Free Healthcare IT Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Get all the latest Health IT updates from Neil Versel for FREE!

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.

Podcast: This time, I’m the interviewee

In a rare turn of events, I’m the one being asked the questions on a podcast by Sivad Business Solutions, which hosts regular audio discussions on a variety of business topics. I give kind of a high-level view of health IT and offer my very strong opinions on patient safety and healthcare reform. There’s an interesting discussion about EHRs being designed to maximize reimbursements rather than assure safety.

Interestingly, we recorded this via Skype. I like the audio quality, if not the nasal quality of my own voice, more than usual that day.

Hopefully the embedded audio works. If not, click here.

September 18, 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.

Podcast: Carrie Handley on patient empowerment with an iPad

Did you happen to catch my story in MobiHealthNews on Thursday about Carrie Handley, the IT consultant-turned-cancer patient? She got frustrated with first a misdiagnosis and then the hassle of lugging around a binder full of paper records that she had to go to multiple sites to collect to assure continuity of care during her treatment and surgeries. So Handley digitized all her records.

Initially, she transported the information on a USB drive, but that got lost in a doctor’s lab coat. Then, her son brought over an iPad. The tablet provided the right balance of portability and shareability. In this interview, Handley, a resident of Waterloo, Ontario (you know, the home of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion), describes the process and shares her thoughts in general on mobility in healthcare.

We wouldn’t have connected if she hadn’t read my tribute to my dad last month. After reading Handley’s story in the e-mail she sent me, I knew we had to do this podcast to help spread the idea that communication can help foster the kind of patient-centric care that eluded my dad, that initially eluded her and that probably eludes millions of people every year.

This Sunday is Father’s Day. I miss my dad terribly. But I take comfort in knowing that I’m doing a small part to raise awareness of multiple system atrophy (MSA) — the rare neurodegenerative disease that killed him — and perhaps advancing the cause of patient safety ever so slightly.

Podcast details: Interview with health IT consultant and cancer survivor Carrie Handley about mobility in healthcare. MP3, mono, 128 kbps, 26.7 MB. Running time 29:13.

June 14, 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.

HIMSS12 sets record for tweets

The folks at HIMSS are claiming that the 2012 conference in Las Vegas a couple months ago set a world record for the most tweets at a health conference. (I’m checking to see who keeps such records.)

By the numbers, according to HIMSS:

  • The #HIMSS12 hashtag was used 28,434 times.
  • HIMSS12 averaged 167 tweets per hour.
  • HIMSS12 was mentioned 33,247 times in social media, more than double HIMSS11 (which itself was more than double HIMSS10).
  • The keynote by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone generated 7,595 tweets, beating out the 7,047 tweets from Dr. Farzad Mostashari’s keynote.

This infographic from HIMSS tells more of the story about the whole conference.

 

I am not surprised Brian Ahier and Regina Holliday had so much influence on social media at the conference. Ahier moderated the Meet the Bloggers panel I was on.

I was, however, surprised to the breakdown of mobile devices accessing the HIMSS conference’s mobile site. Apple with 70 percent sounds right, particularly when you consider how many iPads were in evidence, but I would have guessed Android would have more than 14 percent share because it’s so popular for smartphones and BlackBerry more than 2 percent because a lot of enterprises still use that platform. I guess I’m one of the few people left in health IT with a BlackBerry.

UPDATE, Friday, April 27: It was healthcare social media consulting firm Symplur that tracked the tweets and announced the record. There’s more data here, though my head starts spinning when someone discusses stuff like slopes of equations.

April 26, 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.

Might as well cash in on fervor over new iPad

I’m not one to sell myself out, but I read a story in satirical newspaper The Onion today with the following headline: “This Article Generating Thousands Of Dollars In Ad Revenue Simply By Mentioning New iPad.” An excerpt:

“Furthermore, any subsequent mention of the new iPad in this article—as well as any mention of the fact that preorders for the device start today—is resulting in increased reader traffic and, thus, increased revenues for your company’s ad-based business model.” At press time, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad, new iPad.

Gotta love lame attempts at SEO! We’ll see if it works for me. ;)

March 7, 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.

Video: Merge Healthcare

Other locales may get more press in this industry,  but the Chicago area has a surprisingly strong community of health IT vendors.

It is well known that Allscripts is headquartered at the Merchandise Mart. GE Healthcare, while based just outside Milwaukee, maintains a large IT center in northwest suburban Barrington, Ill. CDW, based in Vernon Hills, Ill., runs its healthcare division from a downtown Chicago office. Numerous smaller vendors dot the area, too. And then there is Merge Healthcare, a medium-sized firm that historically has specialized in software for medical imaging.

Last week, I visited Merge’s home office in the Aon Center, an iconic skyscraper previously known as the Amoco Building and, before that, the Standard Oil Building. There, CEO Jeff Surges gave me a history of the company and talked about changes in the company and in the health IT field in general. Then, I turned on my video camera so Surges, sporting an orange necktie, could explain why Merge has adopted orange as its company color.

Following my interview with the CEO, Gilbert Gagné, also wearing an orange tie, gave me a demo of Merge iConnect Access, an image viewing system than works through any Web browser. I got the iPad portion of the demo on video, too.

I shot this in 720p high definition, but only uploaded it at 360p to save time. Let me know if you want HD so the iPad screen appears a little sharper.

January 8, 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.

EMRs for mental health?

I’ve been wondering, has anyone in mental health truly had success with an EMR? I can’t imagine any psychotherapist sitting at a computer typing notes while there’s a patient on the couch. That would be particularly bad for a patient with self-esteem issues.

I imagine that tablets like the iPad may make this a little easier, but what psychotherapists really need is something like a pen tablet (with a stylus rather than touch-screen) or digital ink to mimic taking notes on a pad of paper.

The other issue related to EMRs in mental health is the exchange of notes with other physicians. Will an electronic note from therapist back to the primary care physician wind up in the electronic chart that might get sent, say, to an orthopedist or gastroenterologist? The only thing other specialists really would need to know is the patient’s medication list, not a psychiatric diagnosis or treatment history, right? Segmenting out sensitive parts of an EMR like treatment for mental health and sexually transmitted diseases is something vendors and CIOs have struggled with for years, and I believe continue to struggle with.

In both cases, I’d love to hear your anecdotes here.

April 22, 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.

Podcast: mHealth Initiative’s Peter Waegemann

In 2009, after 25 years of moving “Toward an Electronic Patient Record” (TEPR), the Medical Records Institute disbanded and its founder, Peter Waegemann, shifted his focus to mobile healthcare by creating the mHealth Initiative.

TEPR had grown into a rather substantial event, peaking at 3,800 attendees in 2004, when newly appointed national health IT coordinator Dr. David Brailer was the featured speaker. But attendance and vendor square footage rapidly declined after that, as much of the action in the realm of EMRs either moved to medical specialty societies or the huge HIMSS conference.

Taking a more content-driven than vendor-driven approach, the mHealth Initiative has tried its hand at conferences since last year. (I spoke and served on a panel at the organization’s 2nd mHealth Networking Conference last fall.) A week ago, the group held its third such event in that paradise for lovers of jet noise, Rosemont, Ill., and I sat down with Waegemann to record this podcast.

Podcast details: Interview with Peter Waegemann, chairman and founder of the mHealth Initiative. Recorded March 30, 2011, at the mHealth Initiative’s 3rd Networking Conference in Rosemont, Ill. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 6.0 MB. Running time 26:02.

0:20     Transition from e-health to m-health after 25 years of running TEPR
1:50    “Total paradigm shift” for documenting and accessing information at the point of care
2:20     No country he’s seen has a complete, effective EMR yet
2:40    Movement from an industrial society to an “information society” of knowledge workers
4:40    Beyond voice communications
6:20    Behavior change in healthcare and adapting to technology
7:20    Lack of connectivity among mobile devices and shortcomings in current technology
8:55    The politics of standards for m-health devices and systems
10:40    Always “five years away”
11:20    Searching for the iPhone of home monitoring
12:00    iPad’s role in healthcare and its shortcomings
13:00    Apps
14:20    EMR vendors discovering mobile devices
15:25    Distinctions between wired health, wireless health and connected health
15:50    “Three pillars” of m-health
16:40     “Communication-enhanced healthcare”
17:35    Better care for less money
19:05    Cell phones in hospitals
20:30    Integration issues
21:00    Patients and younger physicians driving change
22:00    “Unified communications”
22:42    Payment for home monitoring
24:30    European approaches to m-health

April 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.

iPad 2 may hit Android, but wait for BlackBerry PlayBook

Looking for more commentary about another aspect of health IT? Don’t forget that I’m now a regular contributor to MobiHealthNews. This week, I comment on the rave reviews coming in for the iPad 2, particularly from the healthcare sector, and note the significance of Microsoft discontinuing its Zune digital music player, the product that never did gain much traction against Apple’s ubiquitous iPod.

While it looks as if the Android platform may be losing out to the iPad in healthcare, I say don’t call this one for Apple just yet, at least not until Research in Motion comes out with its BlackBerry PlayBook next month.

I also recently wrote a special report for HFM, the magazine of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, on the subject of optimizing and enhancing healthcare revenue-cycle performance with IT. Download the PDF here.

March 16, 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.