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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.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Commentary and Resources – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on March 5, 2012 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.

For this week’s Meaningful Use Monday, I decided I’d go through the large list of meaningful use stage 2 commentary that’s been put out over the past week. I’ll do my best to link to some of the most interesting commentary, summaries, etc of meaningful use stage 2 and point out some resources that I’ve found useful.

John Halamka on Meaningful Use Stage 2
First up is the blog post by John Halamka about MU stage 2. I really like his recommendation to read pages 156-163 of the MU rule (PDF here). Sure, the rule is 455 pages, but many of those pages are a recap of things we already know or legalese that is required in a government document. Halamka also created a meaningful use stage 2 powerpoint that people can reuse without attribution. Worth looking at if you’re not familiar with MU stage 2 or if you have to make a presentation on it.

Health Affairs on MU Stage 2
Health Affairs has a nice blog post covering meaningful use stage 2. They offer “3 highlights that seem particularly important:”

  1. The bar for meeting use requirements for computerized provider order entry (CPOE), arguably the most difficult but potentially the most important EHR functionality, has been raised: now a majority of the orders that providers write will have to be done electronically.
  2. There is a major move to tie quality reporting to Meaningful Use. We knew this was coming, but CMS has laid out a host of quality measures that may become requirements for reporting through the EHR.
  3. Health Information Exchange moves from the “can do it” to the “did do it” phase. In Stage 1, providers had to show that they were capable of electronically exchanging clinical data. As expected, in Stage 2, providers have to demonstrate that they have done it.

Health Affairs also talks about the timeline for this rule and the feedback that CMS is likely to get on MU stage 2. I’m sure they’re going to get a lot of feedback and while they suggest that the rule will look quite similar to the proposed rule, I expect CMS will make a couple strong changes to the rule. If nothing else to show that they listened (and I think they really do listen).

Stage 2 Meaningful Use by The Advisory Board Company
The Advisory Board Company has a good blog post listing the 10 key takeaways on stage 2 of meaningful use. Below you’ll find the 10 points, but it’s worth visiting the link to read their descriptions as well.
1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) affirms a delay for 2011 attesters.
2. Stage 1 requirements will be updated come 2013.
3. Medicaid definitions are loosened; more providers are eligible.
4. While the total number of objectives does not grow, Stage 2 measure complexity increases significantly.
5. Information exchange will be key, but a health information exchange (HIE) will not be necessary.
6. Patients will need to act for providers to succeed.
7. Sharing of health data will force real-time, high-quality data capture.
8. More quality measures; CMS’ long term goals—electronic reporting and alignment with other reporting programs—remain intact.
9. The Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) sister rule proposes a more flexible certification process and greater utilization of standards.
10. Payment adjustments begin in 2015.

AMA MU Stage 2
The American Medical News (done by the AMA) has a blog post up which does a good job doing an overall summary of where meaningful use is at today (post MU stage 2). Meaningful Use experts will be bored, but many doctors will appreciate it.

Justin Barnes on Meaningful Use Stage 2
Justin Barnes provides his view on meaningful use stage 2 in this HealthData Magement article. It seems that Justin (and a few other of his colleagues at other EHR vendors) have made DC their second home as they’ve been intimately involved in everything meaningful use. I found his prediction that the meaningful use stage 2 “thresholds and percentages will remain largely in place come the Final Rule targeted for August, and should not be decreased via the broader public comment phase next underway like we saw with Stage 1.” Plus, he adds that the 10 percent of patients accessing their health information online will be a widely discussed topic. Many don’t feel that a physician’s EHR incentive shouldn’t be tied to patients’ actions. Add this to the electronic exchange of care summaries for more than 10 percent of patients and the healthcare data is slowly starting flow.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 and Release of Information
Steve Emery from HealthPort has a guest post on HIT Consultant that talks about how meaningful use stage 2 affects ROI. This paragraph summarizes the changes really well:

The bottom line for providers is that Stage 2 MU changes with regards to these specific criteria will drive organizations to implement a patient portal or personal health record application; and connect their EHR systems to these systems. Through these efforts it is expected that patient requests to the HIM department for medical records will decrease; as patients will be able to obtain records themselves, online and at any time.

e-Patients and Meaningful Use Stage 2
e-Patient Dave got together with Adrian Gropper MD, to put together a post on meaningful use stage 2 from an e-Patient perspective. This line sums up Adrian Gropper MD’s perspective, “My preliminary conclusion is that Stage 2 is a huge leap toward coordinated, patient-centered care and makes unprecedented efforts toward patient engagement.”

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Standards
Those standards geeks out there will love Keith Boone’s initial review and crosswalks from this rule to the Incentives rule here.

Shahid Shah on Meaningful Use Stage 2
I like Shahid Shah’s (the Healthcare IT Guy) overview and impressions as well. He’s always great at giving a high level view of what’s happening in healthcare IT.

Are there any other meaningful use stage 2 resources out there that you’ve found particularly useful or interesting?