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TORCH - Rural and Community Hospital Options

October 21, 2009
by Joe Bormel
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Today, I presented the attached presentation at TORCH's HITCON 2009.

(full agenda here)

TORCH is the only hospital association in the state [of Texas] that is dedicated solely to the needs of

rural and community hospitals.

Here's the description of my talk:

Business Intelligence and Clinical Transformation


Joseph Bormel, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Quadramed Corporation, Reston, VA

With an EHR installed, you are expected to improve quality of care, simplify administrative processes and control costs. What do you need to know about workflow and dataflow from your system in order to achieve efficient care management, improve cost performance, and reduce clinical variance and medical errors? How do you bridge the gap between just collecting data and harnessing it for new opportunities? This session will explain what kind of data you need to mine and how you can get the right information to the right person at the right time.

Here is the presentation:



Thanks for the positive feedback. The TORCH HITCON conference was the best conference I've attended for the community hospital perspective.

It was invaluable to have Drs Bryrn (CCHIT medical director) and Dr John Joe kick off the meeting. As you know, they were very crisp on Meaningful Use and Certification, both the high certainty issues, and the opposite. It's very validating when people on the major Washington DC committees confirm that some very basic definitions are not yet available.

TORCH provided an extremely valuable service to have this conference, and bring together some of the leading consultants and vendors. A variety of themes consistently recurred:

- Get started and get in line (translate your existing plan into action)

- Project management is more critical than ever before, especially for community and rural hospitals. When resources are really barebones and time frames are tight, failure rates without project management skyrocket.

- There's more to technology deployment than saying "we are going to remotely host our applications." The contracting talks were rich with details. (I'm only mentioning this because I believe there was a commitment to post those talks. If not, let us know and I'll add a detailed comment with highlights and contact information for the presenters involved.)

- Zheng, you're talk reviewing the critical modern technologies and issues for community hospitals was particularly rich. I'm still not sure I could contrast a rack versus a cage, but at least I know they exist!

- The other observation I'd like to share is my growing appreciation of state-level initiatives. TORCH, for example, has done a huge service by bring the FCC grant to rural hospitals for connectivity. I've worked with several other states in the last six weeks, including NY, KT, OH, and CA, regarding providing services (HIE, RECs, grant programs, and physician-office connectivity and EHRs.) It's exciting to see the activity and available resources (people, organizations like TORCH, and monies.) As a result of TORCH, I know see this as a Black Swan event!

Zheng, thanks again for the kind words, as well as for your important work for the care providers in Texas.

Thank you, Dr. Bormel, for the wonderfully insightful and informative session at HITCON. We've had wonderful feedback from many of the attendees at the conference. With the rush in the industry to adopt and implementation EHR systems to meet the ARRA timelines, one sometimes can overlook the plethora of information that is made available by these complex data stores. Anyone who's interested in understanding more about the data that's in these systems should review the content of this presentation.


Zheng Zhu
Chief Information Officer
TORCH Foundation, TORCH