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Podcast: CMS administrator Mark McClellan

As promised, here’s the podcast of the delivered by outgoing CMS administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., at last week’s Third Health Information Technology Summit in Washington.

McClellan, who is stepping down in mid-October after heading Medicare for two years, spoke immediately after Robert Kolodner, M.D., gave his first public comments since being named interim national health IT coordinator the previous week. Again, the moderator who hosts the Q&A portion is John Glaser, vice president and chief information officer of Partners HealthCare, Boston.

Podcast details: Mark McClellan, M.D., Third HIT Summit, Sept. 25, 2006, Washington, D.C. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 17.0 MB, running time 37:19.

September 30, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Podcast: Interim HIT coordinator Robert Kolodner

WASHINGTON—I’ve got nearly pristine audio of the first public comments of Robert Kolodner, M.D., after he was named interim national coordinator for health information technology. The speech was recorded live Monday in Washington, at the Third Health Information Technology Summit.

I also have audio from outgoing CMS administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., who spoke immediately after Kolodner. I will post that recording later in the week.

The moderator for the Q&A whom you hear at the end of Kolodner’s address is John Glaser, vice president and chief information officer of Partners HealthCare, Boston.

Podcast details: Robert Kolodner, M.D., Third HIT Summit, Sept. 25, 2006, Washington, D.C. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 14.4 MB, running time 31:25.

September 25, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Kolodner named interim HIT coordinator

Robert Kolodner, M.D., chief health informatics officer of the Veterans Health Administration, has been named interim national coordinator for health information technology.

As has been widely reported, government officials have had trouble finding a permanent replacement for David Brailer, M.D., who stepped down in May, but has been leading the search for his successor. The head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology must pass a background check, support the Bush administration’s preference for heavy involvement by the private sector and be able to withstand the rough-and-tumble world of Washington politics. Brailer has said that the latter reality caught him off guard.

Also, it may be a short-term job. As a presidential appointee, the next national coordinator likely will be replaced in January 2009, when the current presidential term ends. That’s less than 2 1/2 years from now.

All I know about the appointment is what is contained in the HHS press release. I have, however, interviewed Kolodner before, and he certainly seems qualified.

I’ll be in Washington next week for the Third Health Information Technology Summit. I suspect there will be plenty to talk about there.

In other news, Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon Atul Gawande, M.D., has received a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship, better known as a “genius grant.” Gawande, author of the 2002 best-seller, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, gets $500,000 to use as he wishes for the next five years. He’s been a strong voice in patient safety in recent years.

He has not yet said publicly what he will do with the money.

September 20, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

How influential?

For all the bluster about Dr. David Brailer being named the most influential person in U.S. healthcare last year, his counterpart in Britain apparently has some work to do.

Despite a huge budget and a government mandate to roll out IT to all of England’s National Health Service, Connecting for Health boss Richard Granger came in 22nd on the HSJ50, a list of the 50 people with the greatest influence on NHS policy and practice, as compiled by Health Service Journal. E-Health Insider reports that Granger is the only IT person on the entire list, and I couldn’t find any other IT types there.

Since this is the first time Health Service Journal has put together such a list, there’s nothing to compare the rankings against, but suffice it to say Granger would have scored higher a year ago. The magazine cites numerous problems in CfH and the agency’s National Programme for IT, including the likely scenario that the massive IT effort would need a lot more than the £6.8 billion ($12.8 billion) already set aside.

Even buckets of cash can’t solve every IT problem.

By the way, No. 1 on the HSJ50 is Paul Corrigan, health advisor to embattled Prime Minister Tony Blair. It must be steaming Granger’s crumpets that some media types made the list. Even 6,000 miles from home, Granger did a great job running away from me at MedInfo 2004 in San Francisco. He did an even better job avoiding the media by simply cancelling his planned appearance at HIMSS 2006.

September 14, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

P4P problems

I came across an interesting letter from a reader of Fierce Healthcare that was sharply critical of the positive report that CMS and Premier released last week on its pay-for-performance pilot.

Check it out here, then let me know your thoughts.

September 7, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

New e-mail address

I’m changing Internet providers at home (it was the condo board’s decision, not mine), so that means I will be losing my e-mail address through my current cable company in the near future. Therefore, all future e-mail should come to me at nversel@gmail.com. This is reflected in the “Contact me” link in the right-hand column.

Since I’ve decided to go with Gmail, this should be the last time I have to change e-mail addresses. I’ve also got permanent message forwarding at neilversel@alum.wustl.edu, but let’s call the Gmail my new primary address.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend.

September 1, 2006 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.