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Live from HIMSS: Content without Context is Pretext

March 2, 2010
by Joe Bormel, M.D.
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For the physicians managing their end of the HCIT bargain at healthcare provider organizations, there's an organization to help. That's AMDIS. If you have physicians in your organization who are committed to help and aren't connected to the AMDIS network, you should try to get them to an event like this past Sunday's HIMSS-AMDIS Physician Symposium.

Lots of reasons for that; I've outlined them here.

This year, the keynote was delivered by Dr David Hunt of the ONC. He offered a well reasoned, passionate, highly informed view of where the ONC is today, what's reasonable to expect, and the best explanation of the constraints that I've ever heard. If you weren't there, either buy the tape (actually mp3), or post a comment requesting more info and I'll do something for you.

The quote he offered that stuck with many attendees was this: " Content without Context is Pretext."

Purely based upon the meaning of those words, many of us stopped and (silently) applauded the clarity of the informatics statement there. I'm sure there were at least a half-dozen interpretations of what that meant, ranging from misapplied CDS to political/economic deception that some cynics associated with HITECH.

I went a bit further. A quick trip to Google brought me the fact the this paraphrased a quote from 16 years earlier:

Jesse Jackson, quoted in Sheldon R. Gawiser & G. Evans Witt, A Journalist's Guide to Public Opinion Polls (1994), p. 111

Further reading made it clear that the origins were biblical and well-known. A nice, potentially interesting elaboration on this content (text) without the context is pretext idea can be found here.

Dr. Hunt offered plenty of time after his elegant presentation to entertain questions. This, too, is well worth the price of the tape. If anyone can offer a a link to another blog that elaborates his talk, that would be welcome. Meanwhile, I'll check with Bill Bria of AMDIS to determine if we have published a link to Dr Hunt's slides.

I'd like to close with another favorite biblical HCIT quote that underlies our understanding of what ARRA/HITECH brings:

With a lot of wisdom [comes] a lot of heartache.
The greater [your] knowledge, the greater [your] pain.

[With ARRA/HITECH, and it's concomitant data stream, comes lots more explicit knowledge.]
- This quote, and lots of variants
here :
http://bible.cc/ecclesiastes/1-18.htm

Here is Dr Hunt's presentation:

http://www.himssconference.org/docs/sphandouts/PHY2.pdf

 

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Comments

Joe, I'm just getting around to catching up on the blogs. Thanks for reminding people about AMDIS and its good work. Very humbling post on an often overwhelming topic.

Thanks Daphne for your comment. AMDIS provides a unique educational and inspirational venue for physicians in management, sorting through the opportunities to make effective use of HCIT. It's uniquely devoid of vendor spin, and nearly completely focused on pragmatic issues of implementation and use ... meaningful, of course!

I hope others may catch up as well, because I just added the title graphic of the Chantler quote. I think that quote provides the ultimate Context.

Thanks Pam Brewer and Bill Bria for providing the link to Dr Hunt's presentation (now at the end of the original blog above).

Joe Bormel

Healthcare IT Consutant

Joe Bormel

@jbormel

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