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10 Years of Blogging – The HealthBlawg

Posted on June 10, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

My friend and colleague, David Harlow, is celebrating an important milestone on his blog. It’s the 10th anniversary of his HealthBlawg. That’s a long time in blog years. I know since I just passed my 10 year anniversary last year as well. It’s amazing for me to think back on all those years and the things I’ve learned from David’s posts on HealthBlawg.

In true David Harlow fashion, he’s doing a great 10 year celebration of HealthBlawg with what he’s calling the Festschrift of the Blogosphere. As part of that celebration, he’s invited other bloggers (including myself) to write posts in the HealthBlawg’s Tenth Blogiversary. I loved the idea since in many ways it took me back to the early days of blogging (before Twitter and other social media) where we all connected with each other on blogs.

I think David still has a number of other posts coming from guest bloggers, but I thought I’d highlight a few of them which I found extremely interesting.

First up is Dr. Nick van Terheyden’s post called “Channeling Churchill to deal with innovation, impatience and chaos in healthcare“. The whole post is great and worth a read, but this part stood out to me in particular:

Everything you thought you knew about how to make your organization financially successful will change. Profit centers like radiology and diagnostic imaging will become cost centers; the more high-end expensive care you give, which once supported all the more mundane services you provide, the lower your profits will be. Instead of filling beds, your job will be to keep them empty.

It’s a big challenge, but the same kind of augmented intelligence systems that will help physicians keep patients healthy can help you keep your organization healthy. Analytics can help you identify and stratify risk, so that you can contract with payers at rates that won’t kill your bottom line. And it can help you identify gaps in care that could lead to the need for expensive treatments and procedures.

It’s going to take a while for organizations to really process what Dr. Nick is saying. In fact, I don’t think most will and they’ll be blindsided when it happens. Talk about a dramatic shift in thinking and Dr. Nick described it so well. Combine this with Dr. Nick’s opening comments about the shifting consumer expectations and we’re in for some big changes.

Another post honoring the HealthBlawg that stood out to me was e-Patient Dave’s post called “Gimme my DaM Data: liberating to patients, scary to some.” I’d heard most of Dave’s story before, but he offered a few insights into it that I’d never heard before. However, his message is still just as compelling today as it was when he first blogging about his data issues back in 2009.

It’s too bad these things are still issues because I wish we could put e-Patient Dave out of business. Ok, that might sound harsh, but I think he wants to be put out of business too. No one would be happier than him if the culture around our health data were changed. I’m sure he’d find something else worth advocating for if we solved the problem of patient access to data.

If you’re not familiar with e-Patient Dave, here’s a section of his post which illustrates the problem and his goal:

Some old-schoolers are threatened by patients seeing the chart; some even think it’s none of your business. Twenty years ago Seinfeld episode 139 showed Elaine looking at her chart and seeing she’d been marked “difficult.” The doctor took the chart from her hands: back then she had no legal right to see it… so she sent Kramer to get it, impersonating a doctor.

You should get your data – all of it. It may not be easy – some providers are severely out of date about your legal rights, and some resist for other reasons: some feel threatened, some know there are gross errors in the chart, some charts contain insults, and some contain flat-out billing fraud: conditions you don’t have, but they’ve been billing your insurance for.

When your doctor hesitates to give you your data, which reasons do they have? Only one way to find out.

I have to admit that reading Dave’s story again has me inspired to spend more time and effort in that space myself and on this blog.

If you’d like to see the post I did, it’s called “Integrated Health – People Finally Caring About Their Health and Not Even Realizing It.” Here’s an excerpt from my post:

While most people will tell you they care about their health, their actions say otherwise. The reality is that the rest of our life is full of bright shiny objects and so it’s really easy for us to get distracted. However, there’s a coming revolution of health care that is totally integrated into your life that’s going to help us care about our health and we won’t even realize it is happening.

If you were to ask someone if they cared about their health, 100% of people would say they do. In fact, you’d likely hear the majority of people go on to say that if they didn’t have their health, then they wouldn’t have anything. While we are happy to publicly proclaim our desire for health, our actions often send a very different message.

Thanks David for inspiring us all with your work at HealthBlawg. You’re a good man (which can be hard to say for a lawyer…sorry I had to have at least one lawyer joke) that is working hard to make a difference in healthcare. I look forward to another decade of blogging alongside you.

Patient Engagement Panel – Inaugural Online Medical Conference

Posted on September 11, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

John Bennett, MD reached out to me recently about a unique opportunity to be part of the 1st International Online BioMedical Conference. The conference was unique because it was being organized completely online using Google Hangouts as the platform for speakers. Having done a number of Google Hangouts on Healthcare IT myself, I thought it would be a unique opportunity to test out the online conference waters.

As part of the conference, I brought together a panel of social media and healthcare IT rockstars to talk about Patient Engagement (in all its facets) and the challenges of patient engagement. Plus, I wanted to be sure we talked about how it could help and hinder care. On the panel were Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung), Dr. Nick Van Terheyden (@DrNic1), Dr. Charles Webster(@wareflo), and myself (@ehrandhit). With such a wide set of experiences, it made for a really great discussion. You can watch it below:

Thanks to each of my fellow panelists for participating with me and to Manuel and Dr. Bennett who organized the conference.

Dropout Docs – The Answer for #HealthIT Startups?

Posted on July 23, 2015 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin is a true believer in #HealthIT, social media and empowered patients. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He currently leads the marketing efforts for @PatientPrompt, a Stericycle product. Colin’s Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung

We’d like to welcome a new guest blogger to our ranks. If you’re on social media, you probably know Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung), Co-Host of #hcldr. Colin is also head of Marketing for @PatientPrompt, a product offered by Stericycle Communication Solutions. We look forward to many posts from Colin in the future.

Recently both Nick van Terheyden (@drnic1) and Mandi Bishop (@MandiBPro) shared a link to an interesting article via Facebook. “Dropout Docs: Bay Area Doctors Quit Medicine to Work for Digital Health Startups”.
Dropout Doctors - Bay Area Doctors Leave Medicine for Healthcare Startups
The article highlights a new phenomenon happening In the Bay area – would-be doctors are dropping out of prestigious medical schools to pursue careers in digital health. Even those that complete their schooling are opting to join digital health start-ups/incubators (like Rock Health located in San Francisco, very close to USCF Medical Center) rather than apply for residency.

Being a doctor or a surgeon was once the pinnacle of achievement in American society, but with changes to reimbursements and general healthcare frustration, many are not seeing the practice of medicine as the rosy utopia it used to be (or was it ever?). Now even physicians are succumbing to the siren call of #HealthIT where there is a chance to “do good” and make a difference on a large scale.

I believe this trend could be a good thing for #HealthIT. Having more peers who are enthusiastic and passionate about improving healthcare can lead to more positive innovations. Consider the following quote from a doctor who joined a health care company instead of practicing medicine (from the KQED article):

“I realized that the system isn’t designed for doctors to make the real change you would like to for the patient.”

Having more people who want to put the patient at the center of healthcare makes my #HealthIT heart race. You can’t teach people to have this inner fire. It is something that is intrinsic to the individual…and we need more peers in #HealthIT with this flame.

There is just one line from the article that don’t agree with:

“…dropout doctors are well-positioned for a career in digital health as they have an insider’s view of the industry – and ideas about how to fix it.”

I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that people who went through med-school have a true “insider’s view”. Having not worked in a practice or in a healthcare setting, they would not be familiar with the political, financial or workflow aspects of care on the front lines. I hope these doc-dropouts are humble enough to remain open-minded as they listen to real-life customers provide feedback on the technologies and solutions they are involved with. In fact, dropout docs would be well served by remembering one particular part of their medical training – truly listening to the patient – which in this case may be the entirety of healthcare.

Interview with Dell’s New Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nick van Terheyden

Posted on July 20, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Long time readers will know that we’ve regularly done videos with Dr. Nick (@DrNic1). He’s one of my favorite people to sit down with and talk healthcare IT. I first met Dr. Nick when he was CMO of MModal, but our relationship really flourished when he was CMO at Nuance and we shared a cab together to the airport at one of the healthcare IT conferences. Ever since then I’ve counted him a good friend and someone I enjoyed talking about anything healthcare IT related. The beauty with Dr. Nick is that you can go pretty deep with him on any science and technology topic.

With this in mind, I was excited to hear that Dr. Nick was just announced as Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences new Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Dell has a really large healthcare practice thanks to their acquisition of Perot Systems and a number of other acquisitions. Dell will be lucky to have Dr. Nick on their team.

As part of the announcement, I did a short interview with Dr. Nick (see below) to talk about what excited him about the opportunity to work at Dell and the place social media played in his hire. We’ll let Dr. Nick get a few months under his belt at Dell and then I’m sure I’ll have him on for another live G+ video hangout as well.
Dr Nick - CMO at Dell Healthcare
What excited you about Dell that inspired you to switch jobs and become CMO of Dell?
This was such an exciting opportunity with a dynamic company that has a big focus on healthcare that starts at the top with Michael Dell and traverses all the way through the organization that has assembled an outstanding collection of technology, resources but above all talented people that are dedicated to solving the issues we face in healthcare. When I looked at the breadth of what Dell could offer its customers, paired with amazing talent, it felt like a perfect match and one that offered me personally an incredible opportunity to have a positive impact on healthcare delivery systems around the world.

You’re only a few days on the job, but as you’ve gone through the process are their misconceptions about Dell that you now realize that aren’t true?
Yes. Of course the first thought everyone has is that Dell is a PC and hardware company and while this remains a major part of the organization, they have also received the ranking of number one provider of healthcare services in the world by Gartner! That position was achieved by assembling a first class talented team that have a wide range of skills and deep industry knowledge that is broader than healthcare and taps into the success and knowledgeable from many other vertical markets and industries. As one of the healthcare interoperability experts shared with me “I’ve been making systems talk to each other that aren’t supposed to for 20+ years”. His passion is achieving that goal to free data from the confines of individual systems and is typical of the skills and passion of the people working here. Interoperability is a major focus area for healthcare systems and rightly subject to significant scrutiny and pressure form regulatory bodies – working side by side people who come from other industries and bring new ideas and an urgency to solving problems is exhilarating for me. Tie that to a Unified Clinical Cloud archive that has over 9 Billion images today stored for customers designed to allow frictionless sharing of images and you can see this is an organization that can offer solutions to some of the most fundamental and pressing issues we face today

As Michael Dell puts it: Technology has always been about enabling human potential

And this is especially true in medicine where we have struggled to maintain the physician patient interaction that is the central tenet of good care. Clinicians want to focus on the patient and not the technology and that’s what the patients want too – they like the technology but not when it intrudes on their personal relationship with the doctor. This is one of the key drivers at Dell throughout their business and I’m excited to be bringing this to healthcare

You and Dell have both been doing a lot more work with healthcare internationally. What excites you about healthcare IT internationally?
Healthcare is personal for all of us and this is true worldwide. The problems and success we have here in the US are similar to those in other countries but colored by local customs, historical differences in building out healthcare in the country and varying levels of resources. We stand to learn so much from each other, learning from mistakes and benefiting from each other’s successes. I have had the privilege and fortune of working in many countries and am always amazed at the ingenuity and resourcefulness applied with pragmatic solutions that offer useful insights that can be applied elsewhere. Dell has huge presence in so many countries and markets that is combined with a brand name recognition that offers remarkable scope to share our knowledge and experiences around the world and for me personally the opportunity to learn from them and gather market insights from the widest stet of stake holders to guide our future direction.

It seems like Dell has hired some real social media rockstars starting with @MandiBPro and now you.  How do you think your social presence impacted your hire for good or bad?
Dell has been a stand out for me in Social Media – so much so I called them out in my presentation at HIMSS15: MasterChef in Healthcare – Integrating Social Media as a company demonstrating the value of social media engagement and showing others how to effectively capitalize on this untapped resource.

My social media activity has opened so many doors for me and was an important factor in landing the job at Dell and a positive aspect that attracted me to working at the company. Social media has allowed me to stay connected to people, learn a ton from others and build a community online that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

I could not be more excited to be joining an incredible pioneer, mentor and innovator in healthcare social media @MandiBPro. I’m excited to be here at Dell to see how they do it and learn from the experts and at the same time share my own thoughts and ideas around the value and contribution I think this medium can have to doctors, health systems and patients.

Are you excited to be working with someone as passionate as Mandi Bishop (@MandiBPro)?
Who wouldn’t be – Mandi is such an inspiration and so much fun to be around online and IRL. Now I get to hang out with her more often and with more learning opportunities. Her drive, insights and positive energy is infectious. In fact it was one of her many posts talking about how excited she was working at Dell that were instrumental in steering me towards the company and this role.

How would you describe your job duties as CMO at Dell?  Will we still see you around at all the major conferences?
You bet – I will be present at many of the major conferences sharing the Dell vision and strategy and helping get the message out that Dell is the partner to be working with helping you navigate the challenging waters in healthcare. I will be responsible for providing strategic insight to help Dell advance its support of healthcare organizations, medical professionals and patients through information-enabled healthcare and working with our clients gathering insights and direction and helping them navigate clinical issues and applying innovative solutions in an increasingly complex healthcare industry.

What would you describes as Dell’s top healthcare initiatives?
Dell has a wide range of services that span EHR Application Services, Strategy Consulting, Integration/Interoperability, Imaging, Revenue Cycle, Cloud Based secure storage and Business Intelligence and Analytics

But it extends to new and emerging areas that include Patient Engagement, social media and mobility and includes the FDA-approved personalized medicine clinical trial for pediatric cancer and work on a genomics cloud storage and analysis system.

The wow for me was that Dell already has a vast amount of products, solutions and data along with insights that they are already integrating across multiple platforms. I can’t wait to share more on some of the projects the Dell team are working on soon.

Assuming I’m invited back to another Dell Healthcare Think Tank, describe what it will be like having Mandi, you, and me on the same panel. #DoMoreHIT
It’s like plutonium – separately plutonium is interesting, produces some interesting and exciting results and has some fascinating properties….but when you put enough of it together you get something huge and impressive. Sharing the stage and building on each other’s strengths, insights, energy and enthusiasm will be an electrifying session.