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Inspiring Multidisciplinary Collaboration to Achieve Innovation – TEDMED

Posted on April 22, 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 was invited to attend TEDMED as a guest of Xerox and what an experience it was. If you missed my first post about the TEDMED experience, you’ll want to start with that post to provide some context to this one. The first day and a half that I describe in that post was a whirlwind experience and the second half of TEDMED was no different. However, the second day and a half had a bit of a different twist. It seemed to focus less on the technical side of medicine and more on its emotional and philosophical parts, but there were still a lot of lessons learned.

The reality of writing a TEDMED recap is that you could literally write about every speaker that participated and so you’re guaranteed to leave out some noteworthy talk. With that made clear, let me highlight some of the messages and people that struck me and would likely be useful to a healthcare IT crowd.

Close to the end of the TEDMED conference, Raghava KK took the stage with some really twisted perspectives on how to teach diversity and stretch your mind in new ways. This quote from his talk seemed to teach an important lesson for healthcare, “When you teach perspectives, you teach creativity.” In the insular healthcare environment, we could benefit from learning about outside perspectives. No doubt we see isolated examples of creativity in healthcare. Maybe the reason we don’t see more is because the healthcare industry needs more external perspectives.

Victor Wang from GeriJoy was a delightful person; I guess you’d need to be to start a virtual talking dog company. While his product is interesting in its own right, his approach is where we can all learn something valuable. Victor said, “We are leveraging the global supply of compassion and kindness.” I’m still trying to process the possibilities of that statement. Victor and GeriJoy are using people from around the world to share compassion and kindness with elderly people. I see an amazing untapped potential where technology has the power to deliver humanity. A talking dog is just the beginning.

Eli Beer‘s lifesaving flash mob, United Hatzalah, is something special. I loved his description of, “Not viral videos. Viral community building.” The power of community is often forgotten or left untapped.

There was an entire session of TEDMED on death. No doubt this applies to a large number of people in healthcare in a lot of different ways. Amanda Bennett offered a couple insights that seemed to capture some of the essence of the conversation including this gem, “Looking at death has taught me how to live.” Plus, if you’re interested in this topic, her discussion of patient denial is a great one. She even borrowed from software development to say, “Denial is not a bug, it’s a feature.”

Roni Zieger, Former Google chief health strategist, announced his new Smart Patients community at TEDMED. He called this and other similar communities a “network of micro experts.” Think of the power these micro experts have when put together in a network. He also pointed out a concept I’d never seen articulated before, “The biggest value isn’t in the data we can predict, it’s in the unexpected connections.” He even applied it to EHR software where he suggested that EHRs were pre-configured and therefore have a hard time seeing emergent trends. His solution, “We need systems that can reconfigure based on the context.”

Marleece Barber, chief medical officer at Lockheed Martin took us all to task when she asked, “If we can land a man on the moon, can we land your butt on a bike?”

Jessica Richman and her company uBiome are part of a growing concept around citizen science. She posed the inspiring question, “Can a citizen scientist win a noble prize?” She believes that if you can ask and answer questions, all you need are the right tools and anyone can be a scientist. I loved her idea of changing science from being a spectator sport on Discovery Channel to a sport that anyone can participate in.

Many of the concepts that Jessica described remind me of patients wanting to be more involved in their healthcare. The growing ePatient movement is a strong one and requires some really challenging shifts in culture. I’m sure I’ll be doing many posts on Jessica’s concepts in the future, but it seems that scientists have similar views to doctors. At the core of the issues to me is the belief that without years of schooling you’re not smart and can’t evaluate complex issues. I don’t want to understate the value of education, but we also shouldn’t understate the value of micro experts (to steal Roni Zieger’s term). They can both have a place in the process and working together they can be much more than the sum of their parts.

Two of the most heartwarming and inspiring presentations were Charity Tillemann-Dick and Sue Austin. Charity, the recipient of two double lung transplants, is a soprano opera singer who performed an aria for us. Her story of survival and drive to live is beautiful. Her message of organ donation is an important one, but her ability to inspire you to battle anything in life is priceless.

Sue is a scuba diver, but she does so in a wheel chair. Instead of trying to explain it, watch one of her other TED talks including a video of her scuba diving.

Martin Hoffman tweeted something that summed up TEDMED quite well, “Inspire multidisciplinary collaboration to achieve innovation.” I’d say that goal was accomplished for many.

Read more coverage from TEDMED from Xerox on the Real Business at Xerox Blog and follow @XeroxHealthcare.

Medical Apps, $21 Billion EMR Market, and Sick of EMR

Posted on April 21, 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.


This is a pretty interesting idea and another way to talk about subjects we’ve talked about many times here. The idea of an app in this case is an app on top of EMR software. I call this making the Smart EMR. It will likely come from these apps. The article is right that many of the data warehouses are clunky and don’t serve the doctors. In fact, there are very few data warehouses focused on the doctors needs at all.


The last EMR incentive numbers I saw were at $10 billion. Does that mean the government has funded half of the market? These numbers are always a little fishy, but it’s interesting to consider how big the EMR market is.


I actually know a lot of doctors who love their EMR and wouldn’t practice medicine without one. What I think most doctors are tired of is all the government regulations. We shouldn’t confuse government regulations with EMR.

Study: Open Source On A Growth Path In Healthcare

Posted on April 19, 2013 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.

A new survey has concluded that open source software has reached a high enough maturity and quality level to attract users in formerly commercial settings.  The study, the seventh annual “Future of Open Source Survey,” has concluded that open source software is rapidly changing the way organizations inside and outside of healthcare do business, according to Open Health News.

More than 800 respondents participated in the survey, which is backed by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software, including both vendor- and non-vendor representatives.

Researchers found that healthcare users, as well as those in government and media, are increasingly swayed to use open source, thanks to advantages in collaboration, transparency and speed, Open Health News reports.

There’s indications that healthcare players are willing to embrace the technology — and by extension the open source development community — in the data gathered by the survey. Over the next two to three years, 15 percent of respondents said health and science would be most affected by open source software trends.

Generally speaking, cutting across healthcare and non-healthcare industries, respondents seemed willing to embrace open source’s challenges if it met their needs.  When choosing open source software over proprietary solutions, 45 percent of respondents chose technical capabilities and features as important, while only 12 percent chose commercial vendor support as an important buying criterion.

Another broad trend which emerged was that open source buyers were becoming convinced that open source solutions were of high quality; in fact, quality jumped from third place to first as a reason to adopt open source software. Freedom from vendor lock-in came in at second place in in the list.

Another very interesting observation, cutting across industries, was that lower costs, big data and systems integration were the top three business problems open source software is solving.  I can certainly see those as advantages healthcare needs to leverage, don’t you?

User Experience is Hot HIT Topic with Good Reason

Posted on April 18, 2013 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.

User experience in the world of healthcare IT has never been a hotter topic. It seems not a day goes by that I don’t come across an article, blog, tweet, or outright rant regarding the state of user friendliness, especially with regard to EMRs. (Who can forget the American Medical Association’s note earlier this year to Farzad Mostashari, peppered with complaints about physician usability of EMRs?) I see plenty of negative coverage around the topic – plenty of folks like to have a soapbox to stand on, after all.

I don’t, however, see enough coverage devoted to businesses and providers working to make the backlash better. Surely there are unsung heroes out there in the world of HIT UX that are at their drawing boards right now, attempting to take the sting out of those extra clicks, and listening with bated breath to providers’ complaints and praises.

I came across one such story in New Orleans a few months ago, where, like many of you, I tried to successfully drink from the fire hose (bottled water, actually) that was HIMSS13. I was able to sate my thirst for good UX news at the PointClear Innovation Awards breakfast, which honored a select group of the company’s clients for their work in the realm of user experience.

McKesson took home top honors this year, and while I had some knowledge of their work in the area, I didn’t realize how great of an emphasis they have placed on making sure their healthcare IT solutions are used in the most optimal way for the best possible patient outcomes.

“The big dynamic we are trying to tackle is around critical decision makers,” explains Bobby Middleton, Executive Director, Enterprise Intelligence Product Management at McKesson. “Through experience with our customers and continued research, it is becoming very obvious that our healthcare leaders are often put in a position to make critical decisions without pertinent, relevant and timely information.

“Our Enterprise Intelligence solutions are all geared around providing the right information to the right person at the right time,” he adds. “Our User Experience research is being used to make sure the targeted offering we are delivering via these solutions help a specific set of critical decision makers make the right decision. It is going great so far, and really allowing our technology teams to connect with their end consumers.”

I wonder if we’ll start to see more positive publicity of efforts like McKesson’s, especially as Stage 2 draws closer, more and more providers consider switching to more mature EMRs, and next year’s predicted influx of the newly insured start to clamor for greater digital engagement options and price transparency. One less click or toggle may just make all the difference when it comes to quality patient care.

Meaningful Use Attestations With Faked Vendor Info?

Posted on April 17, 2013 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.

When providers attest to Meaningful Use Stage 1 compliance, they have to identify the vendor whose EMR they used. But what if a large number of providers were faking this step in an effort to get incentive money that they don’t deserve?  That would be a lot of fraud, no?

Well, according to one vendor CEO, this could be happening on a large scale. Mike Jenkins, CEO of cloud-based vendor BuildYourEMR.com, reports that after going over CMS data on Meaningful Use, he found that a whopping 74 percent of providers who attested to using his company’s technology were not his customers.

Jenkins points out that if fraud were actually this common, a full $5.4 billion of the $7.6 billion paid out to providers would have been paid out in error. He admits that there could be something wrong with the CMS data, or that providers selected his company’s product name by accident, but concedes that it’s possible attestation fraud is more common than we think.

I’m not telling you this to suggest that the Meaningful Use program is riddled with fraudulent activity.  I’m doubful, in fact, that even a fraction of providers would dare incur the wrath of Medicare by making such a traceable error, much less consciously try to rip the incentive program off.

This does suggest, however, that more healthcare IT people should take a look at the CMS data and go over it themselves, especially EMR vendors. While there may not be a hailstorm of fraud going on, something may be seriously amiss in how CMS collects data or how providers report on their attestation.  It’d definitely be good to get ahead of any pending troubles with CMS, for sure.

5 Reasons to Be A Health IT Blogger

Posted on April 16, 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.

Allison sent out the nice tweet above which links to a blog post talking about 5 reasons to blog:

  • You’re Creating a Personal Brand
  • Become A Keyword Search
  • Networking Made Easy
  • Demonstrate Your Skills
  • Learn While You Blog

All of these are great reasons to blog. Allison is also mostly talking about blogging as a way to find a new job. This is really valuable. I know since I’ve gotten a lot of job offers thanks to my blog. In fact, I can attribute every job I’ve had since college to the websites that I’ve created. Having created something and shown some entrepreneurial spirit was what set me apart from other candidates in the interview process. In one case it also helped me overcome the challenge of having no healthcare experience.

For me, the two most important things on the list is to connect with people and learn. Blogs have an amazing way of opening up doors of opportunity to meet new people. I’ve met hundreds of people virtually and in person because of my blogs. It’s my favorite part of blogging.

When you blog, you can learn so much. First, if you want to write a blog post about something, you better be educated on the topic. Second, if you write about a topic you’re not as familiar with, then readers of your blog will be happy to educate you in the comments. Yes, sometimes the education comes with a stiff price (some people are just brutal in the comments), but sometimes that’s part of the learning as well.

I know that blogging isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t have the discipline to be able to do it. Doing it consistently definitely takes discipline. However, everyone could benefit from sharing their experiences and knowledge on a blog.

Healthcare Doesn’t Do Big Data Yet…It Does BI

Posted on April 15, 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.

It seems like healthcare big data is the topic du jour lately. Everyone seems interested in how they can tap into the big data in healthcare. I’m not sure what’s caused the flood of healthcare big data people. I expect that some of it comes from the rush of EHR implementations that have happened thanks in large part to the EHR incentive money. I imagine there’s a whole group of hospital CIO’s that are wondering how they can leverage all of that EHR data to benefit their institution and patients.

I think it’s great that healthcare has finally seemed to realize that there’s a lot of value found in healthcare data. The problem is that in every other industry, what we call healthcare big data isn’t very big data at all. In fact, most other industries would describe most of the healthcare data efforts as pretty simple business intelligence. Yes, there are pockets of exceptions, but most of the data initiatives I’ve seen in healthcare don’t even approach the true meaning of the words big data.

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with this. In fact, I loved when I met with Encore Health Resources and they embraced the idea of “skinny” healthcare data. Maybe it was a way for them to market their product a little different, but regardless of their intent they’re right that we’re still working on skinny data in healthcare. I’d much rather see a bunch of meaningful skinny data projects than a true healthcare big data project that had no results.

Plus, I think this highlights the extraordinary opportunity that’s available to healthcare when it comes to data. If all we’re doing with healthcare data is BI, then that means there is still a wide open ocean of opportunity available for true big data efforts.

I think the biggest challenges we face is around data standards and data liquidity. Related to data standards is the quality of the data, but a standard can often help improve the data quality. Plus, the standard can help to make the data more liquid as well.

Yes, I’m sure the healthcare privacy experts are ready to raise the red flag of privacy when I talk about healthcare data liquidity. However, data liquidity and privacy can both be accomplished. Just give it time and wait for the healthcare data revolution to happen.

NY Patient Portal Prototypes and Voting

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.

The NYeC has put together a patient portal design challenge to provide the best patient portal for New Yorkers. It’s a pretty cool challenge and they have 14 prototypes that are participating in the current voting. I’ve copied an email that contains more info on the challenge and the voting, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to be able to see a number of different companies approaches to a patient portal. I wonder if some EMR companies will hire the portal designers directly.

As you may know, the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) is building the Patient Portal for New Yorkers—a statewide website where New Yorkers will be able to securely access their healthcare records.

To create the most user-friendly portal design possible, NYeC hosted a design challenge earlier this year, calling on designers and developers to submit prototypes of what the portal should look like. Now they’re are asking the public to vote on the designs!

And now they want to hear from you—help shape the future of healthcare in New York State byvoting today.

After the public voting period ends on April 23rd, the top 10 finalists will be invited to demonstrate their prototypes to a panel of judges and a larger audience at 2 events: April 30th in New York City and May 2nd in Buffalo. You are invited to attend. As a result of these events, first, second, and third place will be awarded, concluding the design challenge.

To learn more about portal, vote, and to register, visit: http://PatientPortalforNewYorkers.org/

Secure Text and Email, Smartphone Physicals, and EMR Documentation – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on April 14, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

There are so many types of mHealth apps and devices out there, it was inevitable that someone would try to have them work together. At TEDMED 2013, Shiv Gaglani and a team of physicians-to-be will be presenting the “smartphone physical.” Are these types of visits closer to becoming a reality than we may have realized?

One of the amazing technologies that have been developed is a smartphone that measures vitals — maybe this will be used in smartphone physicals someday! The Fujitsu Smartphone analyzes subtle changes in blood flow and determines vital signs, all by the user taking their photo with the phone’s camera. It goes to show that you don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to have incredible mHealth technology.

While some are concerned about the safety of email and texting for healthcare communication, it’s becoming a way of the future. Companies such as Physia and docBEAT are working specifically to make email and texts more secure. So which one is better? Both have their pros and cons – texting is quick and to the point, while email can take more time. Which would you rather receive?

Most doctors will agree, the current documentation options that EMRs offer are frustrating. There’s just too much clicking. However, the tide is shifting and it is very possible full keyboards will be needed. And the need for point of care EMR documentation will be more necessary than ever before.

With the current budget proposal by President Obama, EMR vendors might be impacted significantly. The ONC is suggesting that health IT vendors pay up to $1 million in fees. With the upcoming expiration of the ONC’s $2 billion appropriation from ARRA, the agency is needing some new funds. It also would help maintain ONC’s Certified Health IT Product List. Of course, vendors will not be happy to hear this news.

Pay-for-Play Interoperability, Texting in Healthcare, and Health IT Conferences – #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on April 13, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Topic One: Is “pay-for-play” interoperability going to derail CommonWell’s goal of building an industry-wide, interoperable framework?

Topic Two: Will texting in health care become a main driver of #patientengagement? Are iOS iMessage texts HIPAA compliant?

Topic Three: Experts claim data breaches are inevitable for health systems. Agree? What can be done NOW to minimize #healthIT security risks?

Topic Four: What’s the next-best #healthIT event/conference you’re attending? Are there other health IT topics that deserve their own event?