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HITR – Health Information Technology Research Hub and Social Network

Posted on November 15, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I imagine that many of you have seen some people talking about HITR around the web. It’s a website backed by the people at Porter Research and Billian’s HealthData. I know that I first saw it a few months ago and wasn’t quite sure I understood what they were trying to do. I couldn’t tell if they were trying to be Sermo, a private healthcare IT social network, or something new. The lack of clear vision for me meant I set it to the side.

While attending AHIMA this year I had the chance to spend quite a bit of time with a number of different people from Billian’s HealthData and Porter Research. We had a great time talking about all sorts of things, but they of course told me that I should look more at their new HITR product. I told them I’d take a look not knowing what to really expect.

A week or so ago, Jennifer Dennard set up a demo of HITR for me. While still a nascent product, I was intrigued how they used their knowledge and experience in healthcare research and embedded it so fully in the product. I guess I could have and should have assumed as much, but I was reasonably impressed with the idea of having a hub for healthcare IT research. I know how much I and other IT people love our data.

One interesting thing about HITR is the give to get model that they’ve set up. Basically they’ve arranged it so you give your feedback on your products to get access to other information and research from your peers. I imagine they’ll be adjusting this model over time, but it kind of reminds me of the open source model where everyone contributes a little bit and everyone benefits from the other people’s efforts.

The real challenge that HITR faces is just making sure they get enough people involved and participating to make the information they collect valuable. Plus, they have to get enough people and the right people on board. I’m not sure how scientific the results will be considering it’s a basically self selected example. I can’t remember if they include qualitative results along with the quantitative, but that could be really helpful even if the results aren’t scientifically correct on the quantitative side.

One other concept that they said they were exploring with HITR is the idea of getting connected with referral sites for a healthcare IT product that you’re considering. I REALLY love this idea. In my e-Book on EMR selection I recommend finding some referral sites and visiting them to get a feel for that EHR software in practice and to talk with a doctor who actually uses that EHR software day in and day out. The problem is that if you ask the EMR company for some referral sites they’ll give you a bias list. I suggest in the book to ask for their entire client list. However, I think using HITR could be another interesting way to find a referral site outside of the EMR vendors’ pre-groomed list.

I asked Jennifer Dennard to send me a list of some of the other benefits of using HITR. This should also give you a decent feel for what they’re working on with HITR.

I’d list the benefits for everyone as:

  • Ability to connect with peers
  • Blogs
  • Groups
  • Discussions
  • Job boards

Benefits to providers that take surveys would include:

  • Ability to gauge how your employees evaluate the systems you’ve put in place at your facilities
  • Ability to see how those same systems are rated by your colleagues at peer institutions
  • Ability to start a more in-depth dialogue with HITR connections about HIT systems you may be considering for your facility, and their experiences with those same systems
  • Ability to influence future HIT product development

Benefits to vendors include:

  • Ability to view how their systems are evaluated by their customers
  • Ability to correspond with providers for product management/development purposes
  • In the near future, vendors will be able to sponsor surveys through HITR to deploy to their chosen audiences – customers, prospects, etc.

If you have a chance to sign up for HITR, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience. Like I said, it’s a new site, but has some interesting possibilities if they execute it right.

Two Stage Process for Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Posted on October 5, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

An interesting piece of news (some might say rumor) is coming out of AHIMA as posted by Joseph Goedert on Health Data Management. Here’s an excerpt of what was said:

An idea floating around Washington could result in Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program being different in each of its two years.

That’s what Dan Rode, vice president of advocacy and policy at the American Health Information Management Association, told an audience during the AHIMA 2011 Convention & Exhibit in Salt Lake City.

So the scenario could be that Stage 2 starts in January 2013 with minor changes from Stage 1, such as raising meaningful use quality measures a bit. But any major changes or new requirements, such as requiring the use of SNOMED CT in certain parts of the medical record, would wait until 2014, Rode said.

I’m sure this would be welcomed by almost everyone in the healthcare IT and EMR industry. Doctors and EHR vendors in general want to do as little as possible to get the government EHR incentive money. Even if some will publicly say that they want to use meaningful use to raise the standard of care.

I purposefully created the title to highlight the irony of meaningful use stage 2 having 2 stages. I’m not sure if we’ll call it meaningful use stage 2.0 and meaningful use stage 2.5 for the second step of stage 2. Of course, they could just make meaningful use stage 2 a simpler model and then add a meaningful use stage 4 (assuming the legislation allows it). However, then we’d really confuse doctors more than they already are when it comes to EHR incentive money, meaningful use requirements and their various stages.

This to me is still just a rumor, but it will be interesting to see how they make it happen if in fact they do try and do it. I know many people who will welcome any watering down of meaningful use. Even if you won’t hear them saying it in public.

An Outsiders First Perspective of AHIMA 11

Posted on October 4, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This being my first time to attend the AHIMA Annual Conference I thought I’d do a post talking about my experience for those who haven’t attended. Plus, a look at some of the major topics of discussion that I’m sure to write about in the near future.

I must admit that it feels like a very different conference for someone who’s use to attending conferences in the predominantly male driven IT world. I’m certainly not complaining about it at all, but it is interesting to see the subtle differences based upon the predominantly female AHIMA attendees. For example, I have a bottle of nail polish in my pocket from 3M. That’s definitely something you wouldn’t find at a male dominated IT conference. Although, even I as a male took one for my daughter. Can you imagine how much she’ll love me for it?

I must admit that I’m still a little torn about the AHIMA conference, because I can’t help but wonder how many of the AHIMA members really exert influence over decision makers in their organization. This was partially highlighted to me by the choice of AHIMA keynotes which focus on leadership. It seems that AHIMA is making an effort to help their members become leaders in their organization and not just “worker bees.”

I’m sure my perspective is tainted a little bit when I think back to times where I’ve seen some of my HIM friends come back from conferences that taught them about EMR. They have all this energy about the interesting technologies or new products, but they far too often say something like, “Not that anyone cares, since they won’t really listen to me about EHR.” I really hope that this is a rather broad generalization. Plus, while it might be true that many in healthcare don’t listen as highly to HIM (or doctors in many cases) when it comes to EHR, I think HIM does have more of a voice when it comes to things like managing Release of Information, ICD-10, document imaging, etc.

The micro industries that exist has been one of the interesting things I’ve found at AHIMA. For example, there’s some really interesting and relatively large companies working in the Release of Information space. It’s quite amazing to me to see something so niche be so successful.

One thing I have really enjoyed about the people at AHIMA is how supportive they are of each other. There seem to be really tight bonds and great relationships between those that attend.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed my AHIMA experience so far. I’ve only been able to attend one session (see my post on EMR and EHR about the Healthcare Social Media session I attended), but the people I’ve met have been interesting and beneficial. I guess that’s true for most conferences. It’s all about the people.