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CMIOs wanted in the UK

I’m getting ready to head west for, among other things, the annual AMDIS Physician-Computer Connection in Ojai, Calif., a high-level gathering of chief medical information officers. After years of fighting for a seat at the table, CMIOs now are being held up as a model, at least overseas.

Specifically, my friends at E-Health Insider in the UK have embarked on a mission to have every NHS hospital hire a chief clinical information officer, the British equivalent of the CMIO. Read more about the British perspective on the American CMIO here.

July 10, 2011 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’ stories

The long-awaited second issue of CMIO is out, and now it’s going to a regular, bimonthly publishing schedule. I tell you this because I have two feature stories in this issue, including the cover story on health information exchange.

I also wrote a feature on “meaningful use” of health IT. That, of course, is the standard for qualifying for federal EHR subsidies starting in 2011.

September 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.

‘CMIO’ stories published

As promised, CMIO magazine debuted online Thursday. Here are the links to the two stories I wrote:

“The Stimulus Plan & Health IT: What Can It Really Accomplish?” (cover story)

“Rethinking EMRs: Clinical Leaders on the Features Next-Generation Systems Need”

For the latter, I got to interview the well-known Dr. Ed Hammond for the first time.

You can pick up a print copy of the first issue at the HIMSS conference beginning Saturday or read the e-mag here. Your feedback is appreciated.

April 2, 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?

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.

AMDIS notes

OJAI, Calif.—I’m at the Physician-Computer Connection, the annual symposium of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), a high-level meeting of chief medical information officers and other leading medical informatics specialists. I’ll have a bunch on a couple of surveys on the attitudes, job functions and salary ranges of CMIOs and physician executives in IT, most likely in Digital HealthCare & Productivity in the next couple of weeks. (I need to pay for this trip, after all, and the recent run-ups in airfares, car rental costs and, of course, gasoline, are not helping my cause. But I digress.) Let’s just say a need for leadership skills is prominent.

I have plenty of other news and notes that are worthy of posting here, however.

For one, look out this fall for “Improving Medication Use and Outcomes with Clinical Decision Support: A Step-by-step Guide,” an update to the 2005 “Improving Outcomes with Clinical Decision Support: An Implementer’s Guide.” According to lead author Jerry Osheroff, M.D., chief clinical informatics officer of Thomson Reuters Healthcare (formerly Micromedex), this one defines CDS as “providing clinicians or patients with clinical knowledge and patient-related information, intelligently filtered or presented at appropriate times, to enhance patient care.” The guide will follow a modified set of the “five rights” for safe healthcare: The right information to the right person in the right intervention format through the right channel at the right point in the workflow, Osheroff says.

The new volume also involves many more industry stakeholders than the previous edition. It will carry the names of HIMSS, AMDIS, AMIA, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Scottsdale Institute, and is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, two clinical IT vendors and two health systems. Osheroff didn’t name the vendors or health systems, but it’s a safe bet Thomson Reuters is involved.

Contrary to rumors, healthcare executive recruiter Betsy Hersher is not retiring, but she is shutting down her Hersher Associates firm and moving into consulting. At least a couple of her employees have taken jobs at Witt/Kieffer.

Earlier this week, I reported in Digital HealthCare & Productivity about the recent reorganization at Sage Software Healthcare. I since have learned that the company will be hiring a new, permanent CEO sooner rather than later. I’m guessing that means within a few weeks. I have no idea about who the candidates might be.

While I’ve been out here on the West Coast, the Medical Records Institute published a scathing critique of the national EMR strategy. That organization is working hard to market itself and stay relevant after a poorly attended TEPR conference a couple of months ago. This article certainly is an attention-grabber, listing the optimism about meeting the goal of getting interoperable EHRs to most Americans by 2014 among a number of “health informatics myths.”

If you want an impassioned defense of the national health IT strategy, check this space in the next 24 hours for my podcast with national health IT coordinator Robert Kolodner, M.D., who spoke at this conference yesterday. This might be my biggest podcast “get” to date.

July 17, 2008 I Written By

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

Google’s health plans, and more on CMIOs

BRISBANE, Australia—I’m at the other end of the world this week for the 12th World Congress on Health (Medical) Informatics, otherwise known as MedInfo, so things have been a bit nutso, what with the travel, the change of 15 time zones and the acclimation to a rainy winter in a region that’s had drought conditions for several years, at least until I arrived Sunday.

That said, I have a couple of things to share that I carried with me for some 9,000 miles. Yeah, so what if I carried them on a tiny USB drive? I still brought them to Australia.

First off, thanks to Fred Trotter and Dr. Scott Shreeve for cluing me in to a sneak peek at Google Health, allegedly code named “Weaver.” See this post at Google Blogoscoped, complete with screen shots. Happy scoping.

Secondly, a story I wrote for Digital HealthCare & Productivity late last month caught the attention of Dr. Scot Silverstein, director of the Institute for Healthcare Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dr. Silverstein agreed with the quote from Gartner‘s Vi Shaffer about chief medical information officers: “Direct report to the CIO is a wedge of separation from the medical staff.”

Silverstein e-mailed me to say he e-mailed the story to members of the AMIA clinical information systems workgroup. “We’ve been discussing how to empower the CMIO role and trying to organize a workshop on same, although the proposal was rejected for November,” he wrote.

Silverstein also referred me to an essay he wrote several years ago, entitled, “Ten critical rules for applied informatics positions: What every Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) should know,” which he said was still relevant.

From that essay:

Rule 6 : Reporting should preferably be to senior medical leadership or medical records (health information management).

Physicians and other clinicians, being the primary enablers of healthcare, should report to personnel who understand clinical issues, matrixing with those who facilitate care. Reporting to non-medical personnel should be done only if the chemistry between the two parties is very good, and the senior party is well-rounded and has experience in working as a direct supervisor to medical personnel. Unfortunately, this is not very common.

Rule 9 : Have a direct, open channel to organization’s CEO.

Also make sure the CEO and other senior executives understand what medical informatics is about, and its strategic value. Direct them to this web site, for example … Medical informaticists may unfortunately be viewed by healthcare executives as “clinical consultants who know a little about computers”, as opposed to leaders in clinical computing.

I then referred Silverstein to a Digital HealthCare & Productivity editor to submit a commentary, which ran Aug. 7. Click here to read.

August 22, 2007 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: Dr. Bill Bria on CMIOs and medical informatics

WASHINGTON—Live from the World Health Care Congress, here’s an interview with Dr. Bill Bria, chief medical information officer of Shriners Hospitals for Children and president of the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems. We talk about the increasing importance of CMIOs as hospitals align their IT strategies with overall institutional goals, including quality improvement, and we discuss the similar growth of AMDIS. Bria also plugs the annual AMDIS Physician-Computer Connection, which is OK with me since I’ve been shameless in plugging my article in Red Herring.

Podcast details: Interview with Dr. Bill Bria on CMIOs and medical informatics. Recorded April 23, 2007, in Washington, D.C. MP3, mono, 64kbps, 8.6 MB, running time 18:56.

April 23, 2007 I Written By

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

Money matters

A post last month that listed the salary range for a job opening at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology resulted in a comment that the $109,808 to $165,200 salary won’t make anybody rich in the pricey Washington area. OK, fair enough. The job as deputy coordinator does not require a medical degree, but a physician with informatics training certainly could make a lot more money in the private sector. Case in point is this entry on the Physician Salaries USA blog from last week.

Good stuff, right? Well, if you read either For The Record or Health Executive, you would have known that chief medical information officers tend to be well-compensated for their high-level expertise and long hours. I mention these publications purely in a self-serving manner, as I wrote recent pieces on the role of the CMIO in each of these magazines. My Health Executive story is in the January 2007 issue. In the case of For The Record, check the Sept. 18, 2006 edition.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the gratuitous self-promotion, some other money-related news caught my eye last week: the $103.6 million in federal grants awarded to 27 state Medicaid programs. Nearly every project funded in this Medicaid Transformation Grants initiative is related to information technology. Connecticut will receive $5 million for e-prescribing and health information exchange. Hawaii has been granted nearly $3.2 million to implement an OpenVista ASP network. Michigan and Massachusetts each are getting several million dollars to automate vital records. For details on the grants, click here.

From what I can gather, this is the first large-scale, nationwide push for IT in Medicaid.

HHS says it will award an additional $46.4 million later this year to complete the $150 million program authorized by the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. The solicitation has not gone out yet.

February 1, 2007 I Written By

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