Clark on Connecting: How to be a #HealthITRockStar

Note from the editor: I am thrilled to introduce our newest industry voice on HealthIT Answers. Most in our circle will know Susan as #HealthITRockStar. She comes by the moniker rooted in real music but has grown into a true pundit in health IT. We are so glad we can connect you with Susan. Look for her column here every month.

Susan Clark, Senior Director of Program Development, DirectTrust
LinkedIn: Susan Clark

With the support of Answers Media Network, I am launching a series to share my super power: connecting people, technology, and ideas along with real life examples of how this unfolds. I have been asked many times how I have built my network and identified opportunities. I am inviting you to experience the frenzy of how my brain works to follow the winding paths to rewarding connectivity. I am going to open with some basics about how to be a #HealthITRockStar.

  1. Possess a desire to serve to greater good. Even if it doesn’t serve me personally, I take great interest in making lives better and creating a healthier, more equitable world. I make it my personal responsibility to share information or connections with others that may propel them to make advances in technology, care or safety of patients & consumers, advocacy, or activism.
  2. Give without expectation of return. Checking in with people for fun, not just when you need or want something. Share!! Every time I see an article, event, or other media that I think might interest someone, I send it. This may be a healthcare regulation or a picture of my cats. All of these things say, ‘you and your work matter to me’.
  3. Stay curious my friend. Never lose your childhood wonder for learning about new things. Try even when it hurts because it seems too hard. Like with artificial intelligence, cyber security, global health systems governance, venture capital, running for office, playing “Rock & Roll” by Led Zeppelin on the drums, etc.
  4. Everyone is interesting. Talk to anyone, anywhere, any time. Find out where they are from and what they do. You never know where it can lead for information or connections.
  5. Introduce yourself. No matter the position someone is in or their affiliation, we are all just people. If there is someone doing work or activism that you care about, introduce yourself. Federal agency directors, CEOs, elected officials, academically acclaimed clinicians,…… It is actually amazing how many of them will make time for you if you show a genuine interest in them.
  6. Maintain an expansive outlook. Look outside your specific niche and clique for inspiration and broader impact. For example, if you’re a medical coder, don’t just interact with other coders or read only coding education. Observe and engage with how the rest of the world intersects with your work such as data analytics, payer systems, clinical journals, artificial intelligence, state or federal government activities, process improvement techniques.
  7. Adopt a future-proofing mindset. Support innovation and always be looking for ways to meet it. Never expect that what you are doing today will be what you are doing tomorrow. Seek to improve systems and process to be able to adapt to what’s coming and not simply to patch up what is in production today.

So that’s a little bit on the “how” of my madness method. In future columns of Clark on Connecting, you can expect to see examples of how these traits play out. just to get your mouth and brain watering for some good stories, upcoming topics may include correctional health, student health, public health, consumer advocacy, data privacy, emergency management, state & federal government, behavioral health, business development, process improvement, managed care, and health information exchange.