Many health IT professionals may not be active with Twitter yet, but there are many health care professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses) who are. Without a doubt, Twitter is a major force in the evolving world of social media. It is playing a growing role in health care. Just look at what the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Palo Alto Medical Foundation are doing, if there is any doubt.

Twitter is a fascinating technology and model. Recently on Charlie Rose, Twitter’s CEO appeared. You can watch several clips and read the transcript on TechCrunch in a post entitled:  Jack Dorsey on Charlie Rose: “It’s Really Complex To Make Something Simple.”

Twitter is innovative technology. It simplifies interactions into 140 character messages and expands one’s relationships and knowledge base across the world, developing sometimes similar and sometimes diverse contacts. It sounds simple, yet you know there is a great deal of complexity behind the scenes to make this happen.

As Jack Dorsey said:

“My goal is to simplify complexity.  I just want to build stuff that really simplifies our base human interaction.  Twitter was around communication and visualizing what was happening in the world in real-time.”

What a great quote and mission!

So, what does this have to do with healthcare integration and information technology? The answer:  Everything!

When it comes to healthcare interoperability, the word – complex – immediately comes to mind. Just think about the challenges:

  • Multiple healthcare standardsHL7 versions 2.X and 3, X12, NCPDP, DICOM, Continuity of Care Record, etc.
  • Multiple communication options – TCP/IP, Web Services, FTP, etc.
  • Multiple applications – HIS, LIS, RIS, EMR, EHR, CPOE, etc.
  • Multiple regulationsHITECH, HIPAA, Health Care Reform, etc.
  • Multiple exchanges – Between internal applications, physician offices, imaging centers, labs, HIEs, etc.

I think you get the idea. It is a complex healthcare world.

Innovation can deliver simplicity. Some of it may be a mindset shift. By this, it is stopping doing it one way because it was always done that way before. Some of it may be a technology shift. By this, it is moving from total coding environments to more point-and-click operations to build interfaces or implement new technologies.

Two key messages.

First, healthcare vendors need to adopt an innovative edge to the technology they develop. Using the mindset of how can the complex be simplified is a needed one in the health IT world.

Second, healthcare providers and health IT organizations need to be open to evaluating innovative approaches and make the shift to technologies which embrace the robustness of healthcare IT while simplifying the complexities.

Solid innovation and a good dose of simplifying technologies will facilitate the real goals and mission of a meaningful health care environment for patients, citizens, and all the people who make our system work.

Resource note:  Keep updated on more articles and insights regarding social media in health care and health IT.

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