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February 25, 2008
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The following commentaries are the most read postings from HCI's Blogosphere. To read other postings and leave your comments and questions, visit, register with a username and password, and blog away.

Clinton and Obama “Debate”Posted on: 2.1.2008 3:11:50 PM Posted by Jim Feldbaum

Both candidates in last night's Democratic Debate (1/31/08) agreed that one of the nation's priorities needed to be dramatic healthcare reform. Both candidates referred to the EMR specifically. Both believed that the funding would come from better care of chronic illness and appropriate access to routine medical care. Clinton believes that “high quality” care can save $120 billion. She quoted the Rand Company estimates that IT can save $77 billion by itself.

It is intuitive, as well as documented, that access to information, close patient follow-up, and patient (and family) participation in disease management translates into better care. So why are we as a nation, profession and individual practitioner so slow to act? Is it just the money? Is it inertia? Are we doctors just too overworked to have the time to initiate change even when we see the value in it?

While there may be a future payday for those practitioners who invest in an EMR, less frequently appreciated is that this initiative can be perceived as just “one more thing to do” for already overburdened practitioners who sacrifice personal and family time just to keep up with an increasing volume of patient care. I am pleased that different industry organizations are trying to address financial hurdles, but let's not ignore our responsibility to design our EMR systems to be intuitive and painless to implement.

HB 247Posted on: 1.24.2008 8:06:27 PM Posted by Travis Gathright

HB 247 isn't an obscure segment of the HL7 Standard or the product number of a new gizmo from Cisco. HB 247 refers to “House Bill” 247, a bill in front of the Virginia State Legislature related to medical records sharing.

On Monday, I attended a state-level advocacy day. The event was organized by the Virginia Chapter of HIMSS. I felt it was important I get out of my office to try to influence the HIT-related laws in front of the legislature in my state. These laws have the potential to set IT priorities around the state, and that includes my IT strategic plan.

We are used to external forces setting priorities in healthcare IT. At any given time, IT has a project underway that enables the organization to react to a change made by a payer, allows the organization to meet a new standard set by an accreditation body, protects the organization against a disaster event, or helps the organization win an award. Legislation will increasingly be an external force with a direct relationship to internal IT priorities as IT increasingly gets attention as way to improve a healthcare system in crisis. Like all of us, legislators are looking for answers.

I can tell you that Legislators ask the same questions we all ask when we become initiated to the status of IT in healthcare, “How can IT be used better to make patients safer, improve quality, improve access to care, make healthcare more convenient, and reduce administrative overhead?”

As IT leaders, we are the best ones to answer these questions for our legislators, and the legislature could certainly help us speed adoption.

PACS Super BowlPosted on: 2.3.2008 12:35:10 PM Posted by Marc Deary

Today is the most anticipated sports day of the year. The National Football League is featuring the 42nd Annual Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Both teams have outstanding records this season but only one team can earn the title Super Bowl XLII Champions.

Similar to the NFL, the PACS world has 30 plus professional teams (vendors). Regardless of the type and size of the facility selecting a PACS, there are specific steps that should be taken during the system selection process.

The selection process should begin with a detailed needs assessment to determine the top 5 or 6 vendors that can meet your needs. This is followed by a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) including price quotations. The competition continues with a comparative analysis of the RFPs and quotes to determine the finalists. Next the 2 to 3 vendors who make it through the RFP process are required to attend a series of on-site demonstrations including a face-off where the systems are judged side by side. (PACS Super Bowl)

In the end the system selection process will produce the best PACS vendor for your specific needs. This process is not as exciting as the NFL Playoffs or the Super Bowl but can be just as competitive and is a required process to determine your PACS champion. Who is your PACS Super Bowl Champion? Why?