Free Healthcare IT Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Get all the latest Health IT updates from Neil Versel for FREE!

Join the discussion about wearable technology

The thing about the Internet is that you never know when something is going to go viral or spark heated debate. (Actually, it’s a fairly sure bet that anything involving politics, religion or sports will lead to heated debate, generally of the lowbrow variety.)

Less common is informed, intelligent discussion on the Internet. Something I wrote early yesterday for has, happily, fallen into this category.

My post, “Hype Around Healthcare Wearables Runs Into Reality,” is far from the most inflammatory piece I’ve written about overblown hype in healthcare innovation, or, as Dr. Joseph Kvedar called it, “irrational exuberance,” borrowing a line from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

It’s also far from the most-viewed item I’ve had on the platform since I started about six months ago. However, it’s generating a lot of discussion on Paul Sonnier’s Digital Health group on LinkedIn. As of this writing, there are 28 comments, or more than one per hour since the original post went up at 9:54 am EST Wednesday.

If you’re one of the more than 30,000 members of that group, I encourage you to join the discussion. If not, you might want to join the group, or comment on the original post at

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll throw in an additional two cents, since I did, you know, already give my opinion in the actual post.

December 11, 2014 I Written By

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

Misfit Wearables gets some ‘Jeopardy!’ love

Misfit Shine, the first product from Sonny Vu’s Misfit Wearables, was part of a clue on a recent episode of “Jeopardy!”

The reference is at just before the 9:00 mark of this video.

A tip of the hat to Paul Sonnier of the LinkedIn Digital Health Group for sharing this with me.



February 25, 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.

Video: ‘Meet the Bloggers’ panel from HIMSS12

As promised,  there is some video from the “Meet the Bloggers” panel I appeared on, and it comes to us from Dr. Chuck Webster of EHR Workflow Inc. and the EHR.BZ Report. (You may know him from his previous job as CMIO of EHR vendor EncounterPro, formerly known as JMJ Technologies.) Webster was there in the front row capturing parts of the session with a Bluetooth camera strapped to his hat.

The moderator is Brian Ahier and the panelist are, from left to right: Healthcare Scene boss and full-time healthcare blogger John Lynn; fellow Healthcare Scene contributor Jennifer Dennard (real job:  social marketing director at Billian’s HealthDATA/Porter Research/; myself; and Carissa Caramanis O’Brien of Aetna.

Here are the results, hopefully in chronological order:

For the record, I do not use Google+. I have an account, and some readers have added me to their circles, but I have not posted a single word there. Google’s terms of service—both old and new—essentially gives the Don’t Be Evil company the right to use my content in any way it sees fit. From “Your Content in our Services”:

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

You can find more information about how Google uses and stores content in the privacy policy or additional terms for particular Services. If you submit feedback or suggestions about our Services, we may use your feedback or suggestions without obligation to you.

As someone who makes a living creating content, this scares me. Google effectively can steal and modify my content without compensation. No, thanks.

I also should give a belated shout-out to Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters, who hosted last week’s Health Wonk Review. My HIMSS12 wrap made the review of healthcare news from the blogosphere.


March 6, 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.

Let’s get Biz Stone to attend New Media Meetup at HIMSS12

As I first mentioned in August, John Lynn and I had the thought that it would be great if Twitter co-founder and HIMSS12 keynote speaker Biz Stone would show up at John’s 3rd annual New Media Meetup. Stone didn’t respond to our halfhearted attempt back then, but now the conference is less than two months away, and I have to imagine he will be making his plans soon, if he hasn’t done so already.

HIMSS social media guru Cari McLean also would love for Stone to meet and greet conference attendees at the HIMSS Social Media Center after his keynote on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 21, per her tweet in response to one of mine:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/HIMSS/status/152809159644020737″]

That means that now is the time to put social media to work to get Stone to make a couple of appearances. Stone’s Twitter handle is @Biz. Tweet away, using the hashtag #BizatHIMSS12 and perhaps add #hcsm (for healthcare social media). Blog about this effort. Post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus. I may even make a YouTube video. Let’s impress Stone with the power of social media and get him to mingle with the masses in Las Vegas.


December 30, 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.

Join the discussion on substance vs. style in healthcare innovation

I definitely ruffled a few feathers with my commentary last month in MobiHealthNews about the arrogance of Silicon Valley when it comes to healthcare and health IT. More importantly, I seem to have provoked exactly the kind of discussion I had hoped for, most notably in the Wireless Health group on LinkedIn. (It’s an open group, so please join if you haven’t already).

To date, a link to my story has elicited 53 comments. Some of my favorites:

  • “Whatever the opinion on how Neil chose to wrote the piece he does appear to have started a real conversation. And that my friends is one thing that’s been missing for years. If I had to pick one thing to contribute as someone who’s been at it for over a decade it’s to reiterate there has been a lot of wasted investment due to ego and/or naiveté regardless of where the money or developers come from.”
  • “What gets my hackles up is to see good companies, with proven products/services and customers, with reasonably sound management, struggle and beg for serious money financing to break through, and can’t get it. You and I have been up close and personal on that! VCs want to get in, get out with bucks and are driven by their investors. You cannot count on staying power and confidence there, and that’s not their purpose–but the lines between VC and private equity (the traditional next stage) have become a blur. On the other hand, there has been so much money thrown at half-baked technologies, or mismanaged by companies themselves, it gets me ill. It is all just slightly unhinged from reality–and why the heck we’re pursuing this in the first place.”
  • “What’s ‘sexy’ are apps that use the iPhone (or other smart phone). Not sure that any of these apps, by themselves, will create the market “buzz” that get’s investors excited. The next Groupon or Zillow….
    “Washington can write guidelines and set policies, even implement laws, but the problem is fundamental: Physicians need reasons (incentives and proof of efficacy) to recommend and use apps. A big part of this is basic…we need to focus on meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer. “
  • “The issue is not whether Silicon Valley gets it, but whether technology alone will solve the problem. I think we all agree that it won’t, so we need collaboration between technologists and healthcare professionals, and the patient (or consumer if you are younger than me) to solve the problem.
    “Neil’s willingness to demonstrate that the Technology Emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes is critical for us to start having the real discussion of how the three groups collaborate to form a solution
  • “Having followed in the industry and VC community for decades the problem is that not every problem can be solved in isolated for-profit islands and silos.
    “We can’t even do something so trivial as share calendar information as a way to manage medical appointments. This may sound silly but when the idea of keeping a checklist is seen as a big idea with major impact the idea that we can save the world by cashing in on a trend is problematic.”
  • “he evidence suggests that doctors understand healthcare in terms of delivering poor outcomes at a price that’s killing our economy, which is the real determinant of health – every dollar that the healthcare system takes out of someone’s wages or cost structure is a dollar not spent buying decent food or givng someone a job or a raise that can raise their overall well-being.
    “The existing system arguably can’t be fixed – if we knew how to do that, we already would have. (That may risk making as the same kind of fact-free assertion as the one about the centraility of the doctor-patient relationship, but what the hey.) My personal opinion – and it’s only an opinion – is that we’re going to build a new one in its place. What we in Silicon Valley do understand is how to disrupt.
    “My point is that growing a new health system (notice I didn’t say healthcare) rquires partnership between clinicians, patients, families, payers, policy makers – and technologists in Silicon Valley who can enable this new and better system. My dad was trained as a cardiovascular surgeon, who are widely known (again I don’t have data to support this) as having delusions of god-hood). Of course, we in Silicon Valley collectively might have our own delusions of god-hood. That said, to get us as a society somewhere, would suggest you re-examine yours.”
  • “Much of what is labeled “innovation” is simply something that is ‘cool.’ Real innovation is as much about commercialization as it is about the invention. Marketing beats technology. My sense is that VC’s see a lot of cool inventions, but are looking for the discipline it takes to effectively commercialize an idea. This is particularly challenging in healthcare because there are so any stakeholders that influence the consumer/patient’s decisions. And our priorities and behavior change radically as I move from consumer to patient.

I invite you to join in the discussion.

August 11, 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.

Healthcare Scene is on LinkedIn

As you may know, this site is part of John Lynn’s new Healthcare Scene blog network. In the spirit of building a community, John has started a Healthcare Scene LinkedIn group to promote the network and his flagship EMR and HIPAA blog. Join up and start networking with us.

Last week on that EMR and HIPAA blog, John ran a poll asking readers about their experiences with personal health records. (I’ve long been a critic of the “untethered” PHR that’s not connected to a specific healthcare organization or EMR. An empty PHR doesn’t help patients, while physicians aren’t likely to use one not directly tied to an EMR because it doesn’t fit their workflow and they often can’t trust the data inside.)

Not surprisingly, 60 percent of the 53 respondents had never started a PHR. Another 17 percent had created one but haven’t added much data to it. Just 13 percent say they have PHRs that are mostly updated.

It’s an unscientific survey, but I’m sure usage among readers of a health IT blog are far more likely than the general public to have or use a PHR. Despite what some vendors or consumer-facing publications might have you believe, PHRs are a tiny, almost insignificant segment of health IT right now.

March 9, 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.