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HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Nick Van Terheyden: 2016 a breakout year for patient engagement

Dell's chief medical officer says baby boomers have great expectations about how health IT can work to their advantage.
By Jessica Davis
03:24 PM
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Nick Van Terheyden, MD, with more than 25 years in healthcare information technology, is often touted as a social media 'evangelist.'

Nick Van Terheyden, MD, with more than 25 years in healthcare information technology, is often touted as a social media 'evangelist.' So, naturally, he's been tapped as one of the Social Media Ambassadors for HIMSS16 at the end of this month.

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We spoke with Van Terheyden about his expectations for the conference, predictions for health IT in the coming year and even his passion for skydiving.

Q: Any health predictions for this year?

A: I believe 2016 will be the breakout year for patient engagement as the silver tsunami of baby boomers starts to access the system and finds costs shifted into their pockets. They'll demand technology that works for them, like when they ship a FedEx package and can track it from delivery to departure. They'll expect telemedicine and telehealth to boost interaction with their providers, while requiring analytics and population health to bolster proactive health services, much like their calendar and mobile device.

Q: What was your inspiration for joining the Social Media Ambassador program?

A: Social media has been such a big part of my world in healthcare. It's a great channel for meeting and connecting with bright, interesting and creative people. This was an ideal opportunity to share my excitement and passion for this tool. Healthcare remains a laggard when it comes to social media, and while I managed to get some interest and excitement when I presented last year, I wanted to extend this and expand the appeal and reach of this essential tool to others in healthcare technology. It also offered me a great opportunity to further extend my network and learn first-hand from other social media guru’s how they capitalize on the media in their professional lives.

Q: What role does social media hold today in healthcare?

A: Social media is the new channel for discussion, learning and engagement. It replaced email as the primary means for communication. If you're not participating, you're missing the largest and, oftentimes, most interesting parts of the conversations and insights about the one thing we all care the most about – our health and the health of our families.

Q: Do you have some hidden interests that your followers may not know about?

A: I've jumped out of airplanes in the Accelerated Freefall Program and learned to ski jump in Courchevel 1850.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most at HIMSS16? 

A: HIMSS has always offered the opportunity to renew old friendships, make new ones and put your finger on the pulse of healthcare technology and the latest developments. I always enjoy the energy and excitement that accompanies the event and the sense of hope that we can fix the broken healthcare systems and healthcare technology can enable human potential

Twitter: @JessiefDavis


This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.