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It's (not) a Jewish thing

January 22, 2009
by Stacey Kramer
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I really like Hebrew National hotdogs. I just do. Always have. Probably always will. My fondness of them comes from — I’m sure — my childhood, but the fact that I now understand that their being Kosher means that they are made in extraordinarily sanitary environments doesn’t hurt either. Of course, the FDA is more than reputable, but the more I read articles on counterfeit medicines, the more concerned I become. Can’t technology help us discover what’s real and what’s not? And further, what would happen if HIT products are copies? What would the outcome be if that MRI, EKG, X-ray is not the real deal? Can’t we harness HIT to make certain that what we are relying on is the real deal and not something less than kosher?

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I think this is one of many compelling rationales for a vigorous and rigorous FDA that effectively regulates food, drugs, and all manner of treatments that could loosely fall under the rubric of 'drugs".

As we as a country become much more receptive to importing drugs from other countries as a money-saver, and as more drugs become available on a generic basis, this looms larger and larger.

I am glad you raised this as a discussion point.

In fact, what will happen if we discover that the rules weren't made properly. As, in, the GAO's report that the FDA has failed with respect to some of the riskiest devices. (Check out yesterday's New York Times, 'Is That Device Safe?').

That's a good idea, but I'm thinking of something stronger.

Certification is also a good idea. I wonder though, if that's enough. We'll want to make sure that we know what's the real deal, and what's a copy, too. Don't you think?

Are you thinking 'digital watermarks' or something stronger?

Thanks. It's a scary thing to realize how much we rely on something we regulate so loosely in comparison. It's hard for drugs to get FDA approval, but once they do, there is no approval for making sure they're not counterfeit.

Stacey,
I enjoyed your post, and I'd add one filip to your thoughts. As you know, kosher laws came into being millennia ago during Old Testament times, and were responsible for literally cleaning up a lot of very unsanitary practices during that time period. I absolutely agree that, in our contemporary era, technology should help us discover what's real and what's not. I think the actual "equivalent" of kosher food certification in healthcare IT is vendor product certification. It's a bit more complicated than certifying hot dogs, of course! But as things move forward, I think the idea of certification will become more normalized and regularized, and ten years from now, we'll look back and say, gosh, they bought uncertified IT products back then...???!
Mark

stacey

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