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Galen Healthcare Solutions: Allscripts Consultants Enterprise EHR

January-16-2012

8:31
Does your practice utilize the Finish Note task in Allscripts Enterprise EHRTM?  If you answered yes, then this blog is for you. In this article, I wanted to show you two possible outcomes when working in your  v11 Note. You will notice that there are two similar workflows to add and commit clinical data in the [...]

January-13-2012

12:20
In the past on this blog, we’ve addressed the top data integration challenges as well as the ROI of a results interface. Recently, Health Management Technology featured a related article on the economics of interfaces. The key points from the article were as follows:   Opportunity Cost True Investment Integration is not simple Pitfalls of proprietary Features [...]

January-9-2012

8:42
 In this demo, we will present Allscripts Enterprise EHR and RelayHealth Portal integration capability. This solution facilitates seamless integration between the two applications, offering single sign-on, messaging between provider and patient,and patient online indicator functionality. Contact us today so your organization can realize the compelling benefits of Enterprise EHR RelayHealth Portal integration.

January-5-2012

8:02
  CMS released a couple of updates last month regarding Meaningful Use and the EHR incentive program. I wanted to pass this information along to our readers. In their December 7 update, CMS indicated that “HHS announced its intention to delay the start of Stage 2 meaningful use  for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive [...]

December-21-2011

20:16
Often times, clients take the approach that their interfaces are functioning as designed and don’t want to risk “breaking” the interfaces by making adjustments. However,  these interfaces may not be performing at maximum efficiency and/or may not be optimized to prevent errors. This issue is magnified for larger clients with a high volume of transactions. [...]

December-19-2011

7:00
Recently, I’ve seen several clients struggle to understand this issue and I’d like to give some information about what causes it and how to correct it. There are several levels at which a Requested Performing Location (RPL) can be linked to a Billing Location. The highest such level is in the Requested Performing Location Dictionary [...]
Blog url: 
http://blog.galenhealthcare.com/
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Medicine and Technology [part of HCPLive]

January-17-2012

22:59
The ePharma Consumer® study found that 42 percent of online adults agree that pharmaceutical companies should be involved in online health communities for consumers.


January-17-2012

22:22
Do you know how to monitor where your staff may be in terms of resistance or support for a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) system? Learn about the processes to ensure they have proper tools, training and support.


January-11-2012

17:46
To get the New Year off to a healthy start, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is launching the Healthy New Year Video Challenge, the first in a series of video challenges.


January-10-2012

21:15
AMA Insurance Agency Inc., recently announced its “Take a Trip with Timmy Global Health” contest. Two winners will be selected to spend 2-3 weeks with US and developing world medical professionals working to expand access to quality healthcare in Guatemala, Ecuador, or the Dominican Republic.


January-10-2012

7:01
Get ready for the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) annual conference where attendees will learn about topics like Meaningful Use, HITECH, HIE, standards, interoperability and more.


January-9-2012

7:01
In the New Year, save some time out of your busy schedule. Here are 3 simple tips from Doximity physicians that can help you do that.


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MedTech and Devices

Health IT Nerd

June-9-2009

1:57
Look, this blog isn't supposed to be about healthcare politics. It's supposed to be about healthcare IT. But the intersection between the two is enough that I feel justified in commenting about this blog entry that one of my spies alerted me to.

The Kennedy-Dodd bill would create an individual mandate requiring you to buy a “qualified” health insurance plan, as defined by the government.  If you don’t have “qualified” health insurance for a given month, you will pay a new Federal tax.

And then it continues with a whole lot of analysis, which my spy aptly summarized as:

Take all the things that are off about US healthcare, ignore them, and heave a corporate subsidy into place as a solution.

Well, I think that's a pretty good summary. But that's what they did with the wunch of bankers, so why would you expect anything different in healthcare?

As I said, I had hoped that “Change we can believe in” didn’t mean that kind of change the Health IT Nerd believes in, the kind that I usually see in the healthcare system – namely, just a different kind of stupid. But it looks like that's what we're getting, and what we're going to continue to get. 

I say that because just like every 'reform' proposal is stupid, every criticism has its own built in time bombs. Take, for example, this:

Those who keep themselves healthy would be subsidizing premiums for those with risky or unhealthy behaviors

Just think that one through. Who's going to say, 'well, you know, someone else is going to pay my healthcare costs, so I'll drink myself into the ground'? Look, I know plenty of people who are drinking themselves into the ground, but for most of them, the availability of healthcare sure doesn't factor into that choice (and for the few that it is, it's the fact that they can't get the healthcare they need that means they have no reason not to drink).

And just how do you think any form of healthcare coverage works, from pay-for-yourself-as-you-go through to a fully collectivized economy? The healthy pay for the sick, either by saving up for when they're sick, or entering into some cost sharing scheme known as "insurance" or "tax" whereby their sickness risks are shared to the mutual benefit of all. 

So, the real question here is, do people indulge in risky or unhealthy behaviors because their consequential healthcare is subsidized? Economists believe this sort of stuff as a matter of religion, but real people don't make health decisions like that based on financial considerations. They're far more... emotional. Anyway, it's not as if private insurance schemes are really successful at preventing those with risky or unhealthy behaviors from getting coverage. No, what they're good at is preventing those with risky or unhealthy heritages or histories from getting coverage, which is a whole different kettle of fish (usually called discrimination).

Another typical claim of the opponents of national healthcare services is this:

force patients to accept what a bureaucrat deems “proper” healthcare regardless of what the patient deems proper care

Yes, I can see why people are skeptical about accepting what a government bureaucrat thinks is best. I sure can. After all, the government bureaucrats have no stake in the outcomes either way, what would they care?

So I've got a heaps better idea: instead, we'll let some company decide what proper healthcare you should get, and you can pay them for that instead of relying on the government. After all, they have a stake in the game, which is that the less healthcare you get, the more profit they make. Yep, definitely an all-round better idea! I can see why everyone wants to go for that. (at least, that is, it's a better deal for the people who own the insurance companies, who seem to be the only ones at the table)

Ahh, but wait, the economists will be saying right now, you've missed the key point, which is that it's all about choice. If the consumer has choice, then the insurers will be forced to compete to give us the best deal, and that'll be much better than if the government takes that choice away. 

Well, my response to that is three-fold. 
  1. if you are economist, have you actually heard about transaction costs? (and see also this about free market efficiency)
  2. for the rest of us who live in the real world, does the word "cartel" sound familiar? At least you vote for the government (and round the rest of the world, governments routinely get voted out over the state of their health systems)
  3. yep, choice itself is a good thing, but the mere fact that the government is going to provide healthcare doesn't mean choice goes away. 
Just to reinforce that last point, to my knowledge only Canada prohibits a private healthcare system. Because only Canada has USA as a realistic option for providing the second-tier healthcare system- because everyone needs a two-tier system (everyone important anyway). 

Not that any of this matters anyway - as long as the government is paying, then nothing will change. The costs will keep climbing like a rocket. In addition to the reasons I explained earlier, also because as long as the government is just paying, people (I guess we have to call those beasts running the health insurers that) will be just ripping the government off, and we've just been shown how to do that on a grand scale in a real expert fashion. That's why in other countries, the government is not only payer, it's also provider. 

Anyhow, as long as morons are running around making these kinds of claims, and voters are listening, then there won't be any real progress on healthcare in USA. But it seems to me that these kinds of concerns are built into the very fabric of USA, part of the basic social contract enshrined in the constitution: what's good for me is what's good for everybody. And, therefore, vice versa: what's good for everyone can be judged by whether it's good for me. USA is a country founded on a very different set of principles than other countries. Accordingly, it can't have the kind of healthcare system other countries can have, and comparisons with other countries (such as seen here on The Big Picture) are pointless and misleading. Because USA isn't ever going to achieve the outcomes other countries can - and neither can the other countries achieve what USA does. 

See, if you choose individual wealth over shared wellness, then that's what you're going to get.


March-30-2009

17:40
You hear at all the time: the problem with socialized healthcare is that it leads to waiting lists, people waiting too long for operations. Months, I hear, people have to wait months for operations you shouldn’t have to wait for, and sometimes they even die before the operation can happen.

Well, I say that’s crap.

Let’s start with some mathematics. Let’s say that we have a population P, and D, the rate occurrence of a particular condition that requires treatment.

Now let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that P is large enough – major city size,> 1,000,000 – to provide some constancy in statistics. So you can tell right away that we’re dismissing rural medicine. Stupid hillbillies who still live out in the boondocks, what the hell do we care about them anyway? All decent people live in slums cities with at least that number of people in it.

A P that large means that the rate of D is basically fairly constant, with the daily rate of Dd having a standard distribution around the mean D, and an approximate Standard Deviation of √D.

Look, these are rough statistics, and you know the drill: lies, lies, and statistics. But if I had a polished statistician go over this stuff, instead of the weird Health IT Nerd, the picture wouldn’t change that much.

So we have this condition occurring Dd number of times per day in the city. Now let’s say that this condition requires treatment on the same day. If this treatment is not provided, the patient will die. Perhaps the condition is extreme exhaustion from exposure to the political shenanigans associated with the bail-out, and the treatment is to be forced to read the War Nerd. Or we could try taking life seriously and posit that the condition is a renal stone, and the treatment is ultrasonic destruction of the stone. (Not that this is generally highly successful, but I’ve always though it’s the perfect procedure: we’ve got a problem – a real painful one, so what we’re going to do is have a good scream at it for a little while, and see if it goes away all by itself.)

Whatever, there’s a rate T, the number of treatments for the condition that can be provided in a day. Unlike D, this number is not subject to a normal statistical variation. Instead, it’s influenced by the availability of staff and long term institutional policies (which often produce unexpected results on the value of T). So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that T is a fixed constant.

If T is less than D, then this is a disastrous outcome - the queue for services will rapidly grow longer and people will die. The queue will get shorter on some days, but in general it will grow longer. However the length of the queue is limited by the number of people who die before they get to the front of the queue. So eventually the queue will stop growing. (So next time you hear of a long queue, understand: the people waiting aren't dying like flies while they're waiting...)

If T = D, then the queue will quickly reach a steady state – but roughly 50% of people will still have to wait until the next day. (Actually, it starts out much lower than that – a small number miss out on some days, say when Dd = D + 1 * √D. And they get carried over to the next day, where they compete with Dd for that day. The eventual outcome of this, what the average carry over is, depends on a variety of modeling and simulation assumptions, but as a rule of thumb, about 50% get carried over the next iteration.)

So when T = D, only 50% of the target is met. Note that like the previous case, the actual length of the queue depends on the number of people who die before treatment.

As T > D, and the gap increases, the percentage chance that a patient will have to wait until the next day drops – but T has to be quite a bit bigger than D before it approaches 0. (How much bigger depends on the value of D, given that the standard deviation of D was posited to be √D, but a useful rule of thumb is T = D + (3 x √D) gives 1% missed targets)

This is well and good, but what does it mean?

If you want to have immediate treatment available, you have to build considerably more than the average required treatment capacity into the system.

This is true for almost all kinds of treatment, whether obstetrics, oncology, cardiology, or what. You just plug different numbers in, and different requirements, but the same basic principles are in play.

Note that it’s mostly not as bad as it sounds because many treatments share a common set of resources, particularly facilities and staff. By pooling these things, the overall size of D increases, and the ratio of D/√D goes up, and the built in waste is ameliorated.

Nevertheless, you need to have excess capacity built into the system. Now this is hardly a radical conclusion – it arises in other industries all the time, particularly in telecommunications and transportation, and it’s a pretty well understood problem.

But people seem to forget this when they start talking about health, and we have these stupid debates about resources and waiting lists. In these, people not only ignore the simple principles above, they also ignore the fact that no society on earth can afford to pay for unlimited healthcare, let alone have excess capacity in the system.

So, how do you limit the resources available without creating waiting queues? Want a hint?

You can’t.

Well, actually, I lie. You can. But only if you deny some people access to the queue at all. Then they turn into a “totally negative healthcare outcome” instead of screwing up your statistics (i.e. they screw someone else’s stats up. Since funding is linked to statistics in most jurisdictions, this is just a way of externalizing the costs).

So, you choose: the immoral or the distasteful? Which is it to be?

Though there’s a third option. The way this works is simple: You know that a queue has to exist, but you personally don’t want to wait. So you create a two-tier system that ensures you don’t have to wait when you need the treatment, that someone else will wait. Or miss out altogether.

This only really works well if you can arrange that everyone who matters is in the top tier, and people in the second tier are such losers that they either don’t have representation (e.g. communist paradises)  or don’t have the wit or leverage to be heard anyway (say, UAW members ;-). Note that this can only work if the second-tier people fund the first tier some way or other (kind of socialism in reverse).

I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself how well your country manages this issue, whether you’re happy with the way the case-by-case decision is made, whether it’s going to be the immoral or the distasteful for you and your loved ones.§


But next time you hear someone discussing the disgraceful state of waiting lists in [country/system/state] as compared to [other country/system/state], ask yourself: how are the statistics lying this time? How many people had a totally negative outcome before the possibly positive outcome got counted? And who were they?

§ The correct answer to the question above is ‘no, I’m not happy’. It doesn’t matter which country you live in. Tricky huh?

p.s. Here’s an excellent example of this stuff in practice, quoted from
http://tedstumor.blogspot.com/2009/03/natasha-richardson-epidural-hemorrhage.html
“It's important to ask this question, because this is precisely the situation where the Canadian-type health care system -- much touted by reform advocates -- tends to fail Canadians.”
Yes, the Canadian government makes one set of decisions. These weight some situations preferentially over others. And then:
“In the United States if someone falls and hits her head and then an hour later is rushed to the emergency room you can bet she will get a STAT CT scan and immediate neurosurgical attention.”
This is another set of decisions. Because there’s a word or two missing from this paragraph – this doesn’t apply to all citizens, only to those with “coverage” – a number steadily decreasing at this time. Both of these are two-tier systems. The Canadians just outsource their first tier to USA – works well for everything but emergency medicine.

January-18-2009

5:16
It’s Christmas time. [Well, okay, it’s not anymore. This was written before Christmas, but the one friend I do have reviews these posts first, and he disappeared on holiday beforehand, so I’m only getting to post it now].

It’s a hard time of year for everyone, especially if you have any sense of the ridiculous. After all, what’s the basis for Christmas? The Son of God came to the world, and told everyone that God was angry because of everyone’s injustice and greed. So naturally, we remember Jesus by giving gifts to anyone who’ll give us stuff back, and by eating and drinking far too much. We can’t even get the time of year right – though maybe it’s best that Christmas is just a pagan feast at heart.

Of course, when I’m stupid enough to say something like this to my friends, they tell me that the best part of Christmas – what it’s really all about – is spending time with my family. Well, they’re quite welcome to spend time with my family. Though if they think that’ll be fun, they don’t know my family as well as I do. So I’m back hiding in my hovel, thinking about healthcare and IT (and not before time too. Apologies for the long delay between posts – apparently our customers expected me to get some actual work done before they got to go on their family fun-time holidays).

And what I’m thinking about right now is, what will you and your loved ones – if you have any – what will you be talking about this Christmas once you’ve had too much to eat and drink, and all the presents are opened? Well, I can’t think of anything better than to talk about healthcare system reform. 

“Umm, yeah,” you’re saying, “right. What else would we talk about?”

Well, don’t blame me. Instead, you can blame Senator Tom Daschle:

Daschle wants Americans to host “holiday-season house parties to brainstorm over how best to overhaul the U.S. health-care system,” the WSJ reports.

Don’t believe me? Check out the WSJ for the whole outrage. And thanks to my spies in the USA who alerted me to this gem.

At first I laughed at this. I was pretty disappointed too. I was certainly hoping for more from the incoming administration. After eight years of the Bush power slide, we’re in desperate need of a responsible approach to prevent the inevitable, though a quick survey shows that the Democrats have quite happy competed with the Republicans to see who offers worse government (it’s a US thing: governments are bad, so we vote for bad governments). Nevertheless, I found myself hoping that “Change we can believe in” didn’t mean that kind of change the Health IT Nerd believes in, the kind that I usually see in the healthcare system – namely, just a different kind of stupid.

As I said, I thought, who’d be stupid enough to talk about healthcare policy over a Christmas meal? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we always talk about healthcare policy when my family gets together. It starts easily enough, talking about our family’s latest encounter with the healthcare system. What with the many little accidents of life – backyard, kitchen, and bedroom - and getting old (also accidental; at least, it certainly seems to happen while you’re looking the other way), the extended families of the Health IT Nerd and his suffering wife have regular encounters with the healthcare systems across the world, and whichever side of the family we have the “luck” to spend the festive season with, the subject is sure to come up.

And once the subject does come up, you can be sure of one thing: everyone is going to start complaining about how terrible the healthcare system is. After all, it’s never our fault that we needed healthcare. Actually, it’s not our fault. Since the only thing that’s sure in life is death and hospitals, it’s just because we were born. So the fact that we need healthcare is our parent’s fault – it’s important to know who to blame for all life’s ills. For this reason, the best time to talk about how to reform the healthcare system is when you get together with those whose fault it is. 

It doesn’t matter what country you’re in, either. You can be sure that everyone’s going to be complaining about the quality of the healthcare system. And also how much we have to pay for it. Again, it doesn’t matter how it gets paid for, directly, indirectly through insurance, or indirectly through taxation. We pay too much, and the quality of service sucks. 

So, this year, when you get together as families, do your patriotic duty, and brainstorm how to overhaul the U.S. health-care system, because, as Daschle points out:

There is no question that the economic health of this country is directly related to our ability to reform our health-care system

For a start, you can tell by looking at the way we celebrate Christmas, you can tell for sure that it would be a waste of time asking us to consider the healthcare system from some altruistic perspective about what would actually be good for our health. No, we definitely need to talk about money. And since there’s a war or two to fight, and the worst financial crisis this century, we need all the money we can get. 

So this year, instead of simply complaining about how poor the system is, instead, try and figure out how to pay less, either by defrauding someone, or perhaps by setting up some kind of ponzi scheme to raise enough money to pay for it (as if any kind of savings plan isn’t a ponzi scheme in the end). If that doesn’t work out for you, see if you can figure out how to overhaul the US healthcare system. And the best kind of overhaul is one that saves money – in other words, one that makes the system poorer. 

It’s kind of a game, see. Basic level, you get to plan a healthcare system assuming no constraints, like worrying about how much it costs. But anyone can design a pretty good healthcare system that way. At the intermediate level, factor in real world constraints like costs, staffing levels, and inefficiencies like organizational dysfunction. There’s a special advanced level where you also get to make allowances for things like liability funding, and on-going educational resourcing. If your family wins at that level, then you move onto wizard level, where you get to figure out how to overhaul the US healthcare system to make it better, while factoring in unreal world constraints like eating long lunches with friendly lobbyists.

No one wins the wizard level. Ever.

But it’s Christmas, so there’s no harm in hoping for the best. After all, wishes can come true. So what does the Health IT Nerd wish for?

Of course, I wish for world peace, justice for all, the end of famine, an end to bad governments, and that people would stop sponging off their richer neighbors. And in healthcare, I wish that people would stop getting sick, and that everybody would be happy to let their poor sick neighbors sponge off them.

Hmm. This isn’t going well. Though at least Bush the Second is going to be gone. I guess that’s not much a Christmas present though, since it was all organized years ago. 

No, other than a bit more of that river of gold, what I really want for Christmas is that everyone would finally come to really understand: Interoperability – it’s all about the people.

[Belated Christmas note: I sure hope you got what you wanted for Christmas. Because I didn't)

December-5-2008

7:51

The Health IT Nerd has spies all over Europe, so I got showered with notifications when a new report was released by the EU last week.

These reports are nothing new. Governments need to commission these reports every so often, to make sure that they’re not on track in their programs. And it doesn’t matter which government, it always works the same way. The government announces it wants a report, and invites all and sundry to bid to do it (usually this is called and RFP or something similar). Then the government ranks the bids, and either picks the one it was going to pick anyway, or chooses the cheapest, from the dumbest least informed clown that bothered to respond.

If it was a pre-selected winner, then, surprise: the report spins things how the government wants. Or, if it’s the cheapest respondent, then the report might say anything at all. If it’s sufficiently crap, the government throws it to the wolves (whoops, I mean the relevant industry), and everyone feels better for having canned the crap that the government needed canned anyway.

This happens everywhere in every industry. I think it gets taught in Government 101. But everyone plays the game dutifully, because you never know quite which variant of the game is on until later. Hindsight is 20/20 (or maybe just 20/10 or something).

In spite of that, I’ll bet all the monopoly money I can find in my hovel that this one is being thrown to the wolves. One thing you can be sure of: it’s utter crap. Check the extensive and thorough preparations undertaken to prepare this report:

In November 2007, empirica conducted an online survey of e-health experts from ICT industry, user organisations, public authorities, university and research, SDOs, and consultants. 94 experts responded

94 experts? Wow, that’s thorough. For all we know, 90 of them were French, and the French don’t know anything about anything. Also, it lists OpenEHR as a standards organization. Now while the openEHR guys seem to be trying to do something useful, they ain’t no standards group (actually, I think I'll make a report of my own about them in the future). 

If I hadn’t already had turkey for thanksgiving, this report would’ve done nicely for a late consolation prize.

So, let’s see what their extensive research yields in terms of conclusions:

Current situation in e-health standards: Nearly all interviewees agreed that there is a lack of widely used e-health standards.

There’s a lack of widely used e-health standards? Have they not heard of HL7? Or perhaps “widely” has a different meaning in Europe? So maybe the respondents were French after all.

Impacts of current situation: Nearly three quarters of the respondents indicated that within a single health service provider the overall situation is supportive, but the majority found the situation unsupportive for cross-border care provision.

Well, the outcome certainly wasn’t the ability to write meaningful sentences (this might demonstrate that they understand the essentials of interoperability properly after all). 

Barriers to adopt common e-health standards in hospitals: Hospital IT managers may first of all find internal process functionality more important than commonly used standards.
Well, duh. That’s exactly the real problem (maybe I did respond to this survey after all). Everyone in the industry is in the same boat: my process functionality is more important than commonly used standards, and I’m not going to waste money on them. 

Hang on: “waste money on standards”?

Isn’t the whole point of standards that they save money? Well, yes. And no. Rather more no than yes, unfortunately, in the healthcare industry. If everyone adopts standards over the industry as a whole, then they will pay off. But only if everyone does. It’s a two-edged sword.

For vendors, in the absence of standards, they get paid to do the same work again and again – nice safe money. But that sucks. No one enjoys it, and it’s damn hard to hold on to staff as it is without making them do the same thing again and again. For care providers, adopting standards might offer the ability to purchase cheaper software, but it also means behaving in a standard fashion. Where’s the business ego differentiator in that?

If you look across other industries, and see which ones have rapidly adopted standards, it’s the ones where the adoption of standards has drastically increased the size of the whole pie, so everyone benefits. But in health, the pie is already as big as it can get. So the result of using standards is just to reallocate parts of the pie.

It’s not for lack of trying, but the governments can’t impose proper standards on the industry, because the industry just doesn’t want them across the board. It’d rather adopt them in a piece meal fashion – the patient will pay, one way or another.

And how can healthcare get away with this? Politics. It’s always politics. See, doctors have unbelievable power in society, and they’re tremendously conservative when it comes to how things are done. Sure, that’s got it’s bad side, but hands up anyone who wants to volunteer to be the guinea pig for a new way of doing things. And everyone, even El Presidente or whatever they’re calling themselves this year, eventually everyone is going to be a patient.

Anyhow, back to the report. It seems to me that they demonstrate a complete knowledge of the current state of the industry when they say:

In January 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services recognised certain interoperability standards for health ICT which federal agencies have to include in procurement specifications for certain fields of health. This could be a step towards mandatory use of a confined number of standards for principal e-health applications. Such a regulation by the US government could have considerable impacts in the EU. In order to prevent unfavourable developments, the EC and the Member States may be well advised to develop a common strategy and roadmap for e-health standards development.

Let’s see if I understand this correctly: USA did something, so in response, the EC and it’s member states better go and do their own thing. 

Interoperability: it’s all about the people. And it doesn’t look like there’ll be any change soon.


December-5-2008

7:40

IT is the great white hope for healthcare, the healthcare administrator’s wet dream: we’ll be able to reduce the cost of this monster using IT and improve service at the same time. And like all fantasies of this type, what you get in the cold light of day just isn’t quite the same – that sensuous young woman turns out to be a withered old hag with a sour disposition (or, for my female readers – if I still have any: that buff young man turns out to be a crotchety old jerk with a hairy back).

One of the principles is easy to grasp. Anywhere between 50% and 80% of healthcare professionals’ time is spent tracking down information so they can provide proper healthcare. That’s right – that doctor who’s getting paid a million smackers a year: he spends most his time finding the right pieces of paper. That's not all - almost all of the preventable deaths that occur relate to missing information one way or another.

So, if you stick all that information on computers, and they can talk to each other, then the information will just be right there, exactly when and where the healthcare professional needs it. Magic! And we could get twice as much work for the same amount of money, and with less “totally negative health outcomes”. So you can see how seductive this idea is – up there with the supermodels. Also, see the Turkey I had for thanksgiving.

Actually, it would be magic if it worked that way, but the real magic is in the innocuous words “they can talk to each other”. In the healthcare IT industry, this is called “interoperability”, and it’s the Holy Grail. It bears startling resemblance to the Holy Grail too. Not only has no one ever seen it, we don’t even know what it actually is.

In order for computers to be able to talk to each other, they need to understand each other in a deep and meaningful way. At least that’s what the experts say.

I’m not so sure. I’m married, and I know that once you understand each other, you no longer need to talk anymore. Yeah, yeah, everyone laughs when I say that, and pities Mrs. Health IT Nerd. And I mean, I understand their pity, because I know me even better than they do, but they’ve missed the point: Mrs. Health IT Nerd and I are never going to understand each other (any of you that are married will know exactly what I mean). So our lives are full of interesting times, and we are forced to keep talking to each other.

So this is what makes interoperability so much fun: we’re never going to understand each other fully, but we have to get along anyway. I think this is one of the craziest things that happens in health IT, that the industry so seriously misunderstands what will enable interoperability, and what the results might be.

Classic interoperability theory says that in order for two computers to talk to each other, you need the following things:

  • A transmission channel between the two (usually, but not always, bidirectional)
  • A common set of terms (words) with meanings that both parties understand
  • A common set of information models (grammar/story plotlines) to allow the pieces of meaning in terms to be assembled into a coherent larger structure
  • An agreed process (who says what when, and what happens next)

This is called the “interoperability stack” (I presume “stack” like as in “Dad, I totally stacked your car”).

It’s the same requirements for humans to talk together, on any scale, from my two small kids arguing about who gets to be the doctor and who is the patient, to diplomats from two large countries resolving which side of the border their soldiers will get to acquire their need for emergency healthcare on.

Actually, that stack above is incomplete. There’s something else that most interoperability wonks don’t stress, but I can’t stress enough:

  • The two parties need to share an agreed context of operations

Like Mrs Health IT Nerd and I, no one knows how to even agree on what this “context of operations” thing is, how wide and deep it is.

Take a simple case: in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, one of the characters says: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”, by which he means, only the incompetent will use violence because it doesn’t solve anything.

Well, I have a friend (Yes, I *do* have one), and he’s a wingnut, so he says that this means that competent people would have resorted to violence long before it’s time for the last refuge. While that interpretation is the polar opposite of the one that was intended, the actual words and the grammar are understood the same way. It’s the different background values people use when evaluating the meaning of the phrase that make the difference here. (Which interpretation is correct? It’s not like it matters for this column, but I figure that what happened in Iraq - or any other war - shows the statement is wrong and stupid however you want to read it.)

This is why interoperability is so hard: there are so many layers to understanding. A whole industry exists to define interoperability based on standards that provide meaning for that stack, a whole alphabet soup of them, such as HL7, CEN, ISO, IHTSDO, ASTM, ANSI, WHO, W3C, OASIS, WS-I…. a never-ending profusion of standards bodies. You know what? These standards bodies, these definers of interoperability, they can’t even interoperate amongst themselves, so it’s the proven-blind leading the probably-blind.

These standards are all going to fail. Well, not so much fail (though it might be best if, umm, if we all don’t actually look too closely at them when we say that), as not quite deliver all the things people are demanding from them – just small things, like life, the universe, everything, and also world peace as well. These things won't happen, but there will be some outcomes: life will get better, healthcare will improve. But you know should know by now what happens when healthcare improves: costs go up; so even if these interoperability standards deliver everything anyone dreams of, the outcomes won’t be what they desired in terms of cost-cutting.

Even if the healthcare administrators and those who pay for healthcare (i.e. you!) scale back the expectations of what interoperability can achieve to something reasonable, these standards are not going to deliver, because they’re all based on the expectation that if you solve the technical problems, interoperability will just happen.

It’s people who insist on doing things differently, calling the same thing by different names or vice versa. It’s people, who, given the same patients, the same healthcare problems, and the same computer systems, find completely different ways to achieve roughly the same outcomes. And for all these people – both healthcare professionals, and healthcare informaticians (horrible word!): there’s my way of doing things, and all the wrong ways to do it. There’s even a step beyond that, people for whom there’s my way of doing something, and all the other ways that I am dedicated to destroying. These people are methodological terrorists, and they are attracted to standards. This is part of why the healthcare standards wars are such fun.

So the fundamental problem of interoperability, of getting the information to the right person at the right time, is the first and last steps – getting it out of the first person who has it, and into the other person who needs to understand it in the appropriate context, how it relates to all the other information they have. Compared to these two problems, everything else is just plumbing, though we can’t even get that right. Interoperability is about people, not technologies.

Perhaps the healthcare industry isn’t so stupid to spend below average amounts on IT after all.

However we’re clearly going to spend what we do have on chasing the chimera of getting computers to fully understand healthcare – that is, us. Well, that will never happen.

So I think that we need to start focusing on enabling interoperability without trying to understand each other. See, if we all focus together on trying to achieve something perfectly useless, there’s a reasonable chance that we might actually succeed, especially since we've already achieved one of the desired outcomes – we’ll never understand each other.


December-2-2008

0:51
Roll up, Ladies and Gentlemen, Roll Up, Roll Up!

Welcome to the grandest heaviest longest fight you’ll ever see. The fight is being fought between two implacable foes, two of the heaviest grandest contestants you’ll ever see, marshalling their entire forces on the side of good. At stake is nothing less than the very heart and soul of the people of the earth. You’ll never see anything like this again: a fight of good vs. good, a war of attrition with both sides grinding each other slowly down with no quarter given.

People laugh at cricket, such a slow game with weird rules. And the rules are weird, almost as weird as any country’s legal system – with the same kind of happy outcomes too. Seriously, a game that lasts five days? How can anyone be interested in that? But, you see, the longer the game lasts, the tougher the tussle, the more there is at stake. Imagine that your team has spent five days building a winning position, and then, right at the last moment, you drop the ball? That’s real drama – the longer and slower, the meaner it gets. Anyone living in one of ex-British colonies – wish I could write that with the proper upper class pronunciation – will have seen the headlines that follow when their team loses.

Well, this fight I’m talking about has been going for more than a generation, and the losing side has just struck back for the first time.

In the one corner, we have the Cardiologists, with their array of complicated and expensive diagnostic machines (positively military priced, in fact), and their flag-ship open heart surgery campaigns. Over in the other corner, ragged and beaten, but still fighting hard, it’s the Oncologists and their friends, with their terrifying array of “therapies” lead by their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Yes, that's right folks, just like some other fight that’s currently taking place, the side with the nuclear weapons is losing.

Between them is their boxing ring, the canvas that they fight on, the people of the earth. Somewhere between 70 and 85% of all the people on earth die from heart/vascular disease or cancer. (Aside: You know the drill: lies, lies, and damn statistics. How much of a lie is this one? It all depends who you listen to, how you count, and how definitions are done.)

The cardiologists landed the first really effective punch back in the sixties, and open battle has been on since then. It seems that they didn’t really know exactly how devastating a thrust they were making when they declared war on cholesterol back in the 1960’s, didn’t know just how much a blow that was to the oncologists. Let’s check a replay of the action back then.

By the early 1960’s, enough evidence had accumulated to show convincingly that cholesterol – specifically, dietary cholesterol and fats – was one of biggest causes of heart disease. Heart disease alone was the biggest people killer, even ahead of the World Wars. And they declared war: not only with steady improvements in weaponry, but also in some long, slow, hearts and minds things: in this case, dietary cholesterol. That’s right – they declared war on all the good foods, the stuff that we really like. Like my favorite food, fried chocolate bars (it’s got all the key food groups all wrapped up in one package - sugar, fat, salt, chocolate. What’s not to like?)

The grand assault on cholesterol was much more effective than they hoped, a real knock-out blow. Over a forty year period, the rate of most forms of heart disease has slowly but surely dropped, and just as significantly, the age at which people start having problems has slowly but surely been rising. So – a great outcome - people are living longer and better.

As a result, they started dying like flies from cancer. See, if your ticker lasts long enough, and nothing else goes wrong, you’re going to get cancer. The older the body, the more likely it is to contain small amounts of cancer (and a big hello to my weird friends the autopsy technicians). It’s just a question of time until one of the little cancers cuts loose and tries to take over from it’s host: you.

So the unexpected outcome of people not dying from heart disease was that the rate of cancer started rising. It’s rather a pyrrhic victory for two painful reasons.

The first reason is that dying from cancer is a horrible way to go. The terrifying NBC weapons-of-mass-desperation that the Oncologists use against the tumors are bad enough, but losing is even worse. People forget just how a relative died if the ticker gives out, but they don’t forget cancer, no way – not that long slow horrifying decline to a painful death.

The second reason is that for all the dizzying expense of the Cardiologist’s diagnostic hardware and spectacular operations, they’re just cheap dates compared to total cost of treatment for cancer.

So the Cardiologists won the first round, and we’re still paying for it now. That’s right: healthcare is so screwed up that the price of a victory is an increase in costs. Note also another consequence of the Cardiologists’ victory: more Oncologists and less Cardiologists. There’s nothing else like healthcare for producing perverse incentives.

Well, the Oncologists have just struck back! At a meeting of American Cardiologists last month, it was reported that for the first time in fifty years, the number of people dying due to heart disease has gone up (no apparent on-line reference to this, though I found this).

There’s lots of reasons why the rate might be going up, but one contributing factor must be that the rates of death due to cancer are dropping. The Oncologists have been fighting back: early diagnosis, more targeted treatments, the same kind of preventative war against cancer risk factors as the Cardiologists’ war on cholesterol. And they’re starting to make real progress. You can check out this summary for more information in careful government-type language (as in, boringese. Translated for the rest of us it says “Yay! We’re starting to win! Give us some more money, or you’ll die horribly!”).

So, the Oncologists are doing well, and this is magnificent news for all of us.

Except for our wallets. Welcome to the healthcare system, where the consequence of better healthcare is more expense. As long as the Cardiologists and Oncologists are duking it out, trying to run their statistics down, they’re going to spending more of our money doing it. And how can we say no? Do you even want to?

And as they get better, the population will get older, and that's a whole different ball game, one that makes the ticket price for our current fight look positively family-friendly.

More old people who don’t contribute to the economy, what are we going to do with them all? How can we look after them? I’ve got a great idea: you look after my old folks, and I’ll go surfing (on the internet, not the real thing).

Everyone knows that while we can’t afford to buy or provide unrestricted healthcare now, that's nothing compared to where we’re heading. It’s common to blame the baby boom, or falling birth rates. But I say the biggest factor of all is the improvement in positive healthcare outcomes resulting from the Cardiologists vs. the Oncologists.

So that’s how it’s gone in the first world, the so-called “civilized” countries. Actually, some European countries didn’t buy into the whole population anti-cholesterol thing at first, and didn't get the population health benefits till later – but they’re catching up. And in fact, the rest of the world is rapidly catching up, some trading off between different diseases, but ending up with the same outcome: if you save someone’s life, that means that they live on to get sick with an even more nasty and expensive disease. From the perspective of a healthcare system, this is what should be known as a “totally negative healthcare outcome”.

Well, I think that the time has come for the governments to bring back cholesterol. It’s my new public health policy: for the first 50 years of your life, eat well, keep sober, stay fit, have your two kids, be good. Then, on your fiftieth birthday, go on a big spree for the rest of your life. Eat whatever you want, stop exercising, drink as much as you can. Hell, sleep around as much as you want. Really enjoy your twilight years. And then, when you die in your mid-sixties, it’ll be quick and painless. And most importantly, cheap. It’s just a matter of thinking of your children.

Like that’s going to happen.

So forget the Cardiologists vs the Oncologists: that’s just a side show. The real champion, the mightiest of all, the one that will always win all the fights: that’s the healthcare system. It’s rocket science, baby, the only way is up.
Blog url: 
http://healthitnerd.blogspot.com/
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MedTech and Devices

Healthcare & Technology

January-4-2012

8:54

CalendarLink: Thoughts on the Year Ahead

John Halamka presents his ideas about the major issues for 2012..

ICD10 - John predicts 25% of IT capacity will be consumed by ICD10 this year. Not good...

Meaningful Use Stage 2 including inpatient clinical documentation - now this is exciting. Potential criteria will likely include improvements to clinical records that improve care coordination and communication between providers. John suggested use of templates and social-networking like group documentation.   

ACO Planning - The reform changes for ACOs will include focus on prevention and wellness. New business intelligence (BI) and clinical decision support (CDS) capabilities will be helpful in meeting these goals.

Compliance - Compliance issues will include "conflict of interest tracking, learning management systems for compliance education, and enhanced revenue cycle systems that provide decision support."

Security - yes, the past year had a long list of data breaches, malware, and mobile devices so security of PHI must be improved, particularly if we intend to move clinical decision support to the bedside or engage in Health Information Exchanges.



January-3-2012

10:15

BinocularsLink: A New Year's Forecast For The Health Care Bill

NPR topics presents a summary of the impact to the Affordable Care Act in a discussion between Audie Cornish and Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times.

 

 


HSGLogo Looking for best of breed HIPAA Training?

To stay current on the HITECH Act and its quickly changing regulatory scheme visit the HITECH Survival Guide website and/or sign up for our free monthly compliance newsletter. Also, check out our FREE EHR Checklist.

If you need tools that will help with your compliance initiatives then check out the HSG Store. Do you need an Internet Lawyer with HITECH /HIPAA experience?

 


December-29-2011

9:46

Link: Usability and Successful EHR Meaningful Use

Recently the ONC posted on the Health IT Buzz Blog about the "challenges providers face in achieving Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHRs)."

The concept of "useability" has long been known in other industries where new technology or applications enter the workplace. Some time ago I wrote about usability of health IT, however I expanded the definition to include a few more "E-bilities" as shown in the following graphic contained in the post: Part 4 of The Value of the Internet for Improving Healthcare.

This is the last post in the series and it focuses on capabilities, or "e-bilities" of technology to improve healthcare. Regardless of the mode of use (e.g. email or internet), technology must be easy to use, secure, reliable, and accessible.

E-bilities

For the past year, the SHARPC-Project 1 has focused on making use of technology easier for clinicians. One ONC staff member, Jacob Reider, MD had some interesting comments that focused on "The User Experience." His comments spanned the continuum of User Experience with a framework for how tools and/or applications can/should evolve.

Quotefirebrick

 

Functional (it does what it is claimed to do)
Reliable (it works consistently)
Usable (it works in a way that is consistent with the user’s expectations)
Meaningful (it does something important or valuable)
Pleasurable (it is enjoyable to use)

So, I will end with one thought. Even if the system meets "Useability" standards for clinicians, achieving quality health data analytics still requires that accurate, timely and quality data is entered into the EHR avoiding the Garbage In-Garbage Out phenomenon. 



December-27-2011

15:35

KeysLink: 8 Key issues for population health management in 2012

This article in Healthcare IT News caught my eye. A white paper written by the Care Continuum Alliance described significant market movement toward accountability and value driven healthcare outcomes as a result of collaborative models, such as ACOs. However, there are 8 key issues that could affect population health management in 2012:

  1. Accountable care and the Medicare Shared Savings program
  2. Consumer use of mobile and eHealth technologies
  3. Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions in Medicare
  4. Quality improvement in Medicare advantage
  5. Opportunities to support insourced programs
  6. Improving care coordination for dual eligibles
  7. Federal support for prevention and wellness
  8. Development of ACA health insurance exchanges

Each of these items contains a plethora of complex issues that will require agreement, alignment, and cooperation between distinct parties. In order to simplify my thoughts on this topic, I offer the following.

Accountable care and collaborative models certainly provide the opportunity with electronic records to capture and disseminate research and/or de-identified clinical data for surveillance. The link to "accountability" also provides the impetus to develop predictive analytics, a personal favorite.

It is well known that mobile technology, including smart phones, are changing the nature of "computer use" and internet access. According to the article the author stated that "a patient-centered, consumer-empowered, pull-rather-than-push model will dominate, with social media in a position of importance."

Reducing re-admissions? Well, we should already be doing this, unfortunately the quality of healthcare in certain situations, or the variable factors in a patient's condition and care makes this a tough goal to reach all the time. However, Medicare tracking is looking a 3 conditions - heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia.

Finally, the other items tout the value of competitive forces in healthcare resulting from support of "insourced programs," development of health insurance exchanges in 2014, and the single idea that is near and dear to a nurse - support for prevention and wellness!

Prevention and wellness has not been a priority for most clinicians due to its non-reimbursable status. Let's hope that changes. Since the Prevention and Public Health Fund is under discussion, Medicare added annual wellness visits and expanded coverage of obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention services.

2012 brings a year of great change and challenge. Best wishes to all for a safe, happy, and prosperous new year!

 


December-14-2011

14:52

As clinicians, do we ever wonder how excellent patient care can be achieved? Do we become too involved in our deadlines, our tasks, or our own needs and lack the time to reflect and to improve? It is certainly an issue in today's healthcare environment as the delivery of care changes in the path to Meaningful Use...

Well, I watched this video today, posted by Brian Ahier. It is an epic portrait of how one individual came up with an idea that would provide quality care/experience to customers.

Click this link to watch the video - a moving and heart-felt story.

The Simple Truths of Service: Inspired by Johnny the Bagger 

May you have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!


December-10-2011

8:48

The HIPAA Survival Guide's Privacy Rule Under HITECH Webinar will help get you up to speed on how the HITECH Act has impacted the HIPAA Privacy Rule and how marketplace trends are impacting it as well. The webinar will walk you through the Privacy Rule and discuss the effect that the HITECH Act has had under three major sections: 1) uses and disclosures of PHI contained in sections §164.502 through §164.514; 2) the Patient's Bill of Rights contained in sections §164.520 through §164.528; and 3) the Administrative Requirements contained in Section §164.530.

Date: December 13, 2011. 

Time: 2:00 to 3:30 EST. 

To register CLICK HERE

 


HSGLogo Looking for best of breed HIPAA Training?

To stay current on the HITECH Act and its quickly changing regulatory scheme visit the HITECH Survival Guide website and/or sign up for our free monthly compliance newsletter. Also, check out our FREE EHR Checklist.

If you need tools that will help with your compliance initiatives then check out the HSG Store. Are you for an Internet Lawyer with HITECH /HIPAA experience? 


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Influential
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Healthcare Technology News

January-10-2012

14:13
 Thanks to e-Patient Dave for the image. See also the recent report Hospital Incident Reporting Systems Do Not Capture Most Patient Harm which found that "Hospital staff did not report 86 percent of events to incident reporting systems, partly because of staff misperceptions about what constitutes patient harm".

December-14-2011

14:18
 by John Halamka, Life as a Healthcare CIO We began the meeting by relating our standards trajectory to today's agenda. Our outstanding standards issues for discussion include 1. Content Continued discussion of GreenCDA on the wire and overview of Stan Huff's CIMI initiative Standardizing DICOM image objects for image sharing and investigating other possible approaches (e.g., cloud based JPEG2000 exchange).   Consider image transfer standards, image viewing standards, and image reporting standards. Query Health i.e. I2B2 distributed queries that send questions to data instead of requiring consolidation of data Simplify the specification for quality measures to enhance consistency of implementation. The December meeting included an overview of Query Health and Quality measure standards, leaving the discussion of GreenCDA/CIMI and DICOM to our 2012 meetings. 2. Vocabulary Extend the quality measurement vocabularies to clinical summaries Lab ordering compendium The December meeting included a discussion of the lab ordering compendium, leaving the discussion of clinical summary vocabularies to our 2012 meetings. 3. Transport Specify how the metadata ANPRM be integrated into the health exchange architecture Additional NwHIN standards development (hearing re Exchange specification complexity, review/oversight of the S&I framework work on Exchange specifications simplification).   Further define secure RESTful transport standards. Accelerate provider directory pilots (Microdata, RESTful query/response that separates the transaction layer from the schema) and rapidly disseminate lessons learned. The December meeting included an update on the provider directory and certificate components of transport Our first presentation was an NCVHS update on ACA Section 10109 by Walter Suarez. The Committee emphasized the need to coordinate NCHVS work and HITSC work given that division between administrative and clinical data is becoming less distinct over time Our second presentation was an Implementation Workgroup Update by Liz Johnson about testing procedures that support the certification process. The committee emphasized the need to pilot these procedures, ensuring they are as simple as possible and reflect a practical evaluation of the functionality intended to support policy goals. Next, Doug Fridsma and Rich Elmore gave an ONC update.   Rich Elmore described the Query Health initiative, as referenced in my previous blog post about sending questions to data (rather than sending data to registries).  The committee endorsed the work and noted that further research will be needed to link patients across multiple databases to avoid double counting individuals in quality measure denominators.  The work of Jeff Jonas, as described in my earlier blog post about linking identity. Doug updated the committee about the S&I Framework initiatives - Transitions of Care, Lab Results, Provider Directories, Data Segmentation (for privacy protection), and electronic submission of medical documentation for Medicare review. We then discussed a preliminary framework for HITSC 2012 Workplan to ensure the items in the standards trajectory listed above are completed in 2012 as we continue to prepare for meaningful use stage 3. A great meeting.

December-12-2011

18:00
 Why aren't we talking about pricing failures? The US, has consistently higher prices than any other country. The 2010 report by the International Federation of Health Plans consists of 23 pricing measures and the pattern is the same across each of these measures.  And a 2010 investigation of Health Care Cost Trends and Cost Drivers in Massachusetts found that "price variations are correlated to market leverage..." Before his departure from CMS, Don Berwick was interviewed by the New York Times and took a "parting shot at waste".  Berwick listed five elements of waste including overtreatment of patients, failure to coordinate care, administrative complexity, burdensome rules and fraud.  Pricing failures didn't make the list.  (Many folks have commented and analyzed the five factors including John Halamka's terrific piece on how EHRs can address these 5 factors.) Then in Berwick's December 7th speech to the IHI National Forum, he adds a sixth element: "Overtreatment – the waste that comes from subjecting people to care that cannot possibly help them – care rooted in outmoded habits, supply-driven behaviors, and ignoring science. Failures of Coordination- the waste that comes when people – especially people with chronic illness – fall through the slats. They get lost, forgotten, confused. The result: complications, decays in functional status, hospital readmissions, and dependency. Failures of Reliability – the waste that comes with poor execution of what we know to do. The result: safety hazards and worse outcomes. Administrative Complexity – the waste that comes when we create our own rules that force people to do things that make no sense – that converts valuable nursing time into meaningless charting rituals or limited physician time into nonsensical and complex billing procedures. Pricing Failures – the waste that comes as prices migrate far from the actual costs of production plus fair profits. Fraud and Abuse – the waste that comes as thieves steal what is not theirs, and also from the blunt procedures of inspection and regulation that infect everyone because of the misbehaviors of a very few. We have estimated how big this waste is – from both the perspective of the Federal payers – Medicare and Medicaid – and for all payers." The addition of pricing failures as a sixth element of waste is a subtle but critical shift for the national conversation.  It should not go unnoticed. Don Berwick defines pricing failures as "the waste that comes as prices migrate far from the actual costs of production plus fair profits."  Think about that:  "far from the actual costs of production plus fair profits".  At a time when total healthcare expenditures consume a huge share of GDP and increasing at rates higher than inflation and wage increases, why haven't pricing failures been on the table?  As we struggle to control costs and improve quality, there is intense focus on utilization, regulation and care coordination. Why not also focus on pricing failures? So why hasn't pricing failures been part of the conversation up to now? Here's how the conversation usually proceeds:  Health Affairs November 2011 article, Large Variations In Medicare Payments For Surgery Highlight Savings Potential From Bundled Payment Programs, "found that current Medicare episode payments for certain inpatient procedures varied by 49–130 percent across hospitals sorted into five payment groups. Intentional differences in payments attributable to such factors as geography or illness severity explained much of this variation. But after adjustment for these differences, per episode payments to the highest-cost hospitals were higher than those to the lowest-cost facilities by up to $2,549 for colectomy and $7,759 for back surgery." Sounds like a clarion call for a focus on pricing failures doesn't it?  Actually, no...  The authors conclusions only speak to cost efficiency and utilization.  "Our study suggests that bundled payments could yield sizable savings for payers, although the effect on individual institutions will vary because hospitals that were relatively expensive for one procedure were often relatively inexpensive for others. More broadly, our data suggest that many hospitals have considerable room to improve their cost efficiency for inpatient surgery and should look for patterns of excess utilization, particularly among surgical specialties, other inpatient specialist consultations, and various types of postdischarge care." So is it time to broaden the conversation to include pricing failures?  At least one health system has realized that "the jig is up". Perhaps it's time to peel the onion a bit...  And take a serious look at pricing failures which deviate "far from the actual costs of production plus fair profits". _______________________________ Background tables from the IFHP report:

November-21-2011

3:00
by John Halamka, Life as a Healthcare CIO, November 16, 2011 Today, the HIT Standards Committee shifted gears from the Summer Camp work on Meaningful Use Stage 2 and began new interoperability efforts. We began the meeting with a presentation by Liz Johnson and Judy Murphy about the Implementation Workgroup's recommendations to improve the certification and testing process.   These 15 items incorporate the Stage 1 experience gathered from numerous hospitals and eligible professionals.   If ONC and NIST can implement this plan, many stakeholders will benefit.  The Committee approved these recommendations without revision. Next, we focused on content, vocabulary and transport standards. In my October HIT Standards Committee blog post, I noted that HITSC should work on the following projects: Content *Continued refinement of the Consolidated CDA implementation guides and tools to enhance semantic interoperability including consistent use of business names in "Green" over-the-wire standards. *Simplifying the specification for quality measures to enhance consistency of implementation. *Standardizing DICOM image objects for image sharing and investigating other possible approaches.   We'll review image transfer standards, image viewing standards, and image reporting standards. *Query Health - distributed queries that send questions to data instead of requiring consolidation of the data Vocabulary *Extending the quality measurement vocabularies to clinical summaries *Finalizing a standardized lab ordering compendium Transport *Specifying how the metadata ANPRM be integrated into health exchange architectures *Supporting additional NwHIN standards development (hearings about Exchange specification complexity, review/oversight of the S&I Framework projects on simplification of Exchange specifications).   Further defining secure RESTful transport standards. *Accelerating provider directory pilots (Microdata, RESTful query/response that separates the transaction layer from the schema) and rapidly disseminating lessons learned. The November Committee agenda included a discussion of  Consolidated CDA, Quality Measures, and NwHIN Implementation Guides. Doug Fridsma began with a discussion of the Consolidated CDAwork and the tools which support it. The Committee had a remarkable dialog with more passion and unanimity than at any recent discussion.   We concluded: *Simple XML that is easily implemented will accelerate adoption *That simple XML should be backed by a robust information model.   However, implementers should not need expert knowledge of that model.  The information model can serve as a reference for SDOs to guide their work *Detailed Clinical Models, as exemplified by Stan Huff's Clinical Information Modeling Initiative (CIMI) hold great promise.   Stan has assembled an international consensus group including those who work on  -Archetype Object Model/ADL 1.5 openEHR  -CEN/ISO 13606 AOM ADL 1.4  -UML 2.x + OCL + healthcare extensions  -OWL 2.0 + healthcare profiles and extensions  -MIF 2 + tools HL7 RIM – static model designer Their work may be much more intuitive than today's HL7 RIM as the basis for future clinical exchange standards. *Rather than debate whether Consolidated CDA OR GreenCDA(simplified XML tagging) should be the over the wire format, the Committee noted that "OR" really implies "AND" for vendors and increases implementation burden.   The Committee endorsed moving forward with GreenCDA as the single over the wire format.    *We should move forward now with this work, realizing that it will take 9-12 months and likely will not be included in Meaningful Use Stage 2, but it is the right thing to do. Thus, the future Transfer of Care Summary will be assembled  from a simple set of clinically relevant GreenCDA templates, based on CIMI models, as needed to support various use cases.  There will be no optionality  - just a single way to express medical concepts in specific templates. To support this approach, we'll need great modeling tools.    David Carlson and John Timm presented the applications developed to support the VA's Model Driven Health Tools initiative.  This software turns clinical models into XML and conformance testing tools.   The committee was very impressed. Next, Avinash Shanbhag presented the ONC work on Quality Measures  that seeks to ensure quality  numerators and denominators are expressed in terms of existing EHR data elements captured as part of standard patient care workflows. Avinash also presented an update on transport efforts, which include easy to use, well documented implementation guides for SMTP/SMIME and SOAP.   The work is highly modular and does not require that the full suite of NwHIN Exchange specifications be implemented for SOAP exchanges. As part of the ongoing efforts to improve NwHIN Exchange, the HIT Standards Committee is seeking input from NwHIN implementers per this blog post. Finally, Wil Yu updated the committee on the SHARP and other innovation programs.  There will be a great body of challenging work to do in 2012.   What's needed after that?  The next 5 years will include many new regulations as healthcare reform is rolled out.   It's clear that the Standards Committee will have many topics to discuss.

November-14-2011

7:30
At the October HIT Policy Committee, Charles Kennedy described his work with health systems establishing accountable care models.  His clients "have actual health plan products that are private labeled products with the delivery systems' name on it that they’re selling." Kenedy talked with the COO of one health system that was particularly high cost.  Kennedy asked the COO:  "Why on earth would you want to form an ACO? You’re a monopoly. You’re making tons of money.  You can keep doing this for some period of time." The COO replied “Look I understand that the jig is up.” The COO went on to say "I know how to take $60 out per member per month.  $60 - - out of my cost structure.  I know exactly how to do it.  I never had a motivation to do it before - - until health care reform happened."  Kennedy explained that the COO has now "taken those costs out of his delivery system and because he has a product in the marketplace he gets to reap those efficiencies.  The second thing he said was that 'I never really had a use for health IT until I began to take costs out of my infrastructure'."

October-12-2011

8:00
 Today the HIT Policy Committee is considering the Privacy and Security Tiger Team recommendations on the Query Health policy sandbox. By way of background, here are the minutes from last month's introductory discussion from the September HIT Policy Committee: Richard Elmore of ONC presented on Query Health, recently launched initiative to develop standards and services for distributed population queries. Guidance from and linkage to the HITPC will be crucial to the success of this effort. Elmore presented the vision of Query Health as follows: ―Enable a learning health system to understand population measures of health, performance, disease, and quality, while respecting patient privacy, to improve patient and population health and reduce costs. The nation is reaching a critical mass of deployed EHRs with greater standardization of information in support of HIE and quality measure reporting. There is an opportunity to improve community understanding of population health, performance, and quality through: Enabling proactive patient care in the community Delivering insights for local and regional quality improvement Facilitating consistently applied performance measures and payment strategies for the community (hospital, practice, health exchange, state, payer, etc.) based on aggregated, de-identified data Identifying treatments that are most effective for the community. Elmore commented that the challenges include the high transaction and ―plumbing‖ costs associated with variation in clinical concept coding (even within organizations), the lack of query standards, and the lack of understanding best business practices. There is also a centralizing tendency that moves data further away from the source, increases personal health information exposure, and limits responsiveness to patient consent preference. Another challenge is that the work done to date, with a few exceptions, has been limited to larger health systems (with large IT and/or research budgets). The goal is to improve the community understanding of patient population health to be able to ask a question, whether it is to a small physician’s office or a larger hospital, and obtain an aggregate result back. Questions could focus on disease outbreaks, prevention activities, research, quality measures, etc. With regard to scope and approach, Elmore explained that Query Health is being structured in a way that is similar to the Direct Project. It is a public-private partnership project focusing on the standards and services related to distributed population queries. The concept is to have an open, democratic, community-driven consensus-based process. There is a critical linkage with the HITPC and Privacy and Security Tiger Team to provide the guidance needed to drive this project. Elmore reviewed a series of user stories to demonstrate how to adjust queries with simple, secure use cases to establish the standards and protocols for patient data that is going to be queried against, the query and case definition, and then getting the results back to the requestor of the information. The organization has a voting group of committed members, the Query Health Implementation Group. There are three workgroups (Clinical Workgroup, Technical Workgroup, and Business Workgroup). In terms of timeline, Query Health is at the requirements and specification stage (the next steps are approaching consensus, and undergoing pilots). Query Health was designed with goals alignment with the S&U Framework, as an open government initiative that is engaging a wide variety of stakeholders. Query Health is also aligned with meaningful use and various standards, as well as with one of ONC’s major strategies, the digital infrastructure for a learning health system. Elmore described the Summer Concert Series, a presentation by the practitioners that have working on distributor queries that highlights the importance of this project. Through this event, a number of challenges were identified, including best practices for data use/sharing, sustainability, auditability, etc. It is hoped that the HITPC and Privacy and Security Tiger Team will provide Query Health with policy guidance and will monitor Query Health’s progress. It is anticipated that the first activity with which Query Health will be looking for such guidance is in the policy sandbox and to ensure that the project is safe, cautious, and conservative for the purposes of starting that initial pilot work. The initial set of policy sandbox ideas has been modeled after previous S&I Framework initiatives in consultation with ONC policy and privacy and S&I Framework leaders and their staff. The concept is that query requests and responses will be implemented in the pilot to use the least identifiable form of health data necessary in the aggregate within the following guidelines: (1) a disclosing entity should have its queries and results under their control (manual or automated); (2) the data being exchanged will be mock or test data, aggregated de-identified data sets or aggregated limited data sets, each with data use agreements; and (3) for other than regulated/permitted use purposes, cells with less than five observations in a cell shall be blurred by methods that reduce the accuracy of the information provided. Discussion Larry Wolf asked how Query Health relates to other activities focused on quality measure initiatives. Elmore indicated that this issue has been raised during the Summer Concert Series as well as in Query Health’s Technical Workgroup. In the next few months, it is expected that decisions will be made as to which standards will be applied. Query Health will be leveraging other ongoing initiatives moving forward. Wolf suggested minimizing the diversity of requirements generated for systems to handle queries and result sets. In response to a question about information exchange, Elmore commented that the assumption is that the information behind an organization’s firewall is identifiable. Only in an instance of a public health permitted use would identifiable data be outside the firewall. Farzad Mostashari noted that Query Health’s strategy has significant architectural and certification implications in the near future. Getting in front of those and considering them early on will be critical. Clarity about the potential timeframe is needed, as it affects work in areas such as quality measurement. The business case for this effort also requires careful consideration. Gayle Harrell noted that there is a tremendous upside to Query Health, but there is also a significant potential for abuse that may frighten the public. She asked about the role of the HITPC in terms of providing input as this project moves forward. Deven McGraw noted that Query Health will be discussed at the next Privacy and Security Tiger Team meeting. Elmore added that the HITPC and Privacy and Security Tiger Team will be relied on to provide significant input for guiding the future of Query Health. He noted that with the exception of public health, where it is already allowed by law today to send some identifiable information, Query Health will be dealing with aggregated information and will not be exposing individual’s information. The project itself will be trying to drive towards enabling a non-centrally planned use of technology that is under the control of those responsible for the data. Arthur Davidson discussed the burden faced by organizations trying to participate in these important population-based efforts to analyze and move towards the learning healthcare system. He asked if there has been a discussion at the ONC level regarding the leadership role that either the ONC or the HITPC might play in harmonizing these various data models. Elmore noted that Query Health’s Technical Workgroup is examining these data models with the vision of some harmonization of standards. It is expected that, from the point of view of keeping it simple for an initial pilot implementation, the pilot will probably create a focus around the clinical record, whether that be an EHR or more of an HIE.
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Chilmark Research

January-11-2012

15:02

Admittedly, our predictions for 2011 were modest. Most of those predictions were logical and did not take a whole lot of imagination to envision thus our success rate, 7 “hits”, 2 “toss-ups” and 2 “misses was quite high. And though are biggest accomplishment, predicting Blumenthal’s departure just a few short weeks before he actually announced such intentions is laudable, by and large these predictions just didn’t go far enough. So for 2012, rather than make simplistic predictions such as “analytics will be a high growth area” or “mHealth will create greater security concerns” or even “ACOs will begin to take hold” as none of these are all that thought provoking, we’ll go out on a limb with many of our predictions. Hopefully that limb won’t crack sending us crashing to the ground.

Without further adieu, here are our predictions:

Consumer/Patient Engagement – Not What it Seems
Despite the best efforts of the team at ONC to beat the consumer/patient engagement drum, providers by and large are still struggling with such basic issues of taking live their certified EHRs, making the transition to ICD-10, meeting physician demands to have everything served up on their new iPad and of course mapping out future strategies in anticipation of payment reform. Thus, we foresee consumer engagement remaining a tertiary issue in 2012. Just too many other pressing priorities at the moment. WebMD’s implosion on Jan. 10th may portend that this is not such a bad move – at least in the near term.

Bloom is Off the Rose, EHR Market Plateaus
Going out on a limb, we see 2012 as the year when we start talking of the post EHR-era. Yes, there will be plenty more EHR sales in the year to come but over 2012 we will also see EHR sales growth begin to plateau and level off by end of Q4’12. You heard it here first folks, it is time to collect your EHR winnings and seek new places to invest.

Finally, We’ll See Some Fairly Competent Tablet Apps from Legacy Vendors
Though physicians continue to adopt iPads at a rapid rate, they struggle to effectively use them in the hospitals to which they are affiliated simply because most hospital HIS cannot serve up an application effectively on an iPad. Sure, many have tried using Citrix as a stop-gap measure but this is just isn’t cutting it. In speaking to one CIO of a major IDN recently, he was so frustrated with his core EHR vendor’s slow pace of development that he is about ready to self-fund the development of an App for his physicians. Fear not CIOs and frustrated physicians, we have had the opportunity to see several alpha versions of iPad Apps that major EHR vendors are developing and they actually look pretty good. Look to Q2-Q3 ’12 for general availability release of these touch-screen native (mostly iPad-centric) Apps.

At Gunpoint, Direct Project Gains Traction
In 2011, the message came down from on high, or at least from the feds, that all State HIEs must include the use of Direct in their strategic plan. Pretty clear that this was politically motivated as to date, for the $500M plus we, as taxpayers are spending on these public HIEs, there is very little to show for it and we are now running headlong into an election year and this administration needs to show something, anything, in the way of success as it pertains to health information exchange. Sure Direct facilitates health information exchange (the verb), but so does a fax machine and frankly, Direct is only a modest step beyond faxing. Therefore, Direct will gain traction in these “forced” instances but we do not see it extending its reach into the much larger market of private, enterprise HIEs (does not sufficiently support care coordination, population health and analytics) and thus Direct’s overall impact in the market will be small and fade to nothing in three years time.

First CPT Codes for mHealth Apps Issued
mHealth Apps for care provisioning have not seen any significant adoption beyond pilot studies, studies which typically show some efficacy in their use. The big hang-up is a simple one, the risk to reward ratio for physicians to adopt and use mHealth Apps as part of the care process is too low. What might change that risk-reward ratio though is a CPT code whereby a physician actually gets paid to use, or have a patient use an App as part of the care process. WellDoc is one of the few mHealth App companies that is quite aggressive in moving the ball forward and we would not be too surprised if WellDoc did industry ground-breaking work to secure the first CPT codes for their diabetes management App.

Train has Left the Station as Supreme Court Rules on ACA
Though the Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is unlikely that their subsequent ruling will throw out all of ACA (they may prune it). More importantly, the move to value-based reimbursement models is already in full swing, which is something that will not be reversed. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, its impact will be minimal and the numerous changes we are seeing take place today (move to accountable care models, patient centered medical home, etc.) will continue as the train has already left the station.

Changing of the Guard as Dynamic Duo Departs
Last year we predicted the departure of ONC head, Dr. David Blumenthal. This year is an election year and it is expected that there will be a significant changing of the guard across the administration. We predict that the dynamic duo that is Aneesh Chopra, White House CTO and Todd Park, HHS CTO will both be leaving their posts by end of the year.

M&A Continues, but at far more Reasonable Valuations
Okay, yes we have had this prediction for three years running, but we just can’t help ourselves as we see far too many vendors in this market (some 300+ EHR vendors alone!) and some rationalization must enter at some point. We are seeing rationalization on valuations (e.g., no one was willing to pay what Thomson Reuters wanted for their healthcare business unit despite there being a sizable number of bidders) and this will create an opportunity for acceleration in M&A activity in 2012.

Floundering HITECH Initiatives Attract Political Spotlight
Yes, we are seeing some modest success and adoption of EHRs as a result of the HITECH Act but the preponderance of such success is at hospitals that first have had some form of EHR already in place and also have a lot to lose if proposed reimbursement cuts from CMS come to fruition at the end this multi-year march to certified EHR adoption and meaningful use. Yet, under the covers we are still not seeing wide-spread EHR adoption at the ambulatory level, especially among smaller practices, State HIE initiatives struggle to define what they’ll actually be when the grow-up, the Beacon programs have not reached the promise land, and the RECs, well we were never a big fan of these for obvious reasons we outlined previously. As this is an election year, healthcare and anything with the stamp of the Obama administration on it, will become fair game and dragged into the limelight. Get ready for healthcare to become the political piñata of 2012

HIE Vendors Stumble
By the end of 2012, the final awards for State HIEs will conclude and with it the evaporation of the $500M plus honey-pot that attracted so many vendors into this space. What’s next for these vendors? Some will stumble out of the market with little to show for their efforts. Others will work with their public clients to stand-up these public HIEs in order that they provide value to their respective communities, which will not be easy and lead to more stumbling. And of course HIE vendors who have traditionally been focused on public markets will reposition themselves for the private, enterprise market. Some of these vendors are now stumbling in this transition to the enterprise market (requires different sales resources and tactics, technology requirements, etc.). This will result in yet another shakeout in this niche industry sector. (Our forthcoming HIE Market Report will provide further details)

The funny thing about doing these predictions is that as one actually goes through the process of thinking about this market, which is currently going through nearly unprecedented change, one ponders so many other predictions that just end up on the cutting room floor. Some of those include:

Payers continue to struggle with exactly what they’ll offer on the State Health Insurance Exchange.

Pharma companies look to insert themselves directly into physician workflow, via HIT.

Despite rising cost share, consumers still struggle to make intelligent, informed decisions.

Telehealth gets some wind under its wings as big telecoms start aggressive lobbying efforts.

You get the idea, plenty of turmoil, no lack of potential trajectories in technology adoption and use within the healthcare sector and we here at Chilmark Research look forward to continuing to provide thoughtful insight on this ever evolving market in 2012.

So now it’s your turn. Are we on the mark with our predictions? Did we reach too far? Is there a particular prediction that you have which we totally missed? It is you, the community of readers that make this site far richer than we ever could do on our own and we look forward to your feedback.


December-23-2011

12:06

It is almost becoming the norm to say that it has been another tumultuous year in the healthcare IT market. Market consolidation, pushback on timelines, growing chorus from IT departments that enough is enough against the backdrop of the political circus in Washington and across the land as we prepare for the 2012 election year. If 2011, was a bit bumpy, believe we will see craters in the road to HIT enlightenment in 2012. But we’ll save that discussion for our future predictions for 2012 post, which we hope to get to next week. (Editor’s Note: Don’t hold your breath though, if the snow flakes are flying, we’ll be on the slopes next week.)

Today’s post takes a look back on 2011 by reviewing our predictions earlier in the year and assessing where we hit the mark, where we missed and if there is such a thing, where we came close. So without further adieu…

1. MU Initiatives Move to Tactical 
Hit This did come true as meaningful use, while still top of mind for the CIO, is not top of mind for others in the executive suite who are now looking at how to compete in the future as reimbursement models shift from fee-for-service to value-based contracts.

2. C-Suite Strategy Focuses on New Payment Models 
Hit An admittedly “softball” prediction, this was a natural fall-out of prediction numero uno. And yes, the consultants are making out like bandits as we predicted they would helping senior execs figure out their future competitive strategy.

3. RCM & Charge Capture Systems Require Overhaul 
Miss By and large, most vendors in this sector have not done a whole lot yet as they await to see how the market develops. With most healthcare organizations struggling to get the basics done (e.g., meet MU requirements, ICD-9 -> ICD-10, apply analytics, etc.) we are not seeing big demand from customers and subsequently, not a big push by vendors.

4. Mergers & Acquisitions Continue Unabated
Hit Another “gimme” of sorts for we had this prediction in 2010 and it was a “hit” and need only look at this market with its some odd 300+ EHRs to choose from, everyone wanting to call themselves at HIE vendor (last we checked, HIMSS listed some 189 HIE vendors alone), countless other HIT solutions to see that this market is far from mature. But arguably the biggest news in 2011 was Microsoft’s capitulation that despite the billion dollar plus investment, it wasn’t cut out or the clinical market and dumping its HIT assets into a new joint venture with GE. What we are also seeing is some rationality return as valuations have moderated. This may have led to Thomson Reuters’ recent decision to not sell-off its healthcare division – no one was willing to pay the high price tag they had on this property.

5. Federally Funded State Initiatives Struggle
Toss-up There has been some progress and there are those that would vehemently argue that Beacon Communities, RECs and state HIEs are moving ahead briskly. But then again, we do get some disturbing reports that all is not progressing as once envisioned, one might even go so far as to say some of these programs are beyond just struggling, but clearly going off the tracks. We’ll reserve judgment until we see clear evidence of such pending disasters, which will likely be prevalent, but highly distributed.

6. Changing of the Guard at ONC
Hit Not long after we posted our 2011 predictions, Blumenthal announced his resignation from ONC. We could not have been more prophetic if we tried.

7. Physicians will continue to go Ga-Ga over the iPad and the fast-following touchscreen tablets much to the chagrin of CIOs.
Hit Enabling physicians access to health information systems via their hand-held mobile devices, including touch-screen tablets is still a struggle for most organizations. At first, IT departments turned to Citrix as stop-gap measure, but the UX was far from ideal. In our recent research we found many an IT department still struggling to address this issue. mobile enablement of physicians is a top priority.

8. Apps Proliferate: Consumer-facing First, Private Practice Second, Enterprises Dead Last
Hit In hindsight, another admittedly easy prediction to make. What may be a more interesting prediction is when will mHealth Apps really become a truly viable market? Does the profitable exit of iTriage/Healthagen, which was picked up by Aetna portend such? By our standards, no. Go back to our recent post from the mHealth Summit for more in-depth analysis.

9. The Poor Man’s (doctor’s) HIE Takes Hold
Miss We thought that the Direct Project would quickly take hold and see rapid adoption among smaller physician practices and those organizations looking to “connect the last mile” to small affiliated practices in their network. Not happening yet though the current administration is doing its best to push this technology by requiring all state designated entities that are standing up statewide HIEs to include Direct in the strategic operating plan.

10. Analytics & Business Intelligence Perceived as Nirvana 
Hit, kind of… 
In retrospect, not even sure this was really a prediction but simply more of a statement as to where healthcare organizations are headed with their HIT investments. We have a long ways to go, though there is certainly no lack of vendors that now are touting some form of analytics capabilities. Our advice, tread carefully as most solutions today are half-baked.

11) The Buzz at HIMSS’11? Everything ACO! 
Miss 
While some vendors were discussing ACO enablement at the 2011 HIMSS, the vast majority were not with the key focus continuing to be meeting Meaningful Use requirements. As mentioned in previous prediction, we see MU as a tactical issue with the strategic issue being: How do we leverage IT infrastructure to support communities of care? Maybe at HIMSS’12 we’ll see more discussion of this issue, but we’re not holding our breath.

This may have been our best year yet with our predictions having only 3 clear misses out of 11 predictions made. Granted, some of those predictions were not exactly the most profound or shall we say big stretches, but we do take some satisfaction in really nailing a few.

And while we intend to provide our own 2012 predictions, no time like the present to begin the process. So we ask you dear reader, what is your 2-3 top predictions for 2012? Will Todd Park stay on at HHS? Will forced budget cuts decimate HITECH? Will the Supreme Court’s ruling on ACA have any impact on HIT spend by either payers or providers? Will mHealth Apps such as WellDoc’s for diabetic care finally receive a CBT code thereby accelerating adoption of such tools?  We look forward to your input.

And of course we wish everyone a Joyous holiday season and wish you and yours continued good health in the new year to come.

Home for Christmas by Thomas Kinkade


December-9-2011

16:37

As many readers know, Chilmark Research has been a strong proponent of mHealth for several years. Despite this enthusiasm, we sometimes come away from a conference, such as this week’s mHealth Summit, with the feeling that the only ones making a living with mHealth are conference organizers. Maybe it was the format of this particular conference – too many presentations that were not well vetted for relevance and content. Maybe it was the lack of exhibitors – where is the rest of the legacy HIT market who are all claiming to be bringing mHealth solutions to market? Maybe it was hearing too many mHealth vendors with weak value propositions asking the Feds to step in and jump start this market. Or maybe it was the over reliance on government presentations and an ill-fated alliance with HIMSS, who sponsored less than visionary sessions. Hard to point to any single thing that contributed to this ho hum feeling, so let’s just chalk it up to all the above.

That being said, however, the mHealth Summit, now in its third year, is the best conference one can attend in the US if one wants to get the global pulse on all things mHealth.

From its humble beginnings where the first conference was quickly over-subscribed and held in a small DC amphitheater, this year’s event drew over 3,000 attendees to the massive Gaylord Resort outside of Washington DC for three days of countless sessions running concurrently covering every aspect of mHealth one could imagine. While most sessions were structured as panels with several short presentations, one was thankful that presentations were indeed short for few had substance. But nearly every session had one stellar presentation that kept one hopeful. Those were the gems of this event and like any event, the networking that occurs in the halls.

And then there were those sessions that took a close look at mHealth adoption in developing countries. This is the current market for mHealth (albeit almost all nonprofit) for these countries have real health needs having to deliver healthcare to a highly distributed and often rural population with too few doctors and lack a robust land-line network (no Internet cafes here folks). But what they do have are cell phones – lots of them and they are not tied to legacy systems and associated processes. Even among some of the poorest countries, the rapid adoption of cellphones by the populace is staggering (e.g., India alone now represents 20% of all cellphones in use worldwide). Combine the need with very little in the way of legacy HIT infrastructure and the ubiquitous nature of cellphones and you have a ripe opportunity to redefine care delivery models. Look overseas to these developing countries for the real future of mHealth for this is where best practices in mHealth-enabled care delivery will likely develop and later be adopted in more developed countries, US included.

That is not to say they are no advances occurring here in the US. One of the keynote speakers, cardiologist Eric Topol, gave several live demos during his talk of the mHealth tools he is already using including stating that he has not used a stethoscope in two years, instead preferring to use mobisante’s ultrasound wand and iPhone App.  Then there was our conversation with WellDoc’s CTO who informed us that they are currently being deployed at a number of institutions and hope to have a host of CPT codes that doctors can bill against in late 2012. And there was the small start-up we spoke with who has done the hard work of first identifying what the value proposition is for all stakeholders in a community (payers, providers and consumers) and then developed an extremely compelling solution (think analytics & automated quality reporting, tied to reimbursement, tied to consumer engagement) that has a lot of promise in a market where physicians’ pay will increasingly be based on outcomes and ability to meet pre-defined quality metrics

Therein lies arguably the biggest take-away from the mHealth Summit. As one individual put it, ‘There was a bit of whining about getting the government to force large corporations to form strategic partnerships with smaller organizations.” But what these start-ups really need is to simply focus on addressing the age old question: ‘What’s in it for me?’ These companies need to stop the whining and do their homework defining the value proposition for not just the consumer, or just the doctor, but think more broadly of the impact their solution may have on the delivery of care, and how each stakeholder may benefit. Unfortunately, as these conference clearly showed, the mHealth market is still heavy on hype and little on substance.

Addendum:
For a slightly different take, check out the post by VC firm Psilos’ Managing Partner Lisa Suennen’s. Well worth the read. And more recently, Charles Huang, formerly of Spark Capital, provides his own view of the mHealth Summit, including a a call that once and for all, we need to kill the term mHealth.

Also, the image used for this story was taken by Joel Selanikio, CEO & co-founder of DataDyne.org an organization focusing on mobile data collection, particularly, the App EpiSurveyor. Thanks Joel. 


December-8-2011

15:32

Today, GE and Microsoft announced a joint venture (JV) that will lead to the formation of a new company (NewCo) targeting the clinical healthcare market sector. The NewCo will be located near Microsoft HQ in Redmond, WA, start with roughly 700 employees and combine the remaining Microsoft clinical products, Amalga UIS and the former Sentillion products Vergence and expreSSO with GE’s eHealth and Qualibria suite. NewCo’s new CEO will be GE’s Michael Simpson, who has been heading up the combined Qualibria-eHealth group since earlier this year after a re-org at GE. Along with this announcement, Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group (HSG) leader, Peter Neupert stated that he’ll be retiring.

Combine the above announcement with Microsoft’s long anticipated sale of Amalga HIS, which went to Orion Health in October, and you are left with Microsoft completely pulling out of the clinical market. Sure, they’ll claim to be still in healthcare by directly selling their horizontal products (e.g., SharePoint, MS Office, various server products, etc.) into this sector and having a stake in this JV, but it is also exceedingly clear that Microsoft will no longer have any direct involvement in this market, that will be left to GE. That being said, Microsoft did state that they’ll hang onto HealthVault, but even here, that is more likely a by-product of no one wanting to take on HealthVault rather than Microsoft’s strong desire to continue to try and build a viable, revenue generating entity out of it. Do not be too surprised if, in a year’s time, HealthVault falls to the wayside much like Google Health did this year.

During our briefing call with Microsoft and GE we learned the following:

Core to NewCo’s objectives is to leverage the joint assets of Microsoft and GE to build out an entirely new platform that will focus on four key areas to begin with:

  • Clinical surveillance to identify such things as infection outbreaks within an acute care facility before they run rampent.
  • Population health management to facilitate care management processes, which is a productization of work GE has been doing with Geisinger as part of the Keystone Beacon program.
  • Reduce hospital readmissions by leveraging analytics to identify patients at risk and initiate appropriate interventions.
  • Facilitate transitions in care, which like reducing hospital readmissions, is something that is on the mind of every senior healthcare executive we talk to.

These four target areas are nothing new or inspirational as just about every vendor we talk to has some program in place or under development to address these four areas as well. The product roadmap does not have much hitting the market until 2014.

Financial terms were not disclosed but our guess is that Microsoft contributed IP and the development team behind these products. In return, they will receive some sort of royalty stake in future sales. GE will lead the new organization, contribute its Qualibria/eHealth IP and GE sales and marketing will take the product(s) to market. Thus, most sales and marketing folks and other support staff in Microsoft’s former Health Solutions Group are being shown the door, which is unfortunate as we head into the holidays.

A couple of things come across as a bit ironic. First, Microsoft executives time and again stated that they knew what they were getting into when they entered this vertical and that it would take patience to build a viable presence. So much for patience. Second, Microsoft sold off the Amalga HIS product as many a potential HIT partner was wary of partnering with Microsoft as long as Microsoft had under ownership an EHR. Now what does Microsoft do, it joins in partnership with a struggling HIT vendor in the acute care market. Will any of the other major or even second tier HIT vendors partner up with the GE/MSFT NewCo – don’t bet on it.

The announcement also raises more than a few questions such as:

What becomes of Microsoft’s existing HIE contracts, particularly the one they pulled all the stops out to win, the Chicago HIE which is now under development?

What becomes of Microsoft’s recently announced relationship with Orion Health? Will Orion now be partnering with NewCo, which is essentially GE?  GE, with its own HIE solutions targeting enterprise accounts, is a direct competitor to Orion.

What becomes of HealthVault Community Connect, which combined Amalga with HealthVault and SharePoint? Is this now a dead product or will NewCo simply use the Centricity patient portal?

As you can probably tell by the tenor of this piece, we’re not a big fan of this announcement and are disappointed that Microsoft has decided to fold-up its tent and retreat. Unlike the legacy HIT vendors in this market, Microsoft could lay the claim to some neutrality and potentially build-out an Amalga-based ecosystem platform. But business is often not kind to those that have an altruistic bent and in this case Microsoft simply made a clear-cut business decision to unleash an asset that was not meeting internal metrics despite what some believe may have been an investment in excess of $1B in the last 5 years to build-out HSG.

Once again, another company with grandiose plans to change healthcare has quietly walked away leaving this market to the incumbent HIT vendors. We also do not see strong prospects for the future build-out of a robust ecosystem of partners on the combined Amalga-Qualibria platform that NewCo proposes as there are too many competitive issues that just get in the way. We could be wrong on this one, but our guess is that NewCo is likely to struggle as much as Microsoft has in the past for relevance in this fractious HIT market.

Addendum:
Sean Nolan, chief architect for Microsoft HealthVault, provides his own view on this JV announcement. While his view differs from ours on the implications and future of this JV and HealthVault, one thing we do hope that Sean proves us wrong on, is the future success of HealthVault. We would love nothing more than to see it succeed but at this juncture, we remain pessimistic. 


November-28-2011

12:42

While it would be much better to give thanks prior to our (the US’s) big Thanksgiving holiday, sometimes things just get in the way as has been the case this fall. In fact, many things have gotten in the way – all good things, very good things, but gotten in the way nonetheless leaving you dear reader, far less to actually read from Chilmark Research. Truly wish that this was not the case , but alas, as a small but growing analyst firm, we are seeing our own challenges in scaling up Chilmark Research to meet demand. And yes, we are seriously looking into revamping some of our own internal processes to insure that we continue to deliver timely, relevant and cogent posts on HIT market trends.

Which brings us to our first pause to give thanks.

This fall has seen an explosion of activity for us, activity that has us juggling so many balls and somehow managing to keep them all in the air. That explosion of activity has come in the form of numerous client engagements that has provided Chilmark Research with an opportunity to further delve deeper into a number of healthcare sub-sectors including:

mHealth adoption of patient-provider engagement Apps. A larger report for the general market will be released in February.

Concierge Care: market drivers, key players and future forecast.

Aging-in-Place telehealth and remote sensing market opportunity assessment.

Strategy workshops with several clients helping them map out their HIT strategy.

Deep dive research on current and future state of imaging exchange to promote collaborative care processes, which has also resulted in our first time trip to RSNA.

For all of these clients and those we may have the opportunity to serve in the future, we wish to give thanks for these opportunities always teach us something new. At Chilmark Research we have an insatiable appetite for learning.

We also wish to give thanks to you, our readership for first inspiring us to write these posts through your comments, your inputs, your private emails to us. When first starting Chilmark Research, these posts were used for marketing, to build credibility in a market we knew little about. The process of writing these posts built readership, but more importantly, it forced us to do good research. You can’t build credibility with lame posts that are no more than a rehash of some press release or fail to take to task questionable moves by policy makers or vendors.

But now writing these posts is not so much about marketing for Chilmark Research. From those humble beginnings several years ago, we have built a substantial readership that includes quite a few extremely senior and influential HIT market movers and shakers. Also, based on the volume of inquiries we now receive for future engagements, it appears that Chilmark Research has indeed established a reputable brand in the HIT market. Therefore, we want our posts to be seen more as our way of contributing to the discussion, a discussion that will help others better adopt, deploy and use HIT to not only deliver better care, but to create a health system that is more responsive to and inclusive of the needs of patients and their loved ones.

Lastly, we wish to thank all of those who have helped us along the way. From the numerous clients who early on had faith in Chilmark Research and hired us on to provide specific research services to the countless educational mentors in the healthcare market who have taken us under their wing providing us sage advice along the way on the structure of what appears to be is a convoluted market. There are far too many to list here but they know who they are. Thank you once again for all of your assistance along this journey, we would have never gotten this far without you.


November-4-2011

15:51

Acquisition fever has set in and they’re dropping like flies, independent HIE vendors that is. Earlier today, Siemens announced its intent to acquire enterprise HIE vendor MobileMD. So in little over a year we have seen IBM snag Initiate, Axolotl fall into the hands of Ingenix/United Health Group (Ingenix is now known as OptumInsight), Medicity tie the knot with Aetna, Harris pick-up Dept of Defense clinician portal darling Carefx and Wellogic, a damsel in distress, being rescued by Alere. Elsevier also announce an intent to acquire dbMotion for a whooping $310M, but nothing came of that other than a substantiation of the rumor that dbMotion was being shopped.

That does not leave many small, independent HIE vendors that have some traction left in the market. Following is our list of such vendors and what might become of them:

4medica: A relative new comer to the HIE market, 4medica will be profiled for the first time in the upcoming HIE Market Trends Report which is scheduled for release in early 2012. 4medica is quite strong on lab information exchange. Future: 4medica still remains under the radar screen as it completes its platform to truly serve all HIE needs. Once that process is complete, the company is likely to gain increasing attention and will be acquired in 18-14 months.

Care Evolution: Privately owned and self-funded, founder has every intent to stay independent. As he has told us on more than one occasion, I’ve already made plenty of money and this is not about cashing out to the highest bidder. Future: Everyone has a price but this company may be one of the last to fall into the arms of another.

Certified Data Systems: Appliance (think small router with embedded HIE functionality) HIE vendor that has close, yet non-exclusive partnership with Cerner. Would not be surprised if they struck a similar deal with Epic as Epic struggles to connect to EHRs outside its system. Future: Fairly new to the HIE market but gaining traction. Will stay independent for next 12-18 months, after that, anyone’s guess.

dbMotion: One company already made a bid, but pulled back, thus pretty clear this company will be acquired, question is how much and we suspect it will be significantly less than what Elsevier was planning to pay. Future: If price is right, could be acquired at anytime.

HealthUnity: Small HIE vendor from the Pacific Northwest that made a big splash when with Microsoft (Amalga UIS) they won the big Chicago HIE contract. Future: With Microsoft cozying up close to Orion, HealthUnity will be looking hard for other partners and/or to be acquired. Will give them 12-18 months as an independent.

ICA: Another small HIE vendor that has had a few wins here and there but will come under increasing pressure from larger, better funded HIEs. Future: Likely to be acquired in next 6-12 months, maybe even earlier.

ICW: InterComponent Ware is a German HIT company and a sizable one at that with over 600 employees. To date, ICW has a very small presence in the US HIE market so an acquisition, if there were one, would have little impact.  Future: Their foreign ownership, size and interests in several health related markets make them an unlikely candidate for acquisition.

InterSystems: Arms dealer to all, InterSystems Cache and Ensemble are widely used in the market and the company has built upon these core technologies to get into HIE market. Future: Fiercely independent and senior team is basically the same since founding this company will remain independent.

Kryptiq: Having signed a strong partnership deal with Surescripts, Kryptiq is unlikely to be interested in any acquisitions talks. Future: Will remain independent for time being and if Surescripts’ Clinical Interoperability solution gains significant traction, Surescripts will likely acquire Kryptiq outright.

Orion Health: New Zealand-based, privately owned with good prospects in markets beyond America’s shores, this company will likely want to stay independent (future IPO) unless of course a very large software company (think IBM, Microsoft, Oracle etc.) gives them an offer they can’t refuse. Future: Will stay independent.

Getting back to the Siemens/MobileMD deal…

While we have not had an opportunity to talk with either Siemens or MobileMD (will provide follow-on update once we do) here are some quick take-aways:

Siemens has chosen to buy. This is unlike other EHR vendors who have either built their own HIE solution (athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Epic, NextGen) or have partnered with others (Allscripts, Cerner, GE).

Existing partner doesn’t cut it. Siemens has an existing partnership with NextGen for ambulatory but NextGen’s HIE is a closed system. This prevented Siemens from being able to leverage this partnership to serve their client needs, which most often includes a multitude of EHRs in the ambulatory sector to interface with.

Lacked sufficient internal resources. By buying into the market, Siemens has signalled that it does not have the development resources to respond quickly enough to customer demand (not too surprising, Siemens has been struggling in the North American market for sometime). This also signals that they could not find the right partner outside of their NextGen relationship, which is a tad puzzling as we are quite sure they paid a premium for MobileMD.

Paid a premium. We estimated MobileMD sales in 2010 just shy of $8M in our 2011 HIE Market Report. HIE vendors are selling at a premium, even second tier ones such as MobileMD. Assuming industry average growth in 2011 (we peg it at 30%) that would give MobileMD sales of ~$10.5M for 2011. We put the final strike price for MobileMD at $95-110M.

Existing MobileMD customers relived. Unlike the acquisitions of Axolotl and Medicity, which both fell into the hands of payers, MobileMD is going to a fellow HIT vendor which must assuage the fears of more than a few MobileMD customers and prospects. Siemens intends to keep MobileMD whole, bringing on-board MobileMD’s president and founder, again contributing to continuity.

ADDENDUM: Please excuse our lack of posting on industry trends in a more frequent manner. Like many in the healthcare sector, Chilmark Research is struggling to keep up with demand and recruit top-notch resources. We seem to have hit our stride in this market, are receiving countless engagement inquiries and engaging in most of them. All good problems to have, but you dear reader are the one who ultimately suffers from our lack of posts. Thank you for your patience to date and know that we are doing our best to keep you informed with some of the best research and analysis of this critically important and meaningful market.


Blog url: 
http://chilmarkresearch.com/
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MedTech and Devices

healthTech.accordingtome.com

April-29-2010

18:08

I just have three things to say. First of all, the word is pronounced PRE-scription not PER-scription.

Secondly, if we’re talking medicinal, you want to know something that is broken in the health care system? I’ll tell you: pharmacies. What value does a pharmacist add? None. They can be immediately replaced by vending machines and websites (thx, Zach.) I can read my own labels, thank you very much.

Finally, why are many non-addictive medications by prescription anyway? Here’s an example: ibuprofen. You can buy OTC ibuprofen, and they usually come in 200mg tablets. 200mg doesn’t do anything useful, so what do people do? They take 4-8 of them. If you go to a doctor with a bad headache, they’ll prescribe you ibuprofen in 800mg tablets. I’m sorry Mom, but that’s retarded. Ibuprofen doesn’t need to be by prescription. Here’s another: Liptor. Lipitor is used for reducing cholesterol. “But wait,” Mr. Wily protests, “what if a user bought Lipitor and decided to take more than the label suggested? That would be bad.” Indeed, but the side effects of Lipitor are headache and muscle soreness, hardly cause for alarm. On the other hand, too much of lots of OTC drugs can be harmful as well. For example, excessive Tylenol can hurt your liver, but Tylenol isn’t by prescription. Why?

While I’m at it, doctors themselves are close to obsolete. The Internet is making elite bearers of information unnecessary. When I last went to the doctor for a checkup, he GOOGLED a symptom during our visit. GOOGLED. I can google. Thanks for charging me for your web surfing.

That’s all.

January-26-2010

11:42

What’s wrong with Medicine today?

Let’s design the most inefficient, error-prone, hackable system for transmitting medical information.

We’ll start by having persons with notorious handwriting, doctors, scribble in code onto a piece of paper.

Then, the afflicted person (the patient) jams that paper into their pants’ pocket and carries it down to a non-doctor (a pharmacy tech), who attempts to decipher the information and enter it into the computer.

If it’s a new pharmacy or a new doctor, they have NO IDEA what you’ve been prescribed before, or what you’re currently taking.

Why, why, why?

October-10-2007

11:58

clooney.jpgActor George Clooney was admitted last month to the the Palisades Medical Center after a motorcycle accident. The temptation to look at Mr. Clooney’s medical file was just too much a couple dozen unauthorized employees to withstand. 27 people looked. 27 people are now suspended for a month without pay according to CNN.com. Sadly, the impetus for the investigation was not that they viewed Clooney’s records without cause, but that they leaked information to the press… HIPAA, it’s got (some) teeth now.

October-4-2007

15:45

microsoft-black.jpgMicrosoft, the megalithic, oft-hated vendor of  only marginally-useful software, announced today in the Wall Street Journal that it would be offering free personal health records on the Web via its HealthVault system. Why *anyone* would trust the likes of Microsoft with their health information is beyond my comprehension. Still, proving once again that CEOs continue to make technology decisions instead of CIOs, Microsoft managed to signup an impressive roster of partners, including: American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and MedStar Health, a network of seven hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington region.

On the upside, they did get the permissions model right, “Its privacy controls, the company said, are set entirely by the individual, including what information goes in and who gets to see it.” That said, the WSJ article goes on to mention that the data, stripped of some identifiers, will be data mined by third parties.

The news of this launch prompted a Slashdot reader to quip, “[this brings a] whole new meaning [to the blue screen of death.]

Would you trust Microsoft with your personal medical information?!?

September-22-2007

13:21

index.gifIt’s no secret that many doctors are, if not technophobic, at least VERY SLOW to implement new technologies. To wit, according to the report called “Health Information Technology in the United States: The Information Base for Progress,” only one in four doctors (24.9 percent) use EHRs to improve how they deliver care to patients.1 Fortunately, our Luddite physician friends are being joined by Gen X’ers, who, having grown up with computers, are not afraid to break out of the restraints of paper forms and charts.

One of these early adopters is Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH (from Penn State and Johns Hopkins.) Jay is an EMR-enabled, private physician practicing in Brooklyn. Jay prefers to “e-visit [his patients] by video chat, IM and Email for problems that don’t require an actual face-to-face visit. It’s the future of cost-effective medicine.” All of that, plus two home/work visits a year for $500.00. Jay also gives out his cellphone to his patients.

Can you video conference with your doctor?

1. http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=785923

August-23-2007

17:50

happy.gif Recently a number of websites have been offering “real age” calculators which, upon asking a number of health/lifestyle questions, attempt to predict how long you will live. The difference between how long you are going to live and how long people live on average determines your “real age.” If, for example, you are a heavy smoker with a family history of heart disease, you might have been born 28 years ago, but your real age could be closer to 35. As a measure of its popularity, even Oprah and her ilk have been jumping on the real age bandwagon.

These real age calculators are not without their faults however.

  1. No (or little) research is offered to substantiate their healthcare calculations
  2. The numbers are frequently a little *too* clean (what are the chances that all bad things raise your real age by EXACTLY 1 year?)
  3. No distinction is made between elements you can and cannot control
  4. At the end of the survey, no action items are provided to allow the user to alter their Real Age. After all, unless you can glean some ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE from the results, these calculators are ultimately of little utility.

After seeing the calculator at http://www.poodwaddle.com/realage.htm, I spent a few hours reverse engineering it. healthtech’s real age calculator is an attempt to rectify the aforementioned deficits.

  1. Based on XML: see the real age XML now: download and modify the XML as new scientific studies are released. add your own questions, etc.
  2. Open Source: download the Real Age code and run it yourself
  3. Better health summary at the end (action checklist)
  4. Items are distinguished as controllable or not

RemedyMD’s tagline is “Better Data, Better Decisions, Better Outcomes,” and you might be tempted to think that better data leads automatically to better decisions, but that is not always the case. More often, it is the application of intelligent analytic algorithms (predictive informatics, if you will) which transforms the raw data into actionable information. A lot of EHR systems collect medical history, for example, but how many of them process that information to produce actionable knowledge?

What is your Real Age?!?

Blog url: 
http://healthtech.accordingtome.com
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MedTech and Devices

AHRQ Health IT News and Events

October-3-2011

16:17
There were two major objectives for this project: (1) to identify barriers and facilitators to workflow integration of clinical decision support (CDS) for colorectal cancer screening and 2) to prototype and test CDS design alternatives for improved integration into workflow through a controlled simulation study.

September-27-2011

9:17
Principal Investigators: Pascale Carayon and Ben-Tzion Karsh (Contract No. 290-08-10036) This toolkit helps provider offices assess their worksflows before, during, and after the implementation of a health IT system.

September-20-2011

15:03
The AHRQ Health Information Technology Portfolio's 2010 Annual Report is designed to disseminate information on the research areas and progress at both the Portfolio and individual project levels. The report describes activities that took place throughout the year and synthesizes challenges, outputs, and successes of the 180 active projects. In addition, as part of the report, an individual project summary for each of the 121 grants and 59 contracts provides an overview of each project's long term objectives, status updates of the specific aims and objectives, and updates on completed or ongoing project activities.

September-19-2011

15:29
This project report for Medicaid-SCHIP details whether and how health information technology (health IT) and the Medicaid EHR incentive program can be used as tools to improve access to quality oral health care for children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

May-5-2011

9:10
E-prescribing systems can provide physicians access to important patient information, such as drugs prescribed by physicians in other practices and formulary information that can help reduce insured patients’ drug costs, but many physicians are reluctant to use these features because they are viewed as cumbersome and unreliable, according to a new report funded by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The report, prepared for AHRQ by researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), is a qualitative study of 24 physician practices using e-prescribing systems. Study respondents highlighted two barriers to use: 1) tools to view and use the patient health information are cumbersome to use in some systems; and 2) data are not always seen as useful enough to expend the extra effort to use them. For more information about the HSC Research Brief, go to http://www.hschange.org/CONTENT/1202/.

November-4-2010

16:54
A new AHRQ funded-report examines the impact of human factors on home health care quality and safety. Based on proceedings from an October 2009 workshop, the report, "The Role of Human Factors in Home Healthcare: Workshop Summary and Papers," includes seven commissioned papers and discussion summaries on how home care quality and safety is impacted by the capabilities and limitations of patients and providers in the use of technologies. The workshop summary report, published by the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council is available at The National Academies Press' Web site. A final consensus report and designers' guide for home-based consumer health IT developers are under development and expected to be released in Spring 2011.
Blog url: 
http://healthit.ahrq.gov
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News and Views

HL7 News; Tools and Resources Update

September-9-2011

15:42
The 30th Anniversary Standards and Implementation Meeting of the International Healthcare Modelling Standards Development Organisation (IHMSDO) will be held in Beijing, China. IHMSDO's CEO Rasmussen, speaking at the recent HIMSS AsiaPac event in Brisbane, Australia, expects over 1,100 developers, implementers and users to attend. "I expect a similar number to attend by tele-presence, so we will have well over 2000 participants." said Rasmussen. After the recent amalgamation of HL7 with DICOM and IHE, IHMSDO has significantly accelerated e-Health and Telehealth roll-outs globally. IHMSDO will meet 11-16 September 2016 in Beijing, China.

July-26-2011

10:22
The next Working Meeting, held in San Diego, USA, will be the 25th anniversary of the founding of Health Level 7. During this time, HL7 has grown from a group of US implementers frustrated with an ever-increasing number of point-to-point interfaces to the leading authority for global healthcare IT standards. While the scope of the first standard was limited to administration of patients, diagnostic laboratory reporting and billing, HL7 today covers all areas of healthcare including genomics. The HL7 meeting in San Diego will be held from 11-16 September 2011.

February-26-2011

9:22
The next Working Meeting of HL7 International, the leading authority for global healthcare IT standards, will be held May 15-20 in Orlando, Florida, USA. More than 50 Work Groups, Committees and Task Forces will meet to progress the HL7 V2.x, CDA, V3 and EHR Standards.

January-27-2011

23:22
The recent HL7 International standards organisation Working Meeting in Sydney, Australia, was acclaimed by all attending as a great success. Nearly 350 participants from over 25 countries worked January 9-14 in more than 50 Work Groups, Committees and Task Forces to progress the HL7 V2.x, CDA, V3 and EHR Standards. Many commented on the excellent work environment and the spectacular networking cruise on Sydney Harbour! The first Australian Health Informatics Summer School held in the follwoing week attracted over 40 students from the Asia-Pacific region.

November-21-2010

23:22
Registrations for the next Working Meeting of the HL7 International standards organisation to be held 9-14 January 2011 in Sydney, Australia, are now open. Additional to the meetings of more than 50 Work Groups, Committees and Task Forces to progress the HL7 V2.x, CDA, V3 and EHR Standards, the event provides an extensive range of Courses, Tutorials and Workshops on CDISC, SOA in Healthcare, GS1, IHE, openEHR, etc. that will allow Australians to hear and learn the very latest developments from the global experts and leaders in e-health. An academic Summer School will also be held.

October-21-2010

0:22
The presentations given at the HL7 International Plenary Meeting held 3-8 October 2010 in Boston, USA, are now available for download. The slides include "Genetics and Genomics in Clinical Medicine" by Raju Kucherlapati and "Personal Genome Project" by George Church, both from the Harvard Medical School. Summaries of the Panel are also available.
Blog url: 
http://www.hl7.org.au
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News and Views

HL7 Standards » HL7 Blog

January-19-2012

18:10
Join us online Friday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m., CT, for a “Special Edition” of our weekly #HITsm TweetChat. We asked the Colin Konschak, Shane Danaher and Phillip Felt from DIVURGENT, a national healthcare consultanting firm with offices in Dallas and Virginia Beach, Va., to join us for this week’s chat and to help develop [...]

January-19-2012

8:56
Already abandoned your New Year resolutions? We have a hard time changing our behavior. By now, approximately 60 percent of us have already abandoned our New Year resolutions. One study shows that 35 percent of those who made resolutions, never even started them. Not surprisingly, the most popular resolutions are health related — for weight [...]

January-18-2012

11:43
The IHE Connectathon event for 2012 was held in Chicago last week. Connectathon allows vendors from healthcare IT to test their ability to support IHE profiles, which are critical to standardizing communications across HIEs, ACOs, and across regions. Here are a few observations from my first-time participation at Connectathon: Industry Buy-in It was apparent from [...]

January-17-2012

13:31
As an author of a book focused on planning for Accountable Care Organizations, I’ve heard from all too many providers and consultants who believe the concept will never take off. Although I remain cautiously optimistic about this new care delivery model, I am very much looking forward to the results of the Pioneer ACO program. [...]

January-12-2012

13:03
Join us online Friday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m., CT, for a “Special Edition” of our weekly #HITsm TweetChat. We collaborated with HIMSS (Heathcare Information and Management Systems Society) staff members to develop this week’s topics to help provide information to the Twitter community and to help build momentum for their upcoming 2012 annual conference, [...]

January-10-2012

9:15
The HL7 Standards team is proud to say that one year ago today, on January 10, 2010, the inaugural #HITsm TweetChat took place. We would like to send a big “Thank You” to the #HITsm Twitter community for helping make the chats so successful. View the transcript from the first #HITsm TweetChat. Exactly how much [...]
Blog url: 
http://www.hl7standards.com

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