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:-) IMHO LOL

January 9, 2009
by Stacey Kramer
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I can’t tell you how many smiley faces people text me. Then there are the phone numbers, the ‘I’m here. Where are you?’ messages, and sometimes even some strange spam messages with stock quotes for companies that I doubt exist. But the idea of my doctor, my doctor’s office, or even a lab testing my blood sending me some information via a simple text message is pretty exciting. Apparently, New York thinks so, too. The New York Health Department has awarded a $2.7 million grant to Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services for a text message pilot program for Medicaid patients with diabetes. Of course, there are many security steps that will need to be implemented, but the idea alone of such an easy way of disseminating information to me — the patient — even if it ends up being just about appointments would be phenomenal. I can’t wait! J

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I remember back in my vendor days negotiating with some of the national labs to "push" lab results data through a portal to patients using a variety of handheld tools, telephony and other methods. The national labs (really) pushed back as they were not interested in providing the data unless they controlled the content "flow". In other words they viewed the value of the data and the transfer of lab results as a branding opportunity and felt that providing this clinical data to outside IT vendors was not strategic. That was ten years ago. I'm thrilled to hear that some hospitals are forward thinking on this subject. To the point made by Suresh - people like doing business on their phones. I know I do!

Could not agree more. Patients want to do business over their phones. We need to nail down a way to make this happen. I guess we'll see if Obama gets to keep his Blackberry first.

Wow, texting as a branding tool?! That makes me think of sponsored stadiums (Fleet Center, Staples Center). Do you think we'll reach a point where we'll get a note on the phone with info about a test, which is brought to you by some pharma or HIT company?

I agree as well. The right channel is the one that the recipient can use (subject to getting the privacy/confidentiality part right.)

I had dinner with a leading investment banker this past week. He noted that, even amongst the most technically savvy and affluent, PHR adoption is pretty much non-existent. A piece of paper in one's wallet does the job.

I think the same is true of using SMS for notification of availability of results. And, it's a lot less expensive than what my friends in NYC need to do today to message Medicaid patients!

stacey

Stacey Kramer is Managing Editor of Healthcare Informatics. She writes feature stories and...