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The Burnt Out Healthcare IT Industry – Time for a Reset

Posted on March 14, 2016 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.

Colin Hung recently posted that HIMSS 2016 didn’t really have a theme and that this was a good thing. I think that’s a fair assessment. There wasn’t any one topic or initiative that was grabbing everyone’s attention. However, I would argue that there was a theme coming out of HIMSS 2016:

The Healthcare IT industry is tired and burnt out.

You know the feeling when you’re burnt out. You can’t think about any more topics. You can’t add anything new to your plate. You just need some time to re-energize yourself before you start taking on new initiatives. You need some time to reset.

While at HIMSS I heard and read a few people mention that the healthcare IT world feels a bit like it did after the craziness of Y2K. They described the feeling at HIMSS after Y2K similar to what it was like at HIMSS 2016.

I’ll admit that I was off in Italy without technology for Y2K, so I can’t compare it first hand, but the comparison makes a lot of sense. I did see how companies and organizations were trying to prepare for Y2K. After putting so much focus and worry on a project for an extended period, you need some down time to reset your priorities.

I see the same happening today. However, it isn’t just one thing that’s tied up healthcare executives. Meaningful use has been all consuming for many organizations. ICD-10 took up a whole lot of focus and training to ensure that everything went smoothly with that transition. HIPAA Omnibus and this wave of breaches along with the HIPAA Security Risk assessment requirements has caused organizations to focus on security. All of that has consumed healthcare executives focus the past couple years. It’s definitely time for a well deserved reset.

However, it’s not just the leaders that need a reset. The entire organization needs a reset and some space to relax after executing so many major projects at once (often in a very compressed time frame).

The problem is that there won’t be much time to sit back and relax. Most EHR implementations still need a lot of work. Doctors are getting more and more frustrated with their EHR and we’re going to need to do something about it before it adds to the already burnt out doctors. However, looking back I think we’ll see HIMSS 2016 as the year of the Healthcare IT reset. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s necessary.

Securing PHI Feels A Lot Like Y2K

Posted on October 19, 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.

Seems like the comments being made on posts and being emailed to me have been really interesting lately. As I often like to do, I want to highlight those that provide interesting stuff in the comments since many people don’t read all the comments. Here’s one such comment from ip-doctor on my post about de-identified healthcare data.

I am interested in knowing how readers answer John’s question re position on use of de-identified data. My guess is that people don’t know it’s going on and will object to it happening in principle.

Securing PHI feels a lot like Y2K. No doubt breaches occur, and, when they do, they are certainly costly for the offending HCO, but how many examples are there of leaked information being used to harm someone? Seems like the same proscriptions vs. extortion, blackmail, and libel would prevent individuals from using illegally obtained PHI to harm patients.

In fact, the odds that there is a Person A who wishes to harm Person B AND who somehow comes up with Person B’s sensitive PHI AND is able to use it to harm Person B without Person B having ample legal recourse against Person A are hopelessly LONG. Breaches of thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions of records are too large and unspecific to be “used” for nefarious purposes.

We need to secure PHI, but we are hoisting ourselves on our own petards if we let legitimate concerns about the use of patient data block or slow our adoption of EMRs and HCIT for ACOs and PCMHs. Just as there are real benefits associated with use of de-id’ed patient data, there are (significant, hidden) costs with not sharing health data.

The irony here is that the most common, undeniably harmful use of sensitive PHI has been to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions. Kind of makes sense. It is, after all, health information.

Nothing like sharing a post about the fears and challenges associated with sharing data and privacy and following up with a post that talks about how it might not be as big of a risk as many like to make it. Of course, the happy place is somewhere in the middle where we do a good job securing the data while as HIPAA outlines, we avoid placing an undue burden on patient care.