HealthLeaders Media IT - March 11, 2008 | A Million Stories
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HealthLeaders IT

A Million Stories
Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor

Looking back on the massive HIMSS exhibition, I am struck by the enormity of change under way in the industry. I had multiple encounters with CIOs describing how their health systems are undertaking ambitious projects. These are invariably wrapped in a patient safety initiative, one that is being driven by the clinical staff, not the CIO. In this week's column, I present a few highlights of the people I met in Orlando. [Read More]
March 11, 2008
Editor's Picks
Technology helps patients recover after intensive care
After heart patients leave intensive care, about 25 percent will become unstable again in the step-down unit--putting pressure on the nurses there to keep them from deteriorating. But new technology may tell nurses which patients are vulnerable to reversals much earlier than in the past. The system, made by Indiana-based OBS Medical, automatically monitors vital signs and issues an alert when a patient's heart rate or breathing starts to get out of control, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's another example of how technology can soften the blow of some of the severe labor shortages the industry faces. In this case, nurses can receive alerts on patients they may not be able to see in person as frequently as they would like. Another note of interest to this story: If you read down to the end, there's a description of how simulated computer dummies are being used to train caregivers. [Read More]

Milwaukee County database to fight painkiller abuse
The Medical Society of Milwaukee County is developing a database that will allow doctors to check whether their patients have received prescriptions for potentially addictive painkillers from anyone else. In time, the medical society wants to bring pharmacies on board to flag doctors who prescribe large amounts of the drugs, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I've seen some similar ventures work in other communities, particularly Indianapolis. There physicians in EDs can see if patients have been "treated" at other area hospitals for pain. These so-called "frequent flyers"--patients who wander from hospital to hospital in search of narcotics--pose a real problem to hospital administration. As this article points out, physicians may incorrectly prescribe addictive painkillers. Kudos to the Medical Society for stepping in here. [Read More]

Nashville-area hospitals' patient data exchange may save money, lives
A collaboration among four Nashville hospitals or hospital systems calls for the exchange of health information, reports The Tennessean. The agreement among Saint Thomas and Baptist hospitals, Metro General, Vanderbilt and HCA Inc.'s TriStar Health System has the potential to eliminate redundant tests. But before information can be shared, representatives of the hospitals have to decide the types of data to exchange and issues such as regulatory compliance, connectivity, and privacy. Experience at other data exchanges suggests that these questions are not easy to answer. However, the very persistence of data exchanges, or RHIOs, reveals a great deal of industry resolve to capitalize on their potential. [Read More]

Online health programs in the workplace
This online British publication discusses some of the issues around corporate use of wellness sites. Apparently the use of tools for employees is growing internationally. Makes sense, as employee health behavior can have dramatic impact on the corporate year-end statement. [Read More]

American Cancer Society adopts virtual colonoscopy as screening guideline
This is good news for all those patients out there who are skittish about standard colonoscopy. In my lifetime, the advent of minimally invasive techniques like this has been remarkable. [Read More]
Tech Headlines
Medical groups launch e-prescription advocate site
PC World/Washington Post - March 5, 2008

Pharma still taking baby steps on the Web
PharmaExec.com - March 10, 2008

'Going digital' going slowly
Baltimore Sun - March 10, 2008

Insurer finds EMRs won't pay off for its doctors
American Medical Association - March 10, 2008
Events & Product News
New device offers noninvasive check for heart problems

Optio to be sold

ProMedica signs with McKesson
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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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    Improving Denial Management: Contributor Christy Whetsell, RN, describes how West Virginia University Hospitals expedited the discharge process by eliminating operational inefficiencies. [Read More]
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    HIMSS 2008: IT Makeover: Randy Cox, chief information officer at Riverview Hospital, Noblesville, IN, describes how he enlisted department leaders to define what they needed in an enterprise IT makeover.
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