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Healthcare During and After 9/11

Posted on September 11, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in reading a more personal post about 9/11, you can check out this post I did on EMR and HIPAA about teaching the new generation about 9/11.

As I’ve watched the various news stories, documentaries and memorials about 9/11, this 60 Minutes news story about a doctor caring for 9/11 survivors was incredibly fascinating. Turns out, he set up a free clinic for the survivors and also started doing interviews with these people so that their stories would be recorded for others to hear. If you didn’t see it, you should watch it below.

The opening to the 60 Minutes video had me wondering about how healthcare dealt with all the injuries in the aftermath of September 11th. It seems like so many angles of September 11th have been covered, I can’t remember ever seeing the stories of hospitals and other doctors trying to treat the influx of patients that no doubt overwhelmed their doors. If you know of some, I’d love to see them.

Maybe that’s not such a terrible thing that the focus hasn’t been on the healthcare stories. Maybe it’s better that we focus on the heroes who lost their lives that day. Although, I’m sure we’re going to hear more and more healthcare related stories about 9/11 illnesses as time passes. Too bad we don’t have an integrated EMR with HIE that could help to track all those that were exposed to the gases and dust that were found at ground zero. That might help their cause since the 9/11 First Responders bill is only for the next 5 years.

John Halamka also has a post up about the impact of 9/11 on Healthcare IT. He concludes that “Disaster recovery, security, and emergency support efforts will continue, inspired by the memories of those who perished 10 years ago.”

Good Advice: Three Things Practices Should Do After Buying An EMR

Posted on April 29, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s a handy little blog item from health IT consulting firm Entegration.  While many bloggers focus on big-picture issues, firm president Art Gross has offered three easy-to-understand, concrete suggestions on how medical practices should protect themselves when they’re first rolling out their EMR.

Gross suggests they consider the following steps:

*  HIPAA security:  Gross recommends hiring HIPAA security services to help train employees and implement protocols which will make sure protected patient information isn’t compromised.

* Off-site data backup:  Few medical practices do more than back up their existing files to tape, but as he notes, data gets corrupted, backups are sometimes overwritten by mistake and disasters (fire, floods and more) can destroy on-site archives.

* Disaster recovery:   To be prepared for all contingencies, practices must have more than one copy of current data available, methods for accessing that data and detailed procedures in place for accessing the duplicate data.

Sure, companies with big IT staffs would do these things as a matter of course, but many small physician practices don’t even have a single full-time IT employee, relying instead on consultants to do basic maintenance.  That drive-by consultant is unlikely to be evaluating the practice’s overall readiness to keep an EMR up and running securely.

Reminding doctors that they must be careful custodians of their new digital data is a good idea.  Let’s hope more consultants )and vendors) dealing with small practices are preaching this gospel.