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A real, hard number on ARRA funding for HIT

The spending estimate for health IT provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act seems like a moving target. (I guess that’s the nature of estimates, anyway.) The popular number thrown around for a year has been $19.2 billion for EHRs. But that’s a net figure based on expected efficiency gains. I’ve heard that the real outlay is anywhere from $25 billion to $45 billion.

Well, I happened upon the HHS ARRA Web site tonight, where the graph on the home page shows $48.8 billion for health IT. That’s more than just the EHR incentive program and the $2 billion in ONC discretionary funds, of course, but that’s higher than any estimate I’ve heard to date.

As an American taxpayer, I really hope this whole thing works. But I’ll stop for now because it’s game time.

UPDATE, Feb. 21: The number is $25.8 billion, based on a Feb. 1 estimate.

January 28, 2010 I Written By

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

RIP Revolution Health’s PHR

Ted Eytan and others are reporting that Revolution Health has sent out a letter notifying PHR users that the product is being discontinued at the end of February. Another PHR is dead. Again, don’t believe the hype. Ask for hard numbers on users, and you aren’t likely to get an answer.

Here’s the text of the e-mail:

Thank you for being a loyal user of the Revolution Health Personal Health Record. Unfortunately we will be discontinuing this service as of the end of February 2010 and removing all records, information, and data from the Revolution Health Web site.

So that you don’t lose the information you’ve entered into the system, we strongly suggest that you download your personal records as a PDF to print and save for future reference. To do this, simply follow these instructions:

  1. Log in to your Personal Health Record.
  2. From any page of your record, click on the “printable version” link on the top right corner of any page. When you see a pop-up box asking you to “Select the following sections to include in your print out,” simply make sure that the sections you want to print and save are checked and then click the “Submit” button.
  3. Once the PDF is created (this only takes a moment), you can print directly from it and/or save it to your computer. To print the PDF, click on the printer icon at the top left of the page. To save it, click on the disk icon to the right of the printer icon.

If you encounter a problem printing or saving your records, please e-mail our customer service department at CustomerCare@revolutionhealth.com for assistance. Even after the Personal Health Record is no longer available, Revolution Health and our partner sites will continue to offer you the same great health information and community pages as always. We hope you continue to visit Revolution Health often to take advantage of our offerings.

Thank you,
The Revolution Health Team


I Written By

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

Podcast: TriZetto’s Jeff Margolis


Jeff Margolis, founder, chairman and CEO of The TriZetto Group, has written a book, called “The Information Cure.” In it, Margolis discusses his vision for “integrated healthcare management,” the combination of information technology and process improvement on both the administrative and clinical sides of healthcare to change deeply ingrained behaviors.

We recorded this way back on Sept. 10, the day after President Obama pitched his healthcare bill to a joint session of Congress, and I unfortunately sat on this recording for more than four months. The legislation may have changed considerably since then—and may be headed for the trash heap anyway—but the problems plaguing healthcare in the U.S. persist. Thus, I present this podcast, still as fresh as the day it was made.

Podcast details: Interview with Jeff Margolis of The TriZetto Group. MP3, stereo, 64 kbps, 16.4 MB, running time 35:54

0:25 Integrated healthcare management
2:05 Health reform and quality of care
3:20 The book’s consumer focus
4:40 Collection of massive amounts of administrative data
5:25 Fragmentation of data
6:20 Payers managing “healthcare supply chain”
7:15 Using information to identify “value-based benefits”
8:00 Consumers and cost, prevention and chronic diseases
9:20 Physicians and “value-based reimbursement”
11:10 Slow diffusion of information in healthcare
12:05 Physicians clueless about what things cost patients
13:50 Price transparency to consumers
14:30 Real-time claims adjudication/eligibility checking
15:50 Thoughts on the stimulus
17:15 Avoiding “digital silos”
19:10 No single, right answer in health reform
20:30 Assembling “virtual supply chains,” like Amazon
21:30 EHRs in the big picture
22:20 Patient as the aggregator
24:15 Vision for new eligibility transactions
26:15 Data enabling physician cash flow
27:50 Role of personal health records
28:30 His definitions of EMR, EHR, PHR
30:10 Why EHR vendors are “overreaching”
31:05 Organizing principles of health information exchange
33:05 Patients vs. consumers
34:45 Takeaway message of the book

January 22, 2010 I Written By

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

Physicians and social media

I neglected to post this a couple of months ago, but I had my first-ever story published at Medscape back in November, on the subject of physicians and social media. Feedback is appreciated.

January 13, 2010 I Written By

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

Updated conferences

I’ve updated the list of conferences in the right-hand column of the screen.

January 6, 2010 I Written By

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