Ok, before I even begin, let me put it right out there: I’ve been using Apple products since I first got my hands on one of those cute little Mac SEs in the late 80′s having given up my spanking, brand new Compaq 386 with 64kb of RAM and a dual 3.5 & 5.25 floppy drives to a post doc at MIT who traded me the Compaq, which he needed to finish his thesis, for his Mac. I never looked back. I will attempt to keep that bias in check in this post.
Tomorrow, Apple will formally release the iPad 2, a device that has seen extremely strong adoption in the healthcare sector and even one of the HIT industry’s leading spoke persons, John Halamka of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (he’s also Harvard Med School’s CIO) spoke to the applicability of the iPad in the healthcare enterprise in the formal iPad 2 announcement last week.
The iPad 2 release is happening while most other touch tablet vendors including HP, RIM, Cisco and those building Android-based devices struggle to get their Gen 1 versions into the market. Of these other vendors, only Android-based devices are available today, including among others the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom.
But it is not so much the new features in the iPad 2 (e.g., lighter weight, faster processor, two cameras, etc.) that will continue to make the iPad the go to device for physicians and healthcare enterprises, it is the process by which Apple vets and approves Apps that are available in the App Store. Apple imposes what at times for many App developers is an arduous and at times capricious approach to approving Apps. This approval process is in stark contrast of the one for Android, which is based on an open, free market model letting the market decide as to which Apps will succeed and which will not.Continue reading…
This is a summary of the HIT Trends Report for February 2011. You can get the current issue or subscribe here.
Innovations in provider and patient solutions. DrFirst announced that it acquired AdherenceRx to integrate e-prescribing and care management. This is an innovative combination that helps smaller practices and EMR vendors that support them.
Emdeon is repositioning as a HIE, while combining its web EMR with LabCorp, and working with AAFP on benchmarking. It is stepping up its game with a SaaS EMR, access to de-identified clinical data and major national partners.
Epocrates completed its IPO this month banking on its future mobile EMR. It has the opportunity to leverage its industry-leading brand and reach into its new EMR for small practices. The company will now need to execute on its new vision to keep Wall Street satisfied.
And smartphone health apps leader, iTriage, gets appointment scheduling by acquisition. This is innovative in that it makes scheduling from the provider point of view asynchronous. It replaces the real-time phone conversation.Continue reading…
If we are to achieve the aims of health insurance reform/PPACA, let alone eventual health delivery reform, the US needs coherent, comprehensive federal health IT policy. In late December, PCAST, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, issued its perspective on how HITECH has (and hasn’t) moved the needle and where we need to go from here. PCAST is an influential group. It is chaired by Eric Lander, President, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The council includes heavy hitters from the technology and business worlds including Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer of Microsoft, and Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine. PCAST’s report, entitled “Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward” makes several important additions to the health IT policy conversation, but fails to hit the mark in two critical areas.
On the positive side, we agree with PCAST that IT can contribute to lower costs and higher quality in health care, and that current national HCIT programs, while an enormous improvement over the last forty years of neglect and disincentives, are insufficiently radical to fully realize that value.
We agree that separation of data from applications, liberating the data from the proprietary databases and applications that typically imprison it today is core to unleashing the power of healthcare information (think: free-text patient note vs. reportable and trend-able lab results). Doing so creates value by allowing the right information to be delivered to the right individuals, at the right time, in the right format for the relevant context (e.g. trending of A1c values over time for population health management). Furthermore, freeing data from specific applications would enable greater innovation than is available today and is critical to certain types of data uses such as population-level research, comparative effectiveness research, and biosurveillance.Continue reading…
Over a 1,000 exhibitors, some 30,000+ attendees and I come away from HIMSS, again, thinking is this all there is? Where is the innovation that the Obama administration i.e., Sec. Sebellius and Dr. Blumenthal both touted in their less than inspiring keynotes on Wednesday morn? Maybe I had my blinders on, maybe I was looking in the wrong places but honestly, outside of the expected, we now have an iPad App for that type of innovation where nearly every EHR vendor has an iPad App for the EHR, or will be realeasing such this year, I just didn’t see anything that really caught my attention. But then again, looking over my posts from previous HIMSS (this was my fourth), maybe my expectations need a serious reset and it would be wise of me to read this post next year before I get on the plane to Las Vegas and HIMSS’12.
Prior to HIMSS I participated in a webinar put on by mobihealthnews (BTW, Brian at mobi has a good article on some of those mobile apps being rolled out at HIMSS this year). My role in this webinar was to give an overview of what one might expect at HIMSS’11. Having weathered the last two HIMSS and the major hype in ’09 about Meaningful Use and ’10 when HIEs were all the rage, this year I predicted that the big hype would be around ACOs. Much to my surprise such was not the case.
The reason was quite simple and two-fold.Continue reading…
For the uninitiated, every year HIMSS runs a big huge trade show for EHR and HIT vendors, which is to the HIT industry what Oscar night is to Hollywood. No, HIMSS does not award any prizes or trophies, but it occasions the same breath taking congregation of all industry glitterati in one place, complete with clever little parties and big extravagant shows. There were well over 30,000 people at this year’s HIMSS11 conference, and although I wasn’t one of them, I made sure to follow the events through the steady Twitter stream and many excellent blogs, reports and interviews, because what happens at HIMSS is good indication for what the HIT industry is doing and where it is going. So to summarize all the excitement, the established HIT folks are doing Meaningful Use, which has become yesterday’s news, with HIE being the next project on the books. Everything is being pushed to tablets and the cutting edge innovations are all about a myriad of small Mobile Health (mHealth) applications. Analytics and business intelligence is looming large on a horizon filled with provider consolidation, capitation and value-based medicine.
On the surface, this seems a very logical succession of events. Meaningful Use is collecting data, HIE will make it liquid and, as predicted, 1000 flowers of innovative mobile applications will eventually be blooming to bring the liquid data to consumers and innovators who will slice and dice it to provide us all with unimaginable medical utility. However, in the excitement of anticipation on those balmy Florida nights, it is easy to overlook the fact that this entire chain of events is based on one assumption: somewhere, somehow, someone will have to enter data into the system, consistently, accurately and in minute detail. For free. Is there a problem here?Continue reading…
By DAVID BLUMENTHAL, MD
We’ve known for years that health information technology can improve health care. But until recently, the implementation rate among providers has been low, except for a few early adopters.
In the last two years, however, there has been a significant upward inflection in the adoption rate. For primary care providers, adoption of a basic EHR increased by half from 19.8 percent in 2008 to 29.6 percent in 2010.
And with HITECH Act programs now in full swing, it looks clear that adoption and use of health information technology will go into high gear. Already, 81 percent of hospitals and 41 percent of office physicians are saying they intend to achieve meaningful use of EHRs and qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
A recent edition of the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) helps us understand why the accelerated move to EHRs is so important. This special issue devoted to health information technology presents perspectives on health IT from a wide range of stakeholders—providers, policymakers, and patients. Contributors include representatives of private companies and public agencies, managed care organizations and academic medical centers, medical educators and a medical student—confirmation that the potential of health IT is compelling for a broad spectrum of Americans.Continue reading…
As the Chairman of the board of HIMSS, the Health Information Management Systems Society, which is the largest information technology organization in the world, I’ve been very busy at our annual conference in Orlando, Fla.
As I move through this enormous venue, talking to as many of our 30,000 attending members as possible, I can’t help but think about how much work we all have to do in the coming years.
As healthcare and IT professionals, we are privileged to live at a moment in history when the work we do, the product of our shared passion, the professional discipline to which we devote so much of ourselves, is taking its place as the central catalyst of a transformation in healthcare that is in many ways, unprecedented.
Whereas previous breakthroughs in medical technology, such as the invention of the X-ray or the discovery of antibiotics, have obviously been profound, and powerful; I can think of none that ever impacted the entire medical practice model.
And that is exactly what the technology-driven transformation of healthcare is poised to deliver.Continue reading…
What can be said about “meaningful use” of electronic health records that hasn’t already been said? Actually, plenty, if the events leading up to Monday morning’s official opening of HIMSS11 are any indication.
Last week, HIMSS honcho Steve Lieber told me in an interview at his Chicago office that most of the confusion about Stage 1 meaningful use has subsided, but that there still was plenty of “uncertainty” about the future. As in, uncertainty about the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the federal EHR incentive program and uncertainty about leadership, as national health IT coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal prepares to return to Harvard in April. (Yes, it is April. Blumenthal apparently spilled the beans to former Sen. Dave Durenberger a few weeks ago.)
“Everybody’s real clear on Stage 1,” Lieber said. The uncertainty is about future stages of meaningful use, particularly in the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2. The fact that there will be a new national coordinator is another source of uncertainty, but it just means that there could be further refinements to existing regulations.
Vendors seem anxious to see the Stage 2 regulations so they can begin modifying and recertifying their products to help customers meet the next round of requirements. (Yes, everything will have to be recertified to meet Stage 2 criteria.)
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) late last week formally asked for more time to transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 because it’s unclear if many physicians and hospitals are even ready for the first stage. “CHIME believes that it would not be prudent to move to Stage 2 until about 30 percent of (eligible hospitals and eligible providers) have been able to demonstrate EHR MU under Stage 1,” says CHIME’s comment letter. “We believe this approach would strike a reasonable balance between the desire to push EHR adoption and MU as quickly as possible, and the recognition that unreasonable expectations could end up discouraging EHR adoption if providers conclude that it will be essentially impossible for them to qualify for incentives.”Continue reading…
I was recently asked by an Institute of Medicine committee to comment about the impact of healthcare information technologies (HIT) on patient safety and how to maximize the safety of HIT-assisted care.
“HIT-assisted care” means health care and services that incorporate and take advantage of health information technologies and health information exchange for the purpose of improving the processes and outcomes of health care services. HIT-assisted care includes care supported by and involving: EHRs, clinical decision support, computerized provider order entry, health information exchange, patient engagement technologies, and other health information technology used in clinical care.
There are two separate questions:
1. What technologies, properly used, improve safety?
2. Given that automation can introduce new types of errors, what can be done to ensure that HIT itself is safe?
To explore these topics, let’s take a look at Health Information Exchange (HIE). What HIE technologies improve safety and how can we ensure the technologies are safe to use?
Before entering the convoluted healthcare IT sector, I had worked in the manufacturing sector both as an IT analyst and in corporate strategy for Europe’s second largest enterprise software company. In those many years I learn quite a bit about not only how to effectively deploy large enterprise software systems (SAP, PeopleSoft, i2, PTC, SSA, Dassault Systemes, etc.) but how to create models that would guide clients in a methodical manner in IT adoption. A common model used was the five stage Maturity Model, which was originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University.
The beauty of the maturity model is its simplicity and focus on process change. This proved very effective in educating all stakeholders within a manufacturing company, from the C-suite on down, as to how they needed to think about their internal processes, the technology they were preparing to deploy and the final end-point that they should strive towards. But one should not look at maturity models as completely static for the technology does change overtime and subsequently what is possible.