Next Things First


NY Times “Bits” Blog: Health Care Industry Moves Slowly Onto the Internet by charlottegee
April 6, 2009, 8:12 am
Filed under: electronic medical records, health it | Tags:

From the New York Times’ “Bits” blog: Health Care Industry Moves Slowly Onto the Internet. (Sounds a bit like an Onion headline, no?)

The health care industry, a well-known laggard in information technology, is where most of corporate America was a decade or more ago in adopting Internet-style computing. There are innovators, intriguing experiments and lots of interest, but the technology hasn’t yet gone mainstream.

Still, the direction is now clear, and only the pace of the shift is in question. The Obama administration’s plan to spend $19 billion to hasten the adoption of electronic health records that can share data across networks — “interoperable,” in techspeak — will only give more impetus to the shift toward Internet-style computing. And there is plenty of evidence of the emerging transition being demonstrated and announced this week at the health information technology’s big annual conference and trade show in Chicago, sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS.

One good example of the trend is a joint project, announced on Sunday, between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and GE Healthcare. The project will deliver individually tailored public health alerts to electronic health records in doctors’ offices. The goal, for example, is to have an alert pop up on a physician’s screen that a certain patient, based on location, age and perhaps occupation, might be at risk for an influenza outbreak that is nearing a certain community or for contracting a food-borne illness.

More interesting (to me, anyway) than the actual post are the reader comments, many from doctors about the now-ubiquitous EMR. For example, the first comment concludes: “These public health alerts are in theory, great, but in practicality, the pop ups will only work if GE and the CDC have invented holograms that pop up out of their paper charts.”

(Curious: I wonder how many EMR booths there are at HIMSS? I should go count.)

Posted by CharlotteGee

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