Thanks for a Great First Year

Gary Baldwin, for HealthLeaders Media, December 31, 2007

Hard to believe, but this marks the 38th--and final--edition of the revamped HealthLeaders Media IT for 2007. Tomorrow would be our normal publishing date, but we're bumping it up a day for the New Year. Next week we'll be back to our regular Tuesday routine.

This time of year, sometimes people ask me, "What was the big story of the year?" Truth be told, I don't think that way. The industry is too big to say there is ONE big story. We did see several pronounced trends: the government's increased push to promote clinical IT ranks near the top, the expansion of personal health record technology, and the broadening of hospital EMR sponsorship under Stark. That said, there is an almost indefinite number of compelling stories, of data sharing, of staff leadership, of IT implementations large and small. Most of the real action is away from the lofty programs envisioned in Washington, DC. There are hospitals struggling to automate their clinical documentation, there are physician practices trying to integrate their clinical and administrative systems, and there are countless patients learning to use online tools to connect with the healthcare system. So maybe the big story is how this massive industry manages to lumber along in the first place. I am certain of one thing: I share a privileged perch to be able to watch, analyze and comment on it all.

Before closing, I would just like to acknowledge all the great readers out there. Your ongoing feedback and response to the e-newsletter have been truly encouraging. Many of you have contributed to our weekly Leaders Forum. In 2007, 34 people contributed to this feature, addressing a host of topics such as telemedicine, green hospital technology, and the use of guest Wi-Fi services in the hospital. Space prohibits me from acknowledging all the authors individually. However, I would like to encourage others in the field to consider publishing as well. This technology beat is simply too big for just one reporter like me to cover, so your first-person accounts and opinions really enrich the mix.

In addition to running these contributed features, we ran audio interviews with 17 leaders from across the industry. To me, conducting these audio interviews is the fun part of the job. The industry is blessed with so many talented people, and I am glad to share their voice--both literally and figuratively--with our readership, which now exceeds 30,000 subscribers. There's just no substitute for hearing a Bruce Landes discussing the pitfalls to EMR adoption or an Ed Marx discussing how CIOs can use a blog to motivate staff. As they say, a reporter is only as good as his or her sources. And many of mine--such as Stew Watson--are patient indeed, as I pressed them into multi-segment audio interviews. And this past October, I was able to produce a string of podcasts recorded live at our Top Leadership Team event here in Chicago and get them to our growing online audience within a matter of minutes. Watch for similar immediacy from 2008 trade shows and conferences.

I wish you all the best in 2008.

Gary Baldwin is the technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at
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