The video from the Dell Healthcare Think Tank dinner at HIMSS12 last week, which I participated in, is now available. It’s long, but if you’re into health IT policy and healthcare reform, it probably is worth your time.
As has become custom, I carved out some time at HIMSS to interview Jonathan Bush, the always outspoken and insightful CEO of athenahealth. This time, instead of meeting in some sterile conference room, we got together just before the start of athenahealth’s annual HIMSS party, which happened to be at Ghostbar at the top of the Palms hotel in Las Vegas.
The setting, on the balcony of the 55th floor, tied into the company’s embrace of the cloud. The staff of both the bar and of athenahealth did a great job finding a single spotlight on the balcony, overlooking the bright lights of the Strip. Yeah, there’s a shadow on Bush’s face and you can hear the wind at times, but I think it adds to rather than disrupts the vibe.
As usual, we joke around a lot, but we also get into some serious discussions about ICD-10, meaningful use, health IT innovation and even my involvement with Health eVillages, a subject that came up because athenahealth has a health IT charity effort of its own in India. (Speaking of HealtheVillages, co-founder Donato Trumato is presenting a case study at HIMSS Thursday morning. It’s at 9:45 a.m. PST in Marco Polo 803 on the first floor of the Venetian. I’ll probably be waiting for the media availability of Dr. Farzad Mostashari at that time. Something about meaningful use Stage 2.)
Enjoy the video. I know I did.
The tragedy of Dr. Don Berwick’s short tenure as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been well-documented, including right here on this blog. Berwick got in by a controversial recess appointment because President Obama didn’t have the political courage to fight for his nominee and allow Berwick to face the Democratic-controlled Senate. Berwick, of course, quit late last year when it became clear Obama would not renominate Berwick for the job he is uniquely qualified for.
There have been a number of postmortems in the press, where Berwick discussed his experience running CMS, including the challenges of implementing both the HITECH Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and his. continuing efforts to improve the quality of care in this country. But I haven’t seen one quite as good as what Dan Rather just produced.
The former CBS News anchor has been toiling in relative obscurity at HDNet, a hard-to-find cable network run by billionaire Mark Cuban. Fortunately, Rather took to the far more popular Huffington Post this week to share his thoughts on a recent interview he conducted with Berwick.
“Dr. Don Berwick, a pediatrician by training, came to Washington with a sterling reputation among people who actually know something about health care. He had helped pioneer the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which may sound like another pointy-headed D.C. think tank, but really is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based organization lauded the world over for helping make health care systems better. For example, they have worked with hospitals on common sense techniques to reduce hospital infections. These are serious people who are welcomed in hospitals and clinics across the country and around the world,” Rather wrote on HuffPo.
That’s right, Rather understood Berwick’s background, unlike, say Dr. Scott Barbour of a crackpot group called Docs4PatientCare. “Utilizing quotes from Dr. Berwick, Dr. Barbour exposed that, ‘He is not interested in better health care. He is only concerned about implementing his socialist agenda,’” read a pitch I received from that organization last year.
I’ve been over this before. Berwick has probably done more to improve the quality of care and save lives than anybody else on the planet today. Some of the people who publicly opposed his nomination privately knew this, as Rather’s interview with Berwick demonstrates:
Yes, most of the opposition was an elaborate lie perpetrated for political gain. In today’s Washington, is anybody surprised? The losers once again are the American people and anybody who comes to this country for healthcare.
How do you know EHRs have taken hold? This week’s Internet meme includes this:
Did you happen to catch my InformationWeek Healthcare story about how UPMC believes it has the roadmap in place to achieve true accountable care? Well, here’s the rest of the story.
Last week, Nuance Communications invited me to Pittsburgh for a tour of the Center for Connected Medicine, an impressive, high-tech showcase on the 60th floor of the U.S. Steel Tower. There, I interviewed, among others, Rasu Shrestha, M.D., UPMC’s vice president for medical information technology, medical director of interoperability & imaging informatics and division chief of radiology informatics. Here is that interview.
Podcast details: Interview with Rasu Shrestha, M.D., UPMC vice president for medical information technology, Feb. 7, 2012, at the Center for Connected Medicine, Pittsburgh. MP3, stereo, 128 kbps, 15.6 MB, running time 17:08.
1:10 “Clinical language understanding” and “bringing data to life”
3:05 Analytics beyond patient care
3:55 Computer-assisted coding
6:35 Business intelligence in the context of ACOs
7:45 UPMC striving to be an ACO
8:35 Aggregating data from payer and provider sides of the organization
10:30 Keeping medication lists up to date
11:45 Health information exchange among multiple vendor systems
13:00 What to watch for in the near future from UPMC
14:10 Overcoming cultural barriers to change
Remember Health eVillages, the program launched last fall to bring mobile medical reference and decision support technology to clinicians in underserved parts of the world, including poor communities right here in the U.S.? You know, the project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and mobile medical content provider Physicians Interactive, the one I am serving on the advisory board of?
You probably haven’t heard too much of late, but you will be able to learn more about Health eVillages at the upcoming HIMSS conference — slightly more than a week away, if you can believe it. That’s because co-founding partner and Physicians Interactive CEO and Vice Chairman Donato Tramuto will be presenting about Health eVillages a week from Thursday, Feb. 23. Here are the details:
Title: “No Power, No Internet, No Problem: Mobile HIT Improves Care Worldwide” (Session #138)
Description: This session will use real cases to explore how “Health eVillages” brings mobile medical technology to challenging rural clinical environments around the world, helping clinicians deliver safer, more effective healthcare.
Date/Time: Feb. 23, 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. PST
Location: Venetian-Palazzo-Sands Expo Convention Center, Las Vegas
Room: Marco Polo 803
- Describe how Health eVillages and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights have partnered to improve patient care via mobile technology and medical information
- Recognize the value of easily adaptable mobile devices deployed in remote areas
- Discuss the unique needs and challenges of rural medical environments in developing nations
- Outline how you can help Health eVillages enable practitioners to deliver safer and more efficient medical care worldwide
If you are interested at all in how mobile technology is having an incredible impact on healthcare and health education in low-resource communities all over the world — perhaps even a greater effect than in wealthier areas — you will want to attend the session. This is taking place immediately after the keynote address by national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari. You’ll probably be pretty energized after Mostashari speaks, and Donato’s session is sure to be eye-opening and uplifting. That’s not a bad morning, if I do say so myself.
By the way, Health eVillages is seeking additional sponsors and sources of funding. Drop me a line or speak with Donato at HIMSS if you are interested. Thanks.
I hope to see you in Las Vegas.
This week’s Health Wonk Review, hosted by Louise Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider, takes a theme of Campaign 2012, rather scary, given that primary season has just started, IMHO. My recent post about the two sides of GOP candidate Newt Gingrich and the reluctance of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss health reform beyond the insurance aspects is part of this rundown. It also apparently puts me in the running for Wonkiest Health Wonk of 2012—but, again, there is a long way to go.
I hope this is just the start of my campaign to get people to understand that health insurance is not healthcare and that having good insurance doesn’t mean you will get good care. It’s an uphill battle and I’m certainly not the best-funded candidate, but I’m in it for the long haul.