Not that long ago, healthcare worried mostly about the physical loss of personal health information (PHI) by way of a lost thumb drive, a stolen laptop, some misplaced paper files. These were the primary concerns in HIMSS initial security survey, published in 2008. It wasn’t until five years later, in 2013, that the largest healthcare security breaches came from cyberattacks instead of lost or stolen devices.
One requirement of the 2014 Final Rule on Health Information Technology is for pricing transparency and disclosure. Certified electronic health record (EHR) vendors have been required to disclose any “additional types of cost that an EP (eligible provider), EH (eligible hospital) or CAH (critical access hospital) would pay to implement the Complete EHR’s or EHR Module’s capabilities in order to attempt to meet meaningful use objectives and measures.”
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.”
In January of this year, political analyst Norman Ornstein lost his 34-year-old son, Matthew, to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. While Matthew’s death was a tragic blow to family and friends, it was not the kind of out-of-the-blue shock that comes with absolutely no forewarning.
On the face of it, the use of computers to order prescriptions seems like a no-brainer. Who, after all, is capable of reading a physician’s handwriting?
But if we set aside clichés, there is still this question: Does e-prescribing provide distinct benefits over handwritten patient prescriptions? With acknowledgement of some drawbacks, it would seem the scales tip decidedly toward e-prescribing as a net positive.
Any conversation focused on what’s great about America usually includes a mention of optimism, hopefulness or some variation on the theme.
Americans generally still believe in a brighter future, and especially the ways in which technology can enable that future. But that sense of optimism contains a kernel of potential disappointment when we ask technology to do too much.
Consider the case of mental health care, a profession that faces significant budget shortfalls.
Context and perspective matter.
And it’s often both context and perspective that are lacking from the daily snapshots we get of health information technology, meaningful use, interoperability and the progress we are either making or not making, depending on your perspective.
None of us would have the jobs we currently occupy without some ability to focus on details. Running a company, developing IT systems, managing a hospital, seeing patients and evaluating their concerns—all require the ability to dig deep and identify root causes and effective solutions.
But maybe that focus on the trees blinds us to changes in the forest, to use a well-worn aphorism.
Microsoft Office was first introduced by Bill Gates at COMDEX, Las Vegas, in August, 1988.
Here we are almost exactly 27 years later, and if you plug the words ‘hate,’ ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Office’ into Google, you’ll get more than 4 million results. Remove ‘Office’ and Google returns more than 33 million results.
Clearly, some people don’t feel like Microsoft has perfected products to their satisfaction.
Graham Grieve is a data architect who thinks like a mountain climber.
“You build a mountain, you stand on top of it and see a bigger mountain that you can go and stand on top of,” Grieve said in an interview with HIStalk. “The urgent need to build bigger mountains never goes away. We’ll just keep climbing up the stack towards a useful system.”