Former Utah Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt at HIMSS17 in Orlando on Tuesday.

HIMSS17 Social Media Ambassador Shahid Shah: Why IT really matters

Shah shares pet peeves, his health IT hero, and the top-of-mind issues among his social media followers. 
By Tom Sullivan
12:23 PM
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HIMSS17 Social Media Ambassador

Shahid Shah, also known as The Health IT Guy (@ShahidNShah) will say that technology in healthcare is critical, but he is also careful not to overstate that importance.

Ahead of HIMSS17, Healthcare IT News asked Shah what’s he expecting to learn more about at this year’s conference, the question he gets most from social media followers, and what his pet peeves are. And he reveals his health IT hero.  

Q: What are you most looking forward to at HIMSS17?
A:
The most important thing I look forward to at each HIMSS is connecting, in person, with friends and colleagues that I’m only usually in touch with digitally during the year. As social media aficionados, many of us stay in touch online but those conversations rarely get to the depth of our discussions when we meet in person at HIMSS. Gathering in person at HIMSS helps set the strategic agenda for the year and the pre-event plus post-event digital engagement keeps us headed in the right direction. At HIMSS 17 I’m hoping to find out what my colleagues see as the healthcare technology risks and opportunities as the Trump Administration transitions from campaigning to governing. I’ll also be able to learn about the hype vs. realities of value based care, population health, and next generation tech like machine learning, blockchain, and genomics.

Q: What issues do you think are top-of-mind for your social media followers?
A:
The number one question I’m getting these days is what I think about the Trump Administration and its views on healthcare. I gave a MedStartr Momentum 2016 talk called “Real Innovators Don’t Speculate” to help answer that question and I look forward to discussing it with colleagues in Orlando. Another question I get regularly from readers is about how they can improve their chances of moving up the career ladder in healthcare and getting into the C-Suite. I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a TEDx lecture on that topic, which I called “Leaders find ways to say yes,” and I look forward to talking with colleagues about the Healthcare C-Suite Leadership formula that I presented at TEDxWilmington. The other topics that I know will come up are value-based payments and whether we’re really getting closer to a world of pay for performance, how a more consumer-centric world will impact healthcare technologies, and whether we’re going to see a slowing down of technology deployments because data breaches are getting out of hand.

Q: Who's your favorite healthcare hero? Why?
A:
John Halamka is probably my favorite hero because he knows what it means to save lives and take care of patients as a physician plus he understands, as a hands-on CIO, where digital health technologies are meaningful versus superfluous. John’s special because he sees opportunities in tech and knows which should be prioritized according to the benefits they bring to patients and care providers. There are many other clinician+tech heroes like John quietly doing great work every day but John writes, speaks, and stays visible which means we can learn from him easily.

Q: What's your pet peeve? (Either on- or off-line?)
A:
My primary pet peeve is when “thought leaders” are either not practical, not relevant, or not actionable with their advice. It’s common for people to tell audiences about healthcare tech but they forget to provide evidence around why that tech is important and how to implement it in complex care environments. Another pet peeve is when technology enthusiasts talk down to care providers and make tech sound more important than it really is – we need to remember that we’re here to support people who take care of patients, not just treat them as buyers of our products. The last pet peeve is when tech folks forget that providing care is a business – any tech that cannot be easily purchased or deployed because it doesn’t make sense fiscally is ultimately a losing tech.

Q: What is something your social media followers do not know about you?
A:
From a professional perspective, most of my followers don’t know that my expertise is split between federal government work and healthcare work – everyone thinks of me as the “Healthcare IT Guy” but I’m also deeply involved with public sector projects. From a personal perspective, most of my followers don’t know that I’m a big movie buff and football (NFL) fan. When I’m not bloviating about healthcare and technology I’m watching movies and football. 

Related HIMSS17 Social Media Ambassadors: 
⇒ Meet Drex DeFord: Former Air Force CIO who started as a rock-n-roll DJ

⇒ Health IT guru Brian Ahier: A big fan of analytics, Don Berwick and Jerry Garcia
⇒ Linda Stotsky: She writes poetry, sticks up for underserved and loves ... boxing? 
⇒ Matt Fisher: Healthcare attorney who once was a Starbucks barista
⇒ Jane Sarasohn-Kahn: Health economist, woman in HIT, Social Media Ambassador

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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