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Podcast: Exclusive interview with Intel and Wal-Mart execs

What was supposed to be a journalists’ roundtable with Intel Chairman Craig Barrett and Wal-Mart Stores Executive Vice President for Risk Management and Benefits Administration Linda Dillman turned into an exclusive interview for me when other invited reporters failed to show. Their loss is my gain—and yours.

I now have a podcast with two of the most powerful business people in America, on the subject of large healthcare purchasers demanding technology-driven quality from the people who provide health services to their employees. It continues on the theme that Barrett spoke on during his keynote address to the Third Health Information Technology Summit in Washington last month, which I reported on here. This interview took place shortly after the speech.

Podcast details: Exclusive interview with Intel Chairman Craig Barrett and Wal-Mart EVP Linda Dillman, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2006. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 13.9 MB, running time 30:23.

00:40 Barrett’s interest in healthcare
01:05 Pilot programs to promote IT and quality
01:30 Purchasing power of large employers
01:58 Wal-Mart’s $4 co-pay for generic drugs
03:20 Completeness of personal health records
04:33 Lack of price information for consumers
05:30 Cost shifting in healthcare
06:00 Wal-Mart’s IT investment
06:40 Looking at the big picture
07:30 Getting a broad coalition involved
08:10 Debate vs. actions, cost shifting
09:10 Consumers ultimately pay the bills
09:40 Opportunity in the health system and incentives for healthcare to modernize
10:35 Current insurance at companies
10:55 Wal-Mart will be requiring quality
11:40 How to show transparency
12:25 Feedback from employees
13:40 Employees are savvy business people
14:15 Duplication in the system
14:50 Medical liability and access to information
16:40 Systemwide quality should be overriding issue
18:00 What creates quality problems?
18:35 IT’s role in alleviating the nursing shortage
19:45 Opinion of Kolodner
20:20 Barrett on AHIC and the slow pace of reform
22:15 Every other industry has adopted technology
22:50 Framing the debate over who pays
23:35 Quality tolerance in other industries
23:50 Roles of various stakeholders
24:35 “Forcing function” of change
26:18 Private payers are middlemen responding to the rules.
27:00 How to put pressure on suppliers
27:35 Purchasers have been passive for too long
28:36 How long until purchasing changes start showing results?
28:53 American competitiveness

October 24, 2006 I Written By

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

Snomed for everyone

I’m in Geneva for the first World of Health IT conference, and I happened on some interesting news tonight. The College of American Pathologists and its Snomed International division will announce Thursday that they are giving up the proprietary nature of Snomed Clinical Terms, opening up access to everyone, with some conditions.

From what I understand—and I don’t know the whole story yet—Snomed essentially is making its July 2003 licensing agreement with the National Library of Medicine global. This may have something to do with healthcare providers having a tough time figuring out terms of Snomed licensing in contracts with software vendors. Again, though, I don’t know the whole story yet.

October 11, 2006 I Written By

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

See you in Geneva, and a new name for my top gig

I don’t think I ever actually posted this here, but I have decided to go to the first World of Health IT conference in Geneva next week. I think I have enough work to cover the considerable expense, and even if I don’t, the trip’s booked and the airfare is nonrefundable, so I might as well get on the plane. (And if you want to offer me an assignment, I’m listening.)

If you are planning on making the trip yourself, drop me a line or post a comment at the bottom of this entry. I’m interested in seeing how many people they draw from outside of Europe.

Meanwhile, my most frequent freelance client has changed names. Effective this week, Health-IT World is now known as Digital HealthCare & Productivity, though the Web page apparently has not changed. I’ve updated the link in the right-hand column of this blog to reflect the new name. For the reasoning behind the move, click here.

Also, my phone seems to be working properly for the first time in a month, now that the number transfer to the new phone company is done. Sorry for any inconvenience the problems may have caused anyone.

And if you came here looking for real news, here’s some: Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced legislation on Friday that would create a fund to reward physicians for using patient-controlled personal health records. The bill, called the Personalized Health Information Act (H.R. 6289), would authorize the federal government to fund incentives for Medicare beneficiaries from the Medicare trust fund and look for other payers to make voluntary contributions on behalf of privately insured patients.

Payments would start at $2 per patient, according to an e-mail from Kennedy’s office. The full text of the legislation had not been posted as of this evening, but visit in a few days and enter the bill number.

The glacial pace of considering healthcare bills notwithstanding, I’d like to know people’s thoughts on this approach to incentivizing physicians. Post your comments below.

October 3, 2006 I Written By

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