Health Academy: Tracking Emerging Trends in Technology

One of the benefits of your Health Academy membership is to have access to all our resources will allow you to stay on top of emerging trends in technology. As public relations practitioners we’re at the epicenter of the brave new world in healthcare communications with a variety of audiences, from consumers to investors to government agencies to payors to healthcare practitioners. We have an entirely new and constantly evolving tool kit to educate and influence behavior among individuals and specific demographic groups with more speed and efficiency than ever before possible.

With so many developments in technology and communication, it can be difficult to stay on top of them all. I love the new geolocator technology available on SmartPhones; I’m not sure anyone in health care has really mastered FourSquare yet, but I think it holds great potential. We all have seen the growing power of Facebook as a new medium; for some companies it’s even functioning as their actual headquarters on the web, enabling brands and non-profits to engage directly with healthcare constituents and consumers.Twitter is proving its worth every day as communications vehicle, in fact our past chair Leigh Fazzina, is a nationally recognized expert.

Some like platforms like Second Life fall away (though I’m still convinced a workable game-like social platform will evolve). Others like MySpace seem to emerge, fall away, and then attempt a comeback (as I have been following in particular Pfizer Consumer Health’s investment in the re-launch of MySpace).

LinkedIn is also extremely valuable, particularly on the recruiting and human resources side. I’m not sure about Pinterest yet, but I have a social media group that’s growing quickly there. It’s great for the hobbyist—but a visual based medium should logically become a powerful tool for communicators, once we figure out how to leverage it appropriately.

We know that the next generation, the one that is coming after Y, is already falling away from Facebook and they ignore e-mails, instead relying more heavily on text messaging. SMS might be the next new/old frontier, and as we see companies like Healthy-TXT successfully engage with teens and parents on issues like sports injuries.

The Affordable Care Act is pushing the concept of electronic health records into reality. More and more hospitals are going paperless, emphasizing digital, and wireless. It’s probably no accident that the Chair-Elect of HIMSS, Joyce Lofstrom, will take over leadership of Health Academy in 2014. If you aren’t familiar with HIMSS, it is the large cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.

To stay on top of all the emerging tech trends and learn more, keep an eye out for our symposia, our newsletters and our online discussion groups, or better yet, consider attending our annual meeting in Indianapolis May 1-3, 2013, where we’ll discuss all of these trends in detail. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me or another member of the executive committee for recommendations or assistance and/or expertise near you.