Pre-HIMSS scuttlebutt

ORLANDO, Fla.—Congress, are you listening? Steroids have hit health IT.

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Robert Kolodner, M.D., admitted to me this morning that he’s juicing. He even showed me the pills, surreptitiously hidden in the inside pocket of his suit jacket.

Yeah, so what if he had a prescription, and he was using the ’roids to cure his laryngitis before he has to deliver a keynote address Tuesday morning to thousands of HIMSS conference attendees? If other media can hype steroid use in baseball, why can’t I do it in health IT?

One person I mentioned this to today said he would support the use of performance-enhancing substances for anyone promoting greater adoption of health IT. So I guess the consensus is to take the Bud Selig approach and look the other way as long as it’s for the good of the game.

(Full disclosure: I took prednisone last year to treat a rash that resulted from an allergic reaction to the antibiotic Bactrim. I guess that makes me a juicer, too.)

Keep reading, I’ve got all the pre-HIMSS dirt right here.

Peter Basch, M.D., medical director for eHealth at MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., is the HIMSS physician of the year, and will be honored at the HIMSS Awards Dinner on Tuesday.. The Davies Award winners have been public for several months, and I don’t have word on other award winners.

The HIMSS partnership with the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems has produced data showing that an increasing number of chief medical information officers are reporting to executives other than chief information officers, often the CMO, CFO or even CEO.

E-prescribing vendor DrFirst is remaining independent, but has agreed to add Meditech to its roster of EHR partners it promotes to e-prescribing customers.

News of Google’s long-awaited health product got out last week, so it’s widely known the Cleveland Clinic will test a personal health record with 1,500 to 10,000 patients. (The leak, of course, came from the Cleveland Clinic, and not from tight-lipped Google.) However, I have learned that the public launch of the product likely will come near the end of the first quarter. Google CEO Eric Schmidt likely will make it official when he delivers a keynote here on Thursday morning.

Note to skeptics: I have learned that Patient Privacy Rights Foundation founder Deborah Peel, M.D., has not been paid by Microsoft to tout the privacy benefits of HealthVault. I understand that the only financial gain she will receive is from the fee Microsoft will pay her organization to certify HealthVault against privacy standards Peel is developing.

The annual, midyear HIMSS Summit will run concurrently with National Health IT Week this year, in Washington, D.C. The summit is set for June 9-10. HIMSS Advocacy Day will take place June 11 on Capitol Hill. The week ends with the seventh-annual Center for Information Therapy conference on June 12-13. I believe this is the first time the Ix conference has been held anywhere besides Park City, Utah.

Also, if you aren’t registered for HIMSS, you still can participate in several public meetings here staged by the federal government:

American Health Information Community meeting, Tuesday, 10 am to 4 p.m.
Establishing the AHIC Successor, Tuesday, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
HIT Terms Project: Network Workgroup Public Forum, Tuesday, 4 to 6 p.m.
HIT Terms Project: Records Workgroup Public Forum, Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All times are Eastern, and all meetings take place in the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.