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Podcast: HIT consultant Denise Silber on European initiatives

Last month, I blogged about the “personal” nature of electronic health records in France, based on a blog post by American-born, Paris-based health IT consultant Denise Silber. Well, Denise read my post and e-mailed me, or maybe it was I who sent the link to her. I’ve been in Vegas the last three days and the memory is a bit fuzzy at this stage. A few e-mails later, I had her on the phone for this podcast. Enjoy.

Podcast details: HIT consultant Denise Silber on European initiatives. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 10.3 MB, running time 22:36.

1:00 Background on her e-health consulting and marketing work
2:40 France’s “personal medical record”
3:40 Fears of Big Brother on both sides of the Atlantic and French data privacy laws
4:25 Patient control of records in France
5:15 HIPAA confusion in the U.S.
6:00 Conflicts between French law and European standards for physicians, and patient concealment of personal health information
6:55 Usage and costs of French health system, including electronic insurance cards
8:25 Differences between French system and other European health systems
9:42 Physician use of EMRs and computers in France
10:25 Current status of French EMR projects
11:47 Standards
12:28 Purpose of the French PMR
13:05 Accuracy and quality of consumer health information
14:45 Physician shortage in France
15:47 HON Code
16:47 New organization for health information improvement in France
18:45 Consumerism in healthcare and transparency
21:10 Other forms of information accreditation

June 22, 2007 I Written By

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

Michael Moore at AHIP meeting?

LAS VEGAS—In the sweltering June desert heat (dry heat, sure, but 104 degrees is still 104 degrees) comes a wonderfly not dry—OK, let’s call it juicy—rumor. Filmmaker Michael Moore, he of the forthcoming cinematic indictment of American healthcare called “Sicko”, may make an appearance Thursday or Friday at the annual America’s Health Insurance Plans meeting.

When I heard this, I immediately thought of the film that first put Moore on the map, 1989′s “Roger & Me”, in which the portly Michigander pursues then-General Motors boss Roger Smith before finally confronting Smith at the company’s annual meeting. As a GM shareholder at the time, Moore was entitled to attend—except he brought a camera crew and pointedly asked Smith why GM pulled so many high-paying factory jobs from Moore’s decaying hometown of Flint, Mich.

If, in fact, Moore does show up here at the AHIP meeting, I seriously doubt he’ll get a chance to confront AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni in front of the gathered audience. I picture more of a staged demonstration on the posh grounds of the convention site, the Wynn Las Vegas, with an entourage of sick Americans allegedly denied care by insurance companies. Whatever it might be, I expect great theater. I’ll have my camera handy just in case.

Why do I suspect there’s something to the rumor? Aside from Moore’s history of high-profile publicity stunts, his name was mentioned in Wednesday’s performance of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at the Wynn. Perhaps he was in the audience? Perhaps that’s just a regular part of the lyrics? I dunno, I’d never seen the show before. But I highly recommend it. (And now by mentioning it, my ticket becomes a deductible business expense. Same thing if I go see “Sicko.”)

Even if Moore doesn’t show, a bona fide movie star will be part of the official program. AHIP has confirmed that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will speak at Friday’s closing session.

Meanwhile, I became the butt of a joke on Wednesday. During a session on consumer-directed health plans, panelist David Harris of PricewaterhouseCoopers noted how many parties, from consumers to providers to banks to health insurers themselves, don’t quite understand exactly how high-deductible health plans and HSAs are supposed to work. Harris noted how early adopters of the automobile a century ago tended to get into a lot of accidents because they weren’t quite sure how to operate those newfangled horseless carriages.

During the Q&A portion of the session, I commented how I have an HSA from a bank that didn’t offer an HSA debit card for more than a year after I first opened my account, suggesting that the bank jumped in without fully planning its strategy. (I was writing checks at the pharmacy.) I also mentioned my experience in getting a free injection from a P.A. who didn’t think it was worth the time to check the price of the service.

“You’re an accident,” Harris jokingly said. One of the other panelists suggested my employer didn’t do much homework before offering the consumer-directed plan. I then said I was self-employed, to much laughter.

So there you have it: What happens in Vegas … eventually ends up on the Internet.

June 20, 2007 I Written By

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

Time for WebMD and Google to panic?

This is one of the most interesting M&A bits to hit my inbox in a long time: Health-specific search engine Healia has just announced a takeover by Des Moines, Iowa-based publishing company Meredith Corp.

That’s right, the publisher of such titles as Fitness, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens and Successful Farming has bought itself a healthcare search engine. I bet Wall Street didn’t see that one coming, and I wonder if they’re sweating over at WebMD, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

By the way, Dr. Tom Eng, Healia’s president and founder, says that Healia is hiring a CTO and Web designers at company headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., and VPs for online marketing and advertising sales to work in New York, where Meredith has a large presence. Eng is keeping his job.

June 18, 2007 I Written By

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

Talking politics

A lot’s been said of late about what the 2008 presidential hopefuls have to say about healthcare in general and health IT specifically.

I have a few things from the punditry that may or may not shed light on what’s happening.

First off, Kaiser Network has posted the full video, audio and transcript of Barack Obama’s May 29 healthcare policy speech in Iowa City. Click here to see/hear/read his remarks.

Meanwhile, the Cato Institute‘s Michael Cannon is commenting on Jonathan Cohn’s comparison in the New Republic of Mitt Romney’s plan to the “HillaryCare” circa 1993. Ah, barbs from both sides of the aisle! Good thing the election is a mere 16 months away!

Also, it’s not exactly IT, but I had a story in Friday’s Chicago Sun-Times about the Blue Healthcare Bank. And speaking of links to stories I’ve written, my Red Herring piece on PHRs finally is online. Click here.

I Written By

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