Don’t know about y’all, but I’m a social media gal. I’ve used every system I could find for communicating in real time — including but not limited to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google Chat, AOL Instant Messenger, Meebo, Yahoo Instant Messenger and two cans with a string and attached keyboards. It makes my work so much more efficient, I’m horrified I ever did without.
So, I guess I’m not terribly surprised that Microsoft put its official corporate seal of approval on the business uses of social networking technology with the purchase of business social networking firm Yammer. The $1.2 billion in cash Microsoft paid for Yammer came as a bit of a surprise to this observer, but maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the “social enterprise” space. Microsoft obviously has been.
Though this may be the biggest deal in the social enterprise space for some time to come, Microsoft isn’t the only company taking this tack. (For example, I know Salesforce.com is pitching the social enterprise take as well.) Let’s face it: the time when socially-networked communication was just for fun has come and gone.
And that brings us right around to where we should be, taking another look at how EMR vendors are meeting — or failing to meet — the challenges of the times.
To my knowledge, no EMR vendor has yet incorporated even lightweight social networking tools like IM into their core functioning, despite the immense value such conversations can capture. I know EMR vendors have many, many weighty problems to address just in managing their basic functionality, but we’re not talking about black magic, people. Wouldn’t it make sense to offer new, easy to use, familiar teamwork tools to professionals in an industry that relies on life or death teamwork?
And the market has spoken. With one kajillion and three registered Facebook users out there, a near-Google of Twitter users and multiple millions of heavy LinkedIn users out there, it’s pretty clear that people count on social sharing to conduct their business lives as well as their work lives.
At this point, I think getting some robust social enterprise functions into EMRs is more than sensible. Epic? Cerner? GE? Whaddya say?
P.S. For some ideas on how all of this might work, check out this piece posted on KevinMD.com describing how social media and EMRs may someday merge.