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Meet you at ‘Meet the Bloggers’

I will be one of the panelists at the “Meet the Bloggers” roundtable at the HIMSS conference next week. Look for this event at the Tech Lab just outside the entrance to the McCormick Place North Building on Tuesday, April 7, at 4:45 p.m. (There’s another session on Sunday, but I’m not participating in that one.)

Click here for a map of the conference setup. The Tech Lab is No. 17.

According to HIMSS:

The purpose of this roundtable is the same as the other sessions in the exhibit: to instruct and demonstrate. This session is not intended as an endorsement of any blog or blogger, nor is it meant to discuss in detail the specific content of any particular blog. The roundtable of panelists will provide attendees an opportunity to connect with industry bloggers, introduce them to new blogs and give a “behind the scenes” look at the responsibilities and dedication required to create and maintain a blog. There are many current and potential readers (and potential bloggers) attending HIMSS09 – we would like to help them connect with you and your expertise.

I’m not sure how many others are on the panel, but that’s a lot to cover in half an hour. See you there.

Since I’m a reporter, I have to offer this disclaimer: I am participating on behalf of myself only, not as a representative of any publication I contribute to. In no way does this constitute an endorsement of HIMSS on my part.

March 31, 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.

Sebelius has tax issues, too

When Kathleen Sebelius was nominated to be secretary of Health and Human Services a month ago, I snidely remarked that I hope she’s current on her taxes. That’s the issue that derailed the nomination of President Obama’s first choice for HHS, Tom Daschle.

Someone left a comment on that post just a few minutes ago about that hope being deflated. I checked, and sure enough, there’s a story this evening about Sebelius having to pay back taxes.

Mr. President, please pick me for a top spot in your administration. I’d like to under-report my own income, too. While you’re at it, get us an HHS secretary and perhaps a CMS administrator, stat. Someone needs to parcel out that $19.2 billion in health IT stimulus money, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology only has control over $2 billion of that. Get going and stimulate the economy.

I Written By

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

An EHR hits close to home

Regular readers might recall that my dad chose to have surgery last November at Washington Hospital Center in D.C. rather than at a hospital closer to home, because the surgeon preferred the WHC facilities and because the other place had been in the news at the time for its high rate of hospital-acquired MRSA infections.

I didn’t mention the other hospital at the time because I didn’t think it was necessary, but I will tell you now that it is Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. It’s relevant now because McKesson announced this morning that Suburban has contracted to deploy Horizon Clinicals and Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management for EHR, CPOE, medication managment and revenue cycle management.

I couldn’t find an online link to the press release just yet, but here’s the text:

News Release

Suburban Hospital Healthcare System Selects McKesson for Healthcare IT Transformation
Initiative focused on enhancing clinical excellence and financial performance

ATLANTA, March 30, 2009 – Recognizing that information technology (IT) can play a key role in enhancing care quality, safety and efficiency, Suburban Hospital Healthcare System decided to perform a healthcare IT transformation – and it was looking for a vendor to provide a comprehensive integrated solution. As a result, the Bethesda, Md., hospital selected McKesson to empower the initiative with the Horizon Clinicals® clinical and revenue management solution suite. Once the project is complete, Suburban will have a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR), an automated medication management system, and an integrated revenue management information system – a combination designed to differentiate Suburban in a highly competitive local healthcare environment.

“One of the major objectives of Suburban’s strategic plan has been to seek advanced information systems that would enhance our position as a technology leader and further support our mission of clinical excellence. As we searched for a partner, McKesson emerged as a clear leader,” said Christopher Timbers, chief information officer at Suburban. “McKesson impressed us with both its comprehensive technology offering and commitment to service and support. We felt they really understood what it requires to successfully implement their systems and to help us achieve our objectives for quality patient care.”

Suburban plans to replace its older technology with the advanced Horizon Clinicals solutions suite, used by more than 2 million clinicians nationwide. One element of Suburban Hospital’s new automated medication management process will be implemented at the patient’s bedside. Using a hand-held device, nurses will electronically scan a bar code on the patient’s wristband and each medication’s label, and the information will automatically appear in the patient’s EHR. This helps to ensure the “five rights” of patient safety – right patient, right drug, right dose, right time and right route. In addition, Suburban Hospital physicians will place medication orders electronically using McKesson’s computerized physician order entry solution and will use a secure Web portal to obtain immediate, secure access to patient information anytime and anywhere.

Suburban also will implement McKesson’s new revenue management solution, Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management™. This integrated revenue management system will automate Suburban’s operational and financial processes to more efficiently connect it with payors, financial institutions, physicians and consumers. In addition, tasks that were typically performed after discharge will now be carried out as early as the beginning of the patient pre-registration process. For example, information needed to better inform patients of their treatment options and assist in meeting regulatory requirements will be collected upfront. In addition to shortening the payment cycle, this proactive gathering of information should streamline patient interactions with the hospital while dramatically improving workflow efficiency and productivity.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Suburban on such a large clinical and financial transformation” said Pamela Pure, president, McKesson Technology Solutions. “Our team is committed to helping Suburban reach its full potential by harnessing the power of the most up-to-date technology to deliver the best care possible to its community – benefiting clinicians, patients and their families.”

About Suburban Hospital Healthcare System

Suburban Hospital has served the greater Washington, DC region since 1943 with several centers of specialized care, state-of-the-art technology, and community-based wellness programs. Through strategic partnerships with some of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, National Naval Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine, Suburban Hospital is able to provide a level of emergency, stroke and cardiac care that is available in very few medical centers. In addition to being a state-designated Level II Trauma Center, the hospital’s continuum of care is distinguished by a certified Primary Stroke Center; the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital; and centers of excellence in orthopedic care, neurosciences, and oncology.

About McKesson
McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 18th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. McKesson is the longest-operating company in healthcare today, marking its 175th anniversary last year. Over the course of its history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, visit http://www.mckesson.com.
###

It doesn’t indicate how long the deployment will take, but let’s call this progress.

March 30, 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.

Attention CCHIT critics

Dear Calvin Jablonski, Rocky Ostrand, Maggiemae Ph.D., or whatever your real name(s) is/are,

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, that organization you love to hate, has agreed to meet with the free and open-source software development community during next month’s HIMSS conference.

Healthcare FOSS guru Fred Trotter and Linux Medical News editor Ignacio Valdes, M.D., are leading the event, Monday, April 6, at 2 p.m. in Room 10d at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at 22nd Street and South King Drive in Chicago. Trotter called the encounter “like offering to meet with the Rebel Alliance at the annual Death Star conference,”, but I imagine they intend for things to be civil.

That doesn’t have to be the case. Calvin, Rocky, Maggiemae and your ilk, you are hereby (unofficially) invited to join the festivities and create some fireworks. Unmask yourself or selves and make it more like Luke and Leia finding out the true identity of Darth Vader. Or are you not the evil one? Here’s your chance to prove it.

We await your reply.

Sincerely,

The Health IT Media and Blogging Communities

UPDATE 1 a.m. CDT: I just received an e-mail from Trotter informing me that two CCHIT sessions will be Webcast:

Date: Monday, April 6, 2009

Room 10d, Hyatt McCormick Conference Center, Chicago

Session #1 1:00 – 2:00 PM CDT

Interoperability 09 and Beyond: a look at CCHIT’s roadmap for the future

Session #2 2:00 – 3:00 PM CDT

Open Source Forum: a dialogue on certification for open source EHRs

Here is the link to register for the webinar:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/429901059

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing
information about joining the webinar. We will also be recording
these sessions, and plan to make the media files available on the web
for later downloads.

You have no excuse to miss it now.

March 26, 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.

Gephardt jumps on the PHR bandwagon

Personal health records firm MMR Information Systems and its MyMedicalRecords subsidiary have enlisted Former House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt to spread the word about PHRs to the public, and, more importantly, help the company get its hands on some of the economic stimulus money. According to a news release, Gephardt will join MMR at the HIMSS conference in Chicago on April 5.

The former Missouri congressman has been on the board of Los Angeles-based MMR since 2007, so maybe it’s going too far to call it bandwagon jumping. But he’s not the first ex-House heavyweight to get behind a PHR effort. As I reported exactly one year ago today, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) became a strategic advisor to the Goeken Group, the Naperville, Ill.-based parent company of PHR vendor Global Med-Net.

To be honest, I haven’t hear a peep about the Hastert-Goeken effort since I wrote that story, but I also haven’t seen much progress in real PHR acceptance by the public in the last year. It’s going to take someone more charismatic and influential than Gephardt to sell the American people on the idea of keeping their own medical records electronically. And no, I don’t mean influential like knowing people on Capitol Hill, which Gephardt certainly does. I mean someone who can have a real influence on consumer behavior. That person most certainly will not be a politician.

March 24, 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.

New CMIO magazine

Believe it or not, in this age of media bankruptcies, there’s a new publication starting up in health IT. Or maybe it’s not so unbelievable, given the $19.2 billion for health IT in the stimulus and the general importance IT is getting in the nascent health-reform debate.

The first issue of CMIO magazine will be available in digital form on April 2 and the print version will debut at the following week’s HIMSS conference in Chicago. You can sign up now for a free print or digital subscription and for the forthcoming CMIO News newsletter at http://subs.cmio.net. You don’t even have to be a chief medical information officer to subscribe, but that’s who the magazine is geared toward, obviously.

In case you were wondering, I contributed two feature stories to this issue. Why else would i mention it?

I Written By

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

More CCHIT news

I may be inviting some more venomous comments with this post, but here goes anyway. The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) announced Monday that the federal economic stimulus legislation has caused the commission to move up its “advanced technology” certification programs for clinical decision support, interoperability, quality and security to 2010 instead of 2011. Because of this new development, CCHIT has pushed back its annual volunteer recruitment period to March 26 through April 20.

Meanwhile, CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., has agreed to meet with some of its harshest critics, namely open-source software developers, in a session at next month’s HIMSS conference. The meeting, led by Fred Trotter and Linux Medical News editor Ignacio Valdes, M.D., is scheduled for Monday, April 6, at 2 p.m. in Room 10d of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. Trotter, who calls the encounter “like offering to meet with the Rebel Alliance at the annual Death Star conference,” has more details 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.

Blumenthal named national coordinator

Well, Robert Kolodner, M.D., won’t be keeping his job as national coordinator for health IT after all. That’s because the Obama administration today named Harvard University medical informaticist David Blumenthal, M.D., to lead the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Blumenthal, director of the Institute for Health Policy at Partners HealthCare System in Boston, was a senior advisor to Barack Obama during the presidential campaign and years ago was an aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), so this sounds like a clear political move. Kolodner was a career professional at the Department of Veterans Affairs prior to taking over at ONC in 2006, and Healthcare IT News reports that he likely will be going back to the VA.

March 20, 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.

Sorry about my absence

I know many readers have gotten used to my more regular postings the last couple of months, and now here you are confronted with just a single post this week. I can explain. I have been working on two very long, labor-intensive stories (plus three sidebars) the last couple of weeks for a new publication catering to chief medical information officers. The magazine will debut at the HIMSS conference next month.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a huge backlog of e-mail, a big pile of stuff around my work space and I’m still awake at 2:15 a.m. I should be back to regular posting next week.

And for those of you trying to schedule meetings with me at HIMSS, I am going to make my schedule the very instant I turn in the last story–hopefully by the end of the day Friday, but more likely over the weekend.

See you Monday.

March 19, 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.

Mainstream Media watch, part 200 and counting

Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune had a feature story in the main news section about health IT. With health IT drawing $19.2 billion from the federal stimulus legislation, stories are popping up all over the mainstream media of late.

What struck me, though, is that the reporter went to a medical practice in Vero Beach, Fla., and talked to consultants and experts all over the country, when there’s so much health IT activity and expertise right here in the Chicago area. Notably, NorthShore University Health System in suburban Evanston is the only organization not named Kaiser Permanente to reach Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model scale.

To his credit, though, reporter Noam Levey did quote New York City Assistant Health Commissioner Farzad Mostashari, M.D., a rising star in health IT circles.

Also, I recently read a March 3 New York Times story about pharmaceutical-related conflicts of interest among Harvard Medical School faculty. My immediate reaction was that this nothing unique to Harvard, and the story doesn’t even get into the growing controversy about another cash stream flowing from medical device makers.

It also got me thinking that we’ll start to see donations pick up from healthcare software companies once the economic stimulus kicks in. I wonder if the big academic health systems have ethics rules regarding gifts from IT vendors?

March 18, 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.