On Sunday I got plugged back into one of my favorite things - the #HCSM tweet chat. Somewhere between graduate school, career demands and whatever else life throws at us, I hadn’t spent much time with the HCSM crowd. It was great to get plugged back in to the latest in healthcare and social media thinking.

This week’s chat was full of fresh ideas, new faces and progressive thinking.

But elsewhere - blogs, articles, random tweets - I’m still seeing a lot of concerns around two specific areas: adoption and privacy.

Maybe we should take a hint from how teens think about social networking.

On this week’s episode of This Week in Tech, the panel discusses Vine, Instagram and online messaging in general. They talk about critical mass and the network effect - terms us techie types use to adoption of social media.

Host Leo Laporte points out that teens have no allegiance to one particular platform. Facebook’s done for kids," he says.

It turns out, what teens value is privacy and features, not a particular platform. They move quickly as the landscape changes, with little or no loyalty for a technology brand. What they chase are easier access to friends on a platform their parents haven’t discovered yet.

They flock to apps like Snap Chat for two reasons:

1) It lets them send pictures quickly and easily

2) The app promises the pictures will disappear in a matter of seconds. IE no record exists.

Am I suggesting Snap is HIPAA compliant? Not at all. But maybe studying teen behavior around social media, networking and mobile apps could provide some valuable insight into adoption and privacy challenges with HCSM.


  1. Try new things quickly and follow the trends. You may not send a Vine video to your doctor, but testing new apps and networks may lead to fresh thinking.  You'll at least be ready if there's a ground swell. 
  2. Be agile in your thinking. Being locked in to Facebook and Twitter narrows our thinking. A Facebook page probably won't cure cancer.
  3. Picture a different enemy. Pretend HIPAA isn't the problem, instead its a parent looking over your shoulder. Pretend we aren't worried about law suits, but instead making sure so-and-so's girlfriend shouldn't know so-and-so took whatshisface to a movie last weekend. Would that change how you think about privacy? What solutions shake out that can be applied to healthcare?

Here’s a link to the specific spot in the TWiT conversation. It starts around 0:58:00.

You can watch the full episode here: