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Meaningful Use-Time To Investigate Beyond Proof of Concept and Half Baked Technologies, A Security Reality Check

Posted Feb 18 2011 2:10pm

Half baked is a lot of what we are getting out there today.  Everyone in different aspects of Health IT has their own special interest and some of these areas are not playing very well with other technologies.  Take a look and think about why in the world do we have so many electronic medical record systems.  Sure image there’s room for open competition but everyone thinks they have the best mouse trap out there.

On the other side of the coin you have the folks chasing the ACO and they can’t understand why everyone is not just jumping all over this.  Certainly it’s a good concept but again with a reality check they all have a ton of other issues on their plates, some of which are day to day data operations that can’t be back burnered either, so the ACO folks better sit back and wait a while until your efforts can be addressed and worked into the entire scheme.  There are a ton of vendors with software applications to help you there and they too are all “marketing their asses off” to make a buck, it is what it is today

Many of those outside the Health IT business have no clue of the work and data structures entailed to make this work, and the same can be said for most consumers as they see something on the web they want it today.  Hold on to your hats folks as all of this is not going to happen. Keep in mind those CIOs having a big stake in this too are also consumers and patients so they are looking after your best interest after all, so don’t feel that you are neglected.  When it comes to healthcare, we are all consumers. 

I can easily reflect back to when I was writing code and the days that I thought I had designed the best and what I thought was the most efficient and easy to use screens for data entry and viewing.  So I compiled and created the update only to find out that for the doctor’s, it sucked.  That would lead to another level of conversation as perhaps they did like part of the design and thus I would go back to the drawing board and create a compromise and sometimes this doesn’t happen just once, it may occur many times over before the desired solution occurs. 

Sure everyone wants to be on the wagon for their stimulus money and if I were a doctor I would be right in there too, but again, when you look at this huge moving target today in healthcare, you can’t push too much out there too fast.  Stop and think about what’s happening at the FDA?  Does this impact care, sure it does and they are working on major IT infrastructure upgrades as fast as they can.  Is this having an impact on over all medical records, clinical trials and other data systems?  It sure does, so again ACO guys hang on and wait a while until this element gets structured in there as the Docs want their stimulus money first, I would. 

Let’s talk about cloud data functionality.  Does this impact medical records?  It sure does and even gets more complicated when you have lawmakers that don’t understand it and don’t fund it in the Senate which I call a big “duh” moment from last year.  You know these luddites at times that we elect make the laws and we have to deal with their “non participant” statures and soap operas at times in Washington so we sit back and see what in the world they do next.  It’s who we elected and what we have to deal with as far as laws and regulations.  We all wish they would educate themselves up a few levels, but what power do we have if they don’t?  We can vote them out or recall, but do we have another luddite waiting in the reins? 

Consumers get beat up right and left in the news about digital literacy and this just doesn’t seem fair when there’s luddites at the top and at the bottom. 

HS National Plan to Improve Health Literacy – Not Going To Happen Until We Focus on Using Technology (The Tool for Literacy) Which Includes Role Models at HHS And Other Places in Government

Back in December I attended this convention to just chat and gather information for my own knowledge and it was an eye opener as various panels came together and answered questions, asked questions and so on.  I asked a few questions, and some a bit complicated to see what the answers would be and I did this not to put anyone on on the spot but to more or less see where folks were coming from and how they were dealing with this big moving target.  I got my answers and it was about what I expected.  I did not get “bad” answers at all but most were pretty much information offered based on a “work in progress” knowledge base, which is about the best you can expect and there’s a lot of good things happening. 

Bottom line is it took years to create all the complicated systems we have out there today and it’s going to take a few more years to help everyone communicate.  You simply can’t jump on every band wagon that rolls along, but it’s wise to take a look and see what’s in there and then base an evaluation or opinion.  Again, remember too there’s getting to be a pretty fine line today between marketing and education and that gets really blurred at times. 

We can move over to the social networking side of healthcare next.  There are many good tools to be used and use them wisely so you benefit.  I do have to just laugh at times though when I see these screaming rhetorics  on who’s not using it well and what they should be doing. I think when folks run out of things to chat about we get a load of those types of posts on blogs, etc. and what’s even funnier at times is when you see everyone repeating them, enough of the judgmental stuff and get back to basics and use social networks to enhance your education and skills and quit telling everyone else what they should do and focus on your own back yard.  Try to figure out who’s offering education and who’s just flat out marketing you and that’s not always simple these days. 

Last but not least, go visit a practice, a hospital and ask questions and learn up and see how they are functioning with adding new technologies into the every day business of running their business.  I think the folks at CHIME are making a pretty good point here about holding off on the “proof of concept” part of Meaningful Use as we have not made it past part one yet that is now in play.  When you are in an office studying and looking at systems, they all look great, but don’t forget the implementation part of this and how much time the CIO and clinicians have to dedicate, as they still do have to care for patients and can’t devote the same amount of time to software that you do. 

With all the complicated data systems today it doesn’t seem that we are making it any easier for the clinicians any time soon although some places do a lot better at this than others.  No wonder Dr. Blumenthal wants to go back to Harvard <grin>.  I say this in jest because the pressure is phenomenal and I understand this and the same holds true when I wrote about burning out the CIOS to people at these levels too. 

In doing this blog I certainly get tired of looking at what I call half baked technologies out there and think everyone is nuts when they keep using the word innovation, as we have nothing but innovative people out there with stuff emerging every day.  What we don’t do very well is collaborate.  As I said a few months ago it’s fouling up our systems and I have a lot of folks agree with that.

 Innovation brings us half baked technologies, collaboration finishes the task.

So back on track when you think about phase two of meaningful use think about all the other “proof of concepts” laying around out there since Meaningful Use was created and look for some real collaborative efforts instead of the half baked innovation stuff that fills the news today.  Give the CIOs and others in healthcare a break and understand this takes time to evolve.  This evolution holds true in other industries outside of healthcare too but nowhere else is is more critical. 

You think you can have it all today with accurate data and high performing systems, think again as every concept and innovation is not the great white hope today.  Security in my book has to come before a lot of other Health IT technologies and thus some feature functionalities will have to take a back seat until more emphasis is given to secure what we have.  Check out this well done video below on what can happen and has happened with security and even though is this is not healthcare, you will get the picture.  BD

ANN ARBOR, MI – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), with 1,400 CIO members, is urging the government to allow hospitals and physician practices more time to assess Stage 1 progress and to better prepare for Stage 2 meaningful use objectives.

CHIME submitted its comments on Stage 2 meaningful use objectives Thursday.

Meaningful use measures and objectives for Stage 2 should reflect the capabilities and experiences of hospitals and physicians to handle the scope of Stage 1 before any measures for the second stage are codified, CHIME contends

"Although most CIOs take the lead in deploying and encouraging optimization of information systems, our primary goal is to help introduce and manage change in our organizations," said David Muntz, chair of CHIME's Advocacy Leadership Team (pictured at right). "The change management implications of our current environment have never been greater, hence, our interest in finding certainty and practicality whenever possible. Even well-intended efforts must recognize that the staff and physicians need a clear vision of the future and time to absorb and adjust to the changes."

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