Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Week in Review - April 30, 2009

In a report to the SAS Healthcare and Life Science Executive Conference, John Halamka contends that there are many challenges for the implementation and use of the EHR's nationally. "First, there is not a single set of standards for identifying medical information, meaning physicians, insurers, pharmacists and others involved would have trouble communicating with each other electronically... At the same time, technology needs to be developed to maximize ease of use for physicians... 'Putting servers and exchanges into doctors offices is not going to work,' Halamka said, suggesting a better model is using regional health-care information technology centers that use cloud computing systems to work with doctors."

Nothing like the threat of a pandemic... The Senate (finally) confirms Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Wall Street Journal reports that "she was sworn in hours later and quickly went to work on the swine-flu outbreak... She'll also guide a health-care overhaul that the White House and Congress are pledging to enact this year."

Joseph Conn reports on the NCVHS hearing on meaningful use. "The NCVHS got a lot more to chew on—a daylong discourse on the ills of the nation’s healthcare system and a broad overview of what role health information technology might play in healthcare reform." Article at Modern Healthcare (subscription required).

NPR's On Point features the push for e-Health records, the concerns about doctor-patient privacy and the costs to implement these systems.

Business Week features the Dubious Promise of Digitial Medicine. Business Week reports that "industry leaders are pushing expensive systems with serious shortcomings, some doctors say. The high cost and questionable quality of products currently on the market are important reasons why barely 1 in 50 hospitals has a comprehensive electronic records system..."

Diagnosis: Inaccuracy - - Boston Globe editorial on the use of billing codes as clinical content in the PHR. And a summary of editorials on electronic health records from the AMA.

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