10 Industry-Disrupting Health Tech Influencers To Know

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In Q1 alone, 2016 saw a record $2 billion in funding for digital health. With 316 deals, 2016 will likely blow 2015 out of the water.

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Innovation is happening fast, and it can be a challenge to keep up with everything going on in the digital health space. That’s why it’s helpful to identify thought leaders who are sharing, commenting on, and explaining what you need to know.

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Influencer relationship management software company Onalytica identified 100 top digital health influencers to follow and counted how many times they mentioned various digital health topics in their tweets and blogs from 1st January – 5th May 2016.

If you’re curious, here are the most-popular digital health topics:

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Since time and attention are finite, and 100 is a lot, here are 10 health tech influencers you need to be following:

1. Sue Schade

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Sue Schade has a lot of letters after her name, including MBA, LCHIME, FCHIME, and FHIMSS. Schade is a thought leader on health IT and a founding advisor at consulting, coaching, and interim management services company Next Wave Health Advisors.

Follow her writing at HealthCareITNews or on her blog.

2. Robert Ruth

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As VP and Principal at retained life sciences executive search firm The Stevenson Group, Robert Ruth mainly covers big pharma and its intersection with industry and government. Follow him on Twitter.

3. Tracy Staton

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Tracy Staton is Editor-in-Chief of FiercePharma, a 90,000-subscriber-strong newsletter. As former editor of the Dallas Business Journal and Texas Business magazine, Staton brings a strong editorial voice and ample business sense to her reporting. Read her on FiercePharma or follow her on Twitter.

4. Kevin Pho

NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE- SEPTEMBER 29- Kevin Pho, MD, has become a prominent healthcare commentator after he launched his blog, KevinMD.com, in 2004. He is shown in his office in Nashua, New Hampshire, Wednesday, September 29, 2010. (Photo by Aynsley Floyd/Getty Images for Health Leaders)

Kevin Pho has been called “Social media’s leading physician voice.” Okay, he called himself that in his Twitter bio. But although he’s cocky, he may not be wrong. Pho is a Physician, author, keynote speaker, and is part of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. If you don’t read his blog for him, read it for the 2,000 other doctors who contribute to it.  

5. Brian Ahier

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Brian Ahier is the Director of Standards and Government Affairs at Medicity, a Healthagen business inside Aetna. Before that, he was the Health IT Evangelist at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. He tweets about everything from robotics and AI to the future of cancer. Join the nearly 40k people who follow him for information on tech hazards, including infusion pumps, surgical staplers, ventilators, alarms, and miscleaning. He egregiously overuses hashtags, but, if you can get beyond that, there’s good stuff here. You can also follow his posts on LinkedIn.

6. Dave deBronkart

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One of the few non-doctors on the list, cancer survivor Dave deBronkart has a TED Talk under his belt and authored the book Let Patients Help. Susannah Fox, of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, wrote about it: “If you’re interested in getting up to speed fast on patient engagement, Let Patients Help is your passport.” Check out his blog for webinars, tweetchats, and more. Or just follow him on Twitter for a good mix of information and sass.

7. Dr. Bertalan Mesko

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Dr. Bertalan Mesko runs The Medical Futurist, a 100,000-reader strong newsletter covering the future of medicine. He regularly speaks to pharma and insurance executives, patient groups, and doctors about how to digitize healthcare to make it more sustainable and patient-centered. If you want to learn how driverless cars are a great opportunity for healthcare, check out his site and subscribe to his newsletter. You can also read his books, My Health: Upgraded and The Guide to the Future of Medicine. Or, follow him on Twitter.

8. Paul Sonnier

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Paul Sonnier is Founder of the 50,000+ member Digital Health LinkedIn group. Members can opt in to receive Sonnier’s weekly roundup of global digital health news and analysis. You can find the archives and other materials on his website, Story of Digital Health, a “free resource to the global digital health ecosystem.” Sonnier’s most popular pages are his:

Check out his LinkedIn group, website, or follow him on Twitter.

9. Maneesh Juneja

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Maneesh Juneja calls himself a “Digital Health Futurist.” He’s number 7 on Onalytica’s 100 top digital health influencers to follow list. He’s been in the top ten for three years running. Juneja told the company, “There is a great deal of optimism in Digital Health, but also considerable uncertainty, confusion and suspicion with regard to if and when the convergence of emerging technologies will actually make a difference, not just for patients, but for everyone involved in improving human health.” To learn more about how to engage patients and the role of creativity in healthcare, subscribe to Juneja’s blog or follow him on Twitter for links to articles exploring topics like whether digital health is game-changing empowerment or corporations preying on the worried well.

10. Arshya Vahabzadeh

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The only one of the list who focuses on digital mental health, Arshya Vahabzadeh, M.D. is Director of Digital Health at Brain Power, a “free wearable classroom for people with Autism.” The goal is to create apps (they have more than a dozen) that turn wearables such as Google Glass into neuro-assistive devices. He’s also Innovation Officer at MGH Psychiatry Academy, the 40,000-member organization which connects the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry faculty and resources with clinicians, departments, and governments to improve mental health through innovative teaching methods, technology, educational research, and institution-level consultation. Follow him on Twitter for links about mental health and digital innovation.

Bonus: Richard Gibson

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Okay, this is a bonus because I don’t want to seem too biased. Richard Gibson, M.D. is a Research Director and Healthcare Analyst at Gartner. He’s spent the last 24 years working in information technology to help improve healthcare quality, reliability, and cost. He has experience helping health systems and physician offices implement electronic health records. He also has helped healthcare organizations improve their clinical and financial decision-making by combining data from their EHR with financial, satisfaction, and administrative data. Gibson helped me with my precision medicine post. Follow his Gartner research to learn more about analytics, patient and consumer engagement, electronic health records, and the move to value-based reimbursement.

Conclusion

You know what else is up, besides digital healthcare investment? Outsourcing! You don’t have time to read every blog post, Tweet, and newspaper article that comes out about digital health. Allow these thought leaders to curate news and analysis for you.

Any good ones I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for Medical Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Medical Practice Management software solutions.

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About the Author

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Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a former Capterra analyst.

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