A host of virtual “communities” are a click away these days, but true community is often hard to find in the digital age.
Community has been defined as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.” The internet was envisioned as a technology that would enable people to create online communities that transcend geographical and other barriers. There are many online community success stories, to be sure. For example, online communities serve as a tremendous source of support for individuals who are living with rare diseases, and for their family members.
But it hasn’t always worked out that way. Online communities are not necessarily safe spaces for engagement; fellowship may be transient or absent entirely, and there is often an unbridgeable gap between online and real-world experiences. Healthcare finance leaders, like other busy professionals, expect more. They are fatigued by the amount of information and messaging they receive via social streams. They are looking for something more meaningful; they are looking for connection, for a sense of belonging.
HFMA has set out to create a more robust healthcare finance community, in the truest
sense of the word. We have always been the go-to place for making real-world connections. Anyone who has experienced one of our educational conferences can attest to that. And we’re adopting a more contemporary approach to making connections during our upcoming Annual Conference, with innovations like HFMA Central, a new, all-in-one space designed to inspire natural conversations and keep the conference community together.
When it comes to the everyday opportunities to make connections, we’re very excited about our recently launched new website. Yes, you can still make a quick visit, find the information you’re looking for and get on with your day. (In fact, you can do so better than before because of the improved search function and streamlined content selections.) Now, you can also choose to get answers to your questions or address your challenges through an exchange or experience that HFMA facilitates, one that not only is more memorable — and more fun — but also can connect you with others who share your professional interests.
Through myriad ways — such as search results that include members who are experts on your chosen topic; more opportunities to contribute, rather than just receive information; and new ways to share resources peer to peer — our new website can help bridge the gap between online and real-world community. HFMA is one community, which interacts online, in person and through social channels. You choose the channel that works for you at any given time.
It may be traditional networking, which is an organic and highly valued part of face-to-face meetings at the chapter, regional and national levels. Or it may be via our new website, a platform that enables you to contribute, lead, learn, share and be part of the collective future of this organization.
I have always said that you definitely get out of this membership experience what you put into it. New opportunities abound. I can’t wait to see what you do with them.