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Surprising results in the HIT100 list

The third annual HIT100 list, ostensibly listing the 100 most influential Twitter accounts in health IT, has been published at Healthcare IT News, and I’m more surprised than flattered to be at No. 44, named 14 times by tweets carrying the #HIT100 hashtag. More accurately, I am in a five-way tie for No. 41, with the likes of: “social venture entrepreneur” Sherry Reynolds (9,000 Twitter followers); Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO and health IT rock star Dr. John Halamka (10,600 followers); health IT product strategist Lisa Crymes (2,200 followers); and pre-eminent health IT social media researcher Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project (13,800 followers).

That doesn’t seem right, does it?

It also doesn’t seem right that I’m ahead of: “E-Patient” Dave deBronkart; true digital health rock star Dr. Eric Topol; The Health Care Blog and Health 2.0 founder Matthew Holt; Chilmark Research’s John Moore, one of the most insightful analysts I’ve ever come across; KevinMD founder Dr. Kevin Pho (though he focuses on a lot more than just health IT); health economist and patient engagement guress Jane Sarasohn-Kahn; well-known EHR consultant Jim Tate; health IT policy expert Shahid Shah; and, coming in at 100 on the list, White House CTO and technology entrepreneur-in-residence Todd Park, who previously was CTO at HHS and co-founded Athenahealth.

It’s nice to be mentioned among and even above some of those names, and I thank those who voted for me. I also thank the more than 3,600 people who follow me on Twitter. But am I really more influential in health IT than any of the people I mentioned above? I doubt it.

What are your thoughts? Is there a better way of measuring influence than just counting the number of people who tweeted your name with the #HIT100 hashtag?

For the record, topping the list was Dr. Wen Dombrowski, who is about as active as they get when it comes to health IT social media. No arguments here, though I wouldn’t have objected either if Brian Ahier, Regina Holliday, Lionel Reichardt, Gregg Masters, Paul Sonnier (his Digital Health LinkedIn group just passed 19,000 members) or Keith Boone had been No. 1. A case also could be made for John Lynn, founder of the Healthcare Scene network, which hosts this blog.

And then, there’s this:

July 25, 2013 I Written By

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

Video: My interview with Phytel’s Steve Schelhammer from Health 2.0

Last fall, I conducted one of the “3 CEOs” interviews at the 2012 Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. For my interview, I drew Steve Schelhammer, CEO of Phytel, a population health management technology provider. Aside from a little technical glitch — one that got edited out of this clip — with Schelhammer’s earpiece microphone not working, I think this went very well. The most amazing part is that this was the first session of the morning and not only was I on time, I was awake and alert.

February 20, 2013 I Written By

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

California HealthCare Foundation CEO Smith stepping down

This comes in late on a Friday, though not as late on the West Coast, where it happened: The California HealthCare Foundation announced that founding President and CEO Mark D. Smith, M.D., will be leaving the influential organization later this year. Over the years, Smith has been a vocal advocate for quality improvement via, among other things, health IT.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Smith speak and interviewing him several times over the years, notably at the 2009 American Medical Informatics Association conference and at the 2011 Health 2.0 conference. (Coincidentally or not, both took place at the San Francisco Hilton.) At AMIA 2009, I distinctly remember Smith asking why there wasn’t an Open Table-like service for getting last-minute doctor’s appointments. Not long after that, ZocDoc came along.

Here’s the text of CHCF’s press release:

California HealthCare Foundation President Mark Smith to Step Down

Founding leader of Oakland philanthropy will depart in late 2013

Dr. Mark D. Smith, who has led the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) since its founding, plans to step down as president and CEO at the end of year, the foundation announced today.

“It has been a great honor to lead the California HealthCare Foundation in its mission to improve the quality of health care for all Californians,” Smith said. “I leave the foundation knowing it is well positioned to continue this important work.”

During his tenure, Smith focused CHCF on catalyzing efforts to improve health care quality, promote greater access, and reduce the cost of care for the state’s most vulnerable and underserved residents. The Oakland-based philanthropy makes grants totaling approximately $37 million annually from a fund of $700 million. CHCF has granted over $500 million since Smith became the founding president and CEO in 1996.

“Mark Smith’s remarkable leadership over the last 16 years has focused the California HealthCare Foundation on a vision to improve the health care system where it matters most: in the clinics, the hospitals, doctors’ offices, and wherever Californians go to find care,” said Ian Morrison, PhD, chair of the CHCF Board of Directors. “While he recognized that the problems in health care are huge, Mark and his team were smart and innovative in targeting the foundation’s resources where they could most make a difference.”

Smith, 61, a physician and expert on state and national health policy, will continue his work as a member of the clinical faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, and as an attending physician at the Positive Health Program for AIDS care at San Francisco General Hospital, where he has practiced since 1992, including during his tenure at CHCF.

Under Smith’s leadership, CHCF focused on improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California through a number of initiatives, including:

Promoting research and policy analysis. From its founding, CHCF has supported sound decisionmaking using evidenced-based research and nonpartisan policy analysis. CHCF has become a prolific publisher on issues of quality, access, and the financing of care covering both the commercial and public sectors.

Promoting transparency. The foundation has made significant investments in supporting transparency in health care delivery through publicly reporting quality data on hospitals, nursing homes, and long term care facilities, and building public websites that allow consumers to compare local facilities and provide health care leaders with benchmarks for improvement.

Improving clinical care. Smith focused attention on innovative ways to improve care delivery, including being an early proponent of using information technology at the point of care, challenging providers to deliver high-quality and cost-effective care, and promoting disruptive innovations like retail clinics and process redesign. He has also championed redefining the scope of work among clinical team members, to help ameliorate the need to train more doctors to do work that lower-cost members of the clinical team can deliver safely and effectively.

Training new leaders. The foundation initiated the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program at UC San Francisco in 2001. The two-year, part-time fellowship has trained 355 clinicians in management and leadership skills required to lead the state’s health care institutions in a rapidly changing and challenging environment. The program’s alumni now occupy leading positions in hospitals, clinics, medical groups, and government throughout the state.

Fostering innovation. The $10 million CHCF Health Innovation Fund helps accelerate innovation in care delivery by investing in new and emerging companies focused on lowering costs and improving access to care. While supporting improvements to the health delivery system, CHCF also has focused on the rise of alternative care delivery models such as retail clinics and the adoption and effective use of information technology.

Modernizing enrollment. CHCF has been a leader in promoting more efficient and consumer-friendly ways for eligible Californians to enroll in public programs. In 1999 the foundation supported the development of the first web-based eligibility and enrollment application in the United States, which it licensed at no cost to the State of California. More recently CHCF led the successful national public-private development of a first-class user experience design to streamline enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The foundation has also recently focused on supporting the implementation of the ACA in California, and continues to monitor and report on its progress.

Supporting health care reporting. Recognizing the important role that the media has in promoting improvements in health care, CHCF has devoted significant resources to supporting health care journalism. Since 1998, the foundation has produced California Healthline, a daily digest of news, analysis, and opinion on the state’s health care system. In 2009, the foundation established the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, which collaborates with media across the state on in-depth, explanatory journalism on critical health care issues.

“Mark has built a strong staff that is set on a steady course, focusing on the medical delivery and financing systems in California, with an emphasis on quality improvement, increasing both access and efficiency, and addressing the unsustainable cost of care to individuals and society,” Morrison said. “The board expects the foundation to continue building on its successes in these areas.”

“There is still a lot of work to be done. While I will assist the board and staff in making a smooth transition to a new leader, I will also continue to look for ways to make our health care system work better for the people of California,” Smith said.

A native of New York City, Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in Afro-American studies at Harvard (1979), his medical doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1983), and a master’s in business administration with a concentration in health care administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (1989).

Prior to joining CHCF, Smith was executive vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. He previously served as associate director of the AIDS Service and assistant professor of medicine and of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University. He has served on the board of the National Business Group on Health, the performance measurement committee of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the editorial board of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

He was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and recently completed service as the chair of an IOM committee on “The Learning Health Care System in America,” which issued its report Best Care at Lower Cost in September 2012.

Smith will continue serving as CHCF’s president and CEO until a new leader is in place, which is expected by the end of 2013. The search for Smith’s successor will be conducted by the foundation’s board of directors. Inquiries should be directed to Carol Emmott of Russell Reynolds Associates at cemmott@russellreynolds.com or 415-352-3363.

About the California HealthCare Foundation

The California HealthCare Foundation works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians. We support ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care.

 

CHCF also released a statement from Board Chair Ian Morrison, Ph.D.:

The Philanthropic Leadership of Dr. Mark D. Smith

Ian Morrison, PhD, MA, Chair of the CHCF Board of Directors

The CHCF board of directors conveys its pride in what has been achieved under Dr. Mark Smith’s extraordinarily creative leadership and reinforces its commitment to the strategy, programs, and initiatives that CHCF has spearheaded over the last 16 years.

 

January 11, 2013

The board of directors of the California HealthCare Foundation has asked me to communicate our pride in what has been achieved under Dr. Mark Smith’s extraordinarily creative leadership and to reinforce our commitment to the strategy, programs, and initiatives that CHCF has spearheaded over the last 16 years.

We recognize and anticipate that our next leader will bring fresh ideas and energy that will take us in new directions. We are also firm in our belief that the California HealthCare Foundation will continue to play a central role at the intersection of the health care delivery system and the policy world that Dr. Smith carved out during his tenure.

We take great pride in the fact that CHCF is a respected resource for objective research, information, data, and analysis on a broad range of health care issues in California; a trusted convener; and a creative helping hand, spurring on innovation in the market and the policy community to benefit the health of all Californians. In reflecting on Dr. Smith’s extraordinary leadership, the board has identified 10 areas where the foundation has had particular impact.

All of these efforts have been shepherded by the foundation’s most powerful asset: its staff. Each board member will attest to the quality of people who work for CHCF: their energy, enthusiasm, expertise, and professionalism are truly impressive.

The consistently high standards of the foundation’s staff, grantees, and partners have resulted in a remarkable body of work that has made important contributions to improving quality, access, and affordability of health care services in California and the nation. This list samples from the many and various ways CHCF has made a difference. Dr. Smith’s leadership signature is evident in all of them and together they reflect the enduring DNA of this organization that we believe will carry on under his successor.

1. The Fruits of Conversion: The Orderly Creation of Two Important Philanthropic Foundations

CHCF was originally tasked with managing the sale of Wellpoint stock following the conversion of Blue Cross of California to for-profit status and transferring 80% of the proceeds to The California Endowment (TCE), our sister foundation. The founding CHCF board and staff under Dr. Smith’s leadership managed the process smoothly and created the endowment for TCE, which today has assets of $3.2 billion and annual giving in excess of $165 million. CHCF’s 20% of the proceeds amounted to almost half a billion dollars at the time, and Dr. Smith led the process of developing a complementary strategy and grants program. The result was the creation of two important health care philanthropies in the state: The California Endowment, which focuses on community-level initiatives to improve access and public health, and the California HealthCare Foundation, which focuses on policy and practice change in health care financing and delivery.

2. A Market Savvy, Policy-Relevant, Innovative, and Trusted Philanthropy

We are proud of our position as a trusted convener of health care stakeholders from the worlds of policy and industry. We value our reputation as an organization that simultaneously understands market dynamics and the intricacies of policy at federal, state, and local levels. Dr. Smith and the staff have built the capacity to navigate through this difficult terrain, but most importantly, to identify creative ways to intervene and play a catalytic role. Our board has strongly supported the identification of unique points of leverage on market-makers and policymakers alike to help improve quality, access, and affordability of health care for all Californians.

3. Support for New Leaders

Early in CHCF’s history, in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, CHCF conceived of a professional development program for clinical leaders in the state, particularly those serving in safety-net institutions. The purpose was to provide young clinicians with the leadership skills they would need to head their organizations in the future. The program currently has 355 alumni across the state and the board recently announced the foundation’s support for two new classes. The program has been emulated by other foundations and institutions in California, resulting in a total of more than 2,000 graduates across the state. Any meeting of California health care leaders is likely to include graduates of these programs, and many of them have become important grantees, partners, and champions for constructive change across California’s health care system.

4. The Adoption and Effective Use of Health IT

CHCF has always been known as a pioneer in the promotion of health information technology as an important tool to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of care delivery. Some may point to our investments in the creation of the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange as taking a large risk (as we explored in a self-reflective 2007 Health Affairs special section). But as a board, we have been consistent in our support for investment and improvement in the use of new information technology in health care. And indeed we firmly believe that Santa Barbara was a catalyst for the significant federal HITECH investment that has followed.

While CHCF has had a long and important interest in promoting health IT to improve clinical care, we have also made special contributions in the seemingly arcane area of enrollment modernization. Building on Mark Smith’s and Vice President of Programs Sam Karp’s combined belief, interest, and expertise in the area, CHCF created important tools, technologies, and policy processes to help automate and modernize enrollment in public programs such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Health-e-App and One-e-App not only enabled thousands of Californians to secure the coverage they were eligible for, but these pioneering efforts laid critical groundwork and built expertise in online enrollment and user experience design that has informed policy and practice related to implementing the Affordable Care Act in California and nationally.

5. Technical Assistance for the Safety Net

Much of CHCF’s work has involved deep engagement with public hospitals, community health centers, and county-organized health systems to improve quality, access, and affordability, particularly for patients with chronic conditions. Through a wide range of projects and initiatives, CHCF has supported chronic disease registries, electronic health records, telehealth adoption, quality improvement activities, and measuring and improving patient experience in institutions that lack the resources, capacity, or time to invest in delivery system transformation. These programs have helped improve access to care for specialty services for the underserved and the quality of care for patients with chronic illness, as well as improve the efficiency, service level, and throughput of overstretched safety-net providers.

6. The California Health Care Almanac and Information Services

CHCF plays an active role in monitoring the functioning and improving the transparency of health care policy and practice in California. Through a wide range of sponsored studies, custom reports, and news services under the broad rubric of the California Health Care Almanac, California Healthline, and iHealthBeat, the foundation keeps health care leaders informed about what is happening, what is important, and what lies ahead. The consistent quality and timeliness of this work has created a resource base that is relied upon by managers, policymakers, consultants, and academics, in the state and across the country.

7. CHCF Center for Health Reporting

CHCF recognized with concern that the ongoing transformation in media was undermining the economic viability of quality journalism in the health care field. The foundation created the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to support high-quality reporting in partnership with media outlets in the state. The results can be seen in the number of stories produced in state and local media and their impact on the policy discourse on important topics, including the performance of Denti-Cal plans, the public conversation on end-of-life issues, and variation in the quality of care delivered across the state.

8. CHCF Health Innovation Fund

CHCF has committed $10 million over three years to invest in new ventures that have the potential to reduce the cost of care or improve access for the neediest Californians. The fund is off to an exciting start with several important investments in promising start-ups that we hope will create lasting value and improvement in health care delivery in areas such as telehealth access to specialists, better asthma management, and more efficient pharmacy services for rural and safety-net institutions. The fund is at an early stage, but we are excited by the prospects for this program-related investment (PRI) vehicle to innovate in areas of greatest need that the market might have overlooked without our help.

9. End-of-Life Care

End-of-life care has become a focus of the foundation because of the wide gap between the way Californians say they want to spend their last days and the highly medicalized way that many of them die. The foundation has supported greater clarity in end-of-life wishes through use of POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms across the state. Major progress has been made in making this a standard of care. Similarly, CHCF grants and initiatives have enabled every public hospital in the state to establish palliative care programs over the last five years. CHCF remains committed to raising awareness of Californians’ wishes for the care they receive at the end of life and in supporting care choices that are consistent with those wishes.

10. Supporting Improvement in the Medi-Cal Program and the Implementation of the ACA

CHCF has joined with other foundations and has worked with policymakers and state agencies and departments to provide instrumental technical support for many dimensions of the Medi-Cal program and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including:

  • Informing the development of enabling legislation for the state-based health benefits exchange
  • Providing technical support on the development of Medi-Cal waivers
  • Developing performance standards for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with disabilities and monitoring and evaluating their transition into Medi-Cal managed care
  • Informing California’s implementation of coverage expansion and insurance market reform, health IT deployment, and quality improvement initiatives

This important work continues.

Over the course of the next year, there will be many opportunities to toast Mark Smith’s legacy and contributions, and also time to warmly welcome a new leader. As we embark on this journey, the CHCF board of directors is proud of CHCF’s past and confident in its future. With the board’s strong encouragement and support, Mark Smith and his team have created an important institution that will continue to serve Californians in the decades ahead, building on a rich legacy of creativity and innovation, as evidenced in these efforts we highlight today.

January 11, 2013 I Written By

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

Urgent news from Health 2.0

SAN FRANCISCO — The Health 2.0 Conference stopped in its tracks late Monday with this stunning news: fictional EHR vendor Extormity has agreed to acquire every one of the hot, buzzworthy, break-the-mold, think-outside-the-box, too-cool-for-school (and smarter than you because they live in Silicon Valley, went to MIT and/or once knew a guy who worked at Google) app developers showcasing their “solutions”* and explaining why a killer UX in a 99-cent app is the key to all that ails the $2.5 trillion healthcare industry.

From the horse’s mouth:

Extormity announces plans to acquire every application developer at Health 2.0

The Health 2.0 conference currently under way in San Francisco features hundreds of developers, health IT firms and device companies demonstrating innovative applications designed to improve clinical outcomes, reduce medical costs and revolutionize healthcare delivery.

“It would take a dedicated team of talented professionals months to sift through all these disruptive innovators to determine who has the next killer app capable of interrupting the significant revenues we realize from maintaining the status quo,” said Extormity CEO Brantley Whittington from his yacht moored in the San Francisco Bay. “It’s more expedient for us to simply acquire every start-up, playing the role of angel investor sent to answer the capital formation prayers of each young entrepreneur wearing premium denim and a sport coat.”

“Acquired organizations become part of our strategic portfolio and are assigned to our innovations business unit, the division where new ideas fester,” added Whittington. “Developers from digested companies are housed in a bullpen where they engage in a never-ending code-a-thon that breeds fierce competition, resentment and angst – as you might imagine, turnover is epidemic.”

“Meanwhile, the principals who come on board join the Extormity think tank where they are paid handsomely as they wait for their options to vest.”

Extormity personnel will be stationed in each breakout session room with agreements and checks.

 

About Extormity

Extormity is an electronic health records mega-corporation dedicated to offering highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitively expensive healthcare IT solutions. Our flagship product, the Extormity EMR Software Suite, was recently voted “Most Complex” by readers of a leading healthcare industry publication. Learn more at www.extormity.com

 

Enjoy your new-found wealth!

* Marketingspeak for “vaporware.”

October 9, 2012 I Written By

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

Attending Health 2.0? Donate your old smartphone

If you’re planning on attending the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco next Monday and Tuesday, Health eVillages, a program of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, will be collecting used Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Health eVillages, of which I am a member of the advisory board, will refurbish your device and load it with medical reference materials, clinical decision support tools, drug dosage calculators and other mobile health tools and deploy it to a clinician working in a developing country, helping to bring higher-quality care to that community.

Current Health eVillages sites are in Haiti, China, Kenya, Uganda, with more to come.

If you have a used iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phone or and tablet (sorry, no BlackBerrys, which is what I happen to have), drop it off at the Health 2.0 registration desk or at the Physicians Interactive booth (No. 37) in the exhibit hall.

If you want to learn more about Health eVillages, founder Donato Trumato, CEO and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive, will be speaking for about 5 minutes on the main stage the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, and then will lead a lunchtime presentation at 12:50 p.m. PDT in the Imperial B ballroom at the Hilton San Francisco.

I will be there, too, participating the “3 CEOs” session Tuesday at 8:10 a.m. I will be interviewing Phytel CEO Steve Schelhammer live on stage. Am I nervous? Only about having to get up that early.

 

October 2, 2012 I Written By

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

Health 2.0 by Twitter

Here’s my version of Short Attention Span Theater (which is pretty much what Twitter is anyway), of the recently concluded Health 2.0 Fall Conference, as I reported via Twitter. Note the juxtaposition between observation, commentary and snark.

Preconference sessions on Sunday:

Irony: RegisterPatient is on same #health2con panel as DrChrono after DrChrono called its pt history collector "groundbreaking." #mhealth
@nversel
Neil Versel
RT @: Still waiting for a demo to blow me away or provide impressive insight on adoption rates at Doctors 2.0. #health2con #toosoon?
@nversel
Neil Versel

Monday plenary sessions:

Following thoughtful keynote from @ boss Mark Smith, live launch of HealthTap at #health2con threatens to turn mtg into pep rally.
@nversel
Neil Versel
This got someone from HealthTap to misinterpret what I had said:
So much enthusiasm on health! @ After keynote from @ Mark Smith, launch of #HealthTap at #health2con turns mtg into pep rally
@HealthTap
HealthTap
To which I replied:
@ @ That was meant as a caution, not as approval. Too much enthusiasm and you lose sight of reality. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel
(For the record, @CHCF is not the correct handle for the California HealthCare Foundation. It’s @CHCFnews.)

I also had an important question for HealthTap, one that so far has gone unanswered.

@ says 5k docs signed up. I wonder about liability from giving #medical advice online to #patients they don't know #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel

I retweeted/commented on many others’ tweets, too.

AMEN! RT @: Need #healthIT solutions to be more geared toward real source of need in our population: the elderly #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel
RT @: stickK has users commit money toward their goal, spends it on their 'anti-charity' of choice if they don't meet #health2con
@pjmachado
Paulo Machado
RT @: Love Mark Bertolini's comment that people should be able to fit healthcare into their lives & not other way around #health2con
@pjmachado
Paulo Machado
RT @: RT @: Jim Hansen of Dossia: 85 year olds don't like sexy interfaces. Keep it simple #health2con
@ekivemark
Mark Scrimshire

I found quite a bit of news and lack of news being announced on stage.

Aetna will have #mhealth app for #patients to make #physician appointments next spring. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel
Pls don't tell me about another untethered #PHR. Nobody uses them. #healthIT #health2con #fail
@nversel
Neil Versel

And don’t take kindly to vagueness about the word “solution.”

WTF is a solution? RT @: Or just solutions! RT @: Ppl dont want a PHR, they want tools 2 help solve health problems
@nversel
Neil Versel
I hate hate hate the use of "solution" as a synonym for "product" or "service." #health2con #healthit
@nversel
Neil Versel
Good health. MT @: WTF is a solution? RT @: Or just solutions! RT @: Ppl want tools 2 help solve health problems
@grapealope
Rachel Kalmar
@ @: ok! people want good health without having to invest time into it, that's the bottom line.
@grapealope
Rachel Kalmar
(I get the sense @grapealope is among the many Silicon Valley cheerleaders who came not to a conference but a pep rally. I bet the Kool-Aid tasted great.)

So true. RT @: How many social networks will people participate in? I find it hard to keep up with one. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel
What about the unmentionable of the digital divide, that people who need help, can't afford the tools we are building apps for #health2con
@rdesain
Rachel de Sain

Then came the lamest presentation of them all, in a plenary session no less, a demo of an overly cutesy “life game” called Mindbloom. The presentation was accompanied by distracting sound effects of birds chirping the entire time, and the game itself featured a guide character called the “enlightening bug.” My impression?

More touchy-feely bs. Time for a group hug. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel

Others weren’t so harsh, but at least had questions about the purpose and appeal.

Mindbloom interesting idea - just wondering how many people will take the time to manage this digital Tamagachi... #health2con
@pjmachado
Paulo Machado
@ I say nobody. Too cutesy.
@nversel
Neil Versel
Some will use - will have high drop off rate... RT @: @ I say nobody. Too cutesy.
@pjmachado
Paulo Machado
@ Yeah, that sounds right.
@nversel
Neil Versel

I later asked fellow realist John Moore of Chilmark Research this question:

@ Ready to join hands and sing Kumbaya yet? #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel

At least I wasn’t the only one worn out by having to separate the wheat from the chaff.

At odds with myself after a long day at #health2con. So much great stuff, but so much shiny hyped iVapor too. Let's make it REAL folks!

I did tone down my rhetoric a bit on Tuesday, though.

Lots of people seem to be gulping the #health2con Kool-aid. Is your enthusiasm realistic? As an objective observer, I'm seeing hits & misses
@nversel
Neil Versel

OK, maybe only a bit, especially after Microsoft’s Mike Raymer said, “It was good to have two companies create a marketplace,” in reference to Microsoft’s HealthVault and the soon-to-be-departed Google Health.

#MSFT #HealthVault and #Google Health didn't create #PHR marketplace. CapMed started in 1991. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel
GH didn't have any users. RT @: Love how Microsoft Health Vault has a welcome page to former Google Health users. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel

I highlighted what I saw as good points:

RT @: Non invasive blood glucose monitor unveiled at #health2con in SF. very cool! Is it accurate? http://t.co/XIBm2i8f
@2healthguru
Gregg Masters
Sona Mehring of CaringBridge: #Facebook is the 3rd largest country in the world. #health2con
@nversel
Neil Versel

And I asked a question that I’d love to hear an answer to:

Deep Thought: Maybe there needs 2b differentiation between health 2.0 and fitness 2.0? #health2con #mhealth
@nversel
Neil Versel

I would be less likely to tune out certain sessions if there were more related to healthcare and less to personal fitness and wellness. Of course, others have different viewpoints, which is why it might make more sense to separate the two into different conferences or at least different tracks.

September 30, 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.

Rules for conference season

Fall is in the air. That means it’s conference season again in health IT. I’m at Health 2.0 in San Francisco right now, and I’ll be taking at least two more business trips to the Pacific time zone before Thanksgiving, plus at least one trip east. That means I’ll be seeing a lot of PowerPoint presentations in the near future.

Needless to say, some presentations are better than others. Some are more accurate than others. On my last trip to California back in July, I hit the AMDIS Physician-Computer Connection. There, one slide show contained a fairly serious factual error regarding mergers and acquisitions in the EHR market. I won’t repeat it because I don’t want to spread falsehoods. You could see the shock on the faces of several people in the audience.

An hour or so after that session, I was sitting a table where one particularly perturbed individual had been earlier. He left the following on a notepad: Read more..

September 26, 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.

Mixed feelings about health 2.0

I’m in San Francisco for the fifth annual Health 2.0 Conference. I attended the first two, missed the last two, but this year, I have several reasons for being here, not the least of which is to help out MobiHealthNews with coverage.

I’ve always been conflicted about this conference, and about the whole health 2.0 movement. In some ways, it represents the cutting edge of health IT thinking and consumer engagement. In other ways, it represents Bubble 2.0, with lots of interesting ideas that won’t catch on with the public and/or the healthcare community, as well as companies with no readily evident revenue model. (You know how I feel about style vs. substance.) But the positives generally outweigh the negatives.

Today, there were some pre-conference sessions. The one for doctors seemed like a dog-and-pony show, where various vendors paraded their products in front of an audience. This was my only real astute observation, as posted on Twitter:

Irony: RegisterPatient is on same #health2con panel as DrChrono after DrChrono called its pt history collector "groundbreaking." #mhealth
@nversel
Neil Versel

It sounded like the Patients 2.0 session was more compelling. Check this Twitter search for more details. Engaging patients is a great idea, but my personal feeling is that the session may have been a little heavy on the kumbaya. To wit:

@ I like the term "health citizen" instead of the disempowering & reactive term "patient" #patients20 #health2con
@seanahrens
Sean Ahrens
"Love needs a billing code!" reminds us @ #patients20 #health20
@rzeiger
Roni Zeiger

I’m liking these tweets a little better:

Great points #Patients20 Let's develop tools for soliciting & curating patient&family expertise to provide to patients newly diagnosed.
@mcuthbert33
Melinda Cuthbert
Good read, More health consumers look to pharmacists and pharmacy staff for health-related services http://t.co/RhZhzwwX #patients20
@rsgold
rsgold
#health2con #patients20 health literacy and "actionable" information means being able to meet people where they are.
@maisybones
marymcain

This post is a little heavy on the Twitter for a reason. I expect to be tweeting a lot more than blogging the next two days, mostly due to time constraints. Check out my Twitter feed on the right side of this page, or just go here.

September 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.

An easy link to many of my health IT stories

One of these days, I’m going to build a page with all my professional information and a collection of stories I’ve written over the years. In the meantime, I recently discovered a decent source for tracking some of my work, a service called uFollow.

My page on this site, which I did not build myself, contains links to pretty much every story I’ve written for InformationWeek, going back to the beginning of the year. It also includes links for the five posts I did for the BNET Healthcare Blog in 2009 (which earned me the whopping sum of $250 total). But there’s nothing else currently there, even though my bio references the work I did for three Fierce Markets titles in 2009-10. I’ve asked uFollow either to update the feeds to include my work for titles like MobiHealthNews, Healthcare IT News, Health Data Management and others, or tell me how I can update the page myself. Stay tuned.

Since I’m talking about myself here, I’ll let you know that I’m making plans for a lot of conference coverage this fall. I’ll be attending the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco in a couple of weeks, bravely wading into the back yard of the same Silicon Valley community I roundly dissed in July and have since taken a couple more swings at.

Next month, I’m expecting to be at the MGMA annual conference in Las Vegas. Last year was the first time in 10 years I missed that one, but I’m planning a return. Later that week, I’ll either be at TEDMED in San Diego or the CHIME Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio, a decision I’ll make in the next few days. Unfortunately, AMIA’s annual symposium is the same week on the east coast, so, regrettably, I’ll have to skip that one.

The first week of November, I’m scheduled to moderate a couple of panels at the Institute for Health Technology Transformation’s Health IT Summit in Beverly Hills, Calif. There may be one more speaking/moderating gig that month, but I’m not ready to announce it yet.

Publicists, you might be salivating now that you have an idea about my schedule this fall. Don’t worry, I won’t have time for all the vendor meetings you are going to propose, and I’m more than happy to ignore all but the very best pitches. I may even come to you to request a meeting if I think it would help me pay the bills, since I’m usually covering my own travel expenses. However, I know that especially at something like Health 2.0, there will be a lot of vaporware, hype and companies with no business model among the many good, solid ideas. I have a very good B.S. detector, honed over a 19-year career, and I’m not afraid to use it. Consider yourselves warned. :)

September 13, 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.

Founder of British interactive patient sites dies

The driving force behind popular British interactive patient sites HealthTalkOnline and YouthHealthTalk has died.

Dr. Ann McPherson, 65, died May 28 after a four-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Dr. McPherson, a general practitioner at Oxford University, came up with the idea for a patient-experience site 15 years ago while fighting her own battle with breast cancer, E-Health Insider reports.

Dr. McPherson and Dr. Andrew Herxheimer, a former editor of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, founded predecessor site DIPEx in 2001, long before the phrase “health 2.0″ gained acceptance. Their organization, the DIPEx Charity, divided the site into HealthTalkOnline for adults and YouthHealthTalk for teens, children and their families in 2008. Numerous British celebrities, including actor Hugh Grant and Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, have become public supporters of the charity.

She co-authored the 1987 book, Diary of a Teenage Health Freak, which has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, according to an obituary in The Guardian. The book spawned a TV show in the U.K. in the early 1990s, and later, the still-active Teenage Health Freak Web site.

Dr. McPherson won the BMJ’s 2011 Healthcare Communicator of the Year award in April.

 

June 5, 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.