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Health IT as pork?

The lead editorial in today’s Chicago Tribune talks about a proposed “expansion of health-care entitlements” in the economic stimulus blll.

According to the Trib: “The House version of the stimulus package would … shower $20 billion on computer experts to help doctors convert to electronic medical records. That will create jobs but probably not quickly enough to make a difference in this struggling economy.”

To me, the word “shower” suggests an undeserved windfall. Yes, there are risks of wasting $20 billion on a poor implementation of health IT, but are people really seeing this as a giveaway simply meant to create work? This is about reining in runaway healthcare spending and, ultimately, saving lives, right?

Right?

February 10, 2009 I Written By

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

I don’t usually do this, but …

I’m experimenting with different kinds of posts. Here’s one I don’t often do: personnel announcements.

Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives has taken the “interim” tag off Michael O’Rourke, naming him senior VP and CIO of the 77-hospital organization. O’Rourke, 56, had been interim CIO since August 2007. He previously led IT operations at Triad Hospitals, which became part of Community Health Systems in July 2007.

Also, health information exchange vendor Axolotl created a dedicated development team to assist the New York State Department of Health and the New York eHealth Collaborative in the building of the proposed Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY).

Sean Smith, developer of Axolotl’s Information Health Exchange (IHE) prototypes, will head the four-person team. Also named to the team was health information exchange expert Justin Pun. Axolotl did not identify the other SHIN-NY developers, but said that the team will report to Director of Application Development Lin Wan, Ph.D.

I Written By

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