Recently I was asked if SaaS/Cloud computing is appropriate for small practice EHR hosting.
I responded: “SaaS in general is good. However, most SaaS is neither private nor secure. Current regulatory and compliance mandates require that you find a cloud hosting firm which will indemnify you against privacy breeches caused by security issues in the SaaS hosting facility. Also, SaaS is only as good as the internet connections of the client sites. We’ve had a great deal of experience with ‘last mile’ issues.”
Continue reading “Should Small to Medium-Sized Practices Use Cloud-Based EHR?”
Filed Under: Tech, THCB
Tagged: EHR, EHR hosting, HIT, John Halamka, practice management, SaaS/Cloud Computing
Apr 5, 2013
Every day CIOs are inundated with buzzword-compliant products – BYOD, Cloud, Instant Messaging, Software as a Service, and Social Networking.
In yesterday’s blog post, I suggested that we are about to enter the “post EHR” era in which the management of data gathered via EHRs will become more important than the clinical-facing functions within EHRs.
Today, I’ll add that we do need to a better job gathering data inside EHRs while at the same time reducing the burden on individual clinicians.
I suggest that BYOD, Cloud, Instant Messaging, Software as a Service and Social Networking can be combined to create “Social Documentation” for Healthcare.
In previous blogs, I’ve developed the core concepts of improving the structured and unstructured documentation we create in ambulatory and inpatient environments.
I define “social documentation” as team authored care plans, annotated event descriptions (ranging from acknowledging a test result to writing about the patient’s treatment progress), and process documentation (orders, alerts/reminders) sufficient to support care coordination, compliance/regulatory requirements, and billing.
Continue reading ““Social Documentation” for Healthcare”
Filed Under: Tech, THCB
Tagged: Care management, EHR, HIE, John Halamka, post EHR, Social Documentation
Feb 13, 2013
Over the next few months, the majority of my time will be spent discussing topics such as care coordination, healthcare information exchange, care management, real time analytics, and population health. At BIDMC, we’ve already achieved 100% EHR adoption and 90% Meaningful Use attestation among our clinician community. Now that the foundation is laid, I believe our next body of work is to craft the technology and workflow solutions which will be hallmarks of the “post EHR” era.
What does this mean?
I’ve written previously about BIDMC’s Accountable Care Organization strategy, which can be summed up as ACO=HIE + analytics.
In a “post EHR” era we need to go beyond simple data capture and reporting, we need care management that ensures patients with specific diseases follow standardized guidelines and protocols, escalating deviations to the care team. That team will include PCPs, specialists, home care, long term care, and family members. The goal of a Care Management Medical Record (CMMR) will be to provide a dashboard that overlays hospital and professional data with a higher level of management.
How could this work?
Imagine that we define each patient’s healthcare status in terms of “properties”. Data elements might include activities of daily living, functional status, current care plans, care preferences, diagnostic test results, and therapies, populated from many sources of data including every EHR containing patient data, hospital discharge data, and consumer generated data from PHRs/home health devices.
That data will be used in conjunction with rules that generate alerts and reminders to care managers and other members of the care team (plus the patient). The result is a Care Management Medical Record system based on a foundation of EHRs that provides much more than any one EHR.
My challenge in 2013-2014 will be to build and buy components that turn multiple EHRs into a CMMR at the community level.
Continue reading “The “Post EHR” Era”
Filed Under: Tech, THCB
Tagged: ACOs, BIDMC, Care Management Medical Record, coordinated care, delivery innovation, EHR, EHR adoption, John Halamka, Meaningful Use, post-EHR era
Feb 12, 2013
In 2013, I’m focused on five major work streams:
· Meaningful Use Stage 2, including Electronic Medication Administration Records
· ICD10, including clinical documentation improvement and computer assisted coding
· Replacement of all Laboratory Information Systems
· Compliance/Regulatory priorities, including security program maturity
·Supporting the IT needs of our evolving Accountable Care Organization including analytics for care management
I’ve written about some of these themes in previous posts and each has their uncharted territory.
One component that crosses several of my goals is how electronic documentation should support structured data capture for ICD10 and ACO quality metrics.
How are most inpatient progress notes documented in hospitals today? The intern writes a note that is often copied by the resident which is often copied by the attending which informs the consultants who may not agree with content. The chart is a largely unreadable and sometimes questionably useful document created via individual contributions and not by the consensus of the care team. The content is sometimes typed, sometimes dictated, sometimes templated, and sometimes cut/pasted. There must be a better way.
Continue reading “Brainstorming About the Future of Clinical Documentation”
Filed Under: Uncategorized
Tagged: ACO, Clinical Documentation, CMS, Geisinger, ICD-10, John Halamka, Kaiser, Mayo, Meaningful Use Stage 2, Physicians, quality metrics, SNOMED-CT
Dec 18, 2012
Today I’m speaking at the ONC annual meeting as part of panel discussing interoperability.
For years, patients, providers and payers have complained that EHRs “do not talk to each other.”
By 2014, I expect this issue to disappear.
Do I expect that every state and territory will have a robust, sustainable healthcare information exchange by 2014? No
Do I expect that every provider will be connected to a Nationwide Health Information Network by 2014? No
Do I expect that a single vendor will create a centrally hosted method to share data by 2014 just as Sabre did for the airline industry in the 1960′s? No
What I expect is that Meaningful Use Stage 2 will provide the technology, policy, and incentives to make interoperability real.
Stage 2 requires that providers demonstrate, in production, the exchange of clinical care summaries for 10% of their patient encounters during the reporting period. The application and infrastructure investment necessary to support 10% is not much different than 100%. The 10% requirement will bring most professionals and hospitals to the tipping point where information exchange will be implemented at scale, rapidly accelerating data liquidity.
Continue reading “Are We Finally Seeing the Dawn of the Golden Age of Interoperability?”
Filed Under: Uncategorized
Tagged: Blue Button initiative, Care coordination, EHR, health information exchange, Interoperability, John Halamka, Meaningful Use Stage 2, ONC, Policy
Dec 12, 2012
When I was 13 years old, the Altair 8800 appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics. By 16, I was building enough hardware and software that I achieved the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours of competency by age 18. By 19, I founded a company that produced tax calculation software for the Kaypro, Osborne, and new IBM PC. Every week in the Silicon Valley of the early 1980′s brought a new startup into the nascent desktop computer industry.
To me, we’re in a similar era – a perfect storm for innovation fueled by several factors. Young entrepreneurs are identifying problems to be rapidly solved by evolving technologies in an economy where existing “old school” businesses are offering few opportunities.
This morning, I lectured to an entire classroom of MIT Sloan school entrepreneurs . Today the Boston Globe published articles about the Harvard Innovation Lab and the Mayor’s efforts to connect entrepreneurial students with mentors.
Tonight I’ll introduce a Harvard Medical School entrepreneurial team at the Boston TechStars event.
This pace of innovation reminds of that time 30 years ago when Sand Hill Road was just beginning its evolution to the hotbed of venture investing it is today.
Who are these new entrepreneurs and what kind of work are they doing? Tonight I’ll be introducing Lissy Hu and Gretchen Fuller.
Continue reading “The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: Entrepreneurs, Gretchen Fuller, Improvehealthcare.org, John Halamka, Lissy Hu, TechStars
Nov 14, 2012
2012 has been a challenging year for me.
On the personal side, my wife had cancer. Together we moved two households, relocated her studio, and closed her gallery. This week my mother broke her hip in Los Angeles and I’m writing from her hospital room as we finalize her discharge and home care plan before I fly back to Boston.
On the business side, the IT community around me has worked hard on Meaningful Use Stage 2, the Massachusetts State Health Information Exchange, improvements in data security, groundbreaking new applications, and complex projects like ICD10 with enormous scope.
We did all this with boundless energy and optimism, knowing that every day we’re creating a foundation that will improve the future for our country, communities, and families.
My personal life has never been better – Kathy’s cancer is in remission, our farm is thriving, and our daughter is maturing into a fine young woman at Tufts University.
My business life has never been better – Meaningful Use Stage 2 provides new rigorous standards for content/vocabulary/transport at a time when EHR use has doubled since 2008, the State HIE goes live in one week, and BIDMC was voted the number #1 IT organization the country.
It’s clear that many have discounted the amazing accomplishments that we’ve all made, overcoming technology and political barriers with questions such as “how can we?” and “why not?” rather than “why is it taking so long?” They would rather pursue their own goals – be they election year politics, academic recognition, or readership traffic on a website.
As many have seen, this letter from the Ways and Means Committee makes comments about standards that clearly have no other purpose than election year politics. These House members are very smart people and I have great respect for their staff. I’m happy to walk them through the Standards and Certification Regulations (MU stage 1 and stage 2) so they understand that the majority of their letter is simply not true – it ignores the work of hundreds of people over thousands of hours to close the standards gaps via open, transparent, and bipartisan harmonization in both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Continue reading “A Time for Boundless Energy and Optimism”
Filed Under: OP-ED, THCB
Tagged: 2012 Election, BIDMC, Bush, Cancer, Cerner, Costs, Donald Berwick, EHR, Epic, HIT, House Ways and Means Committee, IHI, John Halamka, Massachusetts State Health Information Exchange, Meaningful Use Stage 2, Medicare, MEDITECH, NYT, Obama, Standards and Certifications Regulation, The States, Upcoding, WSJ
Oct 9, 2012
Recently, I’ve met with several internet startups, web thought leaders, and venture capitalists.
There’s one word that’s come up in every conversation and it’s not Plastics. It’s Gamification.
Gamification, described by Wikipedia is applying gaming principles to non-gaming applications and processes,
“in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors, by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by helping to solve problems and not being a distraction, and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.”
Continue reading “Gamification”
Filed Under: Uncategorized
Tagged: behavior change, Design, games, gamification, Google Health, John Halamka, patient engagement, Startups
Aug 16, 2012
Today, as Kathy finished her last radiation therapy appointment, I had my first screening colonoscopy – a rite of passage for new 50 year olds.
Although a bit of a personal issue, I’m known for my transparency and I’m happy to share the experience so that others approaching 50 know what to expect.
The preparation is the hardest part. Three days before the procedure, it’s recommended that you reduce the quantity of high fiber foods you eat – fruits, vegetables, nuts etc. For me that was particularly challenging since my entire diet as a vegan (who tends to avoid white flour, white rice, and white sugar) is high fiber. I moved to soups and brown rice. A day before the procedure (really 36 hours), you move to a clear liquid diet – apple juice, broth, and tea. In my case I drank a cup of vegetable broth and apple juice every 3 hours.
At 7pm the night before the procedure, the real challenge begins. The bottle of magnesium citrate reads “a pasteurized, sparkling, laxative”. Sounds so appealing. The first dose is 15 ounces. The bottle warns that the maximum therapeutic dose is 10 ounces in 24 hours for adults, but colonoscopy is a special case. The 15 ounces of laxative is followed by 24 ounces of clear liquids over the next 2 hours. Keep in mind that you have not eaten any solid food for 24 hours at this point. Sparkling laxative followed by broth and apple juice is not Chez Panisse.
Continue reading “The (Great) Colonoscopy Experience”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: Colonoscopy, digital exam, Gcare, Imaging, John Halamka, preparation, The Boston Endoscopy Center
Aug 1, 2012
One major issue facing private and public Health Information Exchanges (HIE) is how to ensure patients privacy preferences are respected by obtaining their consent before data is shared.
Today I met with a multi-disciplinary team of attorneys, vendor experts, and IT leaders to discuss BIDMC’s approach to private HIE consent.
After two hours of discussion, here’s what we agreed upon:
Patients and families should be able to control the flow of their data among institutions. The ability for the patient to chose what flows where for what purpose is “meaningful consent.”
To achieve “meaningful consent” we will ask all the patients of our 1800 BIDMC associated ambulatory clinicians to opt in for data sharing among the clinicians coordinating their care.
Patients may revoke this consent at any time.
Consent for patients under 18 years old and not emancipated will be sought from their parents. Upon turning 18, the patients themselves will select their consent preferences.
Continue reading “Meaningful Consent”
Filed Under: Health 2.0
Tagged: BIDMC, Data, HIE, John Halamka, magic button, Meaningful Consent
Jun 20, 2012