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Bridging the Gap Between HIT Education and Workforce Development

Posted on February 29, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company’s social media strategies for Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I came across a recent article about an initiative between the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the US Dept. of Labor to “train students at community and technical colleges for health IT jobs at hospitals and clinics in rural areas.”

The struggle for rural healthcare facilities to find qualified candidates – in healthcare IT or otherwise – has been well-documented, as has the struggle that healthcare IT students face when it comes time to find a job. Prospective vendor employers typically require that job candidates have experience working with their systems, yet few make those systems available to academic institutions via internships or technology donations.

The rural health IT training program highlights specific objectives that I think would apply to health IT workforce development in any area:

  • Reach out to potential workers and employers to inform them about career pathways in health information management and technology
  • Support employers in educating potential health IT workers, which would include current staff that need training and newly recruited staff
  • Support employers in staffing health IT positions

This disconnect between academia, graduates and employers is one that I think all healthcare IT education programs are facing, no matter what area their students will eventually end up working in. Another of which I was recently made aware is the lack of communication between academic institutions and the employer community. There are several schools in my home state of Georgia that currently have HIT programs in place, but the surrounding business community is not aware some of them exist, and therefore completely overlook graduating classes full of job candidates.

The Technology Association of Georgia’s (TAG’s) Health Society is working with several area schools including Georgia Tech, Georgia Perimeter and Southern Polytechnic to help bridge this gap, and hopes to bring graduates and employers together at its HIT Job Fair on March 23rd.

In talking about the upcoming event with Deleise Lindsay, Founder and Principal of Well-Change Group and a member of TAG Health’s Board of Directors, she explained that not only do we need to make HIT job candidates and employers aware of each other, and ensure that graduates have proper training on software systems, but we must also equip them with the necessary professional skills that will make their transition into HIT that much quicker.

She highlighted three main challenges that academia and business currently face:

  • Building awareness of HIT job opportunities
  • Determining who is a viable candidate for these types of jobs – typically folks with clinical or IT backgrounds
  • Educating graduates on how to market themselves by equipping them with resume-building and networking skills

I’d love to hear from readers – job candidates, recent hires or employers – as to what you believe the secret to job hiring success is, and how you would recommend academia and employers work together to clear up this mystery.

Eric Sorenson, VP of Marketing at ChartLogic – 5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at #HIMSS12

Posted on February 28, 2012 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 time again for the next entry in our series of EHR videos called: 5 Questions with EHR Vendor executives at HIMSS 2012. In this video I ask the 5 questions to Eric Sorenson, VP of Marketing at ChartLogic.

My apologies to Eric for the lights being dimmed during the video and the loud speaker on the vendor floor coming on during the video. I guess the show floor isn’t the best place for video when it’s about to close down. Regardless of the distractions, Eric was a real professional and kept providing us good information about ChartLogic EHR.

Be sure to check out all of the 5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at HIMSS 2012 videos.

Happy 50th Birthday To Our Friend The EMR

Posted on February 27, 2012 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. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

If someone asked you how long it’s been since someone lit up an EMR, what would your guess be?  Five years?  Ten? Even 20? What if I suggested that the first EMR was installed 50 years ago in an Akron hospital?

According to IBM, the first EMR was rolled out at Akron’s Childrens Hospital in February 1962.  In Big Blue’s own words:

Though Dr. Lawrence L. Weed is credited for developing the first electronic medical record, the so-called Problem-Oriented Medical Information System (Promis), starting in 1969. But IBM, working with Akron’s Children’s Hospital, implemented a system years earlier that would be the grand-daddy of today’s EMR.

Other early players in EMR evolution included doctors at the University of Vermont, whose PROMIS system and later the POMR (problem-oriented medical record) followed in the late 1960s, as well as the Mayo Clinic. Still, it seems we may have IBM and a pioneering children’s hospital to thank for much of what we discuss so passionately here today.

By the way, it’s interesting to note that while the technology has evolved in astounding ways, the EMR as a concept hasn’t changed nearly as much.  For example, even back then execs were noting that nurses were spending far more time handling paper than they needed to (and that one patient could generate 50 forms, a number which I’d bet still hasn’t changed). It’s amazing that a problem we defined 50 years ago still defies easy solutions, but there you have it.

Meanwhile, courtesy of Scribd, check out the actual IBM press release  on the subject (typed on an oldie-but-goodie typewriter):

Twitter Activity at HIMSS12

Posted on February 26, 2012 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 most of you know, I wrote about my “Social Media Day at HIMSS 2012” over on EMR and HIPAA. There’s little doubt that social media was a huge part of my HIMSS experience. In fact, quite frankly, social media is a big part of pretty much every conference I attend these days.

One thing became abundantly clear during my use of social media at and before HIMSS. One of the very best uses of social media is to connect people or as one person once told (or likely tweeted) me “Twitter takes out that awkward first time meeting barrier.” It’s amazingly true how much easier it is for me to go up and meet someone who I’ve already interacted with on Twitter. At least then I have at a minimum a little bit of background and at a maximum I’ve shared multiple deep interactions over a long period of time across the spectrum of social media.

Although, I must admit that despite my love of Twitter, I honestly didn’t use Twitter all that much mid-conference. I was too busy meeting with people (many of whom I’d connected with before the conference on Twitter). So, I was surprised when I got the following tweet:

The link takes you to a view of the #HIMSS12 twitter traffic using a service called tweetreach. The most interesting numbers for me are that it shows the #HIMSS12 Twitter tag reached 288,980 people with 2,589,816 impressions. Then, it lists the top contributions to the reach on Twitter during HIMSS. It lists @ehrandhit with 428,222 impressions (@techguy had 19,589). That means I created 17.3% of all the Twitter impressions for HIMSS that it tracked. Not too bad.

I’m sure these numbers can be massaged a lot of different ways, but I find them quite interesting. It’s particularly interesting since I was often too busy (sadly) to tweet. Although, I did have a couple sprints during the #HITsm tweetup and a few of the keynote sessions.

No matter how you tag it, new ways for technology to bring people together are here to stay.

5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at #HIMSS12 – CEO of Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) Bruce Lisante

Posted on February 24, 2012 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 time again for the next entry in our series of EHR videos called: 5 Questions with EHR Vendor executives at HIMSS 2012. In this video I ask the 5 questions to Bruce Lisante, CEO of Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) EHR.

Be sure to check out all of the 5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at HIMSS 2012 videos.

Healthcare Needs to Pick up the Pace

Posted on February 23, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company’s social media strategies for Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

By now, I’m sure everyone has formed an impression of the HIMSS12 show. Whether you are here in Vegas, or playing along from the comfort of your office, I’m sure there’s been enough coverage for most folks to form an opinion about the events going on in Sin City.

I’ve come away with a number of opinions about the show, the organization, the healthcare industry in general, and several people in particular. I’ll share just one, brief observation with you, and not bore you for too long with an opinion you may have already read 10 times in other places (and that you also may not agree with).

The theme or “buzzword” that has resonated the most with me at this particular HIMSS has been Delay. I’ve written about healthcare’s delay before, and am seeing it as a constant topic of discussion on the show floor. Whether it’s the excruciatingly long taxi queue I waited in upon arrival, the HHS’ decision to cave and delay ICD-10; the waiting, waiting, waiting for the release of Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements; the chatter around if and when healthcare reform will be repealed; or the even more excruciating pace of trying to find any kind of connectivity at the show itself in order to make a phone call, send a text or type a tweet; it seems like the industry has decided to embrace a snail’s pace.

Now, this probably isn’t news to anyone who has worked in the industry for some amount of time. Having only been in it myself for two or three years, I am slowly coming to the realization that as much as some of the younger, start-up whipper snappers would have us believe, healthcare reform in the largest sense of the word is not going to happen overnight. There’s politics to wade through, organizational and cultural obstacles to overcome, and let’s not forget that creating and developing new healthcare IT solutions takes time. Quality outcomes can’t be improved overnight – it takes time to implement, train and adapt to new solutions, whether they’re technological in nature or not.

I heard someone at the Dell Think Tank at HIMSS12 refer to healthcare reform as being as slow as molasses, and that’s an apt description. As Americans, most of us have a mentality of “We want it and we want it now and it’s got to be perfect when we get it because we’ll settle for nothing less.” Especially where healthcare is concerned, we’ve definitely acquired a feeling of entitlement. We want the best, quickest, cheapest healthcare money can buy. And it just doesn’t work that way.

Sure, we need to be patient. That’s a given. As Dr. Farzad Mostashari said in his HIMSS12 keynote, “Change takes time.” But for many – be they the underserved, underinsured, or under-treated, time is a precious commodity. Healthcare needs to pick up its pace so that patients don’t get left out in the cold.

5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at #HIMSS12 – CEO of 4medica Oleg Bess, M.D.

Posted on 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 time again for the next entry in our series of EHR videos called: 5 Questions with EHR Vendor executives at HIMSS 2012. In this video I ask the 5 questions to Oleg Bess, M.D. the CEO of 4medica.

Be sure to check out all of the 5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at HIMSS 2012 videos.

5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at #HIMSS12 – Founder of Mitochon Dr. Andre Vovan

Posted on February 21, 2012 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 mentioned previously, I’m planning to do 5 questions with as many EHR vendor executives as possible at HIMSS12. I plan on posting at least one of these videos each day of HIMSS on EMR and EHR. Plus, each day I’ll plan on doing a HIMSS12 overview post each day on EMR and HIPAA.

First up in our 5 questions with EHR vendor executives is the Dr. Andre Vovan, founder of Free EHR software vendor Mitochon.

See more of Mitochon’s HIMSS12 Announcements on EMR News.

Be sure to check out all of the 5 Questions with EHR Vendor Executives at HIMSS 2012 videos.

Full Disclosure: Mitochon is an advertiser on EMR and EHR.

5 Questions with EHR Executives at HIMSS12

Posted on February 20, 2012 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 some of you know, I’ve toyed with videos on my site for a while now. HIMSS is definitely the place where I’ve done the most video and that will be true again this year. I decided to take a pretty simple approach to video at HIMSS12. Since a large portion of my meetings at HIMSS will be with EHR vendor executives, I thought it would be fun to ask all the EHR vendors the same 5 (I don’t mind doing more or less if they’re good questions) questions.

Since I love the idea of involving the community and kind of crowdsourcing the questions, I’m going to put a few questions out there and listen to feedback from the community on other questions I should ask or modifications to the questions which will get EHR executives to provide some useful information.

1. What differentiates your EHR today?
2. In what ways has the EHR stimulus money and meaningful use had an impact for good or bad on the EHR industry?
3. What are the top reasons why doctors are adopting EHR software?
4. What are the main reasons doctors aren’t adopting EHR software?
5. What will differentiate your EHR 5 years from now?

I’m looking forward to hearing any suggestions you have on how to improve or modify the questions. I suspect I’ll do quite a bit of editing of the questions before I start asking the questions tomorrow. Watch for the videos to be posted on this site, EMR and HIPAA, and EMR and EHR Videos.

EMR Consultant Selection Service and EHR TV

Posted on February 19, 2012 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 recently was interviewed by someone interested in helping doctors understand the various dynamics of EHR selection and in particular the impact of hugely discounted and Free EHR models on the selection process. The discussion reinforced a long held belief of mine that EHR Selection is the most important part of the EHR selection process. In fact, my final comments to her were that doctors need to take the time that’s necessary to filter through the 300+ EHR vendors out there.

A few years back I wrote an e-Book on EMR selection that I believe has provided some benefit to those selecting an EHR. In the book I suggest that you need to narrow down the number of EHR companies you’re going to look at since very very few doctors can look through all 300 EHR companies. One website I suggest in the book is EMR Consultant.

EMR Consultant is now an advertiser on this site, but I’ve been recommending the service they provide since long before they became an advertiser. It is an EMR Selection service built by a doctor for doctors. They’ve streamlined much of the process for those doctors who don’t want to go through a full analysis, but I suggest you don’t skimp on the EHR selection process. If you do the full process, EMR consultant matches against 100,000 parameters and looks over 600+ EMR listings (That’s a broad definition of EMR which is why I say about 300 full EMR).

One challenge doctors are facing today is that a whole bunch of less qualified EHR selection services have popped up and have been flooding the market. At the end of the day, that shouldn’t have that HUGE of an impact on the EHR market. Just because a selection service recommends a particular EHR doesn’t mean you have to go with that EHR. In fact, I suggest looking at about 5 EHR and if none of them fit, then look at 5 more.

The most important message is spend the time and effort necessary to select the right EHR. It will be worth the extra effort on the front end. If you’re going to rush any part of the process, don’t rush the selection.

Since I mentioned EMR Consultant, it’s worth also mentioning that one other part of the company behind EMR Consultant is a website called EHR TV. Eric, founder of EHR TV, has invested a lot of money and staff to create a really solid video product around EHR and Healthcare IT videos.

EHR TV will have a whole crew at HIMSS again this year as they’ve done the past couple years. They worked really hard to bring in some big name people they can interview on camera. I expect they’ll create some of the most interesting content for those not able to make it to HIMSS. My only complaint is that they don’t have a way I can embed some of their videos. Maybe one day they’ll open that up.

On a HIMSS note, I had my first HIMSS networking event last night and it was fantastic. This week is going to be busy but great.