With no apology offered, I will be venturing into a very subjective realm, namely, a characterization of today’s healthcare dialogue and what, in my opinion, might be an improvement.
I would suggest we have fallen into the trap that was partly enhanced by email and blogs, namely, that we can say outrageous things impolitely and without consequence. With email we tend to be much blunter and impolite than we would be face to face. On blogs, we can be positively toxic. It’s like driving in a car with a tinted windshield that no one can see through. You are anonymous and therefore can act less responsibly.
Another vignette. I grew up in a very small upstate New York town where everyone knew everyone else. You used your car horn to beep “hi” or to warn, and not in anger, ever. When you waved at someone, it was with all five fingers. And so on. I think you get my point.
The healthcare debate always has stoked emotions like almost no other. It is intensely personal, and the stakes are high. We’re all involved and engaged.
As I’ve written in the past, I first earned my stripes as a lawyer representing my local Blue Cross plan in rate hearings. These rate hearings always started with “public comment.” The comment ranged from pure outrage to controlled anger to discontent coupled with suggestions. What did we pay the most attention to? Of course, the latter.
Yesterday, one of the founders of Twitter, Biz Stone, gave the opening keynote at HIMSS.
This is probably going to be the best keynote at HIMSS, followed by a speech from Dr. Farzad Mostashari, which will also be excellent. It goes downhill after that: there will be a talk about politics and another talk from an “explorer.” I am sure those will be great talks, but when I go to HIMSS, I want to hear about health information technology. Want to know what @biz actually said? As usual, Twitter itself provides an instant summary.
HIMSS stands for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The annual HIMSS conference is the largest Health IT gathering on the planet. Almost 40,000 people will show up to discuss healthcare information systems. Many of them will be individuals sent by their hospitals to try and find out what solutions they will need to purchase in order to meet meaningful use requirements. But many of the attendees are old school health IT experts, many of whom have spent entire careers trying to bring technology into a healthcare system that has resisted computerization tooth and nail. This year will likely break all kind of attendance records for HIMSS. Rightly so: The value of connecting thousands of health IT experts with tens of thousands who are seeking health IT experts has never been higher.
It is ironic that Biz Stone is keynoting this year’s talk, because Twitter has changed the health IT game so substantially. I say Twitter specifically, and not “social media” generally. I do not think Facebook or Google+ or your social media of choice has had nearly the impact that Twitter has had on healthcare communications.
HIMSS, and in many cases traditional health IT along with it, is experiencing something of a whirlwind. One force adding wind has been the fact that President Obama has funded EHR systems with meaningful use, and made it clear that the future of healthcare funding will take place at Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) that are paid to keep people healthy rather than to cover procedures when they are sick. It is hard to understate the importance of this. Meaningful Use and ACOs will do more to computerize medicine in five years than the previous 50 years without these incentive changes.Continue reading…
Carleen Hawn’s new site HealthSpottr is up and she’s starting with a list of the Top 100 random people in health care. Well it’s supposed to be innovators, but it mashes up a bunch of Health 2.0 folks with some biotech people, some health policy types (Berwick & Wennberg are close to the top), some health system types, and some academics. And yes, a certain Harvard Business School prof who’s one step ahead of the SEC is ahead of Uwe Reinhardt, with Enthoven not on the list. Perhaps most amusing is that Microsoft’s Peter Neupert is #1 while no-one from Google is on the list (Although Adam Bosworth is in there).
As you know I think lists and awards are tosh. But they are the US Weekly of the online world—trashy, you can’t admit to reading, but very good fun. Special prize for the THCB regular who can find the wrong photo attached to a name swiped from these very pages (hint, a mix up between two people who write together a lot),
So dive in and enjoy, and I think Carleen will be back with something a little more substantial soon.
Meanwhile, perhaps THCB should do one–I’m thinking “worst people in the healthcare world”. Votes for who I’d put on top please…
David Harlow did a great job, go see.