We Need More HIM Professionals Actively Using Twitter

We’d like to welcome a new guest blogger to our ranks. If you’re on social media and enjoy HIM topics, then you’ve probably seen Erin Head (@ErinHead_HIM) tweeting about those subjects. Erin is the HIM Director at an acute care hospital in Florida and a real advocate for the HIM profession. I’m excited to have her blogging with us from her unique perspective.

When I look around on Twitter, I don’t see enough Health Information Management (HIM) professionals. Most of the people I interact with have health IT or Informatics-focused careers and are not what we refer to as “traditional HIM professionals.” Don’t get me wrong, there are many engaged HIM professionals on Twitter; however the participation level is nowhere near matching the workforce population.

Why is that? I do not believe it is a generational difference as my Twitter interactions have been with people from all ages and backgrounds. There has to be another reason. Are HIM professionals really “too busy” to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and networking available on social media? Is it rude or disengaging to use social media in the physical presence of others?

This is no excuse – Twitter is very easy to navigate and the content is constantly updating so it is available no matter what time of day or how long you choose to login and interact. Following thought leaders on Twitter or a simple hashtag search will get you instantly connected with others and will get you comfortable using the application quickly. Do HIM professionals feel they are already subject matter experts and don’t need to join the Twitter conversation about new innovations, technology, and changing regulatory matters? If that is the case, I would certainly hope that traditional HIM professionals are garnering this knowledge somewhere else other than social media.

HIMers are a tight-knit group who look forward to annual conferences and events to catch up with fellow HIM professionals and gather information. This in-person interaction is great, but why wait for these events to network and converse? If you are unable to travel to attend an event, a great benefit is “live-Tweeting” where others will share the information that is being learned at an event with those who may not be able to attend in-person. But you must follow the event attendees by using the hashtag associated with the conference; in other words, you must be an active participant in social media to take advantage of this benefit.

Social media gives us an instant connection to other engaged professionals and gives us an opportunity to learn from each other, no matter where we are located physically. Selfishly, I want more interaction with HIM professionals through social media- traditional and non-traditional alike! I encourage all HIM professionals to create a Twitter account (or dust off an unused account) and start connecting. There really is no excuse to miss out on valuable, real-time HIM networking and information that is available at your fingertips.

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About the author

Erin Head

Erin Head

Erin Head is the Director of Health Information Management (HIM) and Quality for an acute care hospital in Titusville, FL. She is a renowned speaker on a variety of healthcare and social media topics and currently serves as CCHIIM Commissioner for AHIMA. She is heavily involved in many HIM and HIT initiatives such as information governance, health data analytics, and ICD-10 advocacy. She is active on social media on Twitter @ErinHead_HIM and LinkedIn. Subscribe to Erin's latest HIM Scene posts here.


  • Great article Erin! I have enjoyed your HIM thought leadership on Twitter. It can be lonely. AHIMA and their leadership have embraced the platform and the trend has been positive. People don’t understand until they get involved and start following great HIM professionals like you. I know both of us are happy to help anyone get started. Follow me @Brad_Justus or Email me at bjustus@himaginesolutions.com if you need any help!

  • Have you ever considered why some people keep as far from Twitter as they can? To some of us it is the ultimate way to put yourself entirely into an online world and step away from the real one. Most of us here spend piles of time already on LinkedIn and various specialty sites, and have piles and piles of new messages and / or emails every day, and Twitter just pushes us over the edge! If, and only if, all you do for a living is read and post online, then maybe it makes sense to lose yourself to this constant stream… If you actually work, and have a life, perhaps a family, you have to set some limits.


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