Tag: John Halamka

Cool Technology of the Week


In many crime solving police procedural programs (NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds etc), the perpetrator has used an untraceable, disposable cell phone.

But what is a disposable cell phone and where do you buy one? I’ve never seen one in my travels.

The answer – Walmart

The vendor – TracFoneContinue reading…

Cool Technology of the Week

Before my trip to Japan, I attended the New England Healthcare Institute Medication Adherence Expert Roundtable on Thursday July 23rd, 2009. The purpose of the roundtable was to prioritize activities that would encourage patients to be more compliant with the medications, especially those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and COPD. Recommendations from the group included better patient education, enhanced use of IT such as medication reconciliation, and healthcare reform which ensures clinicians have the time and incentives to coordinate and manage all medications for their patients.

One technology that we discussed was an intelligent pill bottle for the home from and it’s my cool technology of the week. Using technology similar to the Ambient Orb, the intelligent pill bottle flashes to indicate when it’s time to take the medication inside the bottle. When the bottle is opened it sends telemetry back to a portal which can be used to track patient medication adherence.

The device includes a small wireless access point for the home, making the device plug and play. No cell phone plan, configuration or special software is needed – just an internet connection.

A pill bottle that notifies the patient when medications are to be taken and informs the clinician when medications are actually taken.

That’s cool!

John D. Halamka, MD, MS, is CIO of the CareGroup Health System, CIO and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, Chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network (NEHEN), CEO of MA-SHARE, Chair of the US Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), and a practicing emergency physician. He blogs regularly at Life as a Healthcare CEO, where this post first appeared.

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Implementing a Modern Hospital Website


Over the past two years, I’ve witnessed a transition in modern website design from plain text and static  information to multimedia centric and interactive. I’ve written about the new BIDMC website we implemented to meet patient expectations for a modern website.

Many healthcare organizations I work with are considering content managed, new media, highly interactive web 2.0 sites. I thought it would be useful to describe how we approached the BIDMC website so you can leverage our experience.Picture 1

Content Management – BIDMC has a great
deal of .NET expertise, so we wanted a content management system that worked well in our .NET/SQL Server 2008 environment. SiteCore has been ideal for us, providing content templates, distributed content management, and publishing workflow in a load balanced, secure, virtualized environment. At HMS we use Drupal and WordPress for content management. They also work well for hosting institutional web sites.

Interactive features – The Corporate Communications folks at BIDMC really wanted to highly improves interactivity. We built and bought the components they needed as follows:

  • Blogs – Uses a SiteCore provided blogging module
  • Chat – a commercial application called Cute Chat from CuteSoft.
  • BIDMC TV (news and information videos produced by BIDMC)- Hosted by BrightCove.
  • Medical Edge (videos about innovation produced by BIDMC)- Hosted by BrightCove.
  • Podcast Gallery – Hosted on BIDMC servers.
  • Health Quizzes – created using a commercial application called SelectSurvey.NET from ClassApps.
  • Social Networking – entirely hosted by outside service providers (Facebook/Twitter/You Tube).
  • Secure patient web pages for communication with their families – a commercial application provided by CarePages.
  • Conditions A-Z – a web-based encyclopedia branded for BIDMC using commercial reference provided by Ebsco.
  • Search Engine – We’re using a Google Appliance

Thus, the combination of SiteCore plus purchased interactive applications and externally hosted streaming video has worked very well to provide our patients with an information rich, interactive experience.

I hope this is useful to you as you implement your own hospital websites.

Getting smarter and greener with electronic medical resources

I’ve described the iPod Touch as the next great technology for medical education, but the Kindle is also a device with great potential.

We’ve recently implemented Kindle support for all our 20,000 educational resources at HMS.

Our integration on the Mycourses educational website enables any Word or PDF document to be delivered to the Kindle wirelessly. There is a cost which is clearly explained to the user (10 cents per document to Amazon). Those that don’t want to pay the 10 cents can download documents to their PC and transfer the documents via USB cable.Continue reading…


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