June 16th, 2010

Of Impact, Information and Ideas

ePatient Dave deBronkart, me, and Susannah Fox (Pew Internet)

I learned from previous experience that the wireless card wouldn’t work in the audience area of the room the E-Patient Symposium was held in at the Medical Library Association meeting, which I covered in two parts as The View From The Trenches and Personal Health Records (PHRs) in the official conference blog.

Via Twitter you often tend to make professional friends online first, then meet face to face as you huddle around outlets at conferences. This was the case for me with ePatient Dave who was the first one back there. He didn’t recognize me initially when I showed up with my 6-outlet surge protector to share (a great way to make instant conference friends).

Suddenly his entire face lit up with unmistakably genuine joy.

“It’s YOU!” and he quickly whipped out his cell phone camera.

“You have got to be kidding me, Dave. This “YOU!” is so the other way around,” I silently thought to myself.

Throughout the rest of the symposium we listened attentively to the speakers, chatted, and he graciously introduced me to Regina Holliday (the “is my savior in the cloud?’ line from her poem and paintings haunt me still) and Susannah Fox.

What amazing, dynamic people who I continue to connect and share ideas with about healthcare information via Twitter. It’s not about the channel though; whatever method of communication opens up in the future, I’m pretty sure we’ll all be there connecting through it.

Are librarian bloggers not radical enough, as Connie Crosby hypothesizes, due to a lack of blog comments? Is blogging dead? No.

What about Abigail’s point in her Hedgehog Librarian blog?

We may know we’re doing cool things but we’re insular and primarily talk to ourselves and about ourselves. We have our own conferences, our own professional networks, and the navel gazing can become exhausting.


What are you doing that leads to the “YOU!” moments, especially from those outside the library field who are among our most passionate advocates?

I would be remiss in not honoring a “YOU!” colleague who was taken much too soon from us last week: Cynthia Kahn. She was not only an outstanding librarian but her work in diabetes advocacy, especially with youth in Adventures for the Cure, was phenomenal and she will be dearly missed. A quick search of her Twitter account name during the time of the shocking news of her sudden death identifed another Twitter community besides medical librarians who were grieving the same loss:

What are you doing to identify and bridge these connections with others?

The relationships and impact of shared information and ideas is what matters. It’s not about specific communication channels or carefully guarded power structures. We have so many ways available to make it easier than ever to break down information silos. This is a vision for geolocation. What similar vision do we have for healthcare information?

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2 Responses to “Of Impact, Information and Ideas”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nikki D., jennifer h. solomon. jennifer h. solomon said: RT @eagledawg: Of Impact, Info & Ideas http://bit.ly/chlumU What's your vision to break down info silos? […]

  2. Catherine Voutier says:

    I have just returned to Australia from the HTAi conference in Dublin (I had a little holiday afterwards too). I find I am not going to many library conferences these days and more healthcare conferences in specific areas. Librarians on the whole are insular and this is a contradiction for our profession, especially for medical librarians. We should be attending conferences in the areas our employers are interested in! Unlock information! And we are part of the medical profession and have every right, as well as the responsibility, to attend and participate.

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