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Posts Tagged ‘HIMSS17’

Imitation is NOT the Most Sincere Form of Flattery

Monday, June 5th, 2017
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My cat, Jack, the original thinker.

Someone allegedly once said (Colton?) that ‘imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.’

Both I, along with my cat Jack, respectfully disagree.

Cats kind of do their own thing, and that is probably one of the biggest reasons why I’m a cat person over a dog person. (Although, nothing against dogs, I just grew up with cats; I’m an equal opportunity pet lover.) But my preference isn’t the point.

The point is, I appreciate that cats are original.

‘Copycat,’ on the other hand, is a term with unclear origins, but there’s one thing I do know: the term is not a flattering one. It basically means “imitation of another,” and originally was associated with crime.

Lately, it seems there’s a lot of similarities among several pharmacists who write and publish with very similar topics to each other, which is rather incestuous, in my mind. Nearing 290,000 pharmacists in the US, along with hundreds of different types of practice settings available, one would think there’s less similarities. I’ll also come out and say it – some of my own work has been copied recently and not so recently, and while I’ve never read any of it beyond the titles, it’s not a sincere form of flattery; it’s just a copy of something that’s already been done. You’re frankly not doing anyone in the universe a service by regurgitating others’ work…we need you to be solving original problems–ESPECIALLY in healthcare!

On the other hand, everything has probably already been done before, and while I understand that counter argument–that’s not an excuse to pump out second rate stuff and imitate others incessantly. That energy should go toward making progress instead of wasting it.

So, I wanted to write a quick post with some gentle suggestions I personally use to be original. These below are steps I employ to try and do innovative work that is not copycat. I’m going to go ahead and ironically imitate myself here, because most of what I’m about to write I’ve already written in other places…

7 Steps to Be an Original (And Less of a Copycat):

  1. Hang out with people not like you - There’s a joke in pharmacy (and I’m sure several other professions) that it is small and somewhat incestuous, in that you always see and hear from the same people over and over at pharmacy meetings every year. Pharmacy also has one of the highest rates of marriage in the same profession, in that both spouses are much more likely to both be pharmacists (according to a calculator produced in the NY Times a couple of years ago). It really is a small world. So, remedy this if your profession is small too and - get out and hang out in other worlds! Hang with people not like you. Some of my most creative friends have absolutely nothing to do with healthcare and pharmacy, and I LOVE working with them, because they force me to get out of the pharmacy and healthcare boxes and think differently. You can do this virtually by following people online too – just DO NOT COPY them! You can also study what their big gnarly problems are and how they are solving them. Could those solutions apply to your industry?
  2. Read books outside of your comfort zone - After 4-7 years of undergrad/pharmacy school, most pharmacy students are burned out on reading and studying pharmacology, med chem and pharmacy administration. If you’ve been cramming for your professional credentials, and you’ve earned them, do yourself a favor and take a break from them on occasion. Read a thriller, or a trashy novel, or try to read a book on the topic you never had the chance to study in undergrad that you were fascinated by. I’m always trying to learn more about quantum physics. (Although, much of it still blows my mind–I wonder how healthcare works in the other parallel universes?) I love art. I’m reading about ethical decision making in big data right now. READ stuff that isn’t in your normal profession. Same idea as #1 – it will force your brain to work in different ways.
  3. Listen to podcasts that are different - Same reasons as 1 & 2, and they’re free and perfect for you if you commute and/or work out regularly.
  4. Attend at least one meeting outside of your profession once a year - This year, I went to HIMSS17. I’m going to #BlogHer17. I spoke at SXSW. These are 3 meetings I’ve never been part of or attended before…ever. I’m speaking at Indy Big Data and Social Media Dames (#SMDames17) this year, on topics that have very little or nothing to do with pharmacy. While I admit that I’m very lucky to have the time and resources to attend and participate in all these meetings, you may need to make some tough choices and only attend one meeting outside your profession due to time or financial constraints. If this means cutting back on your first profession’s meetings, it still might be worth it for you, IF you’re constantly trying to find new ideas, rather than recycling everybody else’s stuff inside your profession.
  5. Focus on your own stuff - Comparison really is the thief of joy. Both of these aforementioned statements I did not originate – to be clear, but I do practice these to stay original. As I stated above, I pay attention to what’s going on out there in my profession, but if I see copycat articles, I really don’t read past the headlines. I’m focused on what I’m going to do NEXT. What’s still missing? What’s an unmet need? Frankly, healthcare needs more innovation anyway – so I’m going to focus on fixing more problems over here, rather than wasting my time on critiquing copycats over there. If you’ve actually been lucky enough to find something that has never been tried or done before–run with it*–you just received a fabulous gift from the universe! (*As long as it’s not going to hurt you or someone else.)
  6. Travel - Get out of your daily ‘to-do.’ While travel sounds expensive, it doesn’t have to be…hop on a bus or in your car and drive to a city an hour away for dinner. Take a road trip on your weekend off. Go see how other people live! Get out of your routine. The weirder and the more remote the travel, the better. When I went to Beijing for a month, I appreciated small things, like being able to drink tap water, and ICE when I got home. I don’t take cold drinks and potable tap water for granted anymore! Travel makes you appreciate different ways of living, but most of all, makes you appreciate the small things that we really take for granted every day in our lives, and again forces you to adapt and flexibly think about your approach to the universe.
  7. Thank people who help you - The world owes each of us absolutely nothing. Kick entitlement to the curb immediately. When people help you out, call them out on it and celebrate! Catch them doing something good, and share it with the world. Send them a thank you note. Ask them how you can help them in return. Never skip over the gratitude part and just start copying them, either. That’s a big middle finger to them helping you, actually.  You’re already in the social capital hole with them in the first place, and then to turn around and copy them is just digging yourself into a deeper hole, which eventually will come back to bite you in the dupa via karmic retribution. (If I catch people doing this once with me, they don’t get a second chance to do it again.  And yes, I have a clear list in my mind of the guilty here, and while I won’t name names, I’ll never, ever forget who made this naughty list. I digress.) Gratitude can become a spiral upward prophecy, because if you start thanking people around you, they in turn return the favor and pay it forward. Sometimes people aren’t even aware of the impact that they have on us for original ideas, and so when we find that eureka moment and it was due to a chat we had with someone, we need to recognize and foster that behavior by promoting gratitude. It also can help us attract more innovators and creatives into our lives. Most of all, people are helping you with their most precious resource of all – their time. And time you never get back, so be sure you’re approaching your gratitude with enthusiasm, because you got lucky that others helped you – they didn’t have to!

There. I wanted to share this on this very crazy Monday with you, as these seven steps really help me be more creative in the work that I do and deliver to the universe. Let’s keep it as original as we can out there – the universe needs us to stop wasting time being copycats and start being original problem solvers!

___

Erin Albert is a writer, podcaster, pharmacist, curator, lawyer and original thinker–the last bit of which she shares in common with her cat, Jack.

 

HIMSS17 Recap Show – Pharmacy Podcast

Saturday, March 4th, 2017
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HIMSS17

I am HIMSS virgin no more.

Listen to our HIMSS17 recap show – if you’re a pharmacist, or if you’re curious about this event but have never attended.  Also, you might want to listen to this show if you exhibited at HIMSS and want to know how to maximize your presence at a huge healthcare conference overall.  Most of all, if you’d like help in your booth with podcasting the rock stars at your next conference or event, let us know. (Specifically, let Todd know.)

I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended this amazing show!

HIMSS17 – You’re Doing it Right

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
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Yours truly, along with founder of the #pinksocks movement, @Nickisnpdx (L), and Joe Lavelle of Intrepid Healthcare (R).

Well, I’ve tried to absorb as much knowledge as I can before my head explodes at #HIMSS17 this week. It’s been a BLAST talking to so many rockstars of HIT and healthcare that I’m starstruck!

One of the coolest new methods of learning for me at the meeting was actually co-hosting at Intrepid Healthcare’s #JoinTheConversation podcast desk at Experian Health with Joe Lavelle in place of Todd Eury as a co-host of the Pharmacy Podcast for a few of the episodes.  I even had a slip in the NCPDP session where I created a new word (adjudification = faster adjudication of healthcare claims. You’re welcome.)

What I also realized in that the harmless invite of asking people I’d only worked with on the phone or via Skype in the past to the booth was that it really boosted traffic for the space.  So much so that it would be wise for orgs going to large scale meetings in the future would benefit from having live podcasting from their booths.  Just saying!

If you need help with this at your next big pharmacy meeting booth, I’m certain that Todd Eury would be happy to help you out, or in the broader healthcare community, Joe would.  Either org is great, and podcasting is where all the cool action is these days…just ask me and my new pink socks.

The other thing HIMSS did really well was having a social media team of ambassadors - I think EVERY trade show (inside or outside of pharmacy) should have one. These are digital influencers that can spread the halo of all the awesome things happening at your conference online through social portals.  And let’s face it – who better to spread the word on a conference than those who would be at the conference anyway, speaking at the conference, and being the awesome thought leaders that they always are?  And, I’ll go critical on my first profession for a moment: we don’t have enough social media ambassadors in pharmacy. For whatever reason – we need more pharmacists tweeting, Facebook live-ing, Periscoping, Pinning, you name it. (And HIMSS, if you need a pharmacist for 18 into social media – I’d be happy to help!)

These are the items I will definitely retain from #HIMSS17.

#HIMSS17 by HERS

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

I’ve got my hat, my puppets and my #HIMSSVirgin T shirt packed!  See you next week at HIMSS, and thanks to Mandi Bishop and Kristin Eilenberg for helping me understand what I need to do in advance of this monster meeting! (And thanks Todd, for letting me record this show!)