Video and Written Q & A with First-Ranked #HIT100 @EMRAnswers Linda Stotsky

Short link (well, easy to remember, at least):

This week I got to sit down (virtually speaking) and talk shop with Linda of @EMRAnswers Twitter fame. She’s the number-one-ranked Twitterian on Michael Planchart’s #HIT100 list of heavy twitters. Since I know Linda mostly (actually solely!) through following each other and interacting on Twitter, and since many of our common followers are similar in this respect, I thought I’d interview Linda about her and Twitter!

Since there is so much good stuff, I’ve added the following mini-Table of Contents:

  1. YouTube One-Minute Interview
  2. Who is Linda of @EMRanswers?
  3. What do all your hashtags mean?
  4. How did you join Twitter?
  5. What’s your tweet workflow?
  6. Holy cow! What happened on November 16th?
  7. Who do you retweet?
  8. Who do you reply to?
  9. Who do you mention?
  10. Which hashtags to you use most frequently?
  11. What have been your most retweeted tweets?
  12. When do you tweet?
  13. Which platforms do you tweet from?
  14. What’s your favorite color?

But first! So you can get a sense of Linda’s effervescent personality, please watch on of my increasingly infamous One-Minute Interviews.

Here’s a screen capture of the Linda’s YouTube video.
(YouTube places its start arrow in the worst place!)

Below is the actual embeddable and runnable
YouTube interview (see what I mean!).

Before the Twitter-centric interview, let’s do give Linda a brief change to tell us about herself outside of Twitter.

Linda, who are you?

I know it’s hard to believe that I have a life outside of Twitter, but it revolves around my three kids and a large Chocolate Lab named “Coco”. Two of my children are grown, one followed me into HealthIT, and the youngest is a 16 year old rock star and budding scientist. My passions include music, the outdoors, contemporary art, pizza and anything chocolate. I’m a content writer, a really bad drummer, and I sing whenever my teenager allows it. I presently live in Nashville, Tennessee, although I am more than ready to move to the sunny beaches of South Florida. (hint-hint)

Thank you. Now, let’s talk shop!


What do all your hashtags mean?

On Twitter, if you want to join a conversation, you find the hashtag that best describes it. Naturally, my hashtags include the communities and the conversations I’m involved with on a daily basis. These hashtags allow me to operate in multiple registers at once, in a compressed Twitter-verse. I am fortunate to be part of the broad HealthIT community. I champion #patientengagement and interoperability. I walk as patient #117 in #thewalkinggallery- for patient safety and care coordination. #Innovation, and #technology hashtags merely reflect my personal interests.

I joined the #HITsm community in its infancy. Many of my friends, industry associates, and some of my most trusted advisors are “filed” under this hashtag. I am grateful and honored to be on the #HIT100 list. I was shocked to receive the #HIT1 award. My great predecessor handed it down “virtually” and I’ve enjoyed borrowing it. I join each one of the #HIT100 in the continued transformation of healthcare delivery. Hashtags are merely file tabs in a virtual world.

I see you’ve been around since July 18, 2009. How did that happen?

I joined Twitter after a downsizing. I was the co-designer of an online selection and educational platform for EMR, called EMR-Match at the time. I was the EMR usability expert, hence the name @EMRAnswers.


Let’s see: 32 tweets a day. You are more likely to include a link than not. Almost a fifth of your tweets are retweeted. I don’t have any benchmarks (do you?) but those seem very respectable.

Could you tell us about your workflow? From where do you get your ideas, links, tweets, etc? Do you “stage” tweets? (incoming, drafts, ready to go but not published, pending, published, etc.) I hear Google Alerts can be useful. Do you use them? If someone came to you for advice about how to balance topics, volume, engagement, etc. are there any principles or strategies you’d suggest?

I try to offer information, timely tidbits and newsworthy bytes of data. I balance topics with engagement in areas such as : Data security, Standards and Interoperability, HIPAA, EMR / EHR Usability, Mobile Health, HIE, and the Patient Experience. I learn a lot from my Twitter “community” every day. I begin early- about 5:30 AM, usually by searching online news publications. I balance news and topics with RT’s from respected friends because it’s important to show mutual respect. I tweet at lunch and in the evenings, though usually never after 9PM (Your analytics say otherwise). I seldom use Google Alerts, though I’ve set them up.

The principles I follow:

  • Provide quality content
  • Don’t get involved in politics or religion
  • Be a force for good
  • Listen to others
  • Share information
  • Cite your sources
  • Pass it forward


Wow! Look at that spike on November 16th! I looked it up. 129 tweets in one day. What happened?

HA!! I must’ve had a lot of caffeine that day!

I’m honored to be one your ten most retweeted over the last three months! Some of these other guys are familiar, others less so. Care to provide a run down or highlight several for our readers?

Of course everyone knows you, Charles. You are a very stable, well-respected source on EHR software solutions. I enjoy reading your content and re-posting content you’ve provided.

[Stable? Well-respected? OK then!]

Here’s the run down:

  • Keith Boone. @motorcycle_guy, is my personal standards authority. I deeply respect his perspective on interoperability.
  • Vala Afshar, @ValaAfshar- I admire his leadership lessons and valuable insight.
  • David Scher MD, @dlschermd is a former cardiac electrophysiologist, and has become a great friend. He is the Senior Medical Advisor @Happtique.
  • I love startups, hence @startuptechguy.
  • @NAMIMass is for mental health advocacy.
  • @hcsmmarketing is my alter-ego.
  • Lisa @PracticalWisdom is a great person and a good friend, always optimistic.
  • I always look for Tom Sullivan’s news and information @GovHIT.
  • @TEDMED is on the edge of innovation and creativity. It’s my dream gig.


It’s interesting that there is no overlap between folks you retweet and folks you reply to. Why is that? You know one set better? Different styles interact differently? Or another explanation?

Almost all of these people are involved in the same hashtags- most of them in #HITsm. I know these people well. They share awesome content. I support them, ask them questions, champion their causes, and my replies usually include a reference to their original tweet. I actually do RT them, not sure why its showing up this way except many times I “quote” them in a RT and may throw in a MT to the mix…


Hmm. Mentions straddles both Retweeted and Replied-to. I find the ebbs and flows of Twitter conversations fascinating. I’m always wondering who’s listening it. Sometimes I assume other folks on Twitter are like me and act like me and therefore interact in the same situations and for the same reasons as me. But I also know I’m likely misleading myself. In a previous life I was a graduate student in linguistics. If I went and looked at the raw data, the ‘corpus’ as they say, what would I see? I guess I’m just trying to prompt you for some sort of theory of Twitter psychology you may have. Have you?

I do agree that “like” attracts “like”. We attract and respond to people, situations, and events which conform to our expectations. I sincerely like what these users have to say. I respond to them on a frequent basis, some daily. But if you are trying to link it purely to the interaction of raw data, you would find that some is pure overlap between social media accounts. Sites with Twitter share buttons, like I “link” my scoops, because it’s quick, easy and reduces curation time. And industry publications like Business Wire, “auto-insert” their Twitter handle at the end of each article. It’s their copyright, so I respect it. I mention the people I follow because I find their content timely and relative to what’s going on in HealthIT, or HITsm..


Your hashtags make sense. Except, where’s #EHR? Actually, seriously, I find having to insert both #EHR and #EMR the same tweet tedious. Have you taken a principled stand here?

Hey, Charles, thanks for making me paranoid about not using the hashtag #EHR. :) I will now be obsessed with making sure I treat it fairly. I agree that it is extremely tedious to insert both #EMR and #EHR. I am more of an ambulatory software gal. So I tend to go with EMR on most occasions. While I was working for a critical access hospital vendor, I used more EHR references. I’m not taking a principled stand; it’s purely a matter of choice.


The interesting thing is that I remember several of these tweets (particularly the October 28th)! In fact, I’ve read that since our brains are wired for social processing that we’re remarkably good at remembering tweets! Consistent with this, several times I’ve tried to find a tweet many thousands ago, but been frustrated (understand one can now download all the tweets from the beginning of a Twitter account). Can you still recall a now ancient tweet or exchange or two? Care to share?

I’ve tried to download my Tweets from a thousand years ago, but have not been successful with getting back to the beginning. My favorite exchanges are always those revolving around the continuum of patient care, healthcare interoperability, and patient engagement. It’s continually evolving. We have come so far, yet we have a ways to go in terms of a true continuum of care involving outliers like prison health and mental health. Being part of a movement that will change the face of healthcare in a few short years is extremely exciting. Patient engagement IS the new ROI. It’s fascinating to me how much we can contribute to the success and future sustainability of the healthcare eco-system by becoming involved in establishing standards. This is why I come back every day. I want to be part of the conversation, the community, AND the solution.

[CW: Great line! "Patient engagement IS the new ROI!"]


Ok, now let’s take a look at your schedule. Friday’s a big day, eh? Is that because that’s when you’re online? Or because that’s when you schedule tweets to post? How do feel about the sentiment, in some quarters, that scheduled tweets are, in some sense, cheating? I schedule tweets so that when I am out and about, and not able to easily pull the trigger myself, they’ll still appear when I think my followers expect them. As long as I know what’s going to post when and am ready to react to retweets and replies via smartphone (and to postpone a tweet, if necessary), that’s all to the good. Any opinion or guidance to share on this “issue”?

Who knew these times were so busy for me. Fridays are big for two reasons. #FollowFriday and the #HITsm chat at 11:00 AM CST. I create my #FF lists on Thursday night or early Friday morning. The #HITsm chat stream appears in my timeline, so that beefs up my Friday posts. I do schedule tweets each day, but other than that, do not schedule my normal tweets. I am “old school” Twitter. I find scheduled tweets are convenient, but I don’t schedule. I react to RT’s at night or first thing in the morning. I reply immediately whenever I can. I don’t think there is any “format” that works better than another.


Finally, platform! The shear variety of different ways you post tweets suggests a sophisticated, or at least diverse, set of workflows (already discussed). Which methods do you use to post which kinds of tweets, and why? Heard of any new and interesting applications or best practices in this area that sound promising?

I use quite a few applications, as you’ve pointed out. The “Tweet” button is great. I find it’s now available almost everywhere. (Thank goodness). Twitter’s new “cards technology” seems promising if expanded. It allows third-party developers to create richer, visually consistent content. The expansion of the ‘more’ button is something to look forward to. I’m anxious to see the new and expanded ways Twitter will “compete” with Facebook and Google. I hate to say this but I am just starting to use my iPad, vs. my iPhone. WOW. Progress.

Phew! That’s what I call really getting into the weeds! (tweeds?) I know I learned a lot, including some ideas and techniques I’m going to put to use immediately. You’ve done a great service to your Twitter followers, drawing back the curtain, sharing some of your secret sauce, so to speak (mixing several metaphors that, perhaps, should have remained unmixed).

Of course, we are — all of us, you, me, your and my followers, and tweeps and Twitterians we follow — much more than just our twitter accounts! We’re complicated, multi-dimensional people, outside our Twitter accounts!

So: What’s your favorite color?

Ahh…always a complicated question. Red is great. Black is back, and I’m starting to favor green— but isn’t that the color / lifestyle we should all be adopting?

Thank you again, Linda. I look forward to continue to follow you, and interact with you, on Twitter.

Thanks, Charles. Always a pleasure!

By the way (now speaking to you, the reader), I’ve enjoyed all my One-Minute Interviews and in-the-weeds co-writing assignments. But Linda was by far the most charming and emotive victim interviewee. (Doubly-embedded “by-the-way”: all of you interviewees to date were *all* charming and emotive! But Linda was more!)

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