Each year in the last week of December I like to look back at the interviews I’ve done and meetings I have attended that year and pick out my favorite quotes of the year. Sometimes I think that pulling these snapshots together gives me a better overall picture of trends in the industry than I could get from writing a much longer article. Although they leave out some of the most significant developments, such as Cerner’s purchase of Siemens’ Health IT unit, I think they all are thought-provoking. Plus, I think some of the quotes are funny. So without further ado, here are my favorite 17 quotes from 2014:
1. “There is not likely to be a Netflix that comes along and wipes out the dinosaurs.” -- Curtis Langlotz, M.D., a professor of radiology and biomedical informatics at Stanford University School of Medicine, speaking at the AMIA conference in November about the “calcified state” of the EHR market.
2. “The demands on the CMO-CIO-CMIO triad will only grow and probably exponentially in the foreseeable future.” -- Mark Van Kooy, M.D., director of clinical informatics at Aspen Advisors, speaking at HIMSS in February.
3. “The information oligarchy is a thing of the past at HHS. The information oligarchy has become an open information democracy." -- Outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaking at Health Datapalooza.
4. “My concern is that we have made wonderful progress on the acute side, and with large medical practices that are affiliated, but we may grow a bit of a digital divide in that outpatient provider community. Those folks won’t have systems that provide good care and they won’t be reachable with our interoperability efforts as we try to send summaries of care and other information. The curves are going in the right direction, but I think we need to be responsive to figure out how to bring the whole industry along.” -- Peter Greene, M.D., chief medical information officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, speaking at the 2014 Federal Healthcare Forum in Washington, D.C.
5. “In healthcare we have an innovation dilemma because meaningful use has been driving the development roadmaps of EHR vendors…I have a strong belief that FHIR is a promising technology appropriate for innovation.” -- Arien Malec, vice president of data platform solutions for McKesson subsidiary RelayHealth, a founding member and service provider for the CommonWell Health Alliance.
6. “I think the fact that I am not a lifelong IT person will be beneficial, because I will keep looking for how we simplify the user experience as much as possible. I remember one physician telling me, ‘I am not a troglodyte. I will use any technology that helps me take better care of my patients and that works. Give me something that works.’ That is going to stay with me.” -- David Bensema, M.D., on being promoted from CMIO to CIO at Louisville, Kentucky-based Baptist Health.
7. “I think some health systems don’t know what to do with their CMIOs after the EHR implementation is largely done. And unfortunately, some CMIOs may not know what they should be doing and tend to lose focus and interest. They may not know where their career is going. I have thought for several years that we need to be leaders in where the profession goes.” -- Chris Wood, M.D., CMIO of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.
8. “We hear from a lot of physical health providers that really need and want the behavioral health data to make better decisions, so it helps everyone to have that information. Incomplete data is just as bad as having no data.” -- Laura Young, executive director of the Behavioral Health Information Network of Arizona
9. “The thing that stands in our way is us. It is the organizational change management piece. We can build things. We just can’t hook them together.” -- Shell Culp, chief deputy in the California Office of System Integration, which manages IT projects for the state of California’s Health and Human Services Agency, speaking at a State Healthcare IT Connect Summit in Baltimore in April.
10. “Health information exchange is maturing beyond regional exchange and is starting to cross regional boundaries. The industry is feeling more comfortable with the concept of sharing information as well as the legal requirements and policies that need to be in place.” — Robert (Rim) Cothren, executive director of the California Association of Health Information Exchanges
11. “It is important to make a social contract with your EHR users. You should make it easy to participate in research via the EHR and the research should make clinical care better. Return value to them, not just research. Then they will work with you.” -- Charles Bailey, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in a talk about using EHRs as building blocks for a learning health system.
12. “Our focus is on how we can get real-time data and not ancient data. This is all about strategy to improve population health. That is why we are using health IT — to see if we can move the needle on our top 12 health priorities in the City of Chicago, and not because it is cool or fun to build apps or because some foundation is willing to give us money.” -- Bechara Choucair, M.D., Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health
13. “The natural history of the obesity epidemic lives in electronic medical records of health systems, but we can’t access it.” -- Brian Castrucci, chief program and strategy officer for the de Beaumont Foundation, which seeks to catalyze new thinking about public health innovation.
14. “We need to create a municipal utility system to connect the plumbing of wearable health devices.” -- Rachel Kalmar, chief data scientist for Misfit Wearables, speaking at Health Datapalooza while wearing 3 health tracker and noting that none lets you have high-resolution access to your own personal data, and they don’t talk to each other.
15. “I get to build state-of-the-art things from the ground up for a population that hasn’t had anything state of the art for decades. Most hospitals are converting from paper to electronic or after 15 years they are updating outdated legacy systems. I didn’t have to deal with any of those challenges. I got a brand new building and a brand new data center.” -- Sajid Ahmed, chief information and innovation officer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, which is expected to open in early 2015.
16. “When you are in the hospital, it is not lost on you how amazingly coordinated the technology is to get you the best care, including medical devices, EHRs, people and processes. But the laziest asset in the whole setup is the dumb TV monitor in the corner of the room. I thought, what if we took this lazy asset and turned it into a desktop for patient care. Would we be able to turn the care on its head where a patient and family would be so obnoxiously involved every step of the way that it might actually make the care better?” -- Michael O’Neil Jr., CEO of GetWellNetwork
17. “As we go forward as a country we will have to be more thoughtful about the community resources for health and how accountable care organizations, for example, are working so that when they send Ms. Smith home, she has a home to go to with electricity and so she does not get readmitted or have a health challenge.” — Karen DeSalvo, M.D., National Coordinator for Health IT, speaking at the eHealth Initiative 2020 Roadmap Executive Summit in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 4, 2014.