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Physicians and social media

I neglected to post this a couple of months ago, but I had my first-ever story published at Medscape back in November, on the subject of physicians and social media. Feedback is appreciated.

January 13, 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 ‘Fierce’ stories

For readers of FierceHealthcare, FierceEMR and FierceMobileHealthcare, there’s some good conference coverage up there right now. I submitted a story from last week’s Healthcare Facilities Symposium to FierceHealthcare and in today’s FierceMobileHealthcare, commented kind of tangentally on the Health 2.0 Conference going on now. Plus, publisher Wendy Johnson has submitted stories for FierceEMR from the annual AHIMA meeting down in Grapevine, Texas. The more someone else writes, the less I have to do!

October 6, 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 programs, new ideas

This seems to be the week for launching new programs.

A group called the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission is going to start accrediting ASPs and other hosted EHR systems. Government Health IT has a story, which asks the obvious question of whether this will compete or complement the efforts of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, but doesn’t exactly answer it.

Health EDI firm Edifecs has started HIPAApedia. I think that one is self-explanatory, but here is the press release.

But the big news so far this week is the Markle Foundation has come up with a framework document for discussing and defining “meaningful use,” which is the standards by which providers will qualify for health IT funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

April 30, 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.

Health 2.0 Meets Ix

Due to my own personal budget cuts, I’m unable to attend the Health 2.0 Meets Information Therapy that began today in Boston, but there are plenty of others out there blogging and/or tweeting the event.

I’m sure there will be lots of news and lots of hype masquerading as news coming out of that conference. Of note, A.D.A.M. is using the occasion to launch its iPhone app, called the Medzio Mobile Health Network. It’s a free download from the Apple App Store.

A.D.A.M. showed me a demo of its iPhone version a good six months ago at the fall Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I guess it took this long to work out all the bugs and sign up partners.

Meanwhile, coincidentally or not, the Mayo Clinic yesterday finally launched its Mayo Clinic Health Manager project with Microsoft‘s HealthVault. Left unanswered so far is whether Mayo convinced Microsoft to sign a HIPAA business associate agreement.

April 22, 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.

Social media for physician practices?

Anne Zieger, editor of FierceHealthIT and other publications, is running a contest of sorts on LinkedIn: Design a social media marketing and communication system for a medical practice. It’s part of a LinkedIn discussion group, and it looks as if she’s doing this on her own, not as a representative of any publication.

I’m not sure of any prizes, but it sounds like there might be a business opportunity there for the right ideas.

See, just because I’m skeptical of Twitter doesn’t mean I don’t see value in social networking sites. In fact, here is my LinkedIn profile page.

April 15, 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.

Seriously, why Twitter?

I’m not a user of Twitter and might only become one if I thought it might be a good way of reporting breaking news during, say, a speech at a conference or something like that. Any other uses seriously seem pointless, particularly in healthcare.

I’m particularly disturbed by the news last month that the chief resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit provided live tweets of a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from a kidney. Then, last week, another Henry Ford resident Twittered a robotic hysterectomy.

I know the Twitterers weren’t the actual surgeons doing the cutting, but seriously, didn’t they have anything better to do? And unless they were close friends or family of the patients, didn’t the people following the updates have anything better to do with their time?

As I watched so many news outlets breathlessly report on the popularity of Twitter in recent weeks, I couldn’t help thinking that once the mainstream media and non-techies started using this decidedly geeky application, Twitter may already be jumping the shark. A day or so after I first had this thought, I heard someone on WGN Radio in Chicago say Twitter had jumped the shark. And then, last week, The Daily Show had this great satire of Twitter.

.cc_box a:hover .cc_home{background:url(‘http://www.comedycentral.com/comedycentral/video/assets/syndicated-logo-over.png’) !important;}.cc_links a{color:#b9b9b9;text-decoration:none;}.cc_show a{color:#707070;text-decoration:none;}.cc_title a{color:#868686;text-decoration:none;}.cc_links a:hover{color:#67bee2;text-decoration:underline;}

Still, I think this person offers the best commentary on Twitter I’ve seen to date.

March 11, 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.

Online support groups

Here’s another story I had published not too long ago: The January cover story in Oncology Net Guide about online support groups for cancer patients and their effect on the practice of oncology.

Those of you who attended either the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco or the more academic Medicine 2.0 Congress in Toronto last fall will recognize some of the names in the story. My family might recognize another name, Dr. Michael Nissenblatt, a cousin on my dad’s side. Hey, if you’ve got a good source, you’d might as well use it.

Among the other familiar names in the story are Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, whose Wellsphere otherwise a useful consumer information site, had not yet been widely exposed as a marketing scam when I wrote the story, and Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., who offers the Best Commentary Ever about Wikipedia:

Stand up and say it with me: The revolution will not be verified!

March 10, 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.

Benefit album for health IT. No, really.

Remember a few months back how I said health IT needed a rock star? I didn’t mean it literally.

Grammy-winning Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour is spearheading a charity album to benefit and raise awareness for the IntraHealth OPEN initiative to help bring open-source health IT to health workers across Africa. Also participating are rap star Nas, singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik and a real, live rock star, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck.

The album, “OPEN Remix,” features N’Dour’s 2007 song, “Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling),” which originally was a duet with Neneh Cherry, plus remixes of that song by Nas, Sheik, Buck and other artists. The downloads are free via Rhapsody, iLike and Amazon MP3, but you can donate to the cause through those sites.

Indaba Music, a social networking site for musicians, will have a worldwide remix contest starting in April.

According to an e-mail from IntraHealth’s publicist, “IntraHealth has been collaborating with African governments and private institutions to design and apply open source solutions to strengthen their ability to use health information for strategic health policy and planning. Using mobile phones, PDAs and taking advantage of growing connectivity across Africa, the initiative aims to increase fluency in open source systems and help support a new generation of eHealth workers, technology professionals and national leaders in Africa who understand, customize and apply open technologies to improve health.”

This sounds a lot like what the OpenMRS and Partners In Health folks are working on, and a lot like what I heard at the Making the eHealth Connection conferences in Italy last summer. Funny how there seems to be more organization around e-health in Africa than in the U.S.

February 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.

Health 2 point uh-oh

Health 2.0 naysayer Dmitriy Kruglyak has posted his most pointed criticism of the genre to date, calling out Matthew Holt et al for starting up a consultancy, Health 2.0 Advisors in what Dmitriy believes is opportunistic cashing in on others’ lack of a sustainable business model.

I’ll let others duke it out over the merits of health 2.0, but I’ll just say I was at the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco two weeks ago and at the Medicine 2.0 Congress in Toronto two months ago. You’ll recall I blogged twice about the Toronto conference, on Sept. 4 and again on Sept. 11. This was not meant as a slight to the San Francisco crowd, just the reality of being on an 11-day, four-city trip while also facing deadlines for my actual paid gigs.

The Toronto conference was much more academic in nature, as the meeting even had published proceedings. The San Francisco one was more about real-world applications and the hunt for the elusive revenue-generating plan.

If you want a taste of the San Francisco conference, video production house ScribeMedia.org has just posted a highlight of the opening session, namely Dr. David Kibbe’s “Great American Health 2.0 Motorcycle Tour.”

The senior health IT advisor for the American Academy of Family Physicians travels the country on his Honda Goldwing—at least until the fuel pump gives out near Chattanooga, Tenn.—talking to people at TelaDoc, American Well, PatientsLikeMe, change:healthcare, Google Health, Healthline, MedHelp and Kosmix. He also drops in on New York Times columnist Tara Parker-Pope, who says she doesn’t like the term “health 2.0″ to talk about personal wellness and empowering patients, then visits with a new kind of medical practice called Hello Health and stops by a Tennessee MinuteClinic.

Watch the video here:

Yes, there’s a lot of good that can come from interactive health sites, but a lot of questions still to be asked about many of the ideas and companies. I leave you with one more video to help keep things in perspective:

Then again, it might take a nation of millions to hold back health 2.0. The jury is out.

November 5, 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.

Information overload

SAN FRANCISCO—Talk about irony: I’ve got tons and tons of great information to report, and very little time in which to do so. I’m currently at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, fresh off the Medical Group Management Association annual meeting down the coast in San Diego. I’ll be at the Collaborative Communications Summit in Los Angeles early next week.

Aside from all the frequent-flier miles, I’ve collected much news from vendors, organizations, and others in health IT. At some point, I’ll actually get around to reporting the news. In the meantime, you can check out the story I wrote this week in Digital HealthCare & Productivity about MGMA’s desire for health plans to develop a standardized, machine-readable insurance card for all patients.

I also wanted to draw your attention to yet another celebrity medical error. According to the Boston Herald, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had to have three follow-up procedures to contain an infection in the knee he recently had reconstructive surgery on. He’s currently on IV antibiotics to contain the infection.

Although the story doesn’t say so, my immediate thought is that Brady contracted the infection from something that wasn’t fully cleaned in the operating room at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles during the Oct. 6 surgery. In other words, Brady likely is the victim of yet another hospital-acquired infection.

Also, the counter in the bottom right of this page recently passed 40,000 visits since September 2004. There have been more than 52,200 page views. Traffic has accelerated since a slow start, and is now at about 1,000 visits and 1,300 page views a month. Thanks for reading.

October 23, 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.