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An American conquers France

For the Fourth of July, how about a little story of an American conquering France, with a health IT spin?

Smith College in Amherst, Mass., is still an all-female school, so, needless to say, I did not go there. But a graduate I  know showed me the most recent issue of the alumnae magazine, Smith Alumnae Quarterly. There, on the cover of the Summer 2011 edition is a familiar face, Paris-based health IT consultant Denise Silber, a 1974 graduate.

You may recall, I did a podcast with Silber in 2007. We talked about health IT initiatives in Europe in general and in France in particular, and compared progress there to that in the U.S. Since that time, though, Silber has brought the health/medicine 2.0 movement to Europe, in the form of the Doctors 2.0 and You conference. I also learned through the Smith article that Silber in April was admitted to the French Legion of Honor, an order founded by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte, apparently becoming only the second Smith grad to be so recognized. The first was Julia Child.

How cool is that?

July 4, 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.

Greetings from MaRS

TORONTO—I’m here at the Medicine 2.0 Congress, a very international meeting put on by Dr. Gunther Eysenbach of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, a project of the University Health Network and the University of Toronto.

The meeting is in a place called the MaRS Centre, in the heart of what’s being called the Discovery District. It’s at the corner of College and University, right around the corner from several major hospitals, including Toronto General, Princess Margaret Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital.

According to the Web site: “MaRS is not an acronym. It was originally a file name and the words “Medical and Related Sciences” were later attributed to it. Since we promote the convergence of a full range of science and technology disciplines, we’ve dropped ‘Medical and Related Sciences’ from our name and we’re back to just ‘MaRS.'”

So here we are in the fourth paragraph and I haven’t said a word about the conference itself. You’re going to have to wait a bit longer. I’m humbled to say that I am going to be cross-posting this week with the world-renowned Health Care Blog. It just so happens that at least two other contributors to that site are here: John Sharp and Jen McCabe Gorman—and the latter also blogs in Dutch. Rod Ward made the trip from the UK and is posting to his Informaticopia blog, Maarten den Braber from Amsterdam is Twittering and Denise Silber, who flew in from Paris, also has a blog—en français.

The conference even has its own blog: So I shall try to come up with something original.

OK, paragraph six and we’re finally getting down to business. Eysenbach opened the proceedings this morning with a discussion about what health 2.0 and medicine 2.0 really mean. I’ll just link to an article that appeared in Eysenbach’s Journal of Medical Internet Research earlier this year.

Don’t believe the hype? Peter Murray, the International Medical Informatics Association‘s VP for strategic planning, just put up a slide of this graphic:

Moving along, Eysenbach suggested that Google Health and HealthVault are not personal health records but “personal health applications” or platforms. That should make the marketing folks in Mountain View and Redmond very happy, since they keep denying that they offer PHRs.

Speaking of which, even though PHRs haven’t exactly captured the public’s imagination, Eysenbach said we are moving into the realm of PHR 2.0, where people should be able to disclose information within their own PHR to others to form communities around commonalities. A prime example, he said, is Patients Like Me.

Anyway, there are 180 participants from 19 countries here, with a slant toward the academic side of medical informatics. In fact, there are proceedings of this conference that are freely available. There are some 67 poster presentations for me to peruse at some point.

More to come. If anything, I will lead in links per post.

September 4, 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.

Podcast: HIT consultant Denise Silber on European initiatives

Last month, I blogged about the “personal” nature of electronic health records in France, based on a blog post by American-born, Paris-based health IT consultant Denise Silber. Well, Denise read my post and e-mailed me, or maybe it was I who sent the link to her. I’ve been in Vegas the last three days and the memory is a bit fuzzy at this stage. A few e-mails later, I had her on the phone for this podcast. Enjoy.

Podcast details: HIT consultant Denise Silber on European initiatives. MP3, mono, 64 kbps, 10.3 MB, running time 22:36.

1:00 Background on her e-health consulting and marketing work
2:40 France’s “personal medical record”
3:40 Fears of Big Brother on both sides of the Atlantic and French data privacy laws
4:25 Patient control of records in France
5:15 HIPAA confusion in the U.S.
6:00 Conflicts between French law and European standards for physicians, and patient concealment of personal health information
6:55 Usage and costs of French health system, including electronic insurance cards
8:25 Differences between French system and other European health systems
9:42 Physician use of EMRs and computers in France
10:25 Current status of French EMR projects
11:47 Standards
12:28 Purpose of the French PMR
13:05 Accuracy and quality of consumer health information
14:45 Physician shortage in France
15:47 HON Code
16:47 New organization for health information improvement in France
18:45 Consumerism in healthcare and transparency
21:10 Other forms of information accreditation

June 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 how personal?

I’ve been writing quite a bit of late about personal health records, as have many of my peers. I’ll be writing some more in the next few weeks (though you won’t see the result for at least a couple of months). It’s clearly a hot topic in the realms of consumer empowerment and the push toward interoperability. But the general consensus is that a PHR, which can take many forms, is merely a subset of a true EHR.

Is that thinking wise when trying to empower patients with control of their health information? An American in Paris, namely blogger and consultant Denise Silber, doesn’t seem to think so. She notes in a post that’s now a few months old that “personal” has carried the day in France, where the EMR is called dossier médical personnel, or “personal medical file.”

Silber writes, “Why? Because one of the most important aspects of the French EMR is that the information belongs to the patient.”

Contrast that to the French Canadian term, dossier de santé électronique, which essentially means “electronic health record.”

Say what you want about the French—and many Americans do—but they may actually be on to something here. (And keep in mind not only that France’s new president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy is an Americophile, but that Americans apparently think more highly of the French than the French think of themselves.)

Yeah, so I’m going out of my way to practice the only foreign language I ever studied. Admit it, you still liked this post. And if someone wants to fly me to Paris to check up on my reporting, I’ll meet you at the airport in an hour.

May 14, 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.