#GAHealthIT's impact on the HIT industry and at HIMSS13

#GAHealthIT's impact on the HIT industry and at HIMSS13

By Dodge Communications on February 18th, 2013

Jennifer Dennard (@SmyrnaGirl) serves as social marketing director at Billian Inc. She is also a regular contributor to blogs at EMRandEHR.com and the AJC's HealthFlock blog. In addition, she currently manages the Technology Association of Georgia Health Society's social media channels including the #GAHealthIT tweet chats moderated by @TAG_Health that bring together Georgia’s vibrant healthcare ecosystem –  businesses, consumers, government and academia. In this interview, she discusses how the group works with companies in Georgia and through organizations like HIMSS through social media.

Dodge: Tell us about the #GAHealthIT social media group and how it is working to foster collaboration and support for HIT initiatives in the state and beyond.

Dennard: The idea behind the group was born out of my social media work with the Technology Association of Georgia's Health Society (TAG Health) and my role on its Board of Advisors, and the great relationships we have with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia HIMSS. These are three great associations with very active memberships, and so I am hoping to bring some fresh voices to Twitter to foster HIT discussion and collaboration in Atlanta and beyond.

Through TAG Health and its Twitter account (@TAG_Health), I’ll be moderating a series of bi-monthly tweet chats focusing on timely topics relevant to the HIT industry in Georgia. We'll kick things off Wednesday, Feb. 20th at 1pm with a discussion around careers in HIT, which will tie in nicely with the upcoming TAG Health HIT Career Fair. As the community grows, I hope to pull in guest moderators and speakers.

Dodge: How does the group work with and impact organizations like HIMSS and what are you most excited about as we approach the annual conference?

Dennard: In my opinion, HIMSS and its social media team – Cari McLean and Michael Gaspar, in particular – have set the standard for fostering lively and educational conversation within the healthcare IT community using social media. They have graciously helped me schedule a #GAHealthIT tweetchat at the annual HIMSS conference in New Orleans, which is right around the corner! I’m eager to see folks from GAHIMSS, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and TAG Health take their online connections into real life at the HIMSS Social Media Center. We'll be getting together right after President Clinton's keynote on Wednesday, March 6th, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. It is literally a once-a-year opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country who may have ties to Georgia.

Dodge: Adoption of social media by healthcare providers and vendors continues to grow. How do you envision social media evolving for these audiences going forward?

Dennard: That.s a good question. In my social marketing work for Billian’s HealthDATA, I have seen exponential growth in the adoption of social networks by providers. I think as patient engagement initiatives get really ramped up via Meaningful Use, we'll see providers utilize social networks in some way, shape or form in relation to these efforts. At the end of the day, patients are consumers, and providers and vendors are realizing that they need to focus their marketing efforts where their customers are – a lot of folks spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, as mobile health continues to take off, and consumer-friendly healthcare IT becomes mainstream, I think we’ll see more social networking embedded into these types of solutions.

Dodge: Are there other ways you would recommend vendors get involved in the #GAHealthIT initiative that are beyond participating in the tweetups?

Dennard: As the community grows and the tweetchats gain momentum, I'd love to see in-person meet ups happen around the larger HIT events around town, like the GAHIMSS Trade Faire that takes place in the fall. I'm definitely hoping to schedule something around the annual Health IT Leadership Summit on Nov. 12th at the Fox Theatre.

Dodge: How can folks doing business in Georgia connect with #GAHealthIT at HIMSS?

Dennard: I'd recommend stopping by the Georgia pavilion/area that the Metro Atlanta Chamber is hosting on the show floor. I believe they'll have six or seven Georgia-based companies exhibiting within that space, so it will be a great area to meet and network with fellow #GAHealthIT followers. I'd love to see folks at the #GAHealthIT tweetup, too.