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Podcast: HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber: 2013 edition

Once again, as has become custom, I sat down with HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber at the organization’s Chicago headquarters the week before the annual HIMSS conference to discuss the conference as well as important trends and issues in the health IT industry. I did the interview Monday.

Here it is late Friday and I’m finally getting around to posting the interview, but it’s still in plenty of time for you to listen before you get on your flight to New Orleans for HIMSS13, which starts Monday but which really gets going with pre-conference activities on Sunday. At the very least, you have time to download the podcast and listen on the plane or even in the car on the way to the airport. As a bonus, the audio quality is better than usual.

Podcast details: Interview with HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber about HIMSS13 and the state of health IT. Recorded Feb. 25, 2013, at HIMSS HQ in Chicago. MP3, stereo, 128 kbps, 46.0 MB. Running time: 50:17.

1:00        Industry growth and industry consolidation
2:50        mHIMSS
3:45        Why Dr. Eric Topol is keynoting
6:00        New Orleans as a HIMSS venue
6:50        Changes at HIMSS13, including integration of HIT X.0 into the main conference
8:55        Focus on the patient experience
9:35        Global Health Forum and other “conferences within a conference”
13:00     Criticisms of meaningful use, EHRs and health IT in general
17:00     Progress in the last five years
20:45     Healthcare reform, including payment reform
22:30     Why private payers haven’t demanded EHR usage since meaningful use came along
23:50     Payers and data
26:28     Potential for delay of 2015 penalties for not meeting meaningful use
29:15     Benefits of EHRs
30:40     Progress on interoperability between EHRs and medical devices
32:52     Efficiency gains from health IT
35:27     Home-based monitoring in the framework of accountable care
36:55     Consumerism in healthcare
39:40     Accelerating pace of change
41:10     Entrepreneurs, free markets and the economics of healthcare
43:25     Informed, empowered patients and consumer outreach
46:30     Fundamental change in care delivery

March 1, 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.

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.

RIP, Google Health, doomed to fail from the start

It’s official, Google is in fact walking away from Google Health, the way overhyped, way underused personal health record platform. In a posting on the Google Blog today, Aaron Brown, Google Health’s senior product manager, said the company would “retire” Google Health Jan. 1, 2012. (Data will be available to download until Jan. 1, 2013.)

Google also decided to wind down another experiment, Google PowerMeter.

From the post:

When we launched Google Health, our goal was to create a service that would give people access to their personal health and wellness information. We wanted to translate our successful consumer-centered approach from other domains to healthcare and have a real impact on the day-to-day health experiences of millions of our users.

Now, with a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would. There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people. That’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the Google Health service.

In the end, while we weren’t able to create the impact we wanted with Google Health, we hope it has raised the visibility of the role of the empowered consumer in their own care. We continue to be strong believers in the role information plays in healthcare and in improving the way people manage their health, and we’re always working to improve our search quality for the millions of users who come to Google every day to get answers to their health and wellness queries.

Google said it soon will install functionality to help current PHR users migrate their data to other services following the Direct Project protocol, in the spirit of “data liberation.” That’s nice, but data really needs to connect with EHRs, or doctors and patients simply won’t use PHRs. Period.

I’m also going to take issue with Google referring to Google Health and Google PowerMeter as “trailblazers in their respective categories.” Google didn’t blaze any trails in PHRs. Dozens of other, smaller companies that have been working on the concept of PHRs for a decade or more are the real trailblazers.

The bottom line on Google Health? Google came into healthcare arrogantly believing it could save healthcare from itself and be all things to all people. (See also: WebMD, circa 2001.) It leaves with its tail between its legs.

Healthcare really does need disruptive outside forces, but it has to be a product people want to use. The iPad qualifies. Google Health never did, nor has any other untethered PHR to date.




June 24, 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: Anthelio’s Rick Kneipper on why current EMRs don’t improve quality

Why are physicians still resisting EMRs? Maybe it’s because systems aren’t easy to use and lack interoperability. That’s the hypothesis of Rick Kneipper, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Anthelio Healthcare Solutions, a Dallas-based business process services firm that until February was known as PHNS.

In my latest podcast, Kneipper joins me to discuss the shortcomings of current EMRs and current EMR policy, and offers his remedies for the problems. Give it a listen, then share your thoughts, too.

Podcast details: Interview with Rick Kneipper, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Anthelio. MP3, mono, 64 mbps, 12.7 MB. Running time 27:50

1:05 Why he thinks current EHRs aren’t meeting their promise of improving safety, quality and efficiency of healthcare
2:00 Money for meaningful use is starting to flow
2:30 Lack of interoperability in lower levels of in HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model
3:35 Similar problems in meaningful use standards
4:15 No “silver bullet”
5:15 Per PCAST report, many EMRs create electronic versions of patient charts
6:25 Systems for creating billing documentation, not for improving care
7:05 Anthelio’s approach on workflow
7:55 Why aren’t we reengineering workflows?
9:10 Process doesn’t end when EMR goes “live”
10:05 Ultimate objective of meaningful use
10:43 Some physicians are just doing it for the money
12:15 Limitations of certification
12:45 Waiting on Stage 2 requirements
14:20 Caveat emptor and the rush to book revenue
15:33 Interoperability missing from Stage 1
16:00 Physician engagement in EMR selection
18:55 Usefulness of EMR data
20:45 Clinical decision support in MU
23:00 Patient safety compared to aviation safety
25:00 Public apathy toward patient safety
26:20 Advice to vendor community

June 7, 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.

N.J. bill would ban non-CCHIT EMRs

This is something I reported for the new FierceEMR last week: There’s a bill in the New Jersey legislature that would effectively ban the sale and use of health IT products that don’t carry CCHIT certification.

My story got picked up Friday by iHealthBeat, where it quickly became one of the top five most-viewed stories and No. 1 on the list of most e-mailed.

The story even drew a comment from CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt, who linked to a post on the commission’s blog. There, I learned from a commenter that the bill made it out of committee on a unanimous vote. That’s an ominous sign. If states start setting their own EMR rules, we’ll be left with 50 different systems of interoperability, few of which would actually interoperate with other. We will have wasted billions of taxpayer money on more silos.

If some of the paranoia about EMRs that I heard Sunday at the American Medical Association annual meeting really is representative of practicing physicians—and not just the protectionist Medical Establishment—this country is in trouble.

June 14, 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.


What would my blog be without a random item from weeks ago? On Tuesday I discovered a news story from Dec. 31 about an e-health strategy in Rwanda. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly is helping to fund the installation of Internet links between the three major hospitals in the Central African country, known in these parts mostly for its brutal, 1990s civil war.

According to the story, lack of high-speed Internet is holding back a national e-health strategy, “meant to help Rwandan medical experts exchange health information with their overseas counterparts.” Those overseas counterparts included “two U.S. universities of George Washington and New Jersey.” So George Washington University in Washington, and, I presume, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey? (Anyone know for sure? I’m too tired to hunt down that information.)

So, basically, U.S. taxpayers are financing international interoperability testing in a country with limited health infrastructure of any kind, but we can’t find more than $100 million or so (counting various HHS offices) in a $3 trillion federal budget for health IT at home? Interesting.

Yes, President Bush did discuss electronic health records in his State of the Union again this year, and yes, Sen. Hillary Clinton did give a pretty lengthy argument in favor of EHRs during last week’s Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles, but are we really getting more than empty election-year posturing? Prove me wrong, politicians, prove me wrong.

And while we’re pondering interoperability conundrums, here’s a good one from Tim Dotson, my editor at Inside Healthcare Computing. In the Feb. 4 issue of that newsletter, he asks: “Why can’t somebody figure out a way for hospitals to share clinical decision support rules that will work on any vendor’s system instead of letting those systems go to waste because hospitals never develop their own rules?”

Good question. I suppose that’s why Cerner sold off Zynx Health a couple of years ago, but the issue is a lot deeper than one set of rules being tied to one vendor. Collaboration sure is hard, isn’t it?

P.S. Is anyone arriving at HIMSS early? I may come in as early as the Friday, Feb. 22, just because I hate 6 a.m. flights. Drop me a line if you’ll be in Orlando before Sunday.

February 5, 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.