Convention Q & A: Leveraging New Media to Leadership

As the director of external medical communications for Pfizer Medical in Nyack, NY, Vera Rulon, MS, RHIT, FAHIMA, FACMImimi, is well positioned to discuss communicating via digital and social media—and how these tools can be leveraged to enhance leadership abilities.

Rulon’s session at the upcoming AHIMA convention, “Leadership Communications in the Digital Era: An Opportunity to Bring Us Together Beyond Gender and Cultural Differences,” Monday, October 28 at 3:15 p.m., will focus on utilizing these new modes of communication to take us beyond our differences. The Journal of AHIMA recently spoke with Rulon (pictured below) about her session and what members can hope to learn.

Vera Rulon


What are you hoping members will take away from your session?

I hope that members will learn how communication has changed, but that we also have a great opportunity to rethink and redevelop our leadership skills given the digital world we live in now. I also would like members to understand that digital communications can help facilitate reducing misunderstanding of cultural differences that may get in the way of our own ability to step up and be healthcare leaders.


Is there one piece of technology of social media that HIM professionals should be focusing on now?

I don’t think there is one piece of social media that requires the greater focus, but that all these media channels (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) work in concert. You can raise awareness by leveraging all of them and by developing communication techniques that would establish you as a leader.

With regards to technology, we are in a mobile environment to stay. Even relatively new technology is becoming obsolete (remember the iPod?). My advice to HIM professionals would be to focus on and embrace smartphones as the future. Not only for communicating amongst ourselves with family and colleagues, but to find information real time. Think about how useful in healthcare it is to do remote monitoring of vital signs or getting the answer to an important question about patient care at the bed side.


How do you envision new methods of communication breaking down barriers?

I see these new methods of communication giving the ability for everyone—no matter where you are organizationally or which cultural group you are in—to step up and become leaders through raising awareness and communication objectively, and creating your own personal image. My dream is that this would start to address unconscious biases we all have. I’ll explain more on this point in my presentation.


What leadership skills will be the most important in the digital and social media age?

Listening to people, individuals, and key trends (both through your ears and eyes), and innovative thinking. With constant changes in the ways we communicate impacting healthcare, we need to be able to connect dots that we may not have connected before. So keeping an open mind, not being afraid to advocate for your values, and listening before forming conclusions will be paramount for leaders. I’d also like to emphasize that all of this new technology and social media are just that—tools to help us communicate. How you use them is the key.


1 Comment

  1. Vera,
    Look forward to your session. Mobile and social meet healthcare. Here we go!

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