After years interviewing people at HIMSS, I got interviewed by a patient (as in putting up with me, not sick!) Fred Goldstein. My pearls of wisdom include the history of EMRs, eHealth, and how much money HIMSS makes by not buying food! Thanks to Greg Masters of Health Innovation Media for this and all he does!–Matthew Holt
Of the nearly 100 people I interviewed for my upcoming book, John Halmaka was one of the most fascinating. Halamka is CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a national leader in health IT policy. He also runs a family farm, on which he raises ducks, alpacas and llamas. His penchant for black mock turtlenecks, along with his brilliance and quirkiness, raise inevitable comparisons to Steve Jobs. I interviewed him in Boston on August 12, 2014.
Our conversation was very wide ranging, but I was particularly struck by what Halamka had to say about federal privacy regulations and HIPAA, and their impact on his job as CIO. Let’s start with that.
Halamka: Not long ago, one of our physicians went into an Apple store and bought a laptop. He returned to his office, plugged it in, and synched his e-mail. He then left for a meeting. When he came back, the laptop was gone. We looked at the video footage and saw that a known felon had entered the building, grabbed the laptop, and fled. We found him, and he was arrested.
Now, what is the likelihood that this drug fiend stole the device because he had identity theft in mind? That would be zero. But the case has now exceeded $500,000 in legal fees, forensic work, and investigations. We are close to signing a settlement agreement where we basically say, “It wasn’t our fault but here’s a set of actions Beth Israel will put in place so that no doctor is ever allowed again to bring a device into our environment and download patient data to it.”
“I’m looking into a new EMR for our just incorporated small group practice. I’m diligently doing my Google research. Frankly, I’m not at all impressed by the quality of the information I’m finding out there. Both the professional and the customer reviews I’m finding leave a lot to be desired.
The tone of many of the reviews I’m reading makes me wonder how reliable and objective they are. A suspicious number of customer reviews are blandly positive, as if they were written by a corporate drone in a cubicle somewhere. They’re full of industry buzzwords and praise: “Met all of my expectations ” and “is everything I could ask for in an EMR system.”
I’ve read enough patient and restaurant reviews online to know that reviews generally fall into two categories: angry customer and worshipful. The former almost always outnumber the latter by a margin of 4:1 But not here. Here its the other way around! The tone of the professional reviews also seems strangely subdued.
At least one popular review site (Software Advice) appears to take a direct commission from EMR vendors for each referral. They say this doesn’t impact them and that they’re objective, but this clearly biases them in my mind. What resources do people recommend?
And why doesn’t THCB run user reviews???