Recently, a research organization named GlobalData came out with its list of the top 10 HealthTech influencers for the fourth quarter of 2019. The research company says its platform, which tracks roughly 225 global health technology influencers, claims to offer the last word on who’s who among the world’s healthcare technology gurus.
I don’t dispute their methodology. As far as it goes, I’m sure the statistics that suggest that Evan Kirstel (@evankirstel) leads the pack are accurate, and I’m not suggesting that Evan doesn’t belong on the list. And I myself would vote for second-ranked John Nosta (@johnnosta) as an important voice in health IT. Plus, how can we argue against including our very own Colin Hung (@colin_hung) who does amazing work?
That being said, I’d argue that the words “influencer” and “thought leader” don’t mean a great deal without some context. After all, the most important HIT thinkers in my world are the ones that happen to connect with me personally, and the value of their contributions can’t necessarily be quantified.
In this spirit, here are five of the health IT people I have most enjoyed learning from and following online. Generally speaking, those I regard as influencers include those whose clarity and straightforward feedback anchors many a discussion, in addition to those who are hard-core techies. My faves also include people whose style and quickness to answer questions online impresses me.
These folks, in no particular order, are:
- Adam Pellegrini (@adampellegrini) is SVP of consumer health products at pharmacy giant CVS and was previously general manager and senior vice president of Fitbit’s healthcare business. I’ve never met Adam in person, but when I made inquiries for this story he responded at lightning speed, as he seems to on social media as well. He’s also quick to offer concise, helpful strategic comments. What can I say? I just like the guy and value what he has to say.
- Another of my favorite HIT folks online is Keith Boone, a patient informatics expert who’s widely known by his unusual handle on Twitter (@motorcycle_guy). I’ve followed Keith for many years and let me tell you, there’s a reason why he has almost 9,000 followers. He’s a terrific source of both technical and business information and commentary on key health tech issues. He also retweets some very interesting material. When you add all of that to the fact that he’s unconventional enough go by “Motorcycle Guy” in healthcare business circles, he has earned my admiration.
- Yet another interesting voice is that of Will Weider (@candidcio), CIO of Vancouver, WA-based Peace Health. Weider, who’s been doing the healthcare CIO thing for decades is, for lack of a better word, mellow. Despite his having been in top management of several health systems, he’s unpretentious and direct online, which makes it easy to digest what he posts. He also shares a variety of interesting material, including everything from public health news from China during the coronavirus outbreak to the roots of hospital change management to the time-wasting effect of clumsy security requirements. I consider him to be a must-follow if you’re in HIT (and another 5,500-odd folk on Twitter apparently do as well).
- Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (@healthythinker) is one of the few people that appear on both the GlobalData list and mine. Over a number of years, I’ve watched Jane’s reach and reputation grow steadily, and deservedly so. A health economist and consultant who maintains a terrific blog at HealthPopuli, she addresses very interesting questions in a very thoughtful and perceptive way. (For example, see her great discussion of how food is many people’s key social determinant of health). I’ll admit it: Jane’s who I want to be when I grow up.
- Last but not least, I need to give a shout out to the deservedly popular John Lynn (@techguy), the publisher of this site. Though I doubt he gives himself the credit he deserves, John has been a thoughtful, respectful and insightful member of the health IT community online for more than a decade and has given at least as much as he’s gotten from the industry. Having worked with them for many years, I can tell you that he’s as kind and professional in real life as he is online. By the way, he’s also pretty humble. (John, don’t you dare take this entry out! <g>)
Editor’s Note: This is a really great list even though the last one calls into question its quality.