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More consumer outreach, this time from ONC

Just days after I remarked how the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality had brought back its advertising campaign aimed at educating the general public about patient safety, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has launched its own form of consumer outreach: HealthIT.gov. According to ONC:

Health is personal. It’s personal for the parent who has a child with asthma.It’s personal for the patient with a new cancer diagnosis. And it’s personal for the doctor who is responsible for caring for them.

At its core, HealthIT.gov is about patients, and it’s about helping them get the information they need, connecting them to resources that empower them to make changes, and ultimately, improving the nation’s health—one person at a time.

Whether you are a parent who is wondering how an electronic health record (EHR) will affect her family’s privacy or a provider who is overwhelmed by the idea of transitioning to EHRs, HealthIT.gov has the resources to help answer your questions.

The site, aimed at consumers and healthcare providers with questions about the EHR incentive program, apparently does not replace the one for “insiders,” http://healthit.hhs.gov, much like the consumer-facing Medicare.gov is distinct from the main CMS site. In fact, the link to HealthIT.gov on the ONC home page calls the new site “a website to preview our upcoming campaign: Putting the I in Health IT.”

Frankly, it’s about time. The public is utterly in the dark about this whole thing.

September 8, 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.

Journal to examine gaming in health

You know a topic has arrived in healthcare or medicine when there’s a peer-reviewed journal for it. Now officially here is the field of gaming as a tool for healthcare, legitimized by the presence of a new journal, Games for Health, from well-known publisher Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

The bimonthly journal launched in July, and the first issue is due out this fall. According to Liebert’s press release: “Games are rapidly becoming an important tool for improving health behaviors ranging from healthy lifestyle habits and behavior modification to self-management of illnesses and chronic conditions to motivating and supporting physical activity. Commonly used applications include mobile phone-delivered games that track daily exercise and ‘exergames’ that require physical exertion in order to play (e.g., on platforms such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation Move, and Xbox Kinect). Games are also increasingly used to train healthcare professionals in methods for diagnosis, medical procedures, patient monitoring, as well as for responding to epidemics and natural disasters. ”

This is a tricky industry segment. If it’s something patients have at home such as a Wii or Xbox, they’ll use it. If it requires people to purchase new equipment or software, they may not, since the direct-to-consumer market for interactive healthcare technologies remains a tough sell beyond the hardcore fitness fanatics. If we’re talking about training clinicians, then we might be on to something.

I can’t wait to see how this develops.

August 23, 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.

ONC HIT competency testing

Late last week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology opened six exams to test the competency of health IT professionals who have completed short-term training programs. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. Is it a good thing for the federal government to offer these voluntary exams? After all, ONC is funding the development of HIT training curriculum for community colleges and providing lots of scholarship money. Shouldn’t the government expect to get a return on its investment? Or should the feds stay out of the testing process?

May 25, 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.

It’s officially an epidemic

From Urban Dictionary:

academic bulemia [sic]

The process of learning or memorizing by rote, subsequently followed by the regurgitation of that knowledge onto an exam answer sheet. Just as with the serious eating disorder, this form of bulemia [sic] results in no real retention of substance.

This term is frequently applied to describe a common practice of young medical students.

I can’t remember anything that I learned last night. It’s like I grabbed the answer sheet, puked out all the answers and forgot everything immediately. I’d say that’s academic bulemia [sic].

As of this writing, the “score” for this definition was 6757 up and 833 down, so I’d say it’s pretty well accepted, even if the spelling of “bulimia” is wrong.

Anyone care to guess now why there are so many medical errors in teaching hospitals that don’t have adequate clinical decision support systems? Anyone? Anyone?

January 16, 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.

Gates Foundation to fund global informatics training

The American Medical Informatics Association will announce Monday that it has received a $1.2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote health informatics and biomedical education and training worldwide, particularly in developing countries.

This will be the first project of a new program called 20/20, in which the International Medical Informatics Association and its regional affiliates, including AMIA, will attempt to train 20,000 informatics professionals globally by 2020. This is an outgrowth of the AMIA 10×10 program to train 10,000 people in informatics in the U.S. by 2010. IMIA and its partners will discuss details of 20/20 this week at the Wellcome Trust in London.

AMIA will use the Gates Foundation money to develop “scaleable” approaches to e-health education, including a replicable blueprint for training informatics leaders, including physicians, medical records professionals, computer scientists and medical librarians.

“We envision the program will train leaders in low-resource nations by linking them and their institutions to partner institutions affiliated with AMIA to build capacity for managing and improving high-quality, low-cost healthcare in the less-developed economies,” AMIA explains in a statement. AMIA President and CEO Don Detmer, M.D., says this element of 20/20 is aimed at career informaticians “so there won’t be a brain drain.”

Other elements of 20/20 will include individual and degree-track courses at colleges and universities—similar to existing 10×10 curriculum—and skills training, not necessarily specific to medical informatics. “We’re also looking at ways of creating seminars and executive training for people to advocate for this in their home countries,” Detmer says.

Detmer, who is retiring at the end of the year, says the skills training will happen in “bits and bites” to help build incremental capacity in the global e-health workforce. Some planning in this area has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of a $500,000 grant the charity gave to AMIA to lead one of the Making the eHealth Connection conferences last summer in Bellagio, Italy.

The 20/20 program is chaired by N.T. Cheung, head of IT for the Hong Kong Hospital Authority. Other confirmed or likely participating organizations include the European Federation for Medical Informatics, the Asia Pacific Association for Medical Informatics and the Health Informatics Society of Australia.

December 7, 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.

Scoop: AMIA’s 10×10 going global

CHICAGO—This is just a quick post to draw your attention to a story posted on Digital Healthcare & Productivity this morning: The American Medical Informatics Association is expanding its 10×10 program internationally, with the goal of training 20,000 informatics professionals outside the U.S. by 2020.

AMIA chief Dr. Don Detmer will make the announcement during his annual “state of the association” speech at 12:30 pm CST today. But you heard it here (or at DHCP) first.

Also coming in today’s DHCP newsletter is news from today’s American Health Information Community meeting here in Chicago that the Federal Communications Commission will award $400 million in grants over the next three years to connect small and rural healthcare facilities in 42 states and three territories.

November 13, 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.