Devices & Diagnostics

The best LinkedIn groups for healthcare and life science innovation

Of all the social media websites, LinkedIn is the most career oriented. And yet it is underutilized as a source of information and discussion. LinkedIn’s groups are a great way to survey industry colleagues and discuss issues that are attracting attention in a specialized community. They can be a particularly important source for contacts and […]

Of all the social media websites, LinkedIn is the most career oriented. And yet it is underutilized as a source of information and discussion.

LinkedIn’s groups are a great way to survey industry colleagues and discuss issues that are attracting attention in a specialized community. They can be a particularly important source for contacts and networking, too.

There is the downside, though, in that you never quite know what you’re going to get. Below are a handful of groups I think are worth your time. I have steered away from company-oriented groups and, as much as I can, have avoided groups focused primarily on job seeking.

Wireless Health. The group of more than 8,326 members focuses on developing professional knowledge and relationships between professionals interested in the convergence of wireless technology with consumer health, along with clinical healthcare and medical research.  It was founded two years ago by Paul Sonnier, a mentor with New York start-up accelerator Blueprint Health.

There are links to relevant articles, such as a Health Care Blog article from Eric Topol on some of the challenges that must be overcome for digital medicine to lead to more personalized medical care; investor Esther Dyson’s thoughts on where the next investment opportunity will present itself; and one physician’s perspective that other physicians are not treating mobile health seriously.

There are also survey questions such as “Is mHealth stuck in neutral or has it shifted into second gear? Participants are quite active with 47 conversations generating 80 comments in the past week.

Care Seed Innovation Alliance. Started by the director of innovation and design solution with Kaiser Permanente Nardo Manaloto, Care Seed Innovation Alliance describes itself as a “nonprofit hub and connector organization” to help connect healthcare innovators with suitable business ventures.

Frequently updated conversation topics raise some interesting questions about the politics of innovation investment. For example, a recent thread tackled innovation in mental health and queried members on whether they thought this was an area ripe for innovation, followed by a couple of contributions from startups working in this area. It culminated in a helpful link to an article about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration pledging up to $13.2 million in new grants to support the expansion of health information technology in healthcare settings that serve people with mental and substance use disorders.

DVHIMSS. The 610-strong Delaware Valley group is part of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, an international nonprofit society focused on promoting ongoing improvement in healthcare information and management systems technology.

Although it is not regularly updated, the group does provide information on a vital group. It organizes webinars on relevant topics in emerging health IT and gives helpful updates on upcoming conferences. It also plugs you in to a network of health IT professionals, the people who are responsible for implementing the computer-based components of healthcare reform in their respective health systems and the companies and associations connected to them.

Healthcare Physician Practice Management. This 3,743-member group is a networking forum for healthcare executives and consultants to discuss physician and hospital practice management issues. Launched more than three years ago, it provides insight on some of the crucial issues faced by physician practices such as the Congressional debate over Medicare reimbursement, patient access to their healthcare data and hospital acquired infection grants. But there are also issues covered here that take a different perspective to issues covered in other groups such as how individual practices are approaching cyber security for their electronic medical record (EMR) files.

Medical Devices Group. One of the largest LinkedIn groups, with more than 86,000 members, the Medical Devices Group has so many people in it that it provides a useful window on the industry from regulatory, policy and trend perspectives. One user points members to new developments in medical device technology in China while another gives readers a head’s up on proposed medical device legislation on Capitol Hill. There are links to new innovative medical devices, new developments with big players on the sector, and discussion of upcoming conferences.

Started in 2008, it is growing at a rapid clip with 782 new members joining only last week. The group changed ownership this month and is now led by Joe Hage, CEO of Medical Marcom, a medical devices marketing consulting company. It is in the process of working its way through its 4,000-applicant backlog and has plans to have a well-moderated forum. It provides a link to medical device interviews here.

MyBio. A LinkedIn network representing the Biotechnology Industry Organization, myBio serves as a forum for the industry by providing mainly advocacy and news. Despite a claim of 1,200 members worldwide, which may be an old figure, it has more than 17,000 members on LinkedIn, with the majority hailing from New York City.

Like the medical devices group referenced  above, its growth rate is substantial (304 joined last week alone). Among the more interesting topics covered in recent weeks are: light therapy and its effect on cancer cells, Amgen investing in early stage biotech, and clinical trials moving to BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India and China.