the winners are announced by the creator and keeper-of-the-#HIT100 list, Michael Planchart, and occasional grumblings over the list quality commence.
 
As an enthusiastic participant in social media, as well as the #HIT100 nomination process, I believe the process is as much, if not more, valuable than the final list, as John Lynn discusses in his blog post, “Finding Value in the #HIT100.” Every nomination tweet presents an opportunity to find a fresh voice: in the handle being nominated or in the handle participating in the nominations. During this 1 week a year, I expand my social media network (and broaden my learning horizons) exponentially by leveraging this crowdsourcing effort to follow new folks.
 
This year, I’m writing as number one on the list. I have been in the top 10 every year that I have been “socially active,” in large part likely due to the level of activity that I have. I tweet. A lot. To the tune of 54,000 tweets since I opened my account in July of 2012. And I favor organic engagement over any kind of automation. I am deeply grateful to the health IT community and my peers for the honor of including me in the cadre of thought leaders.
 
As it is crowdsourced, with strict submission criteria, #HIT100 is representative of the share of voice each nominee has within his or her network, and is a good barometer for influence. And, as such, I am determined to flip the list for upcoming years, to have new voices heard and amplified—to escape the echo chamber effect that develops within any tight-knit community.
 
The echo chamber of the heavily inter-networked #HIT100 list members was recently explored in detail by Greg Mathews of the site MDigitalLife, in his article, “Behind the #HIT100.” His findings reveal the close relationships between list members: “95 of the HIT100 are followed by at least 25 of their HIT100 peers. 78 of the 100 are followed by at least 50 of their peers,” with 15 of the list members followed by 80 of their peers.
 
Looking at Greg’s analytics on my network, I am followed by 92 of the other 99 members on the list. That creates a very insular, although powerful, network, that—although narrow in its membership—represents an incredibly broad spectrum of healthcare industry perspectives.
 
Within the top 5 list members, you encounter a health data geek who passionately advocates for patient partnership; a marketing genius who helps healthcare clients institutionalize social media; a lawyer who is also a health IT infrastructure entrepreneur; a digital health pioneer and evangelist; and a health information exchange (HIE) expert-cum-marketing guru. Flipping the list to look at the last 5 members you find one of the brilliant minds behind the Health Level 7 (HL7) clinical guideline evolution of HIE; the founder of the Healthcare Social Media Canada (#hcsma) community and board member of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network; the producer of the Health 2.0 Paris event; a long-time healthcare policy reporter-turned-HIMSS news media editor; and a physician entrepreneur.
 
There is, quite literally, something for everyone. Policy wonks, government officials, healthcare executives, IT executives focused on healthcare, industry analysts, bloggers, reporters, and even a few health IT solution providers appear on the list. If you want to know who the people on the list follow (who influences the influencers), there’s a list for that, too: 200 Most-Followed by the #HIT100!
 
If you’re not yet actively engaged on social media, but you are interested in new learning opportunities, I highly encourage you to 1) get a Twitter account, 2) follow the handles on the #HIT100 list, 3) subscribe to the Most Followed by the #HIT100 list, and 4) read what the community has to say and find voices that resonate with you to follow. You may find yourself immersed in a new sphere of influence that sparks transformative change—in your life, your career, your organization, even your world.
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