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Social Media: What The *&%$ Is It, and Why Should You Care?

January 16, 2009
by Gwen Darling
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Can it help you find and recruit the very best Healthcare IT professionals out there?

To be completely honest with you, although I’ve always been a geek (and I wear that badge with honor) at heart, I wandered into the Healthcare IT space quite by accident. The Reader’s Digest version is that I honed my “writing about techy things in terms that even my very intelligent but technology challenged mother can understand” skills as About.com’s Internet for Beginners Guide in the late 90’s. I then followed a very interesting, sometimes winding, sometimes zigzag, career path as an Internet marketing professional to end up here with you. (If you find yourself wondering about the juicy details of this journey, a Cape Cod or two at HIMSS will probably get you there). At any rate, although I understand and appreciate the general principles of what you do in your role as CIO, and am confident I can hold my civilian own in an intelligent conversation, I know I’m in waaaaay over my head when I read a comment like this one on HIStalk today:

“HIMSS Analytics shows that 95.7% of hospitals haven’t yet made it to Stage 4, which requires all ancillaries to be installed, CDR, controlled medical vocabulary, CDSS for both error checking and clinical protocols, clinical documentation, PACS in all areas, and CPOE (even though you only need one live floor to claim victory).” Huh? It got me to thinking. If a geek like me gets a knot in her stomach after reading a passage that most likely doesn’t send you, a hospital CIO-type, scrambling for the HIT acronym cheat sheet, then quite possibly a geek like you might feel the same way when you’re asked for your Twitter name, or your LinkedIn profile address, or when - God forbid - someone wants to “friend you up” on Facebook. “Huh?” In your line of work, there's no doubt that you encounter continual online references to that vague and mystical creature known as "Social Media," but seriously, what the *&%$ is it? Here I can help, for this is my space (pun intended, if you didn't get it, we've got work to do). So here’s the deal: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

Social Media: Is it here to stay? Should you care? Can it help you find and recruit the very best Healthcare IT professionals out there? Yes, Yes, Yes!

Stay tuned…for the next few weeks we’ll explore the ins and outs of Social Media, and discover how you can best leverage its power to reach out and grab the Healthcare IT teammates you are seeking. Next week, I will demystify the phenomenon known as “Twitter,” reveal who in your industry is already using it to his/her advantage (and who is completely missing the boat), and lay out a Twitter recruiting game plan that will quickly give you a competitive edge.

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