Great Marc Probst Interview

Posted on May 2, 2009 I Written By

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Marc Probst, CIO at Intermountain Healthcare and member of the new Health Information Technology Policy Committee, gave a really interesting interview to Healthcare Informatics. I really don’t know Marc Probst other than what I read in this interview, but I do know something about Intermountain Healthcare (or IHC as it’s known in Utah). When I was in high school I actually worked for IHC spending one hour a day cleaning a local doctors office. I’m glad those days are over and I don’t think I did a very good job at it either.

However, from that experience and also my high school friend’s dad being the CEO of IHC I got to know the company pretty well. I was really impressed with how the company was run. From the above interview I think that Marc Probst probably has quite a bit to do with that. Let me give a few examples of things he said that I liked:

AG: I completely agree about John (Glaser’s positive influence on defining “meaningful use”) and I’ve written as much. You may not know the answer to this, but there is also a Standards Committee that has yet to be formed. And there have been a lot of questions about what the differentiation might be between the Standards Committee and HITSP, John Halamka’s group. Do you have any information about the Standards Committee makeup, how it’s going to interact with the Policy Committee and the relationship of the Standards Committee to HITSP?

MP: I don’t know any of that, no.

AG: But they’re good questions.

MP: They are really good questions. Blumenthal has just gotten in and HHS still needs to finish their appointments, I think it’s just all very preliminary. Congress basically set down the dates for GAO to have to have the first 13 in place. But I don’t know if there are those same triggers out there for the other committee or the other seven on the Policy Committee. I think GAO has just met the timeline that they had to meet.

AG: We’re all just working our way through this, right?

MP: The best thing about standards is that there are so many of them, right? I hope the Standards Committee can become a brokering point to say, ‘Whether or not they’re the perfect standards, these are what we’re going to follow.’ Where does HITSP fit in this? Where does HL7 fit in this? I don’t know. We may only be 85 percent right in terms of agreement, but boy, it would be nice to have a target to go after.

Call me crazy, but I like I guy that’s not afraid to say that he doesn’t know. Makes me trust someone a lot more when they don’t try to fake something.

AG: Let’s not forget CCHIT.

MP: Do we have to talk about CCHIT?

AG: We can never leave any acronyms out as far as I’m concerned.

MP: CCHIT in my book is really good; I’m just concerned about a blanket rule that every system has to be CCHIT-certified, boy, that’s got a lot of challenges in that statement, and I’d be careful.

My understanding is that IHC built most of their EHR systems in house. This may be why Probst is not so happy with the blanket statement of CCHIT, but he realizes he has to be politically correct enough to not bash it (something I haven’t learned).

Let’s just say that I’m quite happy to see Marc Probst on the Health Information Technology Policy Committee. I’m adding him to my list of really smart and thoughtful people in healthcare.