Taking the Call Again: Back as a HIMSS Social Media Ambassador
For the second year in a row, I have been honored by being selected as a Social Media Ambassador for the HIMSS Annual Conference. HIMSS selects only twenty individuals to fill the role. To me, being a Social Media Ambassador offers the opportunity to meet, interact with and otherwise engage with many different people from all across the healthcare spectrum. It is a great way to speak with many individuals that, as a healthcare lawyer, I would not generally have the opportunity to meet.
Being able to build upon my experience from last year should be beneficial. Since the Social Media Ambassador position is treated like a media position. This means that some organizations will send pitch emails or otherwise try to engage for interviews. However, many organizations did not seem to know what to do with a lawyer. One company called me and started talking about their solution until I said that I was a lawyer, not a healthcare provider or otherwise directly in the healthcare industry, at which point the company pretty much ended the call. While cold calls of this nature or pitches are not necessarily beneficial, I want to take advantage of these opportunities in a different way this time around. I want to learn more about different products as it can help me understand where developments in the industry are going, identify potential legal issues and find solutions that may benefit my clients.
One of the best aspects of being a Social Media Ambassador is the ability to be a focal point and vehicle for discussion around hot topics at HIMSS. Given my particular focus on HIPAA, privacy, security and other legal or regulatory matters, that often meant explaining or debating why and how regulations do not block, but can assist innovation. I welcome these discussions because it helps to ensure that everyone can understand how the law actually (and is meant to) operates. Continuing this ability will expand upon a theme of education and learning that I encountered at HIMSS last year. Clearing up misunderstandings benefits the healthcare industry as a whole because it means statute and regulations will not be inappropriately blamed for stopping change.
Speaking of learning, the Social Media Ambassador program is also an opportunity to learn from a number of highly knowledgeable individuals from a variety of backgrounds. As highlighted by the HIMSS announcement of the ambassadors, we come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The ambassadors include physicians, patient advocates, healthIT developers, workflow experts, executives and many others. Facilitating a back and forth among these different constituencies to the healthcare industry hopefully encourages a broader and similar engagement. If all of us can come together and look for unity, maybe the industry as a whole will be able to mimic and do the same thing.
Ultimately, I am looking forward to interactions. I want people to reach out to debate, discuss and other dive into the issues impacting healthIT and healthcare generally. I feel comfortable saying that each of the Social Media Ambassadors welcome and encourage such interactions. It is really the whole point of social media. Social media is social and meant to create relationships and connections.
I will build upon some of these themes over the next couple of months leading up to HIMSS and also touch on some interesting topics that may be the subject of presentations or raised at the HIMSS Annual Conference. I hope that anyone and everyone readings these posts will engage with me to begin a dialogue. Lastly, do not forget to follow me and the rest of the Social Media Ambassadors on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and maybe setup a time to talk by phone or meet in person. You might be surprised by what happens.
About the author: Matthew Fisher is the chair of the Health Law Group at Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP, in Worcester, MA. Matt advises his clients in all aspects of healthcare regulatory compliance, including HIPAA, the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. This article was originally published on Mirick O’Connell’s Health Law Blog and is republished here with permission.