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Health Wonk Review, summer research edition

I haven’t blogged a lot lately because the real work tends to get in the way. There’s only so long I can spend in front of the computer each day before I start to get a little antsy. OK, a lot antsy.

Fortunately, others are more focused on their blogs than I am, and that brings me to the latest iteration of Health Wonk Review, hosted by Brad Wright at the Health Policy Analysis blog. With summer here, this is the last edition of HWR until July 22, because, let’s face it, everybody needs a break from time to time.

Wright focuses quite a bit on research, but does link to one IT post and another about the patient-centered medical home. He also includes some editorial cartoons culled from around the Web, notably this one from Orlando Sentinel cartoonist Dana Summers. The elephant in the room re: health reform is tort reform, Summers suggests. Yeah, we haven’t addressed the liability problem yet, but the fee-for-service payment system is, in my humble opinion, the greatest culprit. There’s that little matter of poor quality, too.

June 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.

A better term than PHR?

I’ve occasionally explored some of the nomenclature in health IT, particularly how the term “personal health record” is something distinct from “electronic health record” and how some news reports confuse the two. I’ve been known to laugh at the use of “personal electronic health record,” which I think was an uninformed reporter’s way of saying that each person should have an EHR.

Over the weekend, I saw a distinct term from, I believe, Australia: “patient-controlled health record.” That makes a lot more sense to me and tells me the purpose of the record. A Google search on that term actually turned up a Harvard Medical School meeting on “personally controlled health record infrastructure” target”= new” that took place in 2006 and 2007. But the term seems to have disappeared from the U.S. radar.

June 14, 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.

New FierceHealthcare mobile app

My current No. 1 client, FierceMarkets, has just released a FierceHealthcare mobile app for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile. Download the app at http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/mobile or text “Fierce” to 46275.

June 11, 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.

You want solutions for consumer ignorance about health IT? OK

Monday in FierceHealthIT, I wrote a commentary about a new study from the California HealthCare Foundation that found that consumers still equate more care with better care. The study, published in Health Affairs, concluded that evidence-based medicine is a foreign concept among the general public.

In my commentary, I derided the whole premise of the report. I mean, many people in healthcare aren’t completely clear about what evidence-based medicine is. I also criticized mass media for not doing a good job educating the public about quality of care, particularly in the sham of a debate over health reform in the last year or so. It’s not the first time I’ve said something to this effect.

Within three hours of my commentary being posted, one anonymous coward posted the following comment on the FierceHealthIT page: “So Neil, instead of the snark, how about some solutions? You’re a journalist – isn’t the public’s ignorance your failing?”

Well, Mr. or Ms. Coward, no, the public’s ignorance is not my failing. If I had had access to mainstream news outlets, I would have asked the tough questions of the politicians, policymakers and lobbyists, not fueled the red herring of a debate over whether healthcare reform was about government control or not. It’s quality, stupid. I continue to try to pitch mainstream media about freelance gigs, but, alas, everyone’s either cut their freelance budgets to the bone or they won’t give the time of day to someone they don’t know or who doesn’t have some kind of insider connection.

And, to Coward’s other point, I have offered some solutions. If you weren’t so knee-jerk in your anonymous condemnation of my snark, you would know that I recently wrote a piece for journalists about covering EHRs and related health IT topics.
It’s over on the site of the Reporting on Health project at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.

While you’re at it, you might want to check some of my other Fierce columns about how people both in the media and the health IT industry need to do a better job of communicating the issues. They’re not hard to find. In fact, here’s one to get you started.

Next time, don’t be such a coward. And an uninformed one at that.

June 9, 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.

New article on wireless healthcare

I’ve had a second article published on Medscape’s Business of Medicine site. This time, it’s an overview of a topic I’ve become quite familiar with in the past year and a half: wireless healthcare. Check it out here. (Free registration required.)

June 1, 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.