THCB Reader mail

The news that former Bush administration Health IT czar David Brailer will head a private equity fund
backed by $700 million from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPers) drew a  cynical response from a number
of readers.  Vijay Goel MD writes:

enough, Dr. Brailer will be getting 5 times as much to invest in Health
IT from the state of California as he did as Bush’s Health IT czar …
I’ve been somewhat puzzled why certain health IT applications haven’t
been marketed more toward consumers. Things like emailing providers,
access to electronic records (for things like vaccine records), and for
simple questions seems like it would be of significant benefit. Why do
these services also waiting for the big payers to push forward? "

Bev MD had this to say about Sermo’s recently announced partnership with the American Medical Association:

I belong to Sermo, although I don’t use it much since there are few
posts in my esoteric area, pathology. My first reaction to Sermo’s
partnership with AMA was that they’ve sold out the docs to the
Establishment. However, I admit I’m attracted by the free access to
JAMA, a journal which i’d like to read, and by the advertised ability
of the members to have access to senior AMA leadership for constructive
criticism. There has already been posted an open letter to AMA
leadership criticizing their, well, leadership. We’ll see where this

Marlon Williams chimes in Thomas Goetz’s op-ed in the New York Times
encouraging physicians to adopt VistA, the open source electronic
medical record considered by some to be the leading competitor to
proprietary systems. Safe to say he doesn’t concur with Mr. Goetz’s prescription.

"The introduction of WorldVistA was a
terrible decision," he writes, "that is only confusing the market. A lot of people
are wasting their time and efforts on a system that is as antiquated as
the first PC. The laggards are finally catching up to the fact that
transformation is necessary. Unfortunately, they are stuck on 20-year
old technology."

Chris Johnson liked James Harris’s piece on the popularity of Myspace-like community WebTribes,
where the focus is on mental health issues. He writes: "As one of the
moderators of a large (13,000 plus registered members, usually about
300 logged in at any one time) online discussion forum for writers,
I’m not surprised by this observation. The kind of detailed mental
health sharing one reads on our forum is astonishing and sometimes even

Rick Byrne of Healthleaders-Interstudy had this to say about this week’s negative AP story on Newt Gingrich and the Center for Health Transformation:

had a very big hand in the recent legislation that passed (barely) in
Missouri that will remake Medicaid there in the coming year.  Newt and
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) were great buds in Congress, and Roy’s spawn,
Matt, is the highly unpopular governor of the Show Me (the Money)
State.  It could be that the CHT is using the state as their crash-test
dummy, though some of their policy prescriptions did not pass.  I’ll be
watching to see who gets the contracts for the various private-sector
service provisions that will come to fruition as the state remakes its
Medicaid program under the new name MO HealthNet."

OrganizedWisdom CEO Unity Stoakes was upbeat about the upcoming launch of similar sounding (yet different!) competitor PeerWisdom.

looking forward to their launch and can’t wait to see their take on the
space. Someone posted in SeattlePI that apparently "PeerWisdom" is just
a code name while they are in stealth mode. From our perspective, the
more great, smart entrepreneurs we get into this space to start
innovating the better. We all have a lot of work to do to deliver
solutions that help people with their health. BTW, looking forward to
the Health 2.0 Summit. You have truly assembled an amazing group!!"

Anonymizer thought that our guest post comparing the costs of new hospital construction with luxury real estate in Manhattan was an itsy bit off base. 

per bed is a starting point, and a fair one at that.   It just goes to
show you – throwing a big number out and scaring the masses, at least
these masses, is pointless. But do it to Joe Public and they’ll scream
"no wonder those hospitals/doctors cost so much, look what they have to
earn to make it up"

Canadian physician, entrepreneur & activist Mark Godley writes in to comment on an old review of Regina Herzlinger’s Consumer-Driven Health Care: Implications for Providers, Players, and Policy-Makers:

"I read Regina’s book, consumer driven healthcare many years ago and
did exactly what she was predicting, building her predictions into our
business strategy. I now have 2 very successful surgical hospitals, a
UCC and an advanced diagnostic centre in the heart of the most
socialized, and most politized country (when it comes to healthcare).
Canada, like other OECD countries is just starting to experience those
narcissistic, well informed baby boomers who are going to consume
healthcare goods and services like we have never experienced before."

In response to Fotsch talks sense on PHRs (let’s hope someone’s listening), a piece on the evolution of the personal health record, Matt Guldin writes:

"Using the analogy of an ATM and a PHR is flawed for several reasons.
It is much more straightforward from both a technical and legal
perspective to send, receive, and view financial data compared to
health care data."

Frequent contributor Greg Pawelski opined the following in response to the post on Andy Grove’s recent series of talks on healthcare reform and technology,
as he and follow commenter HCECEC debated the relative merits of EBM.
"Evidence-based medicine results in overly rigid standards of care by
restricting medical practitioners’ professional freedom and judgment.
It imposes personal agendas by those choosing which research to do,
picking between the various studies and calling it evidence, while
writing all the guidelines, as well as administrative bias by
administrators interpreting the guidelines."

"Evidence-based medicine is not an objective, purely scientific tool
its name suggests," Pawelski writes " Instead, it is an intrusive encroachment on the
patient-doctor relationship and the practice of medicine. An
encroachment that policy makers are turning into legal requirements."

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