#HIMSS20 Mix Tape

Welcome to the 6th edition of the HIMSS Mix Tape.

The year’s mix has selections from new contributors (many of whom you’ll recognize) and returning friends. Everyone who sent in a song put a lot of thought into answering this important question: What song best represents healthcare right now?

This mixtape started as a way to inject a little fun into the busy and stressful weeks leading up to the mega-sized HIMSS conference. Over the past several years, however, it has morphed into something more.

Taken as a whole, the mixtape provides insight into the prevailing outlook on healthcare. If the mix bends towards songs from our youth, that may indicate that we are longing for a simpler time. If the mix is upbeat/inspirational, I believe that means we are optimistic about healthcare’s prospects. If there are more “fight songs” then perhaps we are girding for a battle ahead.

Given it’s 2020, I thought it would be fitting to have 20 songs on the HIMSS20 MixTape.

Side Note: Be sure to join us at our series of #HIMSS20 virtual meetups.

If YOU have a song to add:

  1. Share it on Twitter with the hashtags #HIMSS20 and #HIMSSMixTape; or
  2. Post your song in the comments below

And now for your listening pleasure…

Just One Victory by Todd Rundgren and Utopia.
Chosen by Hal Wolf III, HIMSS President & CEO
This song has been an anthem to me since I was in college.  It’s message is that no mater the challenge, it takes just one success to get past the negative and seize the initiative.  Do what is right per the golden rule and “we are on our way”!  We are all changemakers.  Make it happen!

Bad Guy by Billie Eilish
Chosen by Lygeia Ricciardi, Chief Transformation Officer at Carium
So who is the “bad guy” in Health IT these days? Data hoarders and blockers? Those who make or take bribes related to prescribing opioids? Those who profit from eroding patient privacy? Poor policymakers? Profiteering middlemen? Depends who you ask… Duh.

Underdog by Alicia Keys
Chosen by Dr Grace Cordovano, CEO and Board Certified Patient Advocate at Enlightening Results
Healthcare is a tough industry to work in let alone being a patient or care-partner trying to navigate and survive it. With the new roaring 20’s upon us, I see great hope in all the amazing patients, care-partners, caregivers, and innovators fighting to make healthcare a better, kinder, safer, fairer, and more inclusive place. This one goes out to the underdog. Keep on keeping at what you love.

Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Chosen by Rasu Shrestha MD, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President at Atrium Health
Whether in the depths of joy or pain, we’re experiencing the absolute “depths” of decisions and investments we’ve made in the past decade or more. These include IT systems, business models, infrastructural decisions, and more. Yup, we’re in the deep alright – and now’s the time to truly come out winning! Throw your soul through every open door / Count your blessings to find what you look for

I Want a New Drug by Huey Lewis and the News
Chosen by Howard Messing, CEO at MEDITECH
With all the advertising and predatory pricing by pharmaceutical companies it sadly reflects much of the state of healthcare. Add to that the public’s desire to have one pill a day to fix everything rather than making needed lifestyle changes and I think you could say this sums things up well.

The Greatest Show by The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Chosen by Halee Fischer-Wright MD, President and CEO at MGMA
I’m a movie buff, so a soundtrack song was a given. This song captures that pull of wonder, excitement, even magic that I felt when I first became a doctor and that I still feel daily about our industry—with a good dose of drama, too. We’re a breath away from amazing things in healthcare, and that’s what this song is all about.

How Do You Sleep by Sam Smith
Chosen by Adam Gale, President at KLAS Research
Sam Smith asks how someone can sleep under “all that fear and all the pressure.” And when I think of the tough challenges that face caregivers and providers every day, I wonder the same of them. But I’m encouraged knowing they won’t rest until the problems are solved.

Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie
Chosen by Frank Vella, CEO at Information Builders
I chose this because healthcare is undoubtedly experiencing an era of tremendous change coming from every direction and impacting everything we do. For some that might feel overwhelming, but if you listen to the lyrics, especially the last verse, it’s hopeful. Every day our customers show me how, instead of shrinking from change, they choose to embrace it and thrive because of it. Change challenges them to meet their missions in new ways – to care differently, care better, care smarter. I think this is an exhilarating time to be in healthcare because the future of healthcare is being built now.

Someday by The Strokes
Chosen by Don Woodlock, Head of HealthShare Business Unit at InterSystems
Our healthcare system thrives and improves by all of having hope in the future and staying passionate and committed to making it better for patients, physicians, families, and everyone else in the system. Someday is an acknowledgement that we aren’t there yet.  But someday!

Floating in the Forth by Frightened Rabbit
Chosen by Niko Skievaski, Co-founder & President at Redox
As a millennial, I figured I’d do a solid for my brethren and pick a song exemplifying the number 1 cause of non-accidental death for young people: suicide. This song was released in 2008. The singer, Scott Hutcheson of Frightened Rabbit, describes how he’d take his own life: And fully clothed, I float away / Down the Forth, into the sea. Am I ready to leap? / Is there peace beneath the roar of the Forth Road Bridge? / I think I’ll save suicide for another year. A decade later in 2018, he committed suicide by jumping off the same bridge. I heard that only a quarter of people who commit suicide have ever undergone mental health treatment. That’s a huge failure of our healthcare system and an epidemic worth surfacing in the state of healthcare today.

New Shoes by Paolo Nutini
Chosen by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Health Economist and Trend Weaver
This year is the time for both patients and physicians to put on “new shoes” that fit well and also help you walk toward, or away, from bad health care. For consumers, the new shoes enable speaking out about surprise medical bills, access to data, inconvenience and poor service, and of course, healthcare costs. For clinicians, experiencing record levels of burnout and depression, the song speaks to the importance of people turning a page and seeking support for a brighter day. The song also features a social circle the singer meets up with – important for social determinants of health! The chorus goes: I said, hey I put some new shoes on / And everybody’s smiling, it’s so inviting / Oh short on money but long on time / Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine

You Will Be Found by Lin Manuel Miranda
Chosen by Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, Physician Executive, Author and Podcaster
This is a song that speaks to me about how people – patients & providers alike feel like they’ve been forgotten in our industrialized & depersonalized healthcare system. It reminds me of the low patient consumer experience scores and the high provider burnout which many are now calling ‘moral injury’. The song is also about the issue of loneliness which reminds us all of the epidemic of social isolation.  Given all of that, the song is hopeful #youwillbefound and the entire musical is about turning it around.

A Million Dreams by P!nk
Chosen by Sunnie Southern, VP of Health and Life Sciences at Onix
When I hear the line in Pink’s “A Million Dreams” that goes “we can live in a world that we design,” I think of the amazing opportunity we have to create a system where patients can truly take ownership of their own health. A significant step towards designing this “world” is empowering patients with access to their health data. We are seeing positive movement in this direction evidenced by the number of consumer tech companies (Google, AWS, Apple, etc.) that are fully engaging in the quest to create more patient-first approaches to information access as well as at the federal level by changes like the House giving support for lifting a federal ban on unique patient identifier funding and the increased attention by policymakers on information blocking of patient health information. I believe in 2020 by working together “A Million Dreams Can Come True”.

Truth Hurts by Lizzo
Chosen by Amanda Greene, Patient Leader, Healthcare Advocate and Caregiver
The first time I heard Lizzo sing “I just took a DNA test” this song has empowered me to move and groove, because in many ways this song represents the current ease of healthcare. Immediately it addresses the ease of access to our genetic data.  Soon Lizzo sings “Don’t text me, tell it straight to my face.” while I appreciate the helpful ways technology have streamlined the healthcare process – when it comes to my personal healthcare I prefer the interaction to be in person. I hope 2020 is an exciting year in healthcare advances.

Memories by Maroon 5
Chosen by Nick Adkins, Kilt-wearer with #pinksocks
For here’s to the ones that we got | Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not / Toast to the ones here today / Toast to the ones that we lost on the way So much rapid change happening now it’s really shaking up the startup community. only the strongest will survive. Google, Apple, Amazon, GE, and Microsoft, it’s all happening now.

Imagine by John Lennon
Chosen by Kistein Monkhouse, Founder of Patient Orator
I imagine a day when everyone will have access to quality health care because although the current system is functional, it’s no utopia.

The Joke by Brandi Carlile
Chosen by Nick van Terheyden MD, CEO at LISSEN Laboratories
This is a song that speaks to social and political ills prevalent in the world with many feeling misrepresented, excluded and unloved. To one an all I raise a wee tipple of Uisce Beatha and wish you peace, harmony, tolerance and above all love. Call it living the dream, call it kicking the ladder / They come to kick dirt in your face

Speechless (Aladdin) by Naomi Scott
Chosen by John Lynn, Editor in Chief at Healthcare IT Today
I think this song is the cry I hear from many patients that are empowered by social media and other channels.  I see many patients that are sick and tired of the excuses and the blame game that can happen.  They want their health information.  They want to be involved in the design of health IT.  They want to play an active role in their care and they’re not going to “go speechless.”  My dream would be to see Grace Cordovano (@gracecordovano) sing karaoke to this song at #HIMSS20 since she’s just one shining example of this patient voice that won’t “be silenced.”

Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
Chosen by Gregg Masters, Digital Media Architect & Producer at Health Innovation Media
You might ask yourself, how did I get here? We create our lives sometimes by intention, but more often by reacting to circumstance. We need a more mindful approach. The same applies to healthcare. We are where we are because of circumstance but now we wonder – how did we get here?

Human by The Killers
Chosen by Colin Hung, Editor at Healthcare IT Today
One day we may all be treated by AI powered robots, but there will always be some types of care the I will want from a human being. As we move forward, it will be important to find ways to retain humanity in care delivery. Plus, any song that has the lyrics My sign is vital and Will your system be alright has got be talking about healthcare.

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.


  • Lots of good choices in this mixtape. With the HIMSS20 theme being “Be the Change” I was going to suggest “Changes” by Bowie, but you already have “Under Pressure”. Or how about “Cool Change” by the Little River Band?

  • Great list, I will add Dance of the Clairvoyants by Pearl Jam. There are many people or insurance companies that consider themselves clairvoyant, so it fits!

  • Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai! Because in healthcare tech, it’s “virtual” everything but not a lot of “how.” And certainly the exhibits floor… well, self-explanatory.

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