I run an HIStalk reader survey once each year, inviting anyone to provide feedback and ideas. This year’s survey generated 396 responses, with the highlights summarized below.
Years in the industry
More than 20: 46 percent
11-20: 26 percent
1-10: 28 percent
Vendor: 43 percent
Hospital: 28 percent
Consulting firm: 17 percent:
Other: 12 percent
IT staff/management: 26 percent
Vendor management: 17 percent
Vendor staff: 17 percent
Clinician in an IT role: 7 percent
CIO: 6 percent
CEO: 5 percent
CMIO: 2 percent
Other clinician: 2 percent
CFO: 1 percent
Other: 17 percent
Elements appreciated in order of most to least popular
I have a higher interest in companies when I read about them in HIStalk
True: 84 percent
False: 16 percent
Reading HIStalk helped me perform my job better in the past year
True: 88 percent
False: 12 percent
Respondents provided these suggestions that I thought were most important, which I’ll list with my comments. The one I won’t mention is “don’t change anything,” which was thankfully by far the most common response.
Respondents also suggested a lot of new areas I should cover in the same way I write HIStalk, but I don’t have the time or interest to stray far from healthcare IT and thus will most likely not be able to pursue those areas (but it’s pretty cool that someone thinks I’m the guy to cover them anyway).
Thanks to everyone who took the time to provide their advice. It renews my energy every year right about this time. I also promised to randomly draw a respondent to receive a $50 Amazon gift card, but then I decided to make it two respondents instead – those folks have received their prize.
Include more rumors because they nearly always pan out.
I run all the rumors I hear or receive and always welcome submitting more. Some respondents scolded me for running unverified rumors.
Do more reviews of books that are supposed to make me better and to educate me about what’s right for patients, families, and providers.
I’m happy to do that given the limits of time and my willingness to purchase books just to review them. Most of those books I’ve reviewed came from reader suggestions.
Limit Readers Write to less vendor and consultant PR.
I’ve tightened up the requirements and rejected quite a few submitted articles, but the real issue is that only vendors and their public relations firms take the time to write something. Everybody likes to read, but nobody likes to write, as evidenced by the folks who want to read more reader submissions but don’t write anything themselves. However, some articles are good and I’m reluctant to shut down reader submissions just because some aren’t.
Do more interviews.
I only interview CEOs for the most part on the vendor side, but I’ll interview different kinds of provider folks – CIOs, CMIOs, nurses, informatics experts, etc. It’s a bit tricky because quite a few people can’t be interviewed without the approval of their employer.
Get more contributors, such as CNIOs and CIOs. Dr. Jayne is no longer a CMIO and most of what Ed Marx posts is off topic.
Most people don’t have the interest or time to contribute, but I’m willing if they are. Just about everybody who has ever vowed to overwhelm me with frequent posts drops out after the first 2-3 when they realize that it’s more work than fun for them. Dr. Jayne and Ed have many fans.
Provide less commentary.
More folks chose “provide more commentary” in explaining the background of stories, which I do if I feel like I have something relevant to add.
Do more investigative and original reporting, following up on rumors.
Good idea if I can figure out how to make it happen. I’ll take that as a to-do.
Cover more about AMIA, CHIME, ACHE, AMDIS, RSNA, and review articles from academic publications.
I don’t really have any connections with those groups and it would be tough (and expensive) to get away to attend all of their meetings. I’ve tried a few times to get a clinical informatics expert to scan the literature and summarize the important articles, but have had no luck so far. I need to find a way to get electronic journal library access from home and then I could review some of the articles myself if I don’t find someone.
Define the acronyms you use in stories.
I keep thinking about publishing an always-updated acronym list. Maybe I should do that. Of course it’s also easy to Google a term as long as it’s not used in multiple ways.
Run a column of anonymous gripes people want to say to their bosses, students, colleagues, etc.
Great idea, although my experience is that it would dry up quickly due to lack of submissions. Another respondent said I should set up an electronic complaint box and run the results – I like that idea and have put it in place.
Do videos or podcasts.
I’m not a fan of watching or listening to something I could read myself a lot more quickly. I’ll think about it, but that’s one of those things lame sites do (along with writing over-sizzly headlines and tweeting pointlessly) that I like to think most of my readers wouldn’t enjoy in proportion to the effort involved.
The DonorsChoose project is important work, but it looks like you are bragging about your donations. Are the donations tax deductible to the donor?
All of the DonorsChoose projects I write up are paid for by reader donations, to which I apply any and all matching funds I can find. I don’t publicize the DonorsChoose projects that I fund personally. The DonorsChoose donations are indeed tax deductible – the folks there came up with a “gift card” method in which they donate directly to DonorsChoose and I just pick the projects to fund with their money. I try to make it clear that the projects are funded through the generosity of HIStalk readers and I hope that we can all celebrate the results.
How about creating a discussion board?
I could do that, but I’ve tried a couple of times and participation was minimal. Quite a few attempts to create a health IT social network failed miserably because the folks involved took a “build it and they will come” position and, fact is, the industry is 99.9 percent readers and 0.1 percent writers.
Offer a job board.
I already have one. It doesn’t get much use.
Provide an annual summary by company of the news you ran about them.
I’ve thought about that, although I’m not sure who would need that information. It wouldn’t be hard since anything that appeared in HIStalk already passed the “is this really newsworthy?” filter.
Reveal your true identity when you retire or die.
I would hope that nobody really cares at this point since I’ve been doing it for 13 years and I’m not looking for recognition, but I keep thinking (somewhat morbidly) that I should write a “posthumous use only” post to say goodbye and perhaps squeeze in one more music recommendation instead of just leaving up whatever news post I wrote last. I fear being like an actor who dies with their IMDB list of appearances being capped by an awful movie role they shouldn’t have taken.