Janice McCallum: Avid tennis player, cat lover and health visionary

'We tend to make things sound so obscure and difficult through a lot of terminology. Overall in healthcare that's a big problem'
By Scott Tharler
08:06 AM

Lateral Epicondylitis is one of Janice McCallum's favorite search terms when exploring a new medical app or site. Not surprising for a woman who enjoys playing tennis year round!

Make no mistake, she doesn't hit the court a few times a week just for the fun and exercise of banging a ball around. "I like the strategic part of it as well,” McCallum told Healthcare IT News. Part of that is the competitive gaming aspect, but there's also a component of continuous self-improvement.

Off the court, McCallum is a marketing strategist for health data. Although she's worked with IT vendors, her main focus is on the publishing side, where IT and content converge – and a HIMSS15 Social Media Ambassador, the elite and eclectic group of credentialed influencers who attend the conference and share what they encounter via social channels.

Between extensively using the Twitter platform (@janicemccallum) and her role as managing director of Health Content Advisors she certainly has plenty of serious HIT business credentials.

"To me, the technology is the enabler," McCallum said. "And we know where the technology is headed, by looking at other industries that are farther ahead than healthcare." She forecasts about the upcoming availability of point-of-care information: "It will be automated. There'll be better dashboards for comparing information, just like there are in business intelligence applications."

In the meantime, McCallum sees a huge healthcare consolidation on the way, through a combination of alliances, acquisitions and attrition. "I think eventually there'll be far fewer vendors. It'll be more rational. Right now there's so many pieces. And they're all somewhat isolated."

Early in her career, McCallum was a product manager for a series of industry-wide (not just healthcare) M&A databases.

Too often, when she asks HIMSS exhibitors how they got started, she finds companies simply looking to expand to a broader audience from a previously single-purpose, single-customer application. Build first, find a business model and fund later.

By contrast she recommends taking the time to gather intelligence and develop a need through studying the market, talking to potential users and coming up with a well thought-out plan.

Her wheelhouse is surveying the "market landscape," finding the players, their strengths and the gaps. As a result, it may make more sense for companies to strategically partner, rather than recreate what's already out there. And even with applications that make sense, adoption can still be tricky. She cites typically conservative physicians as an example. "Until they see it in action, they can't really see the value in what having an EHR is going to be over paper records. Which is pretty stunning, to those of us who understand efficiency and what can be done with digital information." Score one for the Meaningful Use program!

McCallum views jargon as another big industry stumbling block. "We tend to make things sound so obscure and difficult through a lot of terminology. Overall in healthcare that's a big problem. And I'd like to do something to break those barriers down."

And on a personal note, she used social media to crowdsource the name of one of her cats. After she posted a picture online a physician from Mexico suggested the winning name: "Frida."

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