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Late news, literally: A new national HIT coordinator

Karen DeSalvo, M.D.

 

I’m a little late to the party reporting on the naming of a new national health IT coordinator, Karen DeSalvo, M.D. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced DeSalvo’s appointment on Dec. 19, two days after I boarded a plane out of the country for a much-needed vacation. I vowed not to respond to any work-related e-mail while away, and I stayed true to my word, so now I play catch-up.

I honestly know nothing of DeSalvo’s work as health commissioner of the City of New Orleans and senior health policy advisor to Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, even though I visited New Orleans twice in the early rebuilding stages after Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and 2007 to report on the state of the healthcare infrastructure. At the time, Ray Nagin was mayor, though Landrieu was Louisiana lieutenant gove

rnor and his sister, Mary, was and still is a U.S. senator representing the Pelican State.

During my visits, I met with several state and local healthcare officials, but never came across DeSalvo. She is the first national coordinator I did not know prior to taking over ONC, so I guess I’ll be doing some catch-up. From her biography, I see her background is in public health, much like her predecessor, Farzad Mostashari, M.D. That signals to me that there will be a continued strong focus on using IT to improve population health, one of the original 2004 goals of the first national coordinator, David Brailer, M.D.

While Stage 1 of Meaningful Use has been about installing EHRs, we should start to see connectivity and interoperability to help manage populations in Stage 2, which is just getting started, with an eye toward producing measurable outcomes in Stage 3, which probably won’t begin before 2017.

DeSalvo remains in New Orleans at the moment. She takes over at ONC Jan. 13. Acting national coordinator Jacob Reider, M.D., will go back to being ONC’s chief medical officer.

December 30, 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.

Health eVillages and mobile health in the developing world

I’m in New York today for a Health eVillages board meeting. It’s a program that provides mobile health tools to help extend the reach and knowledge of health workers in remote and underserved parts of the world — including in rural Southern Louisiana. The meeting opened with this powerful video that explains the power of this program.

I can’t say anything more about Health eVillages now, but there is some big news coming this summer.

April 30, 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.

Live video from ambulance to ED

Attention editors of technology and general-interest publications: Hospitals & Health Networks this month has a short InBox item I wrote about live video links from ambulances to emergency departments and trauma centers. Emergency medical services in Tucson, Ariz., and, more recently, Baton Rouge, La., make use of municipal Wi-Fi networks to triage and diagnose trauma cases before patients even arrive.

This is a story I’ve known about for more than a year and a half and only recently, when Baton Rouge turned the first piece of what soon will be a parish-wide system, did any editor, HHN Senior Editor Matthew Weinstock, show interest in this story. All he had the room or budget for was this 450-word InBox item, though.

If you believe the telemedicine experts I interviewed, this kind of technology may become the norm in urban and suburban areas within a few years, and that, IMHO, makes it worth a much longer feature story in a publication that reaches beyond healthcare. There was some MSM coverage of the Baton Rouge launch, but nothing that examined the big picture.

I toured an ambulance and got a live demonstration of the technology when I was in Tucson in February, and have leads on other municipalities that are considering such a system, plus some cities that are using different technologies to achieve the same results. I’ve got photos, too.

Editors, I await your call.

May 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.