BehindTheHIT100The 2016 version of the #HIT100 list was released a few weeks ago, and published on Healthcare IT News (#HIT100: See the crowdsourced list of health IT experts on social media) among other places. Unlike lots of similar internet lists, this one actually has a methodology behind it (created and managed by Michael Planchart (@theEHRguy). It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly better than almost any I’ve seen, and Mr Planchart has been fine-tuning it for the last several years.

It often seems that such lists are simple vanity vehicles for the people on this list (and there is no question that it is an honor to be nominated and voted in by your peers). But if we look a little more deeply, this list has more to tell us. If these people are truly influential and important in the world of Health IT (and we have every reason to believe that they are), then what they do and say online should be instructive to us about the people, topics and trends that are most important to understand.

For today, I’m going to focus on the PEOPLE component; specifically the people that these 100 influencers follow on twitter. We pulled the friends list (twitter lingo for “people you follow”) for each of these hundred people (a list of well over 50k handles) and looked at the ones they collectively follow the most. When we did that, a few interesting patterns emerged. First, we can see that these hundred (who mostly work in healthcare companies that we’d categorize as “Industry”) heavily follow others in that space – as well as healthcare professionals from around the world, media outlets, journalists, etc.


But what was REALLY interesting is that the #HIT100 this year is inter-networked to a ridiculous degree. As you can see by clicking through the radio buttons below, 95 of the HIT100 are followed by at least 25 of their HIT100 peers. 78 of the 100 are followed by at least 50 of their peers, etc.

When we look at a plot of all 100 based on how many followers and friends they have within the hundred, you can see the network clustering tightly. Of the hundred most-commonly-followed handles, 59 belong to other members of the HIT100.

And if we isolate the very top of the chart, the most tightly inter-networked group of HIT100 members, we can see that there are a dozen of the 100 who both follow and are followed by at least 80 of their peers – a pretty good indication of their centrality to the HIT space.

The "upper right quadrant" of the HIT100 graph; featuring the 12 people who both follow and are followed by at least 80 of their #HIT100 peers.

The “upper right quadrant” of the HIT100 graph; featuring the 12 people who both follow and are followed by at least 80 of their #HIT100 peers.

Handle Followers Friends
Mandi Bishop 92 93
Wen Dombrowski, MD 88 91
Regina Holliday 87 86
Nick van Terheyden, MD 87 81
Linda Stotsky 86 95
Brian Ahier 85 80
Brad Justus 84 98
John Nosta 82 90
Leonard Kish 82 87
Bill Bunting 81 94
Colin Hung 81 90
John Lynn 80 88


It’s also instructive, of course, to look at the list of their common friends who aren’t a part of the HIT100 – a group I’m proud to be a member of. This list is a pretty valuable thing as well; if our influencers believe that these handles are worth following, we should probably pay attention ourselves. I’ve shared all 200+ people and organizations who are followed by at least 50 of the HIT100; you can find it in a Google Drive sheet here, or perhaps more usefully, in a twitter list that’s contained in the widget below. Don’t hesitate to give me a call if you’d like to know more about how to gain value from the online behavior of those who influence public opinion in healthcare; it’s what we do here at MDigitalLife.

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