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I Was Just Thinking About Health IT

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, December 13, 2011

Years ago (Google it if you really want to know how old I am), one of my favorite Boston Globe columnists wrote an occasional "I was just thinking" feature, a series of pithy observations on various random topics. And although it was widely believed that Mike Barnicle only wrote these roundup columns when he was out of ideas or just feeling lazy, I always liked them. And I always thought it would be fun to write one, too.

Of course, Barnicle ended up getting fired over one of those columns, in which he quoted without attribution from a book by comedian George Carlin. He did some other bad reporter stuff, too. But I promise I didn't make up or plagiarize any of the following news stories from 2011. (Although I won't comment on whether I'm out of ideas or feeling lazy.)

Docs afraid looking at data makes them look dumb
It's kind of amazing to me how many healthcare IT stories include the phrase "physician engagement." And not in a good way. In the past year, we've written about doctors casting their wary eyes at electronic medical records, computerized physician order entry, personal health records, and more. But the story about docs who think that using decision-support tools in front of patients makes them look dumb? Well, I was just thinking that idea, itself, is pretty dumb.

Reporter milks sprained ankle for page views
Writers know there is an upside when something bad happens—say, a trip to the emergency room halfway through your dream vacation to Paris: There's almost always a story in it. At the time of my visit to the emergency room at the 987-bed Hôpital Bichat–Claude Bernard, I wasn't thinking about the potential for a column.

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