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Data Liberation Is The First Step Towards True Collaboration

I generally agree with this idea. It’s really hard to collaborate with someone if you’re not sharing the data about a patient. So, data liberation can be a true enabler for collaboration.

While I think most hospital CIOs will agree with this, I wonder how many act like data liberation is an important strategy for them. Is data liberation really a core value of their hospital organization? My guess is that for most of them it is not.

One major place they can start to make this part of the culture is in the procurement and contracting process. Software vendors are going to happily keep the data as closed as possible unless you require it of them in the contract stage. Once hospital systems make data liberation part of the IT systems procurement process, then we’ll finally be able to see the benefits of data liberation.

The problem we have today is that data liberation and sharing wasn’t part of the previous procurement and contracting process. My guess is that most assumed that being able to share data would be allowed, but few people looked at the fine print and realized what it would mean to them when it came to data sharing. Thus, we’re in a situation where many organizations have contractual issues which make data sharing expensive.

It will take a cycle of new contracts for this to be fixed, but even then it won’t be fixed if you’re organization doesn’t add this to their agenda. Software vendors happily provide the customer what they demand. We need more hospital organizations demanding data liberation.

April 15, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Outsourcing Your Disaster Recovery Team

I imagine most hospital CIOs are overwhelmed by the total number of systems and applications that they have to support. Hospital systems can have hundreds of applications that they’re required to support. Along with having to support the day to day operations of these systems, you also have to plan for business continuity and disaster recovery as well.

Every 6 months to a year, it seems we get a stark reminder of the need for good disaster recovery thanks to some devastating hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster. Plus, the stories of Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy and their impact at hospitals still ring in my ears and likely many other hospital CIOs.

Considering this background, I was intrigued by this Florida Hospital Case Study on Disaster Recovery. Obviously, Florida sits out there in a position that’s just waiting to be hit by a hurricane. So, good disaster recovery is a necessity for them.

What was most intriguing to me was that this hospital chose to use a managed recovery program from SunGard to make this a reality. While I don’t suggest outsourcing all of your disaster recovery (you need in house expertise deeply involved), I think it’s a great idea to work with a third party provider for your disaster recovery.

First, there are so many systems that it’s great to have a third party hold you accountable for all of your systems. Second, a third party can ensure that you do proper and regular disaster recovery testing of your systems. Third, they can provide an outside perspective that can improve your internal approach to disaster recovery.

Many of the above items can be done in house as well, but we all know that there’s a certain level of accountability that comes from having paid someone to hold you accountable. Otherwise, it’s really easy for one of your staff who’s being pulled in a hundred different directions to let your disaster recovery program slip through the cracks.

April 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

A Culture of Patient Safety

One of the challenges with some health IT organizations is that they weren’t built from the ground up with a culture of patient safety in mind. There are certain aspects of an organization that need to become embedded in their culture for them to be a reality. Patient Safety is one of them. Privacy and security are another example.

The beautiful part is that once patient safety, privacy, security, etc become an embedded part of your culture, then amazing results happen.

Today I came across this incredibly compelling blog post on the Virginia Mason blog titled, “Terrible tragedy – and powerful legacy – of preventable death.” I love when hospitals are open and transparent like Virginia Mason is in that blog post. Ironically, their blog post is about transparency at an organization and the benefit to the organization. However, this line from the blog post struck me:

“Our board said that if we cannot ensure safety of our patients we shouldn’t be in business.”

-Cathie Furman, RN

This is a powerful question that makes me wonder how many companies shouldn’t be in business.

March 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

A HIPAA Compliance Dashboard

One of the interesting announcements coming out of HIMSS was a HIPAA Compliance Dashboard that was announced by INetU. The concept of a dashboard that shows you your HIPAA compliance is fascinating for me. The key question I’ve asked myself is can HIPAA compliance be automated into a dashboard?

Here’s a look at the HIPAA Compliance Dashboard they’ve created:

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INetU claims that the dashboard will keep track of both the business associate’s (in this case INetU’s) HIPAA compliance and the covered entities compliance with HIPAA. I need to dig into it some more, but I’d love to hear from some other HIPAA experts out there. Aren’t there pieces of HIPAA compliance that can’t be automated to a dashboard? I’d love to be proven wrong.

I also think the Dashboard is a nice building block to doing security beyond just HIPAA. It reminds me of this post titled, “Why HIPAA isn’t Enough to Keep Patient Data Secure.” This dashboard could provide a deeper look into security beyond just HIPAA. Although, it makes sense why they’re leading with HIPAA since organizations don’t mind coughing up money to ensure their HIPAA compliant.

What do you think of this idea? Can HIPAA Compliance benefit from a dashboard like this? Of course, this can be taken too far as well. We don’t need CIO’s that become complacent, because the dashboard says “HIPAA Compliant.”

March 26, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Interview with Shahid Shah About HealthIMPACT Conference

The following is an interview with Shahid Shah about the upcoming HealthIMPACTconferences he’s helping to organize. The next one is in Houston on April 3rd and a few discount seats for HealthcareScene readers remain open. Register here using IMPACT10 as the code.

It seems like there is a health IT conference every day.  What will make this conference unique?

The first thing unique about HealthIMPACT is the length and locations – we’re choosing single day and “local” to many areas of the country (southeast, southwest, etc.) because busy people can’t take more than 1 day and probably can’t afford to travel. The second unique aspect is that we’re focused on “actionable intelligence” coming not from pontificators but those “in the trenches” doing the grunt work of health IT every day. The third, and perhaps the most unique, is that we teach audiences what kinds of tech to buy, what not buy, how to spot real trends from hype, and how not to fall prey to prevailing myths. This is going to be a no-nonsense, no fluff, no hype, “just answers” event. It’s not so much a “conference” but an educational event – audience members can even earn CME credits if they’d like. The fourth, and something useful for software and technology vendors and buyers alike, is a customized meeting with one or more CIOs or other tech-focused buyers that developers can use as a mini “focus group” to test ideas and ask buyers questions that will help improve products and sales.

What’s special about the format of the conferences?

The format is “no long speeches, no PowerPoint-centric presentations, all panels and interviews with high interactivity”. By making sure that there are no speeches we don’t have to worry about “death by PowerPoint” or folks presenting a viewpoint that audiences can’t easily interact with. The panels topics are focused on problems that audience members are regularly facing in their daily work environments. The panel members are all working “in the trenches” and coming prepared to interact with the audience. That’s why we say “no fluff, just answers”.

What kind of audience attends your conferences?

We have a list of attending organizations and their titles available here. We get CIOs, CFOs, CTOs, HIM, architects, engineers, consultants, and product vendors from both hospital / health system and ambulatory physician practices. It’s a mixed audience but I think what’s in common is that they’re all “in the trenches” folks solving hard technical problems every day.

What are some of the main topics that will be discussed at these conferences?

  • How IT can support the overarching financial, operational, and clinical goals of your organization
  • HIEs in your region and provider participation in them
  • Technologies that support value driven care and population health management
  • Cloud based systems in healthcare
  • Programs that drive patient engagement
  • Leadership strategies that drive innovation
  • Predictive analytics that improve care delivery
  • EHR implementation and meaningful use
  • ICD10 compliance, readiness and physician training

Where can people go to learn more about the conferences?
You can find more information on the HealthIMPACT website and if you use the discount code IMPACT10, you’ll receive a 10% discount for being a Healthcare Scene reader.

March 25, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

The Hospital CIO Is a Salesperson

When you look at the job of a hospital CIO, I think their number one job is as a salesperson. A hospital CIO’s day is full of sales meetings. I’m sure that many won’t like to see it that way, but it’s true.

Think about the hospital CIO budget. The hospital CIO’s job is to sale the budget to the other hospital executives. If they don’t do a good job selling the budget to the executives, then you might not get the budget you need and then you’ve got other issues. In fact, the biggest issue you have to face is how you’re going to sell the smaller budget to the people who work for you.

Another important job of a hospital CIO is to set the vision for the organization. Making sure everyone in the organization is proverbially “paddling in the same direction” is fundamental to leadership in general and particularly to a hospital IT organization. How do you make sure that your vision is understood and executed by your organization? That’s right, you have to sell it to them.

Hiring the right people is also crucial to the success of a hospital CIO. Convincing the best people to come and work for you instead of someone else is a sales job of the highest degree. Ok, you get the point. A hospital CIO is a salesperson.

If you haven’t brushed up on your sales skills lately, you might want to expand your reading and consider some reading focused on selling techniques. The dynamics of what a hospital CIO sells are different and maybe no money changes hands in the transaction. However, you can be sure that every successful CIO is a good salesperson.

March 21, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Are We Using All the Data We Have?

Many of you might remember the post I wrote previously about the real cause of hospital readmissions. In that post, I quote Stuart Long, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at CapsuleTech, who shared with me some internal survey results. While I found those survey results really interesting Stuart also offered me a number of insights that I thought other might find interesting as well.

First, in our conversation Stuart commented off hand that “even in the hospital today we have to throttle the data we send them.” For some context, Stuart is referring to how much data the medical devices that Capsule connects to the hospital can send. Basically, he’s saying that these medical devices have a lot more data that they could share with the hospital, but the hospital IT systems can’t handle all the extra data.

I’m sure we could have a deep discussion of the value (or lack thereof) of the data that’s not being sent to the hospital systems. However, I think this is all part of a larger question we need to ask ourselves in healthcare. Are we using all the data that we have available to us? Maybe there is value in some of the data that the medical device is collecting and not transferring to the hospital IT system.

This topic also takes me to discussions around patient generated data. Millions of patients are tracking their health using hundreds of tracking devices. That’s a lot of data available for us to use. Are we using it? I can think of a few hospitals that have focused uses of this patient generated data. However, we certainly aren’t using the vast majority of this data.

Are We Using All the Data We Have? The answer is clearly no. The question then remains, should we be using more of the data that’s available to us? Should someone be responsible for making sure we’re using the data we have available to us the best way possible?

Another interesting insight that Stuart provided was that Capsule was looking to extend charting ability to point of care. For those who don’t know much background on Capsule, go and read medical device guru Tim Gee’s HIMSS 2014 blog post where he talks about them in some detail. When you think about the interfaces that Capsule has created for medical devices, they aren’t that much different than an interface between a charting application and the EHR. The big difference is that a medical device is capturing the data versus a human entering the data in the charting application. The method the data uses to become digital is irrelevant. After that it’s the same plumbing that gets that data to the EHR.

I’ll be interested to see how far they take this. One of my big topics of interest coming out of HIMSS 2014 was to dig deeper into the idea of external EHR interfaces. I heard about some huge teams that are creating generic EHR data interfaces that push the data to the EHR. I’ll be interested to see how far we go with this trend.

March 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Will TouphPads Finally Replace Computers on Wheels (COWS)?

I know that everyone hates the term COWS (Computer on Wheels). Feel free to call them some other variation, but we all know what we’re talking about (just like if you say EHR or EMR). Either way, they’re a mainstay of so many hospitals and they are some of the most beloved and hated devices by those who use them.

They love having everything available to them. They hate pushing, pulling, cajoling around the unit. It’s a true love-hate relationship for so many.

Many have called for the demise of COWS for a long time and most point to mobile devices as their obvious replacement. However, those that realize how many non-computer peripherals are attached and used on a COW know that the COW is still going to be a mainstay in many organizations for years to come.

I was recently talking with the people at Panasonic about their new ToughPad Tablets(pictured below).
Panasonic-ToughpadFZM1-1

There’s a whole lot to like about the Panasonic ToughPad tablets. At the event I saw the tablets, I literally saw a journalist from India throw it to the ground and then step on it. To the Panasonic reps delight, he picked it up and the tablet was still ticking with no issues. Pretty amazing demo of the toughness of the device. I’m sure healthcare would test it similarly. I’ve also written previously about the iPad Lifecycle versus Other Tablets so I won’t cover those benefits of the Windows 8 O/S on the ToughPad. However, they are a really important consideration.

Instead, I was intrigued by the idea that the ToughPad could essentially be the brain of the COW. So, you could plug it into the COW whenever needed, but if you needed the mobility of the tablet you could use it that way as well.

The reason this was never done before is that the Windows 8 tablets never had enough processing power, RAM, etc to handle the health IT applications that hospitals wanted to place on them (We’ll save the discussion of processor and memory hungry health IT applications for a future post). The ToughPad could change that since they’ve finally put enough into the device to make this a possibility.

I’ll be interested to hear from others working on this problem. Does this seem like a reasonable alternative? Will the ToughPad just get left in the COW and never be taken out? If so, then you’re at least making the COW lighter, but it might not be worth the added expense. Unless you ask the nurse after a long day pushing around a COW.

I don’t see the tablet being a replacement for that many COW, but I could see this interesting tweak in the computer on wheels implementation.

March 17, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Is IT The Reason CEO Turnover Is So High?

A new study from the American College of Healthcare Executives reports that hospital CEO turnover increased to 20 percent in 2013, the highest rate reported since ACHE began tracking these numbers in 1981.

There are several reasons one could identify as causes for high CEO turnover, including the retirement of baby boomers and the trend towards consolidation in the industry, which may eliminate jobs.

All that being said, I believe that the most likely reason for high CEO turnover of late is the turmoil around IT, including but not limited to evaluating and buying equipment from EMR vendors, managing process changes as the EMR is installed, seeing to it that the EMR doesn’t bankrupt the hospital and more.

And then, there is a need for management to be responsible for all of the systems that feed into the EMR, and to do something with the data that they produce.

Bottom line, it’s hardly surprising that there are a record number of CEOs struggling to stay on top of the crest where IT is concerned.  And it’s also not too surprising that some CEOs, who had done very well as the responsible leader with their hands on the wheel, might be less suited to the massive changes that can occur in the wake of IT transformation.

No, in reality it’s not very surprising that this is a time of high turnover for CEOs.  When you pile on the various revolutions taking place in healthcare IT, and the need to lead your staff through them, manage them and prepare for the future, you have what might be seen as an impossible job for some CEOs. It’s not a big surprise that particularly high number of hospital CEOs are calling it a day — or having it called for them.

March 11, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Over-hyped and Under-Delivered Tech According to Hospital CIOs


This is an interesting list:
#BigData
#EHR
#Cloud
#GoogleGlass
#ACO

When you think about the future of health IT, all of these except for Google Glass are guaranteed to be a major role in health IT. The use of data in healthcare is not going anywhere. EHRs will be the foundation of health IT for a long time to come. The move to cloud computing is happening everywhere in healthcare. ACOs are heading are way and I see nothing that will do anything to stop them. Google glass is the only thing on the list that might fizzle, but what Google glass represents (always on, always connected computing) won’t go anywhere.

Does health IT have a PR image issue?

March 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.