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Google’s health plans, and more on CMIOs

BRISBANE, Australia—I’m at the other end of the world this week for the 12th World Congress on Health (Medical) Informatics, otherwise known as MedInfo, so things have been a bit nutso, what with the travel, the change of 15 time zones and the acclimation to a rainy winter in a region that’s had drought conditions for several years, at least until I arrived Sunday.

That said, I have a couple of things to share that I carried with me for some 9,000 miles. Yeah, so what if I carried them on a tiny USB drive? I still brought them to Australia.

First off, thanks to Fred Trotter and Dr. Scott Shreeve for cluing me in to a sneak peek at Google Health, allegedly code named “Weaver.” See this post at Google Blogoscoped, complete with screen shots. Happy scoping.

Secondly, a story I wrote for Digital HealthCare & Productivity late last month caught the attention of Dr. Scot Silverstein, director of the Institute for Healthcare Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dr. Silverstein agreed with the quote from Gartner‘s Vi Shaffer about chief medical information officers: “Direct report to the CIO is a wedge of separation from the medical staff.”

Silverstein e-mailed me to say he e-mailed the story to members of the AMIA clinical information systems workgroup. “We’ve been discussing how to empower the CMIO role and trying to organize a workshop on same, although the proposal was rejected for November,” he wrote.

Silverstein also referred me to an essay he wrote several years ago, entitled, “Ten critical rules for applied informatics positions: What every Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) should know,” which he said was still relevant.

From that essay:

Rule 6 : Reporting should preferably be to senior medical leadership or medical records (health information management).

Physicians and other clinicians, being the primary enablers of healthcare, should report to personnel who understand clinical issues, matrixing with those who facilitate care. Reporting to non-medical personnel should be done only if the chemistry between the two parties is very good, and the senior party is well-rounded and has experience in working as a direct supervisor to medical personnel. Unfortunately, this is not very common.

Rule 9 : Have a direct, open channel to organization’s CEO.

Also make sure the CEO and other senior executives understand what medical informatics is about, and its strategic value. Direct them to this web site, for example … Medical informaticists may unfortunately be viewed by healthcare executives as “clinical consultants who know a little about computers”, as opposed to leaders in clinical computing.

I then referred Silverstein to a Digital HealthCare & Productivity editor to submit a commentary, which ran Aug. 7. Click here to read.

August 22, 2007 I Written By

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

Just short of begging

I’m teetering on the brink of attending MedInfo next month, the triennial meeting of the International Medical Informatics Association, which is represented in the United States by the American Medical Informatics Association. I went to the 2004 edition in San Francisco and came out of it with six months of story ideas. This time, the only problem for me is that MedInfo is in Brisbane, Australia, August 20-24.

So, rather than begging for cash (which I’m certainly not above doing), I’m willing to work for it. Therefore, I am publicly offering my services, for a fee, of course, for any publication interested in coverage of MedInfo and other conferences in Australia going on in August. These are:

The types of publications I’d like to find as freelance clients for MedInfo include:

  • Home health
  • Surgical IT
  • Public health
  • Linguistics
  • Open-source software
  • Nursing informatics
  • Dental informatics
  • African health/technology

If you have any information that might help me afford the trip, please e-mail me.

Thanks much for indulging me and for your continued interest in this blog.

July 30, 2007 I Written By

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