Health IT

Who are Klout’s Top 10 healthcare social media ‘influencers’?

Few recent topics have inspired as much love and hate in social media circles as the Klout score.

The Klout score, which purports to measure on a scale of  one to 100 an individual’s social media influence on various topics, has been called “a little bit socially evil” by author John Scalzi. TechCrunch warns us that “nobody give a damn about your Klout score and that “If you even so much as whisper your Klout score within specific circles, you’re likely to be met with a piercing stinkeye.”

Even if the Klout score “exists to turn the entire Internet into a high school cafeteria,” it’s apparently catching on. It’s used by exclusive party organizers to determine VIP status and reportedly even used by some companies to make hiring decision.

Plus, regardless of whether the Klout score has any basis in reality, the company is obviously on to something. Online reputation is going to be “enormous,” according to a Twitter executive, and it’s likely that someday people will be paid based on their social media influence, so at least give Klout credit for jumping on the trend early — even if it ends up becoming another Friendster. Online reputation scoring is here to stay.


Plus, Klout has some backers with deep pockets. It recently landed a $30 million series C round of investment.

So it was inevitable that the Klout score would come to healthcare.

Below are Klout’s Top 10 healthcare “influencers” in the past 90 days. The holder of the top spot, physician uber-blogger Kevin Pho, is certainly no shocker, but others on the list may not quite be as recognizable, even to industry insiders. (For more on how the Klout score is calculated, click here, and for tips on how to improve your score, click here.)

1. Kevin Pho: With his KevinMD, Pho is the king of all physician bloggers. Pho has leveraged his blog to become an in-demand keynote speaker on social media at healthcare conferences and is a contributing writer for USA Today.

2. American Medical Association: There’s been plenty of debate in recent years about whether the AMA really represents the best interests’ of physicians, but the august organization’s influence in social media is apparently pretty clear.

3. Shawn Riley: Riley is the leader of Mayo Clinic’s health information management office. With Mayo well recognized as the leading social media voice among American healthcare institutions, it makes sense for a Mayo executive to appear high on this list. But where’s Lee Aase?

4. Brian Ahier: Ahier is the “health IT evangelist” at Mid-Columbia Medical Center in Oregon. He has about 8,000 Twitter followers and enjoys tweeting about social media, mobile health and all things health IT.

5. E-Patient Dave: Dave deBronkart was diagnosed in 2007 with kidney cancer and has since become a prominent patient advocate through speaking engagements, articles and social media. deBronkart says he looks to break down communication barriers in healthcare, advocating for participatory medicine and personal health data rights.

6. Val Jones: A physician, Jones is the founder of Better Health, a network of medical bloggers. Much of her writing focuses on consumer health issues.

7. Health Affairs: The only member of Klout’s healthcare Top 10 that doesn’t have a Klout account, Health Affairs is a peer-reviewed public policy journal that was founded in 1981. While users must enter a password to read many of the journal’s articles, Health Affairs also maintains a blog that’s likely responsible for most of its online traffic.

8. Phil Baumann: A registered nurse with a background in the business of healthcare, Baumann founded a company called Health Is Social, a social media consulting firm.  A recent highlight from the company’s blog is a post titled, “Pretty Much Everybody’s Full of It When It Comes to Social Media.”

9. Jen McCabe: McCabe is a founder of Habit Labs, a  Seattle-based startup that’s developing algorithms that provide personalized health recommendations. Here’s how McCabe’s cofounder described the project to GeekWire: “It’s a seemingly magical, motivational personal health improvement wizard from the future.” McCabe is an alum of tech incubator Y Combinator and, judging from her Twitter photo, possesses excellent flexibility.

10. Dave Walker: Walker is an Oregon pharmacist and health technology enthusiast who operates infrequently updated blogs about personal health records and marketing for pharmacies. He has about 6,200 Twitter followers and frequently tweets links to health news.