Let’s face it. Many of us have a complicated relationship with social media. On the personal side, it is nice to follow old high school friends and share pictures. On the business front, social media has enabled us to reach beyond traditional relational capabilities in order to tap into global perspectives and opportunities.

But social media, and its seemingly endless possibilities, can be overwhelming. While it provides an environment rich in collaboration, it isn’t always effective or efficient. For health care, where the goal isn’t just to improve the overall health of the population, but also to meet a plethora of regulatory and legislative mandates, collaboration is key. So the question is: How can we stay focused in a world with no boundaries while collaborating effectively and efficiently?

Health care leaders from across the field came together with vendors that have decades of experience supporting the field’s evolving needs to answer that very question — to find a better way to connect, collaborate and encourage transparency in the sharing of their successes. Together, we recognized that there was an opportunity for collaboration to propel health care forward, and the American Hospital Association stepped up to the challenge.

After one year of development, I’m thrilled to report that our ambitious idea to improve traditional social networking through a targeted, streamlined approach to health care collaboration is now a reality known as AHA SmartMarket. Completely free of charge for health care professionals, AHA SmartMarket brings together field veterans, innovators and everyone across the care continuum with one common goal — to drive health care forward.

So join me, join the AHA community, join nearly 1,500 of your peers and join more than 1,000 vendors on AHA SmartMarket. The field is changing, and it’s up to you to influence its direction.

Anthony Burke is senior vice president of the American Hospital Association, and president and CEO of AHA SmartMarket and AHA Solutions, both AHA subsidiaries.