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 standards – HL7 versions 2.X and 3 , X12 provides for electronic exchange of business transactions-electronic data interchange (EDI). The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards., The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) creates and promotes the transfer of data related to medications, supplies, and services within the healthcare system through the development of standards and industry guidance. Visit the NC..., Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is a common format for image storage. It allows for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information in medical imaging. Visit DICOM website. Synonyms: Digital Imaging and Communications..., Continuity of Care Record, etc.
- Multiple communication options – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is a low-level communications protocol used to connect hosts on the Internet or a network. TCP/IP connections are established between clients and servers via sockets. TCP/IP is stream-oriented ..., Web services are a standardized way of integrating applications. Using open standards, businesses can communicate without in-depth knowledge of one another’s systems, beyond the communication protocol. Because all communication is XML-based, web se..., FTP, etc.
- Multiple applications – Hospital Information System (HIS) is the main system in a hospital used by most caregivers. Sends ADT broadcasts to all ancillary applications. The HIS is typically the patient administrative system and order entry system for a hospital. Synonyms: Ho..., Laboratory Information System (LIS) is an information system that receives, processes, and stores information generated by a medical laboratory processes. LIS is often interfaced with HIS and EMR applications. Synonyms: Laboratory Information System, Radiology Information System (RIS) is the main application in an imaging center or radiology department. RIS is used by to store, manipulate and distribute patient radiological data and imagery. RIS are used for patient scheduling, tracking, and imag..., Electronic Medical Record (EMR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be..., Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform..., CPOE, etc.
- Multiple regulations – HITECH , The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic h..., 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 .