HealthLeaders Media IT - February 26, 2008 | Readers Write
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Readers Write
Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor

I am down in Orlando this week, covering the massive HIMSS exhibition. Next week I will have a compilation of some of the top presentations I heard. Meanwhile, I wanted to share some of the correspondence I have received lately. The reactions to my piece, "Are IT Vendors Losing Their Marbles," are especially appropriate during HIMSS week, seeing as how the event showcases the wares of hundreds of companies trying to squeeze into this complex, crowded space. [Read More]
February 26, 2008
Editor's Picks
Live From HIMSS 2008: Carrot and Stick Approach
Partners Community Healthcare faced a common problem with its physician members. Beyond the members of Partners' academic medical center group practice, adoption of EMR technology was low. The AMC members used the Boston-based healthcare organization's own homegrown system, but primary care physicians lagged in technology adoption throughout the vast community setting Partners encompasses. [Read More]

Live From HIMSS 2008: Privacy--The 'Thorniest' Issue in Data Exchange
Establishing rules around patient consent and privacy is one of the most difficult aspects of establishing a healthcare information exchange. That was the message delivered by Irene Koch, executive director of the budding Brooklyn Health Information Exchange, or BHIX, who spoke at HIMSS 2008. [Read More]

Healthcare reform must include IT issues, group says
The U.S. Congress needs to pass healthcare IT legislation before private companies develop multiple systems that don't talk to each other, according to members of the Health IT Now Coalition and the Information Technology Industry Council. The groups urged Congress to move ahead with health IT legislation such as the Promoting Health Information Technology Act, which would establish a public/private group to recommend health IT standards and certification and would budget $163 million a year for healthcare providers to adopt health IT products. The article highlights the dubious state of affairs on Capitol Hill these days regarding healthcare reform--and technology's role in it. While some of the presidential candidates are calling for universal coverage, or variations thereof, few of them seem to understand the underlying issues around data exchange and data standards that continue to be roadblocks. [Read More]

E-mails improve patient-surgeon communication
A new report appears to show that providing patients with e-mail access to their surgeon appears to improve communication, says the Washington Post. "Despite the many concerns, we believe that this study shows that the provision to patients of readily available e-mail access to their surgeon provides a very effective means of improving communication prior to patients undergoing elective surgery," wrote the study's authors. This is exactly the kind of research the industry needs before deployment of online communication tools can grow. The study was conducted in Australia, but surely has relevance here. [Read More]

High costs drive online prescribing push
Motivated by mounting medical costs, lawmakers and executives are urging doctors to embrace prescribing medications online. The move could save billions of dollars per year, and proponents say electronic prescriptions will make transactions more efficient, reduce medication errors and entice doctors to prescribe less expensive drugs, reports the Associated Press. This article provides a nice summation of the need for electronic prescribing, although it omits one key factor in why the technology has been slow in catching on. Not until recently have the states facilitated its growth, by removing mandates for handwritten prescriptions or overly restrictive rules on electronic data exchange. As state barriers continue to topple, the technology can only expand. [Read More]

Will .md pay off?
Here's an update on a story I have been tracking for several years, around the sale of the ".md" domain, which was originally assigned to the tiny Soviet country of Moldova. Various companies have attempted to cash in on the healthcare implications of this Web address, but as best I can tell, few have succeeded. Yet, hope springs eternal, and this article highlights how an entrepreneur has invested $4 million into city-specific Web sites that will cater to local healthcare consumers, with the idea of being sustained by advertising revenues. [Read More]
Tech Headlines
Live From HIMMS 2008: Vanderbilt among Microsoft winners
HealthLeaders Media - February 26, 2008

Health data storage sites might not be secure
San Francisco Chronicle - February 20, 2008

Exchanging information electronically may become model
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - February 20, 2008

Google to store patients' health records
AP/Yahoo News - February 21, 2008

Coping with a health crisis, one click at a time
MSN.com - February 25, 2008
Events & Product News
CDW Healthcare and Imprivata partner

USDA promotes hi-tech approach to healthy eating message

Largest EMR contract in Canadian history

Battlefield to bedside: Northrup announces EMR project
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
HealthLeaders February 2008Love Thy Vendor?
Providers and IT suppliers don't get along, right? You can build a partnership of trust with your vendor--and actually get what you pay for. Here's how. [Read More]
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    RHIOs: The Keys to Sustainability: Although Regional Health Information Organizations share the same goals, they are using a variety of business and information technology strategies to get there, say contributors Marybeth Regan, PhD, and Robin Randall-Lewis. [Read More]
    Audio Feature

    Listen: IT's Safety Impact: Studies that explore the relationship between patient safety and information technology are usually done at a single hospital or health system. Nir Menachemi discusses a study he led at Florida State University that considered IT's impact on patient safety at 98 Florida hospitals.
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