It’s that time of year again! On the heels of HIMSS’16, the W2O analytics team dove into what’s driving social conversations among today’s provider IT leaders for our 4th annual “What Health System CIOs Are Really Talking About” report. Utilizing the growing MDigitalLIfe #Healthecosystem, the team analyzed Twitter conversations among this increasingly vocal community—almost 200,000 tweets from nearly 200 hospital and health system CIOs, CMIOs, CTOs and CNIO—to better understand the critical issues that these IT leaders face today and how that is reflected in their social engagement.

Where do these decision makers go for their news and what outlets are they sharing content from the most? What topics are driving their discussions, how are they engaging with their peers and what companies are they mentioning the most? This year’s 4th annual report highlights notable trends on how this community is utilizing Twitter to advance the health IT conversation, engage with their network and drive awareness and education throughout the industry.

To better understand who hospital and health system CIOs are engaging with, we looked at who they retweet the most on Twitter overall, as well as the most followed within the community. In terms of the accounts most retweeted by provider IT leaders, they belong to:

  1. Eric Topol (@EricTopol), Cardiologist at Scripps Health and Professor of Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute
  2. Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce
  3. Paul Sonnier (@Paul_Sonnier), Founder of LinkedIn’s Digital Health Group and Story of Digital Health
  4. Harvard Business Review (@HarvardBiz)
  5. TechCrunch (@TechCrunch)


As you’ll also see included above, the most followed hospital and health system IT execs are:

  1. Mark Chasin, MD (@M_Chasin), Vice President and Chief Information Officer, St. Luke’s Health System
  2. John Halamka, MD (@jhalamka), Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  3. Will Weider (@CandidCIO), Chief Information Officer, Ministry Health Care
  4. Luis Saldana, MD (@lsaldanamd),Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Texas Health Resources
  5. David Chou (@dchou1107) Healthcare IT Advisor, Michigan State University (formerly Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center)

In terms of the most @mentioned CIOs, Twitter powerhouse David Chou and the one and only Dr. John Halamka are at the top of the list, followed by CHIME’s 2014 CIO of the Year Award winner, Sue Schade—who just recently made the move from the University of Michigan to Texas-based Next Wave Health Advisors, taking on the role of interim CIO at Cleveland-based University Hospitals Health System. Rounding out the top five are Texas Health Resources’ social dynamos Edward Marx and Dr. Luis Saldana, CIO and CMIO of the organization, respectively.

  1. David Chou (@dchou1107) Healthcare IT Advisor, Michigan State University (formerly Chief Information Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center)
  2. John Halamka, MD (@jhalamka), Chief Information Officer, BIDMC
  3. Sue Schade (@sgschade), Chief Information Officer, University of Michigan Health System
  4. Edward Marx (@marxists), Chief Information Officer, Texas Health Resources
  5. Luis Saldana, MD (@lsaldanamd), Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Texas Health Resources


Additionally, as can be seen on the bottom half of the above, CIOs are sharing more information from top tier, national media outlets than trade publications. The New York Times, Forbes, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review and Wall Street Journal produce the most frequently linked to content from business media by this community. As for the most linked to trade media outlets, these include Healthcare IT News, Becker’s Hospital Review, CIO, MedCity News and MIT Technology Review. (Please refer to the full report for the complete lists and outlet rankings. More information below).

Now, onto blogs. As we also saw last year, Dr. Kevin Pho’s blog (@KevinMD) was shared the most among this community again this year, with top articles relating to both personal health and healthcare technology. As for other top shared blogs, these include:

  1. KevinMD
  2. The Health Care Blog
  3. Singularity Hub
  4. EMR and HIPAA
  5. Life as a Healthcare CIO

When it comes to top topics, as we saw in last year’s 2015 report—which looked at Twitter data from early 2014 to early 2015—EHRs, mHealth, innovation, big data and Ebola took the top spots in terms of those most frequently discussed. (Recall that Ebola was previously a hot topic given the Measles outbreak at Disneyland in early 2015—a story broke not by a reporter, but by a physician via Twitter, showing just how important a role social can plan in terms of improving public health awareness and communication among both clinicians and provider executives).

As for this past year? At the top of the topic list for provider IT decision makers for 2015 to 2016 once again were innovation, mHealth, big data, which shows the continued focus and importance this community places on technology advancement and improvement, as well as the application of mobile solutions and data analytics. Additionally, HIMSS’15/16 and the Internet of Things (IoT) also made headway, taking spots four and five, respectively. A complete list of topics is available in the full report.  

When it comes to digital health, it’s no surprise to see new technologies and trending topics emerge each year. Last year, we saw that mental health and innovation had the highest growth in discussion from 2014 to 2015. This year, however, was a different story.

In addition to being one of the most frequently discussed topics overall, as can be seen in the image below, IoT was also one of the fasting growing topic areas among the community as a whole. With the rise of consumerism in healthcare, established companies and startups alike are finding new ways to put the power in the hands of the patients, fusing technology and connectivity to empower consumers to take better control of their own health. Developments in this area will no doubt continue, and it will be interesting to see if the social conversation among this community follows suit next year.

Similarly, Apple’s ResearchKit—the organization’s open source platform that enables its devices to be used for medical research, healthcare improvement, disease management and more through targeted app development—has taken both the industry and digital health community by storm over the past year. The technology was the second fastest growing topic of discussion from 2015 to 2016 per our analysis.


Lastly, and with full scale federal support behind it, precision medicine was also an increasing topic of discussion among provider IT leaders over the past year. The White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), launched in January of 2015, is certainly helping to drive social conversation, as is the increasing focus on how the industry is using genomics and patient-specific data to improve healthcare quality and develop targeted treatments based on the individual. As can be seen in the image above, additional topics of interest this past year include artificial intelligence (AI), user experience (UX) and digital transformation, among others.

As noted earlier, innovation, mHealth, big data and the IoT are among the top topics of discussion this year. That said, it’s no surprise to see Apple and Google at the top of the list for the most mentioned companies among this group of IT decision makers.

Specifically, some of the most shared posts were related to the myriad of new business ventures and software innovations in which each has been involved as of late. This includes Google Ventures and the company’s launch of Alphabet, as well as heavy discussion of Apple Watch, ResearchKit and speculation of Apple’s potential foray into medical device creation. In third place is IBM, with much of the conversation being related to developments around Watson Health and the multitude of new industry partnerships that are focused on the technology, each designed to bolster the accuracy and improvement of healthcare treatment, diagnosis, research and analysis.  Please see the image below and the full deck for more information.


Not enough data analysis for you? To request the full research report or to set up a media briefing, please contact Rob Cronin, practice leader for technology and digital health, at The full report includes: ranking of most mentioned EHR/EMR companies, ranking of top shared social channels, ranking of most engaged/active CIOs, top 50 handles CIOs are following, top 50 handles following CIOs, ranking of the top 50 most discussed topics, ranking of most linked-to domains, and the full list of top business and media outlets shared.

Be sure to follow @W2OGroup and #HITsmCIO for the latest findings, news and updates from our community.  Any questions? Don’t hesitate to connect with the team: