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

1:22 pm by | 6 Comments

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.


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Brandon Glenn

By Brandon Glenn MedCity News

Brandon Glenn is the Ohio bureau chief for MedCity News.
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Kathleen Malaspina
Kathleen Malaspina

I,too, was surprised that Lee Aase was not on the list. Before Lee raised the profile of social media in healthcare, a lot of people in the industry had no idea how to tackle the subject.

Shelley Webb
Shelley Webb

As the top influencer in eldercare and eldercare-seniors (I have no idea what the differentiation is), I believe that I should be on this list as well. Is eldercare NOT healthcare? That being said, Klout leaves a lot to be desired. I've been sharing via social media on my ShelleyWebbRN account since 2008 and have a score of 54 with over 9000 twitter followers and YET, my socialMediaBySW account which is only 2 months old, has just over 600 followers, has a score of 41 and has not been connected with Facebook, Google+, Linked In or 4 Square. How does this make ANY sense? (I do like the perks though....:) ~ Shelley

Rohn Jay Miller
Rohn Jay Miller

Klout is a blunt instrument that measures something, but it's sure not "social influence." They scrape social content and assign scores to people--99.5% of the people with Klout scores never registered for one. It's done without your permission and with no accountability. They assign scores to kids under 18 without accountability. Their paradigm is that all of your social influence can be reduced to a number between 1--100. Influence in what? Just look at the list above--and the important people missing from it. To glom on to a poor thought out, poorly executed idea like Klout and give it credibility with an article like this is irresponsible. Just because they have a "$30 million C round of investment," doesn't make them legitimate. Ignore this who Klout mess and wait for better, ethical means to come.

Debbie Donovan
Debbie Donovan

I agree -- Lee Aase has been leading the charge for years. I will add Jonathan Richman of Dose of Digital/Possible Worldwide. If not for him, our conservative industry's companies would totally in the dark.

Kathi Browne
Kathi Browne

Klout has a few faults in establishing the top accurately. For example, in the case of healthcare, there are several topics AND YET Health Care Reform (commonly marked as #hcr) is not an available topic AND it can't be added. For some reason, Klout doesn't pay attention to some hashtags, even though they are well-recognized. I think if you will search on some of these hashtags in healthcare, you will find there are other influentials (like @consultdoc) out there who are even more informed and generously sharing really good info. Not to take away from the value the 10 above offer. They are all great Health Care follows.