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Grants will be given out in 2010

The Obama Administration has placed reforming the healthcare industry at the forefront of its domestic goals. The current healthcare system in America is rife with paperwork and other processes that create significant overhead and lead to duplicate tests and other issues at times.

One of the main requirements for overhauling the medical industry in the U.S. according the government is to move form paper medical records to digital records. The DoD has been trialing electronic medical records for military veterans already, and is set to roll its own program out to more facilities around the country. The government has announced that about $1.2 billion in grants will be given to hospitals and health care providers to move from paper records to electronic medical records.

About half of the grant money, $598 million, will be used to set up 70 different health information technology centers and to help hospitals and other care providers acquire the technology needed to support and work with digital health records. About $564 million will be used to set up the nationwide system of health information networks to interconnect the 70 technology centers.

The goal of the program is to help doctors and hospitals build the infrastructure they need to exchange and use electronic health records and move them among the various health agencies in the country. Kathleen Sebelius said, "This is just the first wave of resources invested in health technology aimed at transforming our paper-driven system to an electronic system over the next several years."

Sebelius says that the move to electronic medical records is a fundamental part of reforming the ailing healthcare system in America. According to David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health IT, the funds from the grants will be handed out to qualifying providers in three cycles throughout 2010.

The Washington Post reports that doctors, hospitals and other providers will have to purchase the needed equipment to work with electronic health records and will have until 2015 to make the purchases and qualify for reimbursement for the hardware. The Obama administration expects that the stimulus program will ultimately result in savings of about $17 billion per year. Some believe that the universal adoption of electronic health records in America could result in savings of more than $77 billion each year.

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Barny Frank is a weener
By Floorbit on 8/21/2009 3:30:40 PM , Rating: 1
Way too liberal. The government will simply make declarations for what they deem necesary for 'thereselves'for medical records. That is for example homeland security is a little bored with chasing terrorists for a while,and perhaps needs to corrolate several schizophrenics into the mix. An insurance agency is having a bad day in an automobile accident,and requires further proof that you actually have a need for special shoes.
You have a job that requires certain physical details. The condition you have is defined by 4 or five medical journals however the one you use is not considered the 'truth'.
Judges in these instances will become government lackies,since here,it is only a part of a word considered 'comply'. This where a law is everything to everybody,and is usually written w/o considering the result of its implementation. Comply being actually a diversion from something that would be politically correct as 'conform'- so that debate is still considered usable iteration.
The government 'imagines',that a large compiled influence of personal data makes coordinating ones health more feasable. Imagines becuase this feasability depends of the location of the focus concerned whom is considered to be benificial to them. The bodies of government change every 4 to 6 years - that is real change. However with this,your life does not change being locality is an assumption rather than the person of record whom the data pertains to.
I would like to note that since the immagration act of 1986,the government has had a too liberal vindication of just what is meant by 'document'. It either recognizes only what it has estabolished for itself,or it witholds the person whom they pertain to from being detailed by them.
The last 'privacy'in medical records legislation was anything of the kind. As well. It merely made way for an institution (and government) to make declarations of what they' would do with your records.Make statistical analysis etc. Noticing this is for their benifit,to agregate,and create roles for further social nuances.
The government will fail. Being the only real equiavalence to every man woman,and child,is that of falibility. Used to be common sense would put this measure above board. At present,the ideal that 'perfectness',is the only reedemable trait that can be measured to mentioning for reason.
There are real reasons to hide medical records. Only an individual can ascertain this basis. The government cannot define this. The government is going to fail. Dont need to make way in this prerequisite to make this apharency a greater vulnerabilty for society.
I could see perhaps a card with a given amount of memory on it for the person of whom it is utilzed. But beyond that,there is not much other than copyright to get ones right to the documents settled beyond their personal representation of them. Then with all of this namby pampy 'national health talk'. What persons need is simply a 'better way to pay'. A better choice is just a national health savings bank,for each of 50 states respectively,where deposits of pay benifits are put in . Withdraws can be made to pay health necesities. A savings bonds type of instrument can be bought of which is worth face value for health cost. Uses an interest rate when purchased,and is reedemable in cash only as that rate persists. The business model of group think here is were it needs to be. Construction,growth,wealth,gain,and necesity. Oh and backed up by the FDIC.
And barney frank is a weener.

RE: Barny Frank is a weener
By phantom505 on 8/23/2009 2:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Holy crap. I just got this a a spam email. I guess the tin foil industry is doing well.

This might be the most disconnected thought pattern I've seen in a while. I think my just have a Dx of paranoid schizophrenia for you.

RE: Barny Frank is a weener
By andrinoaa on 8/24/2009 1:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
Just another nutter. I pissed myself laughing!!

RE: Barny Frank is a weener
By Floorbit on 8/25/2009 4:08:57 AM , Rating: 2
Your not being very serious. At least in my world you can take your records,and decisions with you. In their world,you will take the government with you to make decisions,and be waited on.
Most of the scenarios I showed are very real. Aggregrated policy does not do any individual their own right.
Print my post perhaps you will be able to read it better. Sorry about the spam,..I didn't send it. And- whoever did is most likely not participating in the comments here.
The comment box squeezes things here as well.

RE: Barny Frank is a weener
By waffle911 on 8/24/2009 3:22:01 PM , Rating: 1
I had to read through that three times to decipher what it was that was actually written. Big words thrown in that neither flow nor mesh with the sentence, poor sentence construction and inconsistent grammar all combine to make one mess of an argument.

It seems the critical element of 'motive' is lacking here. What on earth could the government even do with those medical records? They could give a shit that you're a diabetic. They could care less if your grandmother has Alzheimer's.
What this whole thing is trying to do is make health care more competitive to lower costs. By reducing the hassle for patients to change doctors or clinics, there is less incentive for a patient to continue to go to a clinic they are dissatisfied with, helping to weed out incompetent practices. Competition lowers costs and improves the the drive for progress and efficiency. And it will also help speed up treatment, especially while traveling away from home since doctors wouldn't have to wait for potentially life-saving critical information about the patient to be found and transmitted in paper form when every second counts.
"National Health Care" is a different matter altogether. It's not about the government controlling your treatment or anything like that. Your insurance company probably does that worse already. But you're welcome to stick with them. But this is about getting health care to the millions and MILLIONS people who can't afford it. And I'm not just talking about the poor. I'm talking about middle-class families with members who are uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions. The cost of treatment alone could take them out of house and home. And if a family member dies because of that condition, the family still has to deal with health care expenses after the fact. Just because someone can't afford health care does not mean they don't deserve adequate treatment. Just because someone is poor does not mean they don't work hard enough to deserve to be healthy. Just because someone is unemployed does not mean they're too lazy to find a job or work for a living. What if they are physically unable to work because of a health condition that they can't afford to treat? What if they were laid off not because of poor performance but because they were to expensive to keep on staff because of their qualifications and experience? What if they are overqualified enough that they are too expensive for another company to hire? Are they supposed to go flip burgers at McDonald's? They couldn't even if they wanted to because even McDonald's is getting too many job applications at this point.
The "groupthink [sic.]" strategy here is to spread the cost of health care around to everybody to lighten the burden on those who would otherwise collapse under the expenses of health care. It is more costly to lose an ailing support column and force all of it's load on the others than it is to distribute it's load onto the other, stronger ones in tiny consequential amounts and let it handle what it can. Even if it means not paying for health care, they can still contribute to the economy by staying healthy enough to work and spend money on goods and services.
" Life , Liberty, and the Pursuit if Happiness."
" United we stand. Divided we fall ."
"Do unto thine neighbor as you would have them do unto yourself ."
If you desperately needed help, would you want your fellow countrymen to turn their backs on you?

Altruistic deeds prevent society from collapsing totally. But then, they're not so altruistic now, are they? Help your fellow man help you. Everyone is connected somehow, and if we let too many links in the net fail, the whole thing will fail as the holes get bigger. And a safety net with giant, person-sized holes is not safe at all.

And "groupthink" is actually dangerous. If science were driven by groupthink, we wouldn't have discovered nuclear physics and we would still think the Sun was made of molten iron or something. It took Einstein thinking differently from everyone else to conceive of E=MC^2. Groupthink is the mass hysteria that led to the Salem witch trials. Groupthink is "1984". It is a tool of the real Big Brother.
All those seemingly personal questions put out on the census? Nobody cares who does what when, they just care how many people do it and when they do it so they can plan ahead so the government can fund appropriately to accommodate it. Big Brother is a myth. Anyone who worries about it is either worth watching out for the good of the public or giving themselves entirely too much credit as being someone of great consequence to the government. They're not out to rule your life. They're out to protect you from the misdeeds of others and generally make life easier for everyone . It's better to have more people pretty well off than to have fewer people much better off. Anyone who thinks otherwise just hasn't properly been screwed by the system even if they think they have been. You don't know how bad it gets until it gets bad for you, and by then it's almost always too late.

RE: Barny Frank is a weener
By Floorbit on 8/25/2009 4:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
You'll notice that the ideal of 'life-time health care via life-time jobs',followed the 1986 immigration act.

I'm not screwing around. The only thing the government wants is plumbing on a border they control.

Good Stuff
By nordicpc on 8/21/2009 1:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad that the government is stepping up to the plate to get this done. I work with smaller practices and dental offices, most of which would not move to EHR unless pushed. The other side of this legislation is that there will be Medicare and Medicaid penalties for those who don't comply. Combined with the hope of getting some of the cash back for the investment, penalties should help get this done, and improve our patient experience.

One of the big things mandated is that a clinic's EHR must be interoperable with others', and also with home devices that can report things like blood pressure to the doctor. This means less time in the hospital, which is always good.

RE: Good Stuff
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
One of the big things mandated is that a clinic's EHR must be interoperable with others

Which means they will use a common HL7 interface data structure when doing a patient export/import function. However, that does not mean that you hit a button and it automatically sends your records to another hospital.

If it were that easy, pharmacies which have been using similar based systems for many years, would be able to transfer prescriptions electronically between any pharmacy in the county - and that does NOT happen. I coded mail order and large chain pharmacy software from 2003-2007, and for the last 2+ years have worked as an IT analyst for a hospital system which employs almost 7,000 people (6,000 patient contact jobs).

RE: Good Stuff
By waffle911 on 8/24/2009 3:31:58 PM , Rating: 2
I was traveling, and needed a prescription refilled; since I get all my prescriptions at a CVS near my home, it was easy to walk into another CVS near where I was at the time and have them transfer the necessary information. It wasn't instantaneous, and did require a phone call, but it was much faster than transferring a prescription from a one-off local pharmacy to another one across the country via paper records, phone and fax.
So, it may not be that easy, but that doesn't mean it couldn't or shouldn't be. It can be done.

One way of helping then turn digital
By shep737 on 8/22/2009 12:30:07 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a doctor and i have been using this software by Danard Lilly which does exactly what Obama wanted in the first place. Only difference much cheaper and its been out a long time. Great online software, but mostly used for a more in-depth pain assessment. But at least they are on the right track.

RE: One way of helping then turn digital
By andrinoaa on 8/24/2009 1:14:41 AM , Rating: 2
Why are you guys whinging about? I remember 8 yrs ago when I took my mother in for a by-pass operation. They had no electronic records at all. The anesthetists had an interview, the surgeon had one, the hospital admin had one, the post-op people had an interview. NO ONE had any idea what records were held or that they all had the same info. Ok, I guess they have come some way since then but it was bloody obvious a medical card with all records would have saved 4hrs of specialists' time and countless admin hrs. Multiply that over thousands of patients and its not hard to see great productive leaps forward. When you are sick, do you really care who knows what. Your priority is to find the cause and get cured. Thats not to say some measure of security isn't worthy, but really the priority should be on prompt service not interogation for info readily given the last visit, doh

By Renski on 8/24/2009 1:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
Very common still today. For example, you can go to Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and one hand would not know what the other is doing. If you were to schedule a surgery there. You would probably get phone calls from 3 different people before you show up to your surgery.(Scheduling, Pre-Procedure Testing and Pre-Admitting)

Are we building a health IT Tower of Babel?
By JEngdahlJ on 8/21/2009 1:31:51 PM , Rating: 2

Overlooked in most of the electronic health records discussion is the potential for population-level analysis -- finding healthcare patterns and measuring quality and improvement over time. Only if systems work together via data exchanges or other data pooling can we get the most out of our EHR investment. More:

By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they already do this, its just not as efficient. Many clinics already have mandatory and voluntary yearly reporting to agencies like HRSA, CDC, and the state health departments. Many of those organizations are responsible for interpreting the data and formulating trends - then they provide reports and data to the hospitals and clinical entities.

This is a BAD IDEA.
By Codeman03xx on 8/21/2009 5:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
well the government will screw it up and put 8 servers at each Information Tech center locations (which would amount to 560 servers). Think about 5 years after the servers need replaced for another 560 servers. Might be better using visualization.

By nofumble62 on 8/21/2009 8:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
same as bank transaction, etc.


Think of how many trees we can save.

It's just about time

By on 8/22/2009 11:37:33 AM , Rating: 2

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Big brother
By bradmshannon on 8/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 12:57:59 PM , Rating: 5
I work in IT for a major hospital system in Ohio. The point of the EMR system isn't merely just to save paper. The point is to be able to have access to a patients medical record files throughout the entire system - every clinic, ER, off site locations, etc - instead of manually transferring a folder of records. Also, doctors can work remotely be it from home or other offices, and read tests while not immediately in the office.

There are many benefits to the system, but it is also costly. I do not much buy into the "savings" that the politicians throw out there of having less people to handle the paper records and saving money - becuase you need to expand the operational budgets in IT by investing more and more money into servers, server replenishment, licenses, and IT staff to take care of everything. For example, the EPIC EMR system (best in the country so far, IMO) requires every user to have their own Citrix cal. So in turn, we need to pay for over 6,000 cals every year just for that one application - not to mention the server costs of having enough hardware to provide access to that many users.

The government can get your records whether they be digital or paper, so that's really a moot point. But its definitely scary considering how insecure some networks are out there at major hospital organizations.

RE: Big brother
By quiksilvr on 8/22/2009 4:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why it must be pressed that before reading the electronic records, it has to be collaborated with the patient first. Furthermore, offline records must be kept in the possession of the patient to ensure that the network copy has not been tampered with in any way. Either way, its nice to have these records online; its faster, saves times, reduces error, and will save lives because of it.

RE: Big brother
By Spivonious on 8/21/2009 1:01:05 PM , Rating: 3
While electronic medical records make doctors' lives a lot easier (at least according to my GP father), I don't see why the government needs to step in and mandate these changes. Hospitals are moving this way on their own.

RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:03:00 PM , Rating: 1
That's exactly right. The government is banking on the idea that if they can reduce the long term operational costs of hospitals immediately, that the health institutions will charge less and cost medicare/medicaid less money.

Unfortunately, business does not work that way. What you save in one area gets invested into another. Their bills will never decrease, only get reallocated.

RE: Big brother
By MozeeToby on 8/21/2009 1:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
If they would set up a standards body so that everyone played by the same rules I would agree with you. There's a half a dozen major medical software suppliers in the US and they all use different formats and communications protocols.

It should be possible that if I'm in a car accident out of state, the doctor in the ER could pull up my records based off information on my driver's license, without having to know which hospital to contact and without worrying about what format the information is in. That way he doesn't have to worry about me being allergic to the drugs that I need and he'll know if I'm diabetic or suffer from chronic anemia or any number of other conditions that would affect treatment.

For all that private industry is moving towards digital records, there's been no indication that such a nationwide system is being established. More than individual hospitals keeping digital records, it's the ability to pull up those records quickly and easily anywhere in the country that has the potential to save lives, not to mention money.

RE: Big brother
By sxr7171 on 8/21/2009 11:43:41 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the part where they are setting up 70 healthcare information technology centers. Those are for centralized access to all medical data. Imagine what would happen if someone hacked into it.

RE: Big brother
By phantom505 on 8/23/2009 2:34:07 PM , Rating: 1
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Your medical background will mean diddly squat to anyone. It's less useful than your financials. Nobody cares about your mole you had removed. Or your short penis.

The only people that care are famous people that have a desire to keep out of the tabloids. I'm sure politicians care. But Joe Smoe.... nobody cares.

I've been an ICU RN for about 2 years now. Trust me, even your doctors don't give a crap most of the time.

RE: Big brother
By Renski on 8/24/2009 1:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
Are you forgetting the face sheet? The facesheet is part of the EMR. On the facesheet you will find patient demographics including social as well as your emergency and next of kin contacts. That is why HIPAA is a sensitive subject in Healthcare when physicians or users have certain access to the various systems. Each hospital hospital has their own policies when it comes to Network Usage.

Admitting Manager/Data & Systems Analyst

RE: Big brother
By Motoman on 8/21/2009 1:02:39 PM , Rating: 4
I think your tinfoil hat's a little tight. BTW, Mythbusters proved that it actually amplifies the government brain-control signals anyway...

...back on topic, what's really important here is immediate access to your medical information no matter what hospital's ER you suddenly wind up in. Say you live in NYC, but you're on vacation in Bumblef#ck, Idaho. You fall into a ravine and really f#ck yourself up, and get airlifted to the Bumblef#ck Memorial Hospital and Taxidermy Service. If they don't have immediate access to your total medical information, they might start doing things to you that will make you die - like put you on an IV with something that you're allergic to, because they don't know.

...if they have immediate access to your records, they could be like "Ohs noes! He's allergic to peanuts! DON'T PUT IN THE PEANUT BUTTER DRIP!"

RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:09:37 PM , Rating: 4
what's really important here is immediate access to your medical information no matter what hospital's ER you suddenly wind up in.

Whoa, slow down. You are totally incorrect. EMR does NOT work this way. I work in IT for a major hospital system which has spent millions and millions of dollars over the past years implementing an electronic EMR system.

First, you cannot just electronically transfer your record from one institution to the next. What they mean by having your records accessed anywhere is actually meant to encompass only institutions for which you have connections and share information with, and that you use the same EMR system.

If you go to a hospital that is not in your hospitals network, they dont just grab your electronic records right away and have them available. They have to do the typical registration of the patient into the system and gather all your basic data that would be entered into the system. At a later time, they can request your EMR from another hospital - but that process is much more difficult. Due to HIPPA regulations, they cannot just email or ftp your records. They have to have a secure, encrypted direct network connection to another hospital in order to transmit patient data, or else they have to use "snail" mail on disc.

This notion that people buy into of your "immediate access to medical records" is due to the politicians promoting this crap without having any real world idea of what they are talking bout.

RE: Big brother
By Motoman on 8/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
aren't the healthcare providers doing that on their own already?

Yes, and no. The EMR systems now are encompassing the data from all clinical entities into your patient record online. In the past, it was highlights of your patient informaiton, and all the specific information - xrays, cardiology, dental, etc, etc, etc were encased in smaller, more detailed applications that were dedicated to each department and did not supply data to the EMR. So now, you go to the ED and they can see what tests and outcomes you had in the cardiology clinic. Before, they could only see your basic info, until they had paper charts of your test results from clinics.

Can you imagine how hard that would be if you went to a network clinic located 35 miles from a main branch?
I don't see the point if it doesn't facilitate faster access to your data to out-of-network hospitals when needed.

It will, eventually. But again, not all institutions are up to the same speed technologically speaking. And most haven't even allocated funds for the 20+ million dollars to invest in this type of system - let alone the 5 years it takes to implement. After working in this field, $1.2B is a complete joke, in terms of how far this will go and the governments expected results.

RE: Big brother
By Motoman on 8/21/2009 1:31:10 PM , Rating: 3
Huh. Well, I stand corrected. But I still want LOL credit for "Bumblef#ck Memorial Hospital and Taxidermy Service" and the peanut butter drip. I don't care who you are, that's funny.

RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 1:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
Ok ill give you that - and will laugh my ass off when they come up with a new medical condition called the PB Drip!

RE: Big brother
By nvalhalla on 8/21/2009 2:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
You get credit for that, I was amused. So much so I went to click "worth reading" and accidentally rated you down. So now I have to post to nullify that.

RE: Big brother
By Lord 666 on 8/21/2009 2:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
Would disagree with the actual costs to implement an EMR and the time required. However, coming from the for-profit non-healthcare side of things, there is a different and at times backwards mentality of healthcare/not-for-profits. Run like a business, widespread EHRs implementations will succeed.

A not-for-profit practice with 30 FTE providers can do it in 12 weeks flat with the first year costs less than $500,000. That dollar figure is assuming an existing network infrastructure.

EHR implementation is one of those projects that will favor early adopters. There have been many grants that opened up post EHR go-live, mostly due to exchanges with RHIOs. Specifically one EHR vendor (not EPIC) is at the epicenter of federal/state/local grants. That being said, the cash grab has gotten ridiculious lately.

RE: Big brother
By mdogs444 on 8/21/2009 2:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
However, coming from the for-profit non-healthcare side of things, there is a different and at times backwards mentality of healthcare/not-for-profits. Run like a business, widespread EHRs implementations will succeed.

I am also from non profit hospital system, with 7000 employees, and 20+ offsite clinics.
A not-for-profit practice with 30 FTE providers can do it in 12 weeks flat with the first year costs less than $500,000. That dollar figure is assuming an existing network infrastructure.

No way. We are implementing EPIC in our hospital, and its been going on for 3 years now. Everything is custom, and every clinic is coded independently. Unless your talking a bout just making a standard basic registration system - but that is not what EMR is all about.

Not to mention, our yearly budget just for customization of EPIC is in the millions, not half a million.

RE: Big brother
By Lord 666 on 8/21/2009 2:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, full implementation of clinical and practice management including data migration of legacy systems.
But remember, its not using EPIC but another vendor and not on the same scale of your location. Never used EPIC, so cannot comment. From a personal experience, noted that preparing for a Joint Commission audit has some carry over for setting up an EHR. If the policies and workflow are already documented, EHR implementations are much easier.

Just giving you my angle and the market direction; if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. The head of NYC Department of Health (Dr. Thomas Frieden was just appointed to head of CDC by Obama. Two of his major accomplishments were tobacco controls and EHR. He standardized on the ECW system, the same that Walmart did along with Costco sells directly to businesses. The economy of scale is there along with the quick installation time lines.

ECW has their own exchange product called eHX that has the ability to share medical records with all other ECW practices. The vendor has been enticing users of the products to sign up by offering one additional service for free. But said another way, if the new head of CDC makes a repeat performance, the exchange of medical information will be very straightforward... other than the many business agreements required between disparate agencies.

But if you connect the dots and follow the money of the current landscape, there will be rapid adoption of EHR that will leave the laggards behind on funding dollars.

RE: Big brother
By Lord 666 on 8/21/2009 2:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Big brother
By sonoran on 8/21/2009 3:33:40 PM , Rating: 3
Everything is custom, and every clinic is coded independently.

There's probably the biggest challenge. You've got to standardize the business processes before you can implement one system that will work for all. Barring that - you'll (over)spend a fortune on systems customization, and end up with systems that continue to cost a fortune to maintain, since you won't be able to apply vendor enhancements to your customized software.

RE: Big brother
By Lord 666 on 8/21/2009 4:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. This adds to my point in having the documentation and workflow prepared before starting EHR project. Same thing can be said for standardization of processes.

Used to see this all the time when putting in new phone systems replacing old TDM. People couldn't see past what they were currently doing and open their minds to different and new ways. They insisted on having a roll over button when a Cisco phone can handle 200 calls. Same thing for EHRs, just because the work flow is currently being done xyz in the paper world, doesn't mean zyx can't be done once paper is eliminated.

RE: Big brother
By Motley on 8/21/2009 2:13:20 PM , Rating: 3
I have to respectfully disagree with your analysis. This actually is fairly close to what I was doing for over 15 years. The problem is there is no central repository for information, and if there was, a unified format for storing it all that isn't vendor specific. We've been going down that path for a while, and we keep getting closer, but even a centralized basic record would help immensely. Most hospitals today have a very good connection to the internet (to the point where in some areas, people would go to the local hospital to request a link from them).

Currently most hospitals CAN do real time insurance checking on patients, and many do. Of course, that's a top priority for them since that's how they determine if they are going to get paid or not. Quality care comes second to actually getting paid.

Disclaimer: I used to be employed by a company that did connectivity/interfaces/data exchange in over 400 of the hospitals in the United States with very strong ties to subsidiaries of WebMD.

RE: Big brother
By sxr7171 on 8/21/2009 11:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
Trust me it is far better than most have today. At least these systems give you access to data on any computer in the facility, before that you would have to walk to the chart room and request the chart to even do basic research on a chart. It helps make sure the care you get is more timely than it otherwise would be. No it's not lifechanging but it is better than what it would otherwise be.

RE: Big brother
By CSMR on 8/21/2009 5:55:04 PM , Rating: 3
It doesn't work this way, but it could. It would be one of the benefits of a standard format for medical records.

In the short term this just makes systems more standardized and allows easier transfer of information. And making the system a bit more competitive by allowing easier changing of hospitals/doctors.

However it would enable a centralized store of data in the future, allowing:
-patient access to all data and doctor access to all patient data on approval of patient
-a huge store of information for research. This would be a huge boost to research given how much work has to be done acquiring even small samples that answer a handful of questions incompletely.

RE: Big brother
By bradmshannon on 8/21/2009 1:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
I like the idea of having Bumblef#ck as the name of my city so much that I might move there :)

I was being sarcastic with the big brother, 1984, etc comments. However, I have zero trust in the government and I'm a gov contractor.

RE: Big brother
By Motoman on 8/21/2009 1:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
I know ;)

I used to thing that the government was a bloated, ineffective organization. Then I did some brief consultations with government agencies...and now I'm aware that we'd be infinitely better off if our government were merely bloated and ineffective.

RE: Big brother
By cruisin3style on 8/21/2009 3:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, Bumblef#ck. My 2nd favorite place to vacation after Hornut's Nest.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

RE: Big brother
By BZDTemp on 8/21/2009 7:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
I live in a country where we have been doing this for a while and I actually work for an agency which run the health portal.

We are not there yet for every hospital and private doctor but it is coming and the benefits are huge. You as a person get access to your own records and also the log data of whom else have looked at your data. It is even so that if a health worker which the system can not directly link to being involved in treating you a letter is sent you. Total visibility for you and the health people know the system watches them. If they should look at someone without legal grounds they can loose the license to practice.

Apart from easy access to your own personal records you get better care when visiting a new doctor (say you are on a holiday or your doctor is on a holiday). And if you need emergency care details like what medicine you take and what you can not handle is available. The system saves lives, time, money and is build more secure than a bank.

Of course a government could misuse the system but with such huge benefits to all when used only for good it would be stupid. We have laws which ensure something Big Brother like does not happen and also the data are not centralized - it is only about a common access point to facilitate easy and secure access.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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