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“The Current Model for Healthcare is Not Sustainable?” – Why Not?

Posted on April 23, 2018 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 heard this phrase over and over:

The Current Model for Healthcare is Not Sustainable?

It’s especially prominent on social media and at conferences. Sometimes they change the word model to costs or some other related word. The message is clear. Healthcare is screwed up and people are pissed that it costs so much. On that I agree with them in many respects. However, I don’t agree that the current model isn’t sustainable. In fact, today I saw it and asked them why it wasn’t sustainable.

No one could give me a good answer.

However, to be clear I clarified that I wasn’t suggesting that we shouldn’t try to change the current model and that we shouldn’t try to stop the crazy healthcare cost curve. I also didn’t argue with the dire consequences that will happen if we don’t change healthcare from its current model. We should do all of those things.

It’s one thing to argue that we could or should do something and quite another to say that the current trajectory is unsustainable.

Healthcare has been surprisingly good at sustaining all of its bad characteristics. In fact, in many ways the bad things in healthcare are actually incredibly profitable.

In response to my question about why the current model is not sustainable I got the following story:

I was behind a lady at CVS who decided not to get her meds because she needed to pay her electrical bill. This cannot be sustainable.

A sad story and no doubt there are hundreds more like it. It’s heartbreaking to read and something we should work to fix. However, don’t wait for the healthcare organizations to fix it. This gets a little twisted, but think it through. If that lady chooses not to take her meds, what happens? Does the doctor get paid less? No. Does the hospital get paid less? No. In fact, if she doesn’t get her meds and gets really sick, the hospital is going to make a ton of money. (Yes, I know about value based care and hospital readmissions, but that’s a small percentage of overall revenue).

I’m not suggesting that any healthcare provider goes around saying that patients shouldn’t be compliant with their medications because it would be good for their hospital business. Even I’m not that cynical. However, if we were in any industry that’s what we’d want people to do. However, in other industries if you chose not to get your medications you’d have a bad experience (ie. you’d get sicker) and then you’d want to use me less. Healthcare is the opposite. If you get sicker you use me more.

The reality is that healthcare is not a true market. Go and read Dan Munro’s book Casino Healthcare to see what I mean. Healthcare is complex and it hides its issues behind that complexity.

I’m sure that some people reading this are going to offer up some pockets and small examples where this isn’t true in healthcare. Great. We need more of that and soon. We need it because healthcare is costing our nation too much money. We need it because healthcare is costing businesses too much money. We need it because many people aren’t getting the care they need because they can’t afford it. We need it for a lot of reasons.

However, we don’t need these changes because healthcare is going to collapse if we don’t change. In fact, to paraphrase Dan Munro, most in healthcare are profiting from its dysfunction. That’s why it’s so hard to change. Sadly, I don’t see anything that tells me we’ll stop paying either. The current model is surprisingly resilient and sustainable.

Of course, that’s not to say outside forces couldn’t change things. They can and they should. Patients are paying way too much for healthcare and we should be pissed and push for change. Businesses are paying too much for healthcare and we should be pissed and push for change. Government pays more for healthcare than anyone else and they’are paying too much for it. They should be pissed and push for change.

Just don’t expect providers or even payers to disrupt themselves. They’re all enjoying a shockingly sustainable business model. IT can only do so much when it comes to solving the business model issues.

#EMRHumor – Fun Friday

Posted on April 13, 2018 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.

It’s Friday and so we often like to kick back a little and let our hair down before we enjoy the weekend. This Friday I stumbled upon a hashtag #EMRHumor. I had to see who had used the hashtag and it turned up some really old tweets and a couple pretty funny ones. I hope you enjoy!


I have no idea how this is EMR humor, but it brings up some interesting points. This makes me wonder the humorous (and possibly dangerous) things that could happen as AI starts talking with doctors in the exam room.


This tweet was from 2013. I’d like to talk with Dr. Jim Morrow now and see how he feels.


I just don’t have words for this one.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend.

How Do You See Emerging Tech Like AI and Machine Learning Improving Efficiency in Clinical Settings?

Posted on April 12, 2018 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.

The title of this post was the question that Samsung Healthcare posted to me:

Here was my knee jerk response:

At least a couple people strongly agreed including this one:

AJ is right that the tech is nearly there to do all of this. I suggested that they key is going to be the person that packages it the right way.

This is a lesson we all learned from the iPhone. Very few things within the iPhone were unique and new. It was how Apple packaged all of the components that made it special. I think it’s going to play out the same when it comes to physician documentation. All of the NLP, Voice Recognition, Machine Learning, and AI tools are out there. Everyone will have access to them, but how they’re packaged is going to make all the difference.

All of that said, I don’t see this too far off. We’re already starting to see elements of it, but the entrenched players will have a hard time doing this. They’re already getting rich off of their existing products, so they’ll continue to make incremental improvements. Some startup company is going to come along and package this all the right way and win.

Plus, let’s be clear that one of the biggest parts of the packaging will be how it transitions users from the old way of thinking to a new approach. However, once the doctor sees it in action, they’ll see it as magical. Compared to the forms they’re doing today, it will be magical.

Who do you see offering this? Are any of the EHR vendors brave enough to do this? It’s so badly needed by so many.

Telemedicine, A Lesson from Tetris, and Collaborative Overload – Twitter Roundup

Posted on April 11, 2018 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.

Twitter is full of juicy nuggets of wisdom and insight which can inspire, motivate, and educate you. That’s why occasionally we like to do a roundup of tweets which recently caught our eye. Plus, we add a little bit of our own commentary on each tweet. I hope you enjoy. This week’s Twitter roundup has some great ideas.


This is a pretty interesting way to frame telehealth. Many of the challenges described in the image above are challenges that most healthcare organizations face. Especially larger hospitals and health systems. It’s pretty shocking to see how telehealth is a great solution for many of those challenges.

The sad part of all of this is that there is still resistance to telehealth. I understand there are complex things at play in healthcare, but this seems like an obvious one. Will telehealth finally have it’s moment? Is it waiting for something to really breakthrough as main stream?


I agree that you have to enjoy anything that starts with “If Tetris has taught me anything” as well. However, his point is a great one. I think we are suffering through this in many healthcare organizations. The errors and bad choices have really piled up and now we’re in very challenging situations. Mike Tyson is insane, but he sure makes you look at things differently.


Maybe I’m the only one that hadn’t heard of collaborative overload, but I really like the concept. I also love how this assessment breaks out collaborative overload into planning, people, priorities, and being present. Does anyone else have some good reading on this topic? I’d love to learn more.

Translating from Research to Bedside

Posted on April 2, 2018 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’m increasingly interested in how we bridge the gap between research and practice in healthcare. No doubt my increased interest comes from the need to prove the value of data and technology in healthcare.

Remember that when we first started introducing EHR software into healthcare, the main goals were around billing and possibly efficiency. The former one has been a success in many aspects and the former has been a pretty big failure. However, the focus was never initially on how to improve care and the focus on billing has actually had a negative impact on care in ways that most people didn’t expect.

Now we’re seeing healthcare organizations trying to shift EHR models so that they do work to improve care. This has proven to be a challenge and it’s no doubt why many healthcare organizations are going beyond the EHR to make population health happen.

The other problem with moving into the clinical improvement space is that the bar is much higher. No one minds too much if you take risks in billing. That’s why most AI (Artificial Intelligence) is starting there as well. However, when you start dealing with the clinical aspects of healthcare, you have to take a much different approach and requires proper research of proposed ideas and methods.

Therein lies the challenge for much of the healthcare IT innovation. There’s a large gap between researchers and the bedside. This was highlighted really well by a researcher who described the challenge of translating research into medicine:

Speaker 3: The current models are not translational. We need more innovation and check out my cool data that does not address the topic.

The moderator was clearly the speaker’s past mentor as extra time was spent introducing this investigator’s novel interpretation of the topic. The introduction slide simply said NO in bold letters and the speaker launched into a TedX style talk on how these models are not translational and it is a waste of time for the Department of Defense or NIH to fund multi-team consortium to develop new relevant models. Remember, it was a panel discussion. This speaker left the panel and walked into the crowd spouting off about how translational research as it is defined would not prove useful and innovation was required to develop new therapies. In addition, replicative studies or lack of replication was moot because one can’t trust how other scientists conduct their science. As an example of innovation, studies demonstrating the effective integration of neuronal progenitor cells into the brain of a mouse model of epilepsy were shared. These studies were not done in a traumatic brain injury model, but a different model entirely. Innovative and published in a well-regarded journal, yes; translational, not likely and only time and additional studies will determine; relevant to the topic, no. Supporters of this young investigator probably called this display brave. There were no answers to be found here, only self-promotion. The presentation was not designed for discussion amongst peers, but was strategically delivered to help the investigator’s career trajectory. The song and dance number did not reflect a dedication to developing new therapies for people following a traumatic brain injury.

A successful Investigator’s Workshop speaker will address the topic using scientific data, but most importantly capture a story for the audience. Ideally, bullet points from learned experience or on which the speaker would like feedback will be shared and will foster discussion amongst the moderator, panelists, and audience members. It is an opportunity for the scientist to improve their approach as well as inform the audience.

This was an important insight to remember as we consider how to incorporate research into healthcare IT. The motivations of researchers are often not aligned with translating their research into practice. Researcher’s focus is often on career promotion, grant dollars, and publications. That’s a real disconnect between what most health IT vendors and healthcare organizations want to achieve.

Putting into Practice Today’s Innovative Technologies that Enable Healthcare Disruption

Posted on March 28, 2018 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.

As we went around the #HIMSS18 annual conference in Las Vegas, we were in search of practical innovations that hospitals and health systems could implement today. We found that in spades when we visited the Lenovo Health booth and had a chance to sit down with experts from Lenovo Health, Wyatt Yelverton and Andy Nieto.

Today’s healthcare demands organizations look for innovations and efficiencies that will help them thrive in a value based healthcare world. In the following video interview with Wyatt Yelverton and Andy Nieto from Lenovo Health, I talk with them about a wide variety of subjects and technology including: AR/VR, telehealth, and smart assistants. Along with seeing the technology, we talk about how health IT professionals can get buy in for these technologies and the impact these technologies will have on their organization.

If you’re interested in some of these practical IT innovations, you’ll enjoy this interview with two Lenovo Health experts.

What are you doing in your organization around these technologies? Are you using AR/VR, Telemedicine, or smart assistants? What have you done to get buy in from your organization to implement these technologies? If you haven’t implemented them, what’s holding you back? We look forward to hearing your thoughts on social media and in the comments.

Disclosure: Lenovo Health is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

Understanding Cloud EMPI with Shaz Ahmad from NextGate

Posted on March 21, 2018 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.

Readers of this blog have no need for me to explain the importance of an effective EMPI (Enterprise Master Patient Index) in their organization. Ensuring the right identity of your patients in disparate systems is essential to effectively running a healthcare organization from both a financial and a patient safety perspective.

While every healthcare organization knows they need EMPI, many aren’t as familiar with the new cloud EMPI options that are available on the market today. In order to shed some light on cloud EMPI, I sat down with Shaz Ahmad, VP Cloud Operations and Delivery at NextGate at HIMSS 2018 to look at the advantages and disadvantages of moving to the cloud for your EMPI. Plus, we dive into topics like the cost of cloud EMPI and security concerns some might have with a cloud EMPI solution.

If you’re looking at moving your EMPI to the cloud or wondering if you should, take a minute to watch this interview to learn more about what it means to move your EMPI to the cloud.

What’s your organization’s approach to EMPI? Are you already using cloud EMPI? Are you considering a move to the cloud? What’s keeping you from moving there? We look forward to hearing your thoughts and perspectives in the comments.

EMPI is so important in healthcare and I really like how cloud EMPI can solve a challenging problem in a simple, cost effective way for many healthcare organizations and healthcare IT vendors.

Note: NextGate is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

Shared Use Smartphones in Healthcare: Apple Losing Market Share to Healthcare Specific Devices

Posted on March 14, 2018 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.

Just before HIMSS took over my healthcare IT world, KLAS published a report on clinical mobility that I found extremely interesting. In fact, the report shaped a number of meetings I did at HIMSS. If you’re a provider or payer you can access the report for free here. However, I got permission to share a few images from the report that showed some trends worth considering when it comes to clinical mobility.

The first image is trends in shared-use smartphones in healthcare organizations.

This chart is quite fascinating as you see a big shift away from Apple devices and a big increase in the healthcare specific mobile devices like Zebra and Spectralink. Granted, Apple still has a good size market share and is still being considered by many. However, it seems that many are realizing that the Apple devices aren’t worth the premium you pay for them.

At HIMSS, I had a chance to talk with both Zebra and Spectralink and I was impressed by their efforts to make a healthcare specific mobile device. These were extremely robust devices and so it’s no wonder to me that they’re seeing good adoption in healthcare.

I’ll be continuing to watch this space to see how it evolves.

Another chart from the clinical mobility report that caught my eye was this list of most desired capabilities:

There’s no surprise that secure messaging was so high. I was a little surprised that video connections was so low. Shows you how far we have to go. Secure messaging does seem to be the gateway drug to mobile clinical devices, but I’m most excited by the other smart notifications that are going to be available. When meeting with Voalte at HIMSS I was impressed by one of their user’s observations that managing alert fatigue was easier with a unified platform. That made a lot of sense to me and it is a challenge that every healthcare organization faces.

What stands out for you in the above charts? What’s your experience with clinical mobility? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.

An HIM Perspective of What Was Shared at #HIMSS18 – HIM Scene

Posted on March 9, 2018 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.

Today is the final day of the HIMSS 2018 Annual Conference. While there are nearly 44k attendees at the conference and 1350 vendors, I didn’t meet a single HIM professional. I certainly didn’t meet all 44k attendees, but it’s safe to say that the HIM community wasn’t well represented at the HIMSS conference. It’s unfortunate because healthcare IT initiatives can really benefit from the HIM perspective.

Since many HIM professionals weren’t in attendance, I thought it would be beneficial to share some insights into trends I saw at HIMSS 2018 that could be beneficial to HIM professionals.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)
AI was the hottest topic at HIMSS 2018. It seemed like every vendor was saying that they were doing some sort of AI. Of course, many used the AI term very broadly. It included everything from simple analytics to advanced AI. In some ways, that’s corrupted the term AI, but what’s clear is that lots of companies are using data to provide insights and to automate a wide variety of healthcare work.

Another great insight I heard was that revenue cycle management and other financial areas are a great place to start with AI because they’re seen as less risky. When you’re applying AI to clinical use cases, you have to worry a lot more about being wrong. However, the consequences aren’t nearly as damaging when you’re talking about the financial side of healthcare.

Information Governance and Clean Data
At HIMSS 2018 I heard over and over the importance of having clean data. If AI was the hottest topic at HIMSS 2018, none of that AI will really matter or provide the value it should provide if the data is inaccurate and not trusted. This is why the work that HIM professionals do to ensure effective information governance is so important. It’s almost cliche to say bad data in leads to bad insights out. However, it’s cliche because it’s true. HIM needs to play an important role in making sure we have accurate data that can be trusted by AI applications and therefore the providers that receive those insights.

Texting Patients Is Not a HIPAA Violation
No doubt this will feel like news for many of you. It may even scare many HIM professionals. However, OCR Director Severino made it clear that Texting Patients is Ok. I won’t dive into the details here, but read the article by Mike Semel which outlines what was said at HIMSS 2018 in regards to texing patients.

Healthcare Chatbots
I didn’t see any healthcare chatbots that are solving HIM’s problems. However, when you look at the various healthcare chatbots out there, there’s no reason why a healthcare chatbot couldn’t do amazing things for HIM professionals. Here’s a framework for healthcare chatbots that companies should consider. What mundane tasks are well defined that could be automated by a healthcare chatbot? When you ask this question, you’ll see how chatbots are something HIM professionals should embrace. There’s a lot of mundane HIM work that could be done by a chatbot which frees them to work on the more challenging HIM issues.

Patient Access to Medical Records Is No Longer Controversial
While some specific individuals have fears related to access to medical records, it’s been proven across every type of healthcare organization that providing patients’ access to their medical records is right thing to do. The fears people have are unfounded and that patients find this extremely valuable. I heard one person say that they no longer will do visits with doctors who will not give them access to their records.

Those were some high level insights from a HIM perspective. Lots of exciting things when it comes to technology and HIM. What do you think of these changes, announcements, and trends? We’d love to hear your thoughts and perspectives in the comments.

If you’d like to receive future HIM posts in your inbox, you can subscribe to future HIM Scene posts here.

#HIMSS18 Preview with David Chou

Posted on February 28, 2018 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 subscribe to the full Healthcare Scene email list, then you probably know that for the past month we’ve been prepping for the massive HIMSS Annual Conference happening next week in Las Vegas. It’s a great place for the healthcare IT community to come together and hear what’s happening in the industry and connect with vendors. If you’re planning to go, please come and say hi at one of the Healthcare Scene Meetups at #HIMSS18.

It’s always fun to sit down before HIMSS and talk about what we expect to see at the show and what we expect not to see at the show. Then, we can go back after and see if we were right and talk about any things that surprised us. With that in mind, David Chou, Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, and I decided it would be the perfect topic for this week’s CXO Scene podcast.

If you’re going to HIMSS18, then you’ll really enjoy the video below, but even if you won’t be making the trek to Vegas, we cover a lot of topics that you might want to consider exploring in your organization if you’re not doing so already. Plus, we offer a few tips in how to make the most of HIMSS.

If you can’t make it to HIMSS or want to experience a healthcare IT focused event that’s much more intimate, take a minute to check out Health IT Expo. Health IT Expo is a conference focused on practical innovations in healthcare IT.

See everyone next week at HIMSS in Las Vegas!