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Marc Probst Takes Aim at Meaningful Use in Interview at CHIME

Posted on November 6, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the must read interviews coming out of the CHIME Fall Forum is Mark Hagland’s interview with Marc Probst. We know that Marc Probst had a growing dissatisfaction with meaningful use after he said he would love to kill meaningful use during National Health IT Week. He keeps on that same trajectory during this great interview by Mark. Although, I think Marc is just representing the feelings of many hospital CIOs.

Here are a few excerpts of the interview for those who don’t want to read the whole thing:

So what is meaningful use for you, as an IT pioneer?

Well, it’s a pain in the neck! We believe we were already some of the most meaningful users, in the broader sense of the term, in healthcare IT, prior to the meaningful use program. But meaningful use has imposed rigid functions that you have to do, and I don’t think it’s added any additional value to what our clinicians do, but only to add tasks. So it hasn’t been all that helpful. I sit on the [federal] IT Policy Committee, so I have a little to do with meaningful use, but nonetheless, it hasn’t been [satisfying].

Nice to see that Marc Probst is taking a little bit of accountability for meaningful use. Although, if you’ve ever sat on a committee you know that you can only do so much if the committee is against you. I think the thoughts above are the opinions of many in healthcare. Although, this simple quote from Marc Probst sums up what many would like to see done:

“I honestly think we should now declare victory and move on.”

Although, Marc Probst also offers this sobering reality that many healthcare CIOs will face:

But I think that a fair number are going to say, look, if I haven’t done it this year, I’ll get the penalties anyway if I haven’t yet attested to Stage 2. I think many will focus instead on ICD-10 and data security, because meaningful use is so frustrating and they don’t control the variables; and security, they can control some of the variables. And the penalties are much harsher for breaches than for meaningful use failure.

I’ve never seen someone compare the meaningful use penalties with the penalties for breaches. It’s a very interesting comparison. However, they are hard to compare since the meaningful use penalties are guaranteed to happen if you don’t attest to MU. The breach penalties only happen if you have a breach occur…or I should say if you have a breach occur and you realize it happened (or get caught). That’s likely why more people are concerned with the meaningful use penalties than security and privacy in their organization.

I think this type of sentiment about meaningful use will grow stronger and be heard from more areas of the country. Marc Probst and Intermountain are really powerful figures in the healthcare community. No doubt, Marc’s decision to speak out on this subject will embolden many others to do the same.

Go and read the rest of Mark Hagland’s interview with Marc Probst. Many more good perspectives in the full interview. I’m glad that people like Marc agree with me that we should Blow Up Meaningful Use and focus on interoperability.

When Did You Last Job Shadow a Doctor?

Posted on November 4, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

My brother is a really good programmer and I always gain a lot of insight into the software and tech world from him when we sit down and talk (which isn’t often since our wives don’t appreciate us enjoying ourselves like that, but I digress). One of the things he told me about developing an application or website is that it’s really hard to know the user’s response to the website. What might seem completely obvious to the maker (designer, programmer, etc), might be completely different from how a new user to the website or application sees it.

This makes common sense once you think about it. When you’re creating the application, you spend so many hours working on it that the layout and location of things are embedded into your brain in a way that it just feels natural to know where to go to find something. New users don’t have this same training embedded into their brain and so they look for very different things.

My brother suggested to me that one of the best ways to solve this challenge is to sit back and watch a user use your program or website. The insights you can glean from the experience are amazing. The great part is that it’s not a hard thing to do either. It takes a little self control to sit back and let them “solve” their problem on their own, but it’s well worth it.

I heard something similar from a CIO at the CHIME Fall Forum last week. They said that they regularly had their tech people shadow a doctor. They then recounted how shadowing a doctor was so valuable since their analysts could see first hand how the workflows they’ve embedded into the system aren’t working effectively for the doctor. You can see first hand how the doctor flips and flops between 3 screens over and over again and how the workflow would be so much more effective on one screen.

You can’t expect your users to report the issues above. First, they are able to accomplish the task, so it doesn’t feel like a system deficiency. Second, they’d have to know that a change like that was possible. Third, most of them are too busy to actually report this type of issue to IT so it can be resolved.

This is why shadowing a doctor (and let me add nurse) is so valuable. You get to see first hand what’s happening and find specific ways you can make your users’ lives better. Plus, it has the added value of showing those doctors and nurses that you care. Sitting in the trenches with these doctors and nurses is a powerful indicator that you want to know what’s going on and care enough to be there with them to see it first hand. Although, don’t ruin that benefit by shadowing the doctor and then doing nothing. Make sure you learn from the experience, make the change, and then communicate the change back to the users.

Looking forward to the CHIME Fall Forum

Posted on October 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to the CHIME Fall Forum. It’s the premiere meeting of healthcare CIOs. I love the opportunity to sit down with CIO’s and talk about what’s happening with them. The event is in San Antonio, so let me know if you’ll be there so we can meet and say hi.

I think the topics are going to be pretty predictable at the event. I’m sure there will be plenty of meaningful use and ICD-10 discussions, but I think that analytics and what they’re doing with it will also be extremely popular. I’m also interested to hear what people are doing as far as security and privacy. Things like the Bash vulnerability were a major deal and I’ll be interested to see if people really dealt with it appropriately. I’m afraid I’ll meet some who ask me what vulnerability I’m talking about. That will be sad, very sad.

What do you think are the hot topics in healthcare IT? I’m interested to know if these hospital CIOs can focus on anything but the regulatory related projects. If they are, I’ll be interested to hear what projects they are taking on next. Are they doing secure text messaging? Are they focused on revenue cycle? What about patient engagement?

The battle to stay on top of everything that’s happening in healthcare IT never ends. I’ll be interested to hear where the battle is heading next. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Fall 2014 Health IT Conference Schedule

Posted on September 29, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Going to my third conference in a week must mean that we’re in the heart of Fall health IT conference season. This week I’m at AHIMA. I love attending AHIMA. I think that the AHIMA conference is a bit like HIM staff in general. There this hidden gem that many people don’t recognize even though they have tremendous value. I feel the same at this conference. The HIM staff at AHIMA have some really great perspectives on what’s happening with healthcare IT in their organization. I don’t think it’s a must attend event for everyone, but it’s great for a blogger like me to get a variety of perspectives on the healthcare IT industry.

This is really just the start of the conference season for me. I always get asked by people which conferences they should attend. In fact, my breakfast meeting this morning with a new to healthcare vendor this morning had a lot of discussion about which health IT conferences they should attend. For those interested in this same question, I’ve created a page which lists the Health IT Conferences I’m attending and also a look at some of the major health IT conferences that happen every year.

As I’ve talked to people, I’ve realized there are a few other events that I need to add to the list. I like to joke with people that if I wanted to I could attend a different health IT event every day of the week. Although, that’s not really much of a joke since it’s basically true.

What events do you attend? Which ones do you find most valuable?

From a hospital IT perspective, the CHIME Fall Forum is the tops for me. The Digital Health Conference is good and hospital CFO’s should hit the Craneware Summit. Then, of course, HIMSS is a great place for hospital IT people, but that’s not until April 2015.

I’m looking forward to all these conferences. They provide me a lot of perspective which I use in all of my blog posts. If you’re going to be at any of the events, let me know. I always love to meet readers in person.

Not available on the App Store

Posted on April 29, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Had anyone else seen these stickers? I thought they were awesome and a great reminder that not everything can be solved with technology. As literally @techguy on Twitter, this might sound a bit odd coming from me. However, I’ve often said that I think technology can make almost everything better, but that doesn’t mean it should.

In the healthcare IT world, you could solve a problem with technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best solution. In many cases the solution is something much simpler. For example, sometimes you have to trust people. It’s a scary idea for many leaders, but it’s something I’ve seen in the very best organizations. They build a culture of trust that’s incredibly powerful. It’s amazing how many things become simpler when you have trust.

Back to the original picture at the top. I’m reminded of this beautiful story Allison Massari recounted at the CHIME CIO Forum at HIMSS this year. At one point in her story Allison recounted how she was laying in the hospital bed in incredible pain (for those not familiar she had a huge portion of her body burned in a car accident). A nurse came into her room and after seeing Allison realized the extreme pain she was going through. Allison recounted that the nurse stopped what she was doing, gently took her hand and spent a moment with her consoling her.

I love technology as much as the next, but there’s no app that looks into someone’s eyes and sees their pain. There’s no app that will stop and hold your hand and console you.

HIMSS CIO Forum

Posted on February 11, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you’re in the hospital space and you don’t know about the 2014 CIO Forum at HIMSS, then you’re really missing out. The event is put together by CHIME and HIMSS and it is one of the largest group of hospital CIO’s that you will find anywhere. The only place that might have more hospital CIOs is the CHIME Fall Forum. Imagine a ballroom full of the top hospital healthcare IT leaders and that’s the CIO Forum at HIMSS.

Sadly I won’t be arriving until late on Saturday and so I’ll miss the opening reception, but I’m definitely planning to stop by the Sunday sessions after I take care of my church duties (which during HIMSS is ironically a fun place to meet HIMSS attendees). Sunday they have a list of speakers, but the biggest value is being able to connect and learn from the hospital CIOs.

As I posted about today on EMR and EHR, I love the social media at HIMSS, but I also love the experience at the CIO Forum.

Wow..this sounds like a big sales pitch. Well, I have no reason to pitch it. I just thought some readers might not know about it and be interested. Plus, if any of you are attending as well, I’d love to meet you. It’s certainly become an important part of my time at HIMSS.

Let me know what other parts of HIMSS you’re looking forward to attending. I’ve mostly put off my schedule for now, but in the next couple days I’m going to start scheduling it all out. Any feedback or suggestions are certainly welcome.

Should Health IT Consulting Companies Do Software?

Posted on December 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with a lot of the top health IT and EHR consulting companies out there today. I imagine this is partially a result of attending the CHIME Annual Forum and also bringing the Healthcare IT Central’s job board into the Healthcare Scene network. Either way, I’ve been intrigued by all the various approaches that healthcare IT consulting companies take.

In one of my conversations, someone suggested to me that if a health IT consulting company does software and consulting, then it angers the health IT software vendors. On its face you can see where this could be a challenge. In some cases it can turn a consulting company into a competitor with the software company. I think there’s a nuanced way to approach this that can avoid the issue in many cases, but no doubt it takes a unique leader with a special vision to handle the balance.

In another conversation with Ivo Nelson we were discussing his software and consulting company. I asked him why he had two companies with practically the same name and addressing much of the same market area. He then told me that it was because he believed that it was really hard to have a software company and a consulting company under the same roof. As we talked more I realized that the real challenge is that if you try and do both, one of them becomes the red-headed step child that doesn’t get enough attention (nothing against red heads or step children since I love them both).

What do you think? Can a consulting company also be a software vendor? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.

Hospital CIO Challenges at CHIME13

Posted on October 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those who haven’t discovered my new EHR video website, you should go check it out now and sign up for it’s email list. I’ll be doing regular interviews with some of the top healthcare IT leaders in the country. I think many of you will enjoy it.

This week however, I knew I’d be at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum and so I decided to twist things up a little and have our very own Anne Zieger interview me about what I’d seen and heard at CHIME. We talk a lot about the challenges hospital CIOs face when it comes to meaningful use, ICD-10, HIEs and changing reimbursement. I think you’ll enjoy the insights that are shared. Enjoy the video embedded below (please excuse the poor lighting, but maybe that’s better since it’s me on camera).

Also, let us know if there are other people you’d like to see us interview. We’re always interested in hearing our readers/viewers thoughts on where we should take it.

Honoring Government Furloughs

Posted on October 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

With so many government employees on furlough today, I thought I’d honor them by doing the same on this blog. At ONC, only 4 people were not furloughed. That’s amazing. Should we feel bad for those 4 that are still at work?

Next week I’ll be at CHIME most of the week. So, this cartoon about the government sequestration (which caused similar issues to the furloughs) seemed appropriate. If you’ll be at CHIME 2013, I hope you’ll say Hi.
Government Furlough Cartoon

Big Data, Predictive Analytics Priorities For Healthcare Organizations

Posted on August 16, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Leveraging big data and healthcare analytics are key initiatives for C-suite healthcare executives, but barriers to making progress still remain, according to an item in iHealthBeat.

According to a survey by the eHealth Initiative and the College of Health Information Management Executives, about 80 percent of CIOs and other C-suite healthcare executives see big data and predictive analytics use as important goals for their organizations, iHealthBeat reports.

But it won’t come easy. In fact, 84 percent of respondents said that implementing these strategies and tools are a challenge for their organization. And only 45 percent said they had a plan in place to manage the growing volume of electronic data.

The survey, which questioned 102 executives in May and June, found that 90 percent of respondents used analytics for quality improvement, 90 percent used analytics for revenue cycle management, and 66 percent used analytics for fraud prevention. Also, 82 percent of survey respondents said that population health management is important to their analytic strategy.

Meanwhile, 82 percent of those responding said that health information exchange is important, according to iHealthBeat.

As for data sources, administrative- and claims-based data were most used, at 77 percent and 75 percent respectively. Eighteen percent of respondents’ staff were trained to handle the data, and 16 percent used third-party organizations to overcome staff shortages for data analysis.

Despite execs’ enthusiasm for big data/predictive analytics use, however, significant obstacles remain to rolling out such programs, iHealthBeat reports.  According to a separate CIC Advisory survey, budget strain and lack of needed skills is delaying the use of analytics at many healthcare organizations.

According to that survey, building an enterprise analytics system is held back by the difficulty of integrating different analytic systems. Moreover, most organizations don’t have a dedicated analytics or business intelligence team, and many rely on outside analytics consultants.

All of that being said, it seems guaranteed that hospitals and other healthcare organizations will eventually find a way to leverage big data. Healthcare organizations expect to keep ramping up their spending on data discovery and predictive analytics in coming months and years, research suggests.

In the mean time, however, there’s a ton of work to do, staff to be hired and trained and integration to be done. It’s going to be an uphill battle.