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MedInfo paper deadline extended

The deadline for submitting papers for the 13th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics, also known as MedInfo 2010, has been extended to Oct. 15. MedInfo 2010, the triennial meeting of the International Medical Informatics Association, is scheduled for Sept. 12-15, 2010, in Cape Town, South Africa.

This will mark the first time a global health IT conference has been held in Africa, and it comes just a few months after South Africa also becomes the first African nation to host the FIFA World Cup next June and July (you know, winter in the Southern Hemisphere).

I covered the last two MedInfos, in Brisbane, Australia, in 2007, and in San Francisco in 2004. I had stories to write for months after the fact. I also was the only professional journalist from either North America or Europe to make the long trip to Brisbane, and, if all goes as planned, I expect to be in Cape Town a year from now for all your coverage needs. (Subtle hint.)

September 20, 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.

Podcast: Robert Kolodner’s MedInfo speech

I guess technically this isn’t really a podcast, or at least not my podcast, since I’m not in this at all. But I’m pretty sure it’s a worldwide Internet exclusive, U.S. National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Robert Kolodner’s keynote address to the MedInfo 2007 conference (right) on Aug. 23 in Brisbane, Australia. Kolodner’s office even asked me for a copy.

I wanted to plug my recorder into the sound board. The sound techs there told me don’t bother, they’d burn me a CD of the speech. So here you have it, a pristine recording, ripped from that CD. (Please, no flames from BitTorrent purists who believe that there’s no such thing as a “pristine mp3” file.) I’ve uploaded it in stereo and at 128 kbps, double my normal, mono podcast rate.

I’m not going to bother with detailed podcast info for this one, since it took me almost a month to get this posted in the first place, but I’ll link once again to the story I wrote from Brisbane about Kolodner’s remarks and my interview with him. As a special bonus, I’ve included Kolodner’s presentation slides so you can play along at home.

I’ll also say that the “cuddling a koala” he refers to in the first minute is exactly what I’m doing in the picture in my Sept. 9 post. That was from Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on the outskirts of Brisbane, if you’re ever in the neighborhood. Good thing Brisbane is in Queensland, because apparently it’s illegal to touch a koala in the Australia state of Victoria.

I have a couple more podcasts in the pipeline, so check this space later this week.

Podcast details: Keynote speech by Dr. Robert Kolodner to MedInfo 2007, Aug. 23, 2007, in Brisbane, Australia. MP3, stereo, 128 kbps, 43.5 MB. Running time 47:30.

Presentation slides (PDF, 2.4 MB)

September 18, 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.

MedInfo coverage

After a week of pressing deadlines and erratic sleep courtesy of the worst case of jet lag I’ve ever encountered, I’ve finally collected my thoughts and my wits, and am ready to post a few things from MedInfo 2007 and related conferences.

I thought I’d start by posting links to some of the stories I’ve written from my trip to Australia. I have a couple of podcasts to post as well, plus some more writing to do, but here’s something. I was the only full-time journalist from either North America or Europe at MedInfo, so I’m using that to my advantage. (If there’s any editor out there still interested in coverage, I’m listening. I have nearly 500 poster presentations to draw on, to give you an idea of the breadth of material available.)

From Digital HealthCare & Productivity

“Optimism Marks Opening of the MedInfo 2007” (Aug. 21)
My report of the keynote address by Sir Muir Gray, NHS director of clinical knowledge.

“A Tale of RHIO Success” (Aug. 21)
I travel all the way to Australia to report on Winona Health in Minnesota.

“Kolodner Says U.S. Will Reach Pres. Bush’s 2014 EHR Goal” (Aug. 28)
My coverage of Dr. Robert Kolodner’s keynote address to MedInfo, with snippets from the interview he gave me.

“Shortage of Health-IT Workers Is Limiting Progress” (Aug. 28)
News of a collaboration between the International Medical Informatics Association and the World Health Organization, based on my interview with officials of both organizations and their presentations to MedInfo.

“Grappling with the Softer Side of Health-IT” (Sept. 5)
This is another exclusive: my coverage of the ITHC 2007: the Third International Conference on Information Technology in Health Care: Socio-technical
, a small, focused meeting held in Sydney a week after MedInfo.

“Reporter’s Notebook: From the Land Down Under” (Sept. 5)
Exactly what it sounds like.

From E-Health Insider and EHealth Europe

“IMIA and WHO to ‘revitalise relationships'” (Aug. 23)
Another take, in more depth, of the IMIA-WHO collaboraton.

“Wireless solutions simplify communication” (Aug. 31)
I look at creative applications of wireless technology in Denmark and Austria.

September 9, 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.

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.

Catching up

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but being busy means I’m working. Usually.

In this case, I certainly have been working hard for the last few weeks, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of going to Australia for the triennial MedInfo conference, which takes place next week in Brisbane. After much contemplation, story pitching and even a preliminary discussion with someone who may have been able to cover the considerable expenses until the boss said no, I will indeed be departing for Australia this weekend.

With 17.5 hours of flying time each way—not counting connection time—and the need to do a whole lot of work to pay for the trip, this could be the last blog post for a while. It probably won’t, however, since I have something else to write tonight or tomorrow that I believe warrants its own post.

As I finish up some lingering assignments and prepare for my latest junket, here are a couple of items of interest that I’ve been sitting on for a bit.

This week, Alaska became the final state to legalize e-prescribing, meaning that electronic prescribing is now legal nationwide, including in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Pharmacy connectivity network SureScripts has a map of e-prescribing status by state at At the right of the screen is a link to a high-resolution map showing where e-Rx laws have changed since 2004.

Then there’s this: A planned high-rise in New York would have 1 million square feet of space to showcase medical devices and other technology, with the goal of “making New York City the prime center of commerce and innovation for the US$260 billion global market for medical devices and diagnostics,” according to the press release.

The proposed World Product Centre would be at 11th Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, on the former site of the Copacabana nightclub, across the street from the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Is someone perhaps trying to lure the Radiological Society of North America annual conference to New York?

August 15, 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.