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Preview Videos of HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas

Posted on February 29, 2016 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 got a unique chance to get an early preview of some of the HIMSS 2016 Annual conference and talk to a number of the people behind the HIMSS conference. Check out these videos to learn a bit more about what to expect at the HIMSS Annual conference and highlights of a few areas and sessions you might not know about. Plus, you get a great look at the HIMSS 2016 keynote area.

HIMSS Spot Activities and HIMSS Social Media

The HIMSS “Living Room”

HIMSS Keynote Stage and a Preview of HIMSS Sessions

Finding Patient and Connected Health Sessions at HIMSS

No,The Patient Isn’t Disrupting Your Workflow!

Posted on February 26, 2016 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.

Just recently, I had a personal experience which highlighted a serious problem in how hospital staffers handle health IT workflow.

The backstory is as follows. I was dispatched to the emergency department of a local mid-sized community hospital after complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. (Turned out it was an asthma attack, not a cardiovascular complication, but the on-call doc I spoke with wasn’t taking any chances.)

This hospital ED seems efficient and well-run. Moreover, the clinicians and techs are uniformly attentive, thorough and patient. In other words, I feel safe and well-cared-for there.

That being said, I had a few experiences during this ED visit which I suspect are endemic to the industry. No one of these issues seemed serious in and of themselves, but collectively they gave me the sense that my feedback on what I observed wasn’t welcome.

They included the following:

  • When I called attention to the fact that my blood pressure reading was unusually low (80/60) they dismissed the data as a blip and discouraged further discussion.
  • After the expected EKG to rule out cardiac concerns , staff left the leads attached to my skin to allow further testing if needed. Because the adhesive attaching the leads to my skin came loose now and then, you guessed it, alarms went off. When I suggested that the leads be either reattached or removed, the tech’s response translated to: “Honey, you have no business asking these questions.”
  • When I tried to find the results of the tests they were running via the MyChart app on my phone (yes, they’re an Epic shop), none of them were available, even though the doctors already had them.

None of these issues represent a staggering problem. My blood pressure did normalize, we handled the EKG lead stickiness issue without incident, and I did get my test results as soon as the doctor had them. I got a nebulizer treatment and some feedback on my overall health, and went home feeling much better.

That being said, I still find it unsettling that I was discouraged from taking note of what I saw and heard, and had no access to test results on the spot that would have put many of my concerns to rest.

More broadly, I object strenuously to the “doctor knows best” scenario that played out in this setting, at least where IT workflow was concerned:

  • While I understand completely that nurses and techs are besieged with needless noises and suffer from alarm fatigue, treating my response to those alarms as trivial doesn’t seem appropriate to me.
  • Failing to share data on the spot with me via the portal deprived me of the chance to discuss the data with my ED doctor. Instead, I only got to go over the data very quickly and mechanically with the nurse at discharge.

What bugs me, ultimately, is the intangible sense that I was perceived as a force breaking the IT workflow rather than a participant in it. This incident has convinced me that we need to transform the way HIT systems are designed, in a manner which brings the patient into the process of care. You clinicians need my eyes and ears to be on the case too.

Around the Twittersphere – Healthcare Simplicity!

Posted on February 25, 2016 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.


Complexity has a home in healthcare. However, simplicity is hard everywhere.


Simplicity in action!


Seriously? We’re still talking about pagers? In healthcare, yes we are! How sad is that? There are simpler, better solutions.

Using EHR to Deliver Superb Medical Website Personalization

Posted on February 24, 2016 I Written By

By: Uladzimir Sinkevich

Content personalization is a powerful tool for building trust on a medical website, making patients feel special, privileged and taken care of. Based on visitor preferences, search intent and behavior during previous visits, it offers a tailored user experience, such as personalized messages, promotions and services.

Generally, medical resources tend to provide users with a certain level of personalization through a private patient portal with access to their EHR/ EMR, appointment scheduling, diagnosis information, examination results and other features.

However, the public realm of the website (including service descriptions, articles and more) can benefit from using EHR-based information, too. The resource can actively guide patients and suggest relevant information backed by selected health data entries.

Both patients and caregivers can benefit from an EHR-based content personalization.

EHR Based Website Personalization

Particularly, patients receive:

  • Personalized promotions
  • Overview of services related to their conditions
  • Targeted messages (health tips, reminders, articles)

In the course of a long-lasting relationship between a patient and a provider, an EHR contains diagnosis with dozens of lab results, images as well as examination and treatment records. Summarizing these entries, the medical website can help build credibility by offering patients accurate information.

On the flip side, caregivers benefit from two advantages:

  • Gaining more loyal patients
  • Improving population health

One of the most important KPIs for health organizations is the level of a population’s health. Achieving a higher level of a population’s well-being is easier when caregivers place a major focus on preventive medicine. While patients have a more personalized user experience on a medical website, they tend to care about their own health and thus prevent diseases.

Now, there is a catch. HIPAA restricts the use of the protected health information for marketing purposes. The privacy rules, however, allow clinical websites to personalize functionality to tell patients about the “services essential for quality health care”, for example:

  • Previews of pages with health plan guides related to patients’ current health plans or conditions
  • Shortcuts to new service descriptions according to patients’ health records
  • Personal reminders and/or discounts relevant to recent patients’ checks and procedures

However, most of the EHR data is useless for website personalization.

Thus, a medical website needs an algorithm that will collect a short health record overview with the elements valuable for personalization only. At ScienceSoft, we call it a “Health Profile Builder” algorithm. Its job is to sort out the massive amounts of personal information in EHR and extract the key data inputs, such as lab results, X-rays, discharge summaries and other. Then, the “Builder” can answer the following patient needs, such as:

  • Information needs
  • Care needs
  • Examination needs
  • Treatment needs

So, let’s see how it works. A patient with a chronic condition, say, diabetes, has a long history of blood/urine glucose tests, pancreatic/liver ultrasounds, MRI results and more.

EHR Based Website Personalization 02

The “Builder” extracts the diagnosis information via the ICD-10 codes. Based on this and other data from the EHR, the algorithm detects possible complications and provides particular personalization options. As risk factors for diabetes include neuropathy, high blood pressure, retinopathy, skin complications and more, the website offers:

  • a discount for the next consultation
  • a free blood pressure check
  • an article about neuropathy and foot hygiene

This information might be a just-in-time act of care for a person with diabetes, as patients with chronic conditions tend to underestimate the actual severity of their disease.

Open Dialogue with Patients

Personalized website content can help a healthcare organization create the effect of visiting a doctor’s office, thus building a trustful relationship with patients. As using EHR-based information is just a small part of the content personalization topic, you can read more details on how to customize the user experience in one of our latest blog posts. We encourage you to follow the link and let us know about your thoughts in the comments.

What to Expect at HIMSS 2016 with Samsung CMO

Posted on February 23, 2016 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.

UPDATE: In case you missed the live video interview, you can watch the full video recording embedded below:

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

2016 February - What to Expect at HIMSS 2016 with Samsung CMO-blog

For our next Healthcare Scene interview, we’ll be sitting down with David Rhew, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of Healthcare and Fitness at Samsung on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 4 PM ET (1 PM PT). With HIMSS 2016 just around the corner, we’ll have a lot to talk about as far as what we expect to hear and see at HIMSS. No doubt we’ll be talking about why a company that’s largely been known as a consumer company is having such a big presence at HIMSS. We’ll be sure to talk about the connected hospital, BYOD, healthcare security, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technologies and much more.

You can join my live conversation with David Rhew, M.D. and even add your own comments to the discussion or ask Dr. Rhew questions. All you need to do to watch live is visit this blog post on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 4 PM ET (1 PM PT) and watch the video embed at the bottom of the post or you can subscribe to the blab directly. We’re hoping to include as many people in the conversation as possible. The discussion will be recorded as well and available on this post after the interview.

As we usually do with these interviews, we’ll be doing a more formal interview with Dr. Rhew for the first ~30 minutes of this conversation. Then, we’ll open up the floor for others to ask questions or join us on camera. Each year I’ve seen Samsung’s presence in healthcare grow, so I’m excited to hear from Dr. Rhew about the Samsung perspective on healthcare IT and the HIMSS Annual Conference.

If you’d like to see the archives of Healthcare Scene’s past interviews, you can find and subscribe to all of Healthcare Scene’s interviews on YouTube.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

Do Patients Trust Their Doctor or Health Related Websites More?

Posted on February 22, 2016 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.

Philips has really been killing it on Twitter leading up to HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas. Plus, they’ve been making a number of big announcements in the healthcare space as well. While they’ve always been quite big in the radiology and device space, it’s interesting to see Philips enter other healthcare IT spaces. For example, Philips recently announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer a secure data recover service.

Philips’ announcements aside, I was intrigued by this image and tweet that Philips recently shared:
Philips Health - Trust Doctors or Websites

I was trying to reconcile this data with the all too common high percentages of people that are searching Dr. Google for health information. First, it’s worth noting that it says “health-related websites” and not a search result found on Google. I wonder how different this percentage would be if they’d asked if they trust a search engine result for health information. I could see many not trusting the former, but many trusting the later.

The other thing I think applies is that even though we read a health related website, that doesn’t mean we trust it. I think many of us treat health related websites with the “trust but verify” approach. We’ve become very sophisticated at triangulating data across websites, social media, and yes, our doctor. We’re no longer simplistic creatures that blindly go to the doctor and trust whatever they say. We triangulate what we hear from all of these sources and apply a trust value to each.

In this complex calculation, I think that most of us do trust our doctor generally more than what we read from our friends on social media and on health-related websites. We should. Doctors spent a lot of time in school and have a lot more experience treating patients. Hopefully, our outside research will deepen the discussion and trust we have with the doctor.

I recently read an incredible quote from Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson (Better known as @SeattleMamaDoc):

If it offended me, I would be a total moron! I think that any physician that would be upset by a patient going online doing personal research and bringing those care points to the visit really better question what’s going on in their mind.

I’d argue that doctors that don’t want you collaborating in your care and researching out your health likely shouldn’t be trusted. I also feel it’s important to point out that this doesn’t mean that the patient should be disrespectful or arrogant or mean to their doctor who disagrees with their research. Outside information is not an excuse for being a jerk. However, patients should use every resource they have to make sure they receive the best care possible and the answers to the questions they have about their care.

The best way a doctor can improve a patients trust in them is to collaborate with the patient in their care. Patients generally trust their doctor more than online health resources. However, that could change if doctors don’t see patients as collaborators in their care.

Meet the HIMSS Social Media Team – #GoesBeyond

Posted on February 19, 2016 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.

A few weeks ago, I took part in an initiative that Greythorn (Full Disclosure: Greythorn pays to post jobs on our Healthcare IT Central job board) started around the great hashtag #GoesBeyond. Using that hashtag they’re asking people to recognize people in healthcare IT that are doing amazing work. You can read my first #GoesBeyond post that recognized the work of Steve Sisko.

For my next #GoesBeyond post I want to recognize the whole HIMSS Social Media team. Many people don’t realize how much work this team puts in to make HIMSS one of the most social media driven conferences in the world and far and away the most tweeted healthcare conference in the world.

That’s why I’m highlighting the whole HIMSS social media team for #GoesBeyond. I hope many others who read this will take part in the #GoesBeyond effort and highlight other people in the healthcare IT community that deserve recognition. There’s nothing better we can do for the community than to show gratitude for each other.

The HIMSS social media numbers don’t lie. Check out the Twitter activity alone around HIMSS:
HIMSS-Social-Media-Growth
While most people are familiar with the @HIMSS account which boasts 74,753 followers (and growing), I’m sure that many don’t realize that the HIMSS LinkedIn group has 166,325 members. These are extraordinary numbers and they don’t happen by happen stance. This kind of growth only comes through consistent focused effort in creating and sharing amazing content and engaging and facilitating the discussion on each platform.

What’s impressive is that it’s not a large team that makes all this stuff happen. Here’s the 4 main team members:

Say what you will about the HIMSS machine, what makes this group of social media ninjas special is that they truly do care about healthcare and want to find the best way to improve healthcare through the use of technology. Each one of them truly is a mission driven individual.

A great example of this is their work creating the official HIMSS16 Hashtag Guide. A lot of social media people could have easily just hopped on some generic hashtags that anyone could have created around the buzzwords at the conference. Those hashtags would end up being as meaningless as the buzzwords themselves. Instead they created hashtags which represent directions we need to head and goals we should achieve.

For example, they used #Engage4Health to represent patient engagement, but that we are engaging patient with a clear purpose. The #HITworks hashtag is another great example where they’re working to extract the clear value that technology can provide healthcare. Of course, the #IHeartHIT hashtag which started last year tells the personal stories of how technology can impact healthcare.

My favorite place I’ve seen the HIMSS social media team “go beyond” is in the imagery they’ve created. Take a look through all the images shared on the #HIMSS16 hashtag and you’ll see that many of the best ones were created by this team. It’s no wonder that this team was recognized with the HITMC Award for Best Social Media Program last year.

HIMSS is right around the corner. Good luck to this team as they try to curate more tweets than anyone can handle. Not to mention all the new video activity we’re going to see on Periscope and Blab. They’re certainly worthy of the #GoesBeyond hashtag.

About #GoesBeyond
In this series, writers take time thank an individual who #GoesBeyond expectations to make an impact in their community or industry. Read other posts in this series on LinkedIn and Twitter, then write one of your own on your favorite blog, LinkedIn pulse, Medium or other platform. Use #GoesBeyond and @mention the person who has made such a big difference, then copy this paragraph so others know how they can participate, too.

Wow, That was Fast

Posted on I Written By

Dr. Michael J. Koriwchak received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1988. He completed both his Internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Koriwchak continued at Vanderbilt for a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice. He is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. After training Dr. Koriwchak moved to Atlanta in 1995 to become one of the original physicians in Ear, Nose and Throat of Georgia. He has built a thriving practice in Laryngology, Care of the Professional Voice, Thyroid/Parathyroid Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and General Otolaryngology. A singer himself, many of his patients are people who depend on their voice for their careers, including some well-known entertainers. Dr. Koriwchak has also performed thousands of thyroid, parathyroid and head and neck cancer operations. Dr. Koriwchak has been working with information technology since 1977. While an undergraduate at Bucknell University he taught a computer-programming course. In medical school he wrote his own software for his laboratory research. In the 1990’s he adapted generic forms software to create one the first electronic prescription applications. Soon afterward he wrote his own chart note templates using visual BASIC script. In 2003 he became the physician champion for ENT of Georgia’s EMR implementation project. This included not only design and implementation strategy but also writing code. In 2008 the EMR implementation earned the e-Technology award from the Medical Association of Georgia. With 7 years EMR experience, 18 years in private medical practice and over 35 years of IT experience, Dr. Koriwchak seeks opportunities to merge the information technology and medical communities, bringing information technology to health care.

Well that sure didn’t take long…

In response to CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt’s comments last month regarding the future of the Meaningful Use Program and the need to recapture the hearts and minds of physicians I posted on open letter to Mr. Slavitt yesterday in an attempt to reach out to him regarding those issues.

I did not expect what happened next.

He answered within a couple of hours:

“Very thoughtful letter and I think likely reflects the views of many. I will share it internally because culturally people need to see the gulf between the policy ideas and the front line of medicine.

Believe all the fatigue and the laws we still need to implement and the current state of technology means it will take some time before differences are felt where they matter. Implementing laws like MACRA is a complex undertaking but the core of what you said I believe is the most important thing– It all begins with listening. The details matter here more than the principles but I’m a believer in that’s where it starts. And we have more focus groups and front line interactions than I have seen before. We are not just listening to “Washington” docs.

I try to always begin by calling it like we see it including hard truths. I believe we have work to do and want to orient people to the proper course. You always risk setting expectations when you lay out an agenda, particularly when there is no silver bullet. But it’s better than the alternative.”

Within moments I also received equally gracious responses from Patrick Conway and Kate Goodrich, also from CMS:

We both inherited the “meaningful use program” 6-12 months ago and do think the MACRA legislation providers an opportunity to transform the program, lessen burden, make much more simple, and flexible to meet docs needs. Happy to take ideas and input from you anytime and thanks for your work.”

Wow. You have to admit that this is not what one would expect from the “faceless, heartless bureaucrats” I have been criticizing in print and on Internet radio all this time. Is the paradigm changing? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is for sure – we physicians have to give them the chance to make good on their rhetoric. I certainly intend to to that.

Stay tuned….

Randomized Controlled Trials and Longitudinal Analysis for Health Apps at Twine Health (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on February 18, 2016 I Written By

Andy Oram is an editor at O'Reilly Media, a highly respected book publisher and technology information provider. An employee of the company since 1992, Andy currently specializes in open source, software engineering, and health IT, but his editorial output has ranged from a legal guide covering intellectual property to a graphic novel about teenage hackers. His articles have appeared often on EMR & EHR and other blogs in the health IT space. Andy also writes often for O'Reilly's Radar site (http://oreilly.com/) and other publications on policy issues related to the Internet and on trends affecting technical innovation and its effects on society. Print publications where his work has appeared include The Economist, Communications of the ACM, Copyright World, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, Vanguardia Dossier, and Internet Law and Business. Conferences where he has presented talks include O'Reilly's Open Source Convention, FISL (Brazil), FOSDEM, and DebConf.

The previous section of this article described the efforts of Dr. John Moore of Twine Health to rigorously demonstrate the effectiveness of a digital health treatment platform. As Moore puts it, Twine Health sought out two of the most effective treatment programs in the country–both Harvard’s diabetes treatment and MGH’s hypertension treatment are much more effective than the standard care found around the country–and then used their most effective programs for the control group of patients. The control group used face-to-face visits, phone calls, and text messages to keep in touch with their coaches and discuss their care plans.

The CollaboRhythm treatment worked markedly better than these exemplary programs. In the diabetes trial, they achieved a 3.2% reduction in diabetic patients’ A1C levels over three months (the control group achieved 2.0%). In the hypertension trial, 100% of patients reached a controlled blood pressure of less than 140/90 and the average reduction in blood pressure was 26mmHg (the control group had an average 16mmHg reduction and fewer than one-third of the patients went down less than 140/90).

What clinical studies can and cannot ensure

I see a few limitations with these clinical studies:

  • The digital program being tested combines several different intervention, as described before: reminders, messaging, virtual interactions, reports, and so on. Experiments show that all these things work together. But one can’t help wondering: what if you took out some time-consuming interaction? Could the platform be just as successful? But testing all the options would lead to a combinatorial explosion of tests.

    It’s important that interventions by coaches started out daily but decreased over the course of the study as the patient became more familiar and comfortable with the behavior called for in the care plans. The decrease in support required from the human coach suggests that the benefits are sustainable, because the subjects are demonstrating they can do more and more for themselves.

  • Outcomes were measured over short time frames. This is a perennial problem with clinical studies, and was noted as a problem in the papers. The researchers will contact subjects in about a year to see whether the benefits found in the studies were sustained. Even one year, although a good period to watch to see whether people bounce back to old behaviors, isn’t long enough to really tell the course of chronic illness. On the other hand, so many other life events intrude over time that it’s unfair to blame one intervention for what happens after a year.

  • Despite the short time frame for outcomes, the studies took years to set up, complete, and publish. This is another property of research practice that adds to its costs and slows down the dissemination of best practices through the medical field. The time frames involved explain why the researchers’ original Media Lab app was used for studies, even though they are now running a company on a totally different platform built on the same principles.

  • These studies also harbor all the well-known questions of external validity faced by all studies on human subjects. What if the populations at these Boston hospitals are unrepresentative of other areas? What if an element of self-selection skewed the results?

Bonnie Feldman, DDS, MBA, who went from dentistry to Wall Street and then to consulting in digital health, comments, “Creating an evidence base requires a delicate balancing act, as you describe, when technology is changing rapidly. Right now, chronic disease, especially autoimmune disease is affecting more young adults than ever before. These patients are in desperate need of new tools to support their self-care efforts. Twine’s early studies validate these important advances.”

Later research at Twine Health

Dr. Moore and his colleagues took stock of the tech landscape since the development of CollaboRhythm–for instance, the iPhone and its imitators had come out in the meantime–and developed a whole new platform on the principles of CollaboRhythm. Twine Health, of which Moore is co-founder and CEO, offers a platform based on these principles to more than 1,000 patients. The company expects to expand this number ten-fold in 2016. In addition to diabetes and hypertension, Twine Health’s platform is used for a wide range of conditions, such as depression, cholesterol control, fitness, and diet.

With a large cohort of patients to draw on, Twine Health can do more of the “big data” analysis that’s popular in the health care field. They don’t sponsor randomized trials like the two studies cited early, but they can compare patients’ progress to what they were doing before using Twine Health, as well as to patients who don’t use Twine Health. Moore says that results are positive and lasting, and that costs for treatment drop one-half to two-thirds.

Clinical studies bring the best scientific methods we know to validating health care apps. They are being found among a small but growing number of app developers. We still don’t know what the relation will be between randomized trials and the longitudinal analysis currently conducted by Twine Health; both seem of vital importance and they will probably complement each other. This is the path that developers have to take if they are to make a difference in health care.

An Open Letter to Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator CMS

Posted on I Written By

Dr. Michael J. Koriwchak received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1988. He completed both his Internship in General Surgery and Residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Koriwchak continued at Vanderbilt for a fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice. He is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. After training Dr. Koriwchak moved to Atlanta in 1995 to become one of the original physicians in Ear, Nose and Throat of Georgia. He has built a thriving practice in Laryngology, Care of the Professional Voice, Thyroid/Parathyroid Surgery, Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and General Otolaryngology. A singer himself, many of his patients are people who depend on their voice for their careers, including some well-known entertainers. Dr. Koriwchak has also performed thousands of thyroid, parathyroid and head and neck cancer operations. Dr. Koriwchak has been working with information technology since 1977. While an undergraduate at Bucknell University he taught a computer-programming course. In medical school he wrote his own software for his laboratory research. In the 1990’s he adapted generic forms software to create one the first electronic prescription applications. Soon afterward he wrote his own chart note templates using visual BASIC script. In 2003 he became the physician champion for ENT of Georgia’s EMR implementation project. This included not only design and implementation strategy but also writing code. In 2008 the EMR implementation earned the e-Technology award from the Medical Association of Georgia. With 7 years EMR experience, 18 years in private medical practice and over 35 years of IT experience, Dr. Koriwchak seeks opportunities to merge the information technology and medical communities, bringing information technology to health care.

Mr. Andrew Slavitt
Acting Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Washington, D.C..

Dear Mr. Slavitt:

No doubt you were surprised at the strong, widespread reaction to your comments regarding the Meaningful Use Program as part of your speech to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference several weeks ago. Your quote regarding the hearts and minds of physicians was particularly noteworthy. After decades of Federal regulatory hostility towards physicians, some of us doctors were pleasantly surprised – even shocked – to hear you acknowledge:

– physicians exist beyond just being another cog in the healthcare machine.
– physicians actually have hearts and minds.
– physicians’ opinions might have value to you.
– programs that are poorly designed distract physicians from patient care.
– CMS aspires to a “cultural focus on listening and learning”

Many of us physicians reacted like starving prisoners when the Commandant announces that there will be extra cockroaches for dinner. Though the news was small, many of us were overjoyed.

But most of us (60% by a recent survey) reacted differently. The majority of us understand the political savvy of saying something controversial about your enemy. Such a move can create a useful distraction, driving the enemy to argue amongst themselves while you continue with work that you would rather we didn’t notice…and that is exactly what has happened. Like an octopus squirting ink into the water you have created an effective smokescreen to let you spend the next few months coding Meaningful Use into MACRA without any interference from us.

So the purpose of this letter is to ask the question: Which of the above interpretations of your comments is correct? What are your intentions?

If your comments are sincere then consider this letter a warm introduction to the group of rapidly growing, grass-roots full time practicing physicians whom this letter represents. Over the past few years we have acquired the policy expertise and political skills to be effective leaders and collaborators with you to bring truly meaningful improvements to America’s health care. Realize that the leaders of organized medicine with whom you currently work – including the AMA , whose membership represents less than 15% of practicing physicians – do NOT represent the “hearts and minds” of physicians that you profess to seek. If you mean what you say then we are reaching out to you.

If, on the other hand, your comments are nothing more than political subterfuge, then this letter serves as a warning. We are not buying the political offal that you are selling. This physician group will use all of its intellectual, financial and political resources to make it far more difficult for you to destroy what is left of health care in America.

The choice is yours. We look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Koriwchak, M.D.
Vice President
Docs4PatientCare Foundation