The Wireless Health group on LinkedIn has been getting a lot of attention lately. Founded in 2009 by Paul Sonnier, the group has a steadily increasing user base that will likely hit 10,000 members this year. His Wireless Health group has also been praised in Computer World and MedCity News.
Sonnier is also a mentor at Blueprint Health, a strategic advisor at Popper and Company, and an advisor at Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance.
When asked for the secret of the group’s success, Sonnier, explained the importance of having a clear vision. “The goal of the group is not to promote a company or a person,” Sonnier says. “It is to catalyze wireless health.” The interest in the convergence of wireless technologies with healthcare has been there from the beginning, he says.
Since the group was founded, the scope of coverage has expanded to include genomics, wireless sensors, and related technologies. “The focus now is still really about health and healthcare innovation,” Sonnier says. “The mission of the group is really to engage and inform people on this topic because there is so much flying around out there, there are not a lot of filters to determine what is relevant,” he adds. “So I serve as a sort of curator,” he explains.
Through social networking, professionals active in this space educate themselves and hopefully make better business decisions or bring new products to market more quickly. To that end, Sonnier works to share insight from visionaries in the field such as iPhone ECG inventor David Albert, MD and cardiologist and geneticist Eric Topol, MD, who authored The Creative Destruction of Medicine.
While LinkedIn is well suited for connecting professionals with each other, it can be somewhat more challenging to draw in consumers on that platform. “There is already a mobile revolution and consumers get that; they love their phones,” Sonnier says. “If we can get them to really get excited about this, be aware of digital and wireless health solutions, and have new wireless technologies that are very effective, then we can get a positive feedback loop where consumers are buying more of these devices, developers are refining them and making them even more attractive,” he adds. “That can help create a consumer movement in health.”