Health Tech Reads: Medical Improv by Beth Boynton

Medical Improv by Beth Boynton was a really interesting read for me as I've talked to hospital systems about burnout and dealt with process improvement. So many errors in medicine are part of communication problems. Beth Boynton, RN, MS gives 15 practical tools that you can use to improve communication. 

I was reminded of a new Saturday Night Live sketch we could name- The Hospital. I would invite Patrick Dempsey and - What other famous doctors do we need to have on our improv sketch? We will discuss the book tonight on Twitter at @Healthtechreads and have 4 prompts for conversation.  ManageUpPRM is also contributing to a giveaway for this week. Their platform helps organize operations and engage employees. Maybe they can help launch a show about Medical Improv.

If you haven't finished the book yet- it's a great book for improving communication and you can get it HERE.

Questions for #HTREADS






Medical Improv

Nov 28 Health Tech Reads is Taking a break! After that join us December 5 for Dr. Rana Awdish and her book "In Shock" There is a great summary HERE.


Health Tech Reads: The Emporer of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The summary for #HTreads this week was written by Melanie Hilliard, an accomplished marketing creative in health informatics.

My history with cancer is a personal one. I’m sure I’m not the only #HTReads book club member whose life has been touched by the disease.


My father received his terminal cancer diagnosis of multiple myeloma at 49, although he had been sick for more than one year with unknown symptoms and no treatment plan. He passed at age 56 despite receiving remarkable care at the City of Hope in Duarte, California. I spent the bulk of my early 20s fighting the disease alongside him.


Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer begins with some startling statistics.


“In 2010, about six hundred thousand Americans, and more than 7 million humans around the world, will die of cancer. In the United States, one in three women and one in two men will develop cancer during their lifetime. A quarter of all American deaths, and about 15 percent of all deaths worldwide, will be attributed to cancer. In some nations, cancer will surpass heart disease to become the most common cause of death.”


I am most certainly not alone in my grief for a dying a loved one lost to cancer far too early.


Mukherjee offers up a sweeping and ambitious biography of cancer. From its first appearance in an Egyptian text written in 2500 BC to our modern-day treatments administered by doctors like Mukherjee.


Join us for the #HTReads Tweetchat on Tuesday, November 7 at 9:30 PM ET to discuss the book.


Q1: Mukerjee’s essential question is this: Is cancer’s end conceivable in the future? Why/Why not?


Q2: Is the war metaphor (i.e. the war on cancer) an apt one? What other metaphor makes sense?


Q3: What are some recent advances in health IT that are being used to improve health outcomes for patients?


Q4: Where/how does former Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative play a role in the history of cancer?


Q5: What is the patient experience like for cancer patients? How does Mukherjee portray the patient in his book? What is your personal experience?


Bonus question: Does “knowing your enemy”—knowing cancer—bring some kind of comfort?


The Emporer of all Maladies

Health Tech Reads October and November 2017 Schedule

Schedule for Health Teach Reads #HTreads for October and November 2017

October 10, 2017 Demystifying Big Data and Machine Learning in Healthcare by Prashant Natarajan

October 17, 2017 Heritage Biologics Podcast- Value Based Healthcare with Dr. Mahek Shah from Harvard Business School and Dr. Kyle Hogarth

October 24, 2017 Patients Come Second: Leading Change by Changing the Way You Lead by Paul Spiegelman

October 31, 2017 Halloween! Holiday off.

November 7, 2017 The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

November 14, 2017 EHR Workflow Management Systems: Essentials, History, Healthcare by Charles Webster, MD MSIE MSIS

November 21, 2017 Medical Improv by Beth Boynton

November 28, 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday- break

December 5, 2017 In Shock by Rana Awdish



Health Tech Reads: Demystifying Big Data and Machine Learning in Healthcare

General Guidelines for Health Tech Reads Twitter Chat:

1) Please read the book before the chat begins. We try to make content accessible if you haven't had a chance to read the book but please respect the authors and their efforts.

2)  There will be 4-6 questions, please identify your response to question by identifying which question you respond to.

3) Don't forget to use #HTReads.

4) We assume all tweets during #HTReads are your own.

5)  Follow the #HTReads twitter account for more information and updates. @healthtechreads.

6) #HTReads last one hour.

7) Through the eyes of celebrated authors and their works, #HTReads hopes to widen the conversation. 

8) #HTReads meets every Tuesday 9:30PM ET.right after #hcldr- same day- same channel.

9) Please try to stay on topic and participate with the hashtag. #HTReads.

Demystifying Big Data and Machine learning in Healthcare by Prashant Natarajan

Our very own Prashant Natarajan has written a great book about machine learning in healthcare. With all the hype where can we get great information about this topic? Which companies have something to contribute and which are vaporware? Here are the questions for the chat:

1. Is healthcare looking at the right data sets for Artificial Intelligence to be helpful?
2. What are the best use cases that you see in Artificial Intelligence and healthcare?
3. Are there things you would consider unethical about Artificial Intelligence and healthcare?
4. Healthcare has lost a lot of money on potential improvements with artificial intelligence- does healthcare lack the tech talent to scale Artificial Intelligence?
5. What is the best source of education about machine learning and healthcare? Who do you consider an expert?
6. Bonus- what is your favorite potential of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare?

This starts at Tuesday, October 10 9:30 PM EST after HCLDR chat. 

If you don't have your copy of the book yet please watch this helpful video for guidelines and join us at HealthTechReads on twitter at 9:30 PM EST.

Spotlight: Jen Horonjeff & Savvy

It is not often that you get to meet someone who is truly doing something different.  Marketing content loves to toss around words like disruptive and game-changer, but when you meet someone who really is disruptive – you are not likely to forget it.   When I walked away from my initial meeting with Jen Horonjeff I knew that she was the real deal.

Jen Horonjeff and her business partner Ronnie Sharpe have come together to create something that is truly unique in the healthcare landscape.  The organization that they have started,  Savvy Cooperative is a new breed of business called a “Platform Coop.”   “A platform co-op is a digital platform — a website or mobile app that is designed to provide a service or sell a product — that is collectively owned and governed by the people who depend on and participate in it.” Writes Maria Sutton on

Jen explains that this is the ideal structure for the type of platform that Savvy is:   A web based tool to enable scientific and market researchers in healthcare to connect directly with patients.  The patient community (The savvy crowd as Jen calls them) can share their experiences to help drive patient driven solutions in healthcare, while also sharing in the profits of the cooperative as members.  

Talking to Jen about Savvy – her passion and energy were palpable.  Jen grew up with Juvenile arthritis and has been active in the Arthritis patient community for years.   Through her life experience and her connections to that patient community she saw a need.   She described getting calls frequently to be in focus groups, take surveys and connect with academic researchers because her name was known.   She knew that the people who were requesting her time had little access to patient communities and she wanted to find a way to make things easier both for them and for patients.   Often the patients who become vocal patient advocates can be overwhelmed by multiple requests because they are the visible and accessible person to the industry.

The Savvy Cooperative is a breath of fresh air in an industry that struggles with true patient engagement and involvement – and holds the potential to bring patients to the table in a meaningful way in the world of Healthcare.     Check out Jen’s own writings about Savvy on Medium.    Membership to the Coop will be launching this month, so be sure to check it out. 

Health Tech Reads: Nudge

Our selected reading this week, Nudge, comes to us from the recommendation of Joe Babaian. Joe is one of the co-founders of Healthcare Leader (#hcldr), a weekly blog and chat that centers around the cutting edge of healthcare, patients and the innovations leading change. The chat occurs each Tuesday at 8:30pm Eastern Standard Time and brings together doctors, patients, entrepreneurs, consultants and innovators who wish to learn, engage and collaborate. Healthcare Leader chat is one of the foremost healthcare chats on Twitter, so please join in, if you have yet to partake in this excellent academia based event.

Nudge Health by Megan Janas, Joe Babaian, & Melanie Hilliard
The book we have just engaged with, Nudge, can be applied to almost any area where humans
might need a little extra information, a little more knowledge, or a little more incentive to act. However, there is enormous opportunity to engage people with their health and even the healthcare system itself, by offering guidance and direction. Humans are not designed to be omniscient. We make mistakes, we err, we lean into our habits. (A lot.) We understand that we should exercise, or eat more vegetables- but very often, we fail to do so. And this process just repeats and repeats. Our collective failure, (through our individual habits), are coming at an enormous cost to us in America. We are increasingly overweight, are suffering cardiovascular problems, have diabetes, cholesterol issues and our sedentary lifestyles are only exacerbating these ailments. We are at a critical juncture where healthcare costs are skyrocketing and we are increasingly sicker, at younger ages. These problems seem severe, but there is hope to alleviate our health epidemics. We can “Nudge.”
Nudges cannot just happen- they must be constructed within a framework. We need a guide, a
device, a program, or direction. We need a “Choice Architect” to assist us with discovering the nudges. A choice architect is anyone who has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions. Choice architects are doctors, designers, employers, software systems, forms, apps- anything that helps someone make a decision, is described as a choice architect.

Thaler and Sunstein define Nudge as any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s
behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates.

By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge
kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it’s time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gently nudging them in directions that will make their lives better.

Increasingly, we are witnessing something quite amazing happening with companies like Apple
and Fitbit. Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit have entered the health and wellness space to assist us with our physical activity. These choice architecture devices are nudging us- through notifications- to walk, stand up, take more steps, complete challenges and engage with our everyday movement like never before. These devices are making it easier for us to engage directly with our activity, daily. This is just a glimpse leading to a whole new frontier of devices nudging us to take action with our health. The future is ripe with possibility to shape and direct health- the question is, what will we do with our newfound choice architecture? How will we nudge people into their best health? How will we nudge healthcare into tomorrow?
“Nudge.” by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein. Penguin Books (2008, 2009)

1. Do you agree with the author’s assertion that choice architecture can be used to nudge us in
beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice?
2. What is the responsibility of providers to help patients make better health decisions?
3. What are some of the pre-existing biases that the healthcare industry believes about
patients (that may or may not be correct)?
4. How can nudges be used to improve population health?
5. How does choice overload affect a person’s ability to make healthy life choices?
6. Where do you see the most promise for choice architecture and healthcare? Apple?
Wearables? Devices? Something else?

Health Tech Reads: The Human Company Playbook

This week Health Tech Reads will be discussing human centered companies. A healthy company allows for individual growth and maximizes potential. I spoke with Sara Holoubeck about building a business that is Human friendly. I was really impressed with your work for improving companies and looking at human factors and personal needs. This week we are discussing Human Centered design and work life balance. What has your experience been with work life balance? Have you ever left a company for personal issues? Please discuss with the hashtags #htreads and #humanco as we look at the guided readings and questions this week.

The questions for the discussion are:

1. What are some "Human Centered" policies that you've seen at companies that you've worked for?

2. What are your main values? Do you think they align with the values of business in Healthcare?

3. If you could implement one policy at your company from the readings- what would it be? Should policies be different in a healthcare company?

4. How do companies balance productivity and policy- such as family leave or treatment for addiction? Who should be responsible for corporate costs? Should government programs pay for childcare expenses or corporations or individuals?

5. One of the readings has the quote “I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day..." Have you seen this attitude in your workplace or life? What are the implications of this kind of attitude?



human company designs.png

September 19: Improved Community Health Depends on Knowing the Extent of Social Deprivation. Robert Graham Center- link and related articles.

September 26: Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein


General Guidelines for Health Tech Reads Twitter Chat:

1) Please read the book before the chat begins.

2)  There will be 4-6 questions, please identify your response to question by identifying which question you respond to.

3) Don't forget to use #HTReads.

4) We assume all tweets during #HTReads are your own.

5)  Follow the #HTReads twitter account for more information and updates. @healthtechreads.

6) #HTReads last one hour.

7) Through the eyes of celebrated authors and their works, #HTReads hopes to widen the conversation. 

8) #HTReads meets every Tuesday 9:30PM ET.right after #hcldr- same day- same channel.

9) Please try to stay on topic and participate with the hashtag. #HTReads.

Health Tech Reads: No More Mr Nice Guy

No More Mr. Nice Guy from Dr. Robert Glover is our book this week.

Suddenly book club got a bit personal for me this week. I was interested in the idea that nice guys are not, in fact, very nice. Lying to someone is a trait of someone trying to be nice. After my husband passed I quickly made a rule. IfI was out with someone and they explained being single as them being "too nice" it was a MAJOR red flag.  When they say they don't do drama. Prepare yourself- because they do, in fact, do drama. Similarly, the men and women I've worked with who self identified as "nice" were often the meanest and least honest about their intentions. I've also found myself resenting people in projects after offering to do more than I thought was my fair share.

Tuesday September 6, 2017 we will be discussing No More Mr. Nice guy online from 9:30 pm EST to 10:30 PM EST. We will post questions and invite everyone to answer and interact.  CLICK HERE to get a copy- it's a great book and comes in ebook format.



Questions for this week:

1. What was your take away from the book?

2. Have you ever experienced "Nice" behaviors that were not nice? Do you push down who you are to be "nice."

3. How does the philosophy that if you are nice, you should have your needs fulfilled translate in the workplace?

4. What kind of emotions did the book bring up for you?

5. What do you think the ideal you would look like?

6. Bonus: What are the hidden selves that we have?

Brace yourselves- there are some actually really kind men in the HTreads community. We've also had a lot of great discussion about women's roles and misogyny in healthcare. Personally I've wondered if this book was a great choice since Doyenne Connections is a female group. Last week though I heard- the women who are above each other are not doing each other any favors. I also had a friend message- men are like a bus - a new one comes around every 10 minutes. I personally thought to myself- some of the people who like this book are pretty bad at listening. Being aware of how difficult it is to find a safe place for complexity in roles is something I am hoping to see from the discussion Tuesday night. The balance between being a bulldozer and being honest is a hard one. I've been told I'm aggressive in business both as a compliment and criticism.

Oh the stories we could tell... Please share your stories about honesty and the book "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

From his website:

No More Mr. Nice Guy

“I’m a Nice Guy. I’m one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.”

I was proud to make that statement about myself through much of my early adult life. I was a Nice Guy. I wanted to treat people well, and I wanted to be liked. I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t have a similar personal mantra.

While in my early 30’s, in spite of my unwavering faith in this philosophy, my life was in crises. One marriage had ended. A second one wasn’t going so well. My career dreams were stalled. I was frustrated, resentful, and confused. If you talked to the people closest to me, I wasn’t so nice.

I decided to start working on my situation. I joined a men’s group and started working with a therapist. Honestly, my initial goal was to find out why the people around me weren’t responding so well to my Nice Guy philosophy, and I wanted to find out how to get them to change.

Within a short amount of time, I came to see that the problem was ME. I had an agenda. I had no boundaries. I was indirect. I was passive-aggressive. I wasn’t honest. I wasn’t always so nice.

As I was making these discoveries about myself, I noticed that married men I worked with in my practice as a marriage therapist were making the same kind of statements about their partners that I had been making about mine:

  • “How come I always seem to give so much more than I get?”

  • “All I want is to be appreciated. Is that asking too much?”

  • “I can never do it right.”

  • “She’s always mad.”

  • “When will it be my turn?”

  • “She never wants to have sex anymore.”

I could finish their sentences for them.

Read the rest of the summary HERE

Dr. Robert Glover, author of No More Mr. Nice Guy


September 12: Human Company Playbook- read the Manifesto and watch the video. They are also on Twitter- we will discuss human centered company design.

September 19: Improved Community Health Depends on Knowing the Extent of Social Deprivation. Robert Graham Center- link and related articles.

September 26: Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein


General Guidelines for Health Tech Reads Twitter Chat:

1) Please read the book before the chat begins.

2)  There will be 4-6 questions, please identify your response to question by identifying which question you respond to.

3) Don't forget to use #HTReads.

4) We assume all tweets during #HTReads are your own.

5)  Follow the #HTReads twitter account for more information and updates. @healthtechreads.

6) #HTReads last one hour.

7) Through the eyes of celebrated authors and their works, #HTReads hopes to widen the conversation. 

8) #HTReads meets every Tuesday 9:30PM ET.right after #hcldr- same day- same channel.

9) Please try to stay on topic and participate with the hashtag. #HTReads.




Health Tech Reads: Precision Medicine: Genomic Profiles to Individualize Therapy

This week for Health Tech Reads we decided to read an article. Precision Genomics are a topic of interest for Health IT vendors and providers. Prashant Natarajan is sharing his article Precision Medicine: Genomic Profiles to Individualize Therapy. The goal of Health Tech Reads is to promote access to books and increase knowledge for STEM. Every week we chat about interesting things we read and also invite people to select a school and donate books or get involved in their local Health Tech community through mentoring. Want to get involved or sponsor a week? Contact us on Twitter. Please also know that our friends at #HCLDR are promoting raising money for the Red Cross for a hurricane relief efforts. 

The question for discussion are:

  1. "Precision medicine" is evolutionary. How do you define it in practical terms?
  2. What type of data can/should be aggregated from machine learning?
  3. What type of data can/should be collected through smart devices?
  4. Referring to Q2 and 3, how much should we rely on patient-generated data?
  5. Can applying precision medicine techniques alone improve internal/external workflows? If so, how?
  6. Can you keep bias out of precision medicine when integrating SDOH & BDOH into it?
  7. Bonus: How do we apply precision medicine principles to immunotherapies when data ownership is of the essence?

This week the Research Loop is part of the chat today. They have a fantastic way to improve clinical knowledge and care. A little about them:

The Research Loop transforms research  by adding the patient and caregiver voice in a whole new way.  It closes the gap between when a completed study is published and before new research starts. By registering and filling out the Offering Feedback to Researchers form, patients and caregivers can give input on published research to highlight ways future research can improve.  The feedback offered to researchers can help them with their future work by helping them identify issues that matter to patients and caregivers and improve the quality of research.

To start giving feedback you can register at

And feel free to take a look at some of our educational resources at

I registered at the site and it was pretty painless. I'm planning to give feedback about this article.

Next week our book is: No More Mr. Nice Guy.


I'm hoping to hear a lot of comments from Women in tech about it!