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Google’s health plans, and more on CMIOs

BRISBANE, Australia—I’m at the other end of the world this week for the 12th World Congress on Health (Medical) Informatics, otherwise known as MedInfo, so things have been a bit nutso, what with the travel, the change of 15 time zones and the acclimation to a rainy winter in a region that’s had drought conditions for several years, at least until I arrived Sunday.

That said, I have a couple of things to share that I carried with me for some 9,000 miles. Yeah, so what if I carried them on a tiny USB drive? I still brought them to Australia.

First off, thanks to Fred Trotter and Dr. Scott Shreeve for cluing me in to a sneak peek at Google Health, allegedly code named “Weaver.” See this post at Google Blogoscoped, complete with screen shots. Happy scoping.

Secondly, a story I wrote for Digital HealthCare & Productivity late last month caught the attention of Dr. Scot Silverstein, director of the Institute for Healthcare Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dr. Silverstein agreed with the quote from Gartner‘s Vi Shaffer about chief medical information officers: “Direct report to the CIO is a wedge of separation from the medical staff.”

Silverstein e-mailed me to say he e-mailed the story to members of the AMIA clinical information systems workgroup. “We’ve been discussing how to empower the CMIO role and trying to organize a workshop on same, although the proposal was rejected for November,” he wrote.

Silverstein also referred me to an essay he wrote several years ago, entitled, “Ten critical rules for applied informatics positions: What every Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) should know,” which he said was still relevant.

From that essay:

Rule 6 : Reporting should preferably be to senior medical leadership or medical records (health information management).

Physicians and other clinicians, being the primary enablers of healthcare, should report to personnel who understand clinical issues, matrixing with those who facilitate care. Reporting to non-medical personnel should be done only if the chemistry between the two parties is very good, and the senior party is well-rounded and has experience in working as a direct supervisor to medical personnel. Unfortunately, this is not very common.

Rule 9 : Have a direct, open channel to organization’s CEO.

Also make sure the CEO and other senior executives understand what medical informatics is about, and its strategic value. Direct them to this web site, for example … Medical informaticists may unfortunately be viewed by healthcare executives as “clinical consultants who know a little about computers”, as opposed to leaders in clinical computing.

I then referred Silverstein to a Digital HealthCare & Productivity editor to submit a commentary, which ran Aug. 7. Click here to read.

August 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.

Catching up

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but being busy means I’m working. Usually.

In this case, I certainly have been working hard for the last few weeks, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of going to Australia for the triennial MedInfo conference, which takes place next week in Brisbane. After much contemplation, story pitching and even a preliminary discussion with someone who may have been able to cover the considerable expenses until the boss said no, I will indeed be departing for Australia this weekend.

With 17.5 hours of flying time each way—not counting connection time—and the need to do a whole lot of work to pay for the trip, this could be the last blog post for a while. It probably won’t, however, since I have something else to write tonight or tomorrow that I believe warrants its own post.

As I finish up some lingering assignments and prepare for my latest junket, here are a couple of items of interest that I’ve been sitting on for a bit.

This week, Alaska became the final state to legalize e-prescribing, meaning that electronic prescribing is now legal nationwide, including in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Pharmacy connectivity network SureScripts has a map of e-prescribing status by state at http://www.surescripts.com/participant.aspx?ptype=pharmacy. At the right of the screen is a link to a high-resolution map showing where e-Rx laws have changed since 2004.

Then there’s this: A planned high-rise in New York would have 1 million square feet of space to showcase medical devices and other technology, with the goal of “making New York City the prime center of commerce and innovation for the US$260 billion global market for medical devices and diagnostics,” according to the press release.

The proposed World Product Centre would be at 11th Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, on the former site of the Copacabana nightclub, across the street from the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Is someone perhaps trying to lure the Radiological Society of North America annual conference to New York?

August 15, 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.

Another PHR story

The last of my three features on personal health records has been published, in the August issue of Health Executive.

So here are the links:

Unfortunately, the Health Executive story went to press one day before I found out about the legal dispute that threatens to derail Dossia. I got a last-minute change to For The Record before that issue closed.

In case anyone was wondering if I’m going to do any more work for Red Herring, I’m still waiting for my check nearly five months after I submitted my invoice and almost four months after the article appeared in print. Numerous calls, e-mails and even a certified letter have been ignored. If anyone has any ideas for me, I’m all ears.

August 5, 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.