Top THCB Blog Posts of the Last Two Weeks

The E-mail I Want to Send to Our Tech Guys But Keep Deleting (40)

It really shouldn’t be this hard. This doesn’t seem like rocket science, but you keep telling us it is. What’s the deal with the passwords? Why can’t computers at different hospitals talk to each other? What’s the story with the obsession with mindless data entry? Have you ever tried using one of these things? Harvard’s Shirie Leng speaks for a growing chorus of annoyed EMR users.

The Rest of the Story About Hospital Pricing (26)

Nobody would argue that opening up hospital prices is a bad idea. After all, it’s pretty hard to shop around when you don’t know how much what you’re shopping for costs. So opening up hospital price lists is a logical thing to do. But people who argue that giving the public access to this information without context will change anything are guilty of deeply flawed magical thinking, argues David Dranove.

Medicine in Denial (51)

Larry and Lincoln Weed’s 2011 exhaustive study on the problems facing the healthcare system and the ways technology might be able to help solve them did not exactly get the attention many more talked-about and hyped titles on health reform and the business of healthcare do. A pity that their sensible and timely book has largely been ignored by critics, writes THCB contributor Leslie Kernisan. Many of the ideas the Weeds discuss, such as the Problem Oriented Medical Record (POMR) and the need for a better way for physicians to manage their decision-making, are well worth our time.

Misunderstanding Oregon (31)

Critics looking at this months Oregon study are getting a bit carried away in their rush to weigh on the unbelievable significance of what it all means, writes Harvard’s Ashish Jha. The initial reaction served as a “Rorschach test,” reflecting critics’ view on Medicaid” which shouldn’t really have surprised anybody. The reality is a little more complicated. Actually, make that a lot more complicated.

Evidence That Health Does Not Equal Health Care?

Early Results From the Oregon Experiment Are In (4)

Nonsense, writes THCB contributor Mike Miesen. The Oregon experiment may turn out to be the most important public health study in decades, if not in history. “Get ready for bombastic claims and scorching heat as opposed to illuminating light.” We finally have solid data that lets us understand what’s happening. And that’s a very good thing.

I Was Told There Would Be No Math (5)

You heard it here first. Doctors are going to need all sorts of special skills to survive in the future. A growing number of medical schools are experimenting with novel approaches designed to attract brilliant candidates with experience outside of the traditional science focused areas.

A Tale of Two Births (42)

Ezra and Silas. Two births. Two very different stories. After their obstetrician pushed for an early delivery when David Overton’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s son Ezra, the healthcare insider began asking questions. When their son Silas was born, they took the opposite approach, hiring a midwife to help them through the process using an all-natural, all “granola approach.” The two experiences could not have been more different. What was happening here?

Testing Wisely (20)

In American society more is generally considered better. The result: health care costs more than anywhere else in the world. There is a better a way. And doctors have it in their power to do something about it. THCB contributor Rob Lamberts offers his house rules for winning the “war against more.” Never order a test that doesn’t help you decide something important. Never send a patient to a specialist, unless they need. Never prescribe a drug without telling the patient. And, well, if you want to know how the story ends you’ll have to read the whole thing for yourself…

Massively Open Online Medicine (6)

Playing Games(MMORPGS), Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like the Khan Academy have become one of the latest obsessions in the tech industry. That led Eric Topol to playfully suggest that the time may be right for Massively Open Online Medicine.(MOOM). That may not be a good thing.

Open Data Advocate Joins Patient Privacy Rights Group

as Chief Technology Officer (8)

The news the Patient Privacy Rights Coalition had appointed a chief technology officer caused a minor stir. After all, the Austin-based non-profit organization has a long history of challenging the tech industry at almost every turn, raising awkward (read highly annoying) questions about the EMR vendor practices, companies privacy policies and questionable use of data. In a THCB commentary, CTO Adrian Gropper talks about what it all means. Could a thaw be coming. Does the news signify that new era of peace, love and understanding is at hand? Probably not.

The ACO Failure Hypothesis: Likely But Not Inevitable (11)

It won’t work, But people will keep trying anyway. That’s the current “Zeitgeist among the commentariat,” on accountable care organizations writes Poliwogg’s Les Funtleyder. Healthcare observers are jaded. We all remember the failures that ended up in healthcare’s failed acronym “dustbin of history.” HMOs. PHOs. acronym. acronym. But there are some rather interesting reasons why ACOs might succeed. You may want to think twice before shorting accountability.

The Electronic Medical Record and the Patient Narrative (12)

EMRS are really good at creating information silos, as anybody who’s ever used one rapidly discovers. Drop-down menus. Endless screens. Pop-ups. In the worst cases, these mildly annoying design limitations can make them difficult if not next to impossible to use. But what if we changed the way we thought about EMR design? That might help a lot, writes Rob Lamberts. The key may be thinking in terms of the patient’s story instead of the traditional episodic model.

Doctors and the Means of Production (8)

Doctor-owned hospitals significantly outperform the competition by many measures. Yet Obamacare specifically prohibits doctors from opening their own hospitals. Existing businesses get an exemption, but otherwise the party’s over. What the heck are we doing? We’ve got it the wrong way around. We should be encouraging innovation instead of stomping it out, writes John Schumann.

Could Opening Up the Doors to the

World’s Medical Research Save Healthcare? (4)

The Internet was supposed to lead to a scientific golden age. And it has. Sort of. But anybody who has used to the web has discovered that the Information Age is not about equal access to information. Journal articles and important studies live behind paywalls and databases with limited access. What difference would it make for doctors and academic researchers to have access to anything and everything? A Stanford study backed by The National Science Foundation seeks to understand how access to better information could help change medicine. In a THCB editorial Stanford’s John Willinsky argues there’s only one way to find out.

The Salad Bar That Turned Around

a Fortune 500 Company (11)

We know this much. There are corporate wellness programs. And there are corporate wellness programs. Telling them apart can be difficult. Many produce a lot less than advertised. But getting it right shouldn’t be that hard. A little common sense goes a really long way, writes THCB contributor Vik Khanna. Presenting the story of a the little salad bar that single handledly saved the day. Well, almost…

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