It’s not exactly a sweater or tie that gets worn once and then relegated to the top of the closet, but it turns out that patient data may have something in common with unloved holiday gifts. Both, it appears, are shared and then seldom used.
Yes, Katrina was already losing appeal as a girl’s name by 2005, when it had fallen to 247th most popular in the United States. But the so-named hurricane that swamped New Orleans in August of that year pushed it off a ledge. By May of 2007 Katrina had fallen more than 100 spots to number 382, its lowest level since the 1950s.
The last time you made a difficult decision, chances are you engaged in some form of a process called the 5 W’s, or maybe the 5W’s and Sometimes How, or 5W+1H … maybe 6 W’s.
Right. So, what the process lacks in an agreed-upon name it makes up for with the logical consistency of directed, relevant questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? It’s a process journalists often use consciously in writing articles, and it comes in handy for non-journalists when the goal is breaking down options and arriving at an optimal outcome.
When public health is threatened by an outbreak of SARS or Zika or avian influenza, widely disseminated information becomes a crucial tool used to curtail the spread of disease.
But transmittable diseases are not the lone threats to public health. Other metaphorically pathogenic events—the current opioid epidemic, for example—are more effectively managed by making sure doctors have complete information when evaluating patients and, especially, writing prescriptions.
Maybe the initial challenge of population health is deciding exactly what that phrase means.
Well before it became a catchphrase in health IT, population health was the province of academics who devised predictably academic definitions like “… the aggregate health outcome of health-adjusted life expectancy (quantity and quality) of a group of individuals, in an economic framework that balances the relative marginal returns from the multiple determinants of health.”
Would you pay top dollar for anything—a car, phone, television, whatever—that promises truly transformational technology at some unspecified future date?
I doubt you would. We generally buy products for what they offer now, not what the company says they will eventually do (vaporware, as IT calls it).
And yet, so many hospitals pay multi-billions of dollars for healthcare IT systems that promise to integrate patient care … eventually. Why? Some argue the primary reason is a false market that was created by federal government incentives and boundless faith.
Is there anyone left to passionately defend onsite data centers?
Perhaps, but attendance at advocacy meetings is probably sparse. Soon, the onsite data center proponents will get lumped with eight-track tape aficionados and supporters of leeches as medical technology.
While some hospitals still maintain local data centers, recent trends suggest many are letting someone else do the work by going with the “cloud” option.
It’s generally common knowledge that the United States incarcerates a higher percentage of the population (716 per 100,000 people) than any other country on earth. With just 5 percent of the world’s total population, the U.S. still has 25 percent of the global prison population.
Will information technology ever realize an imagined future where security is strong enough, reliable enough, secure enough to block any and all attacks?
It’s a dubious proposition made more uncertain by the recent WannaCry ransomware incident that started a couple of weeks ago and continued around the globe for several days. The virus was seemingly halted on Friday, May 12, when a security researcher found weaknesses in the code, but additional versions without those weaknesses have been sent out since.