Healthcare IT Leadership

I was recently at breakfast with one of the healthcare IT leaders in our Cincinnati community. Over omelets and orange juice, we discussed the challenges of healthcare as well as the opportunities that we have ahead of us as well. Topmost was the need for well qualified resources to implement the initiatives that have been set out by Meaningful Use.

Also, being able to bridge the gap between IT and Clinical Operations. For instance, in the past, if you had not been in IT previously and took over as a CIO of an organization, you were able to rely on just your management skills. These days, just being able to know when and how to negotiate with your software and professional services vendors and your knowledge and capabilities on initiatives such as ICD-10, Cloud, Big Data and Mobile applications requires a high level understanding of the implementation needs for those projects as well as the business case. Being able to practically implement the HIPAA Omnibus rule will require understanding of the technology environment more than ever before.

While these new challenges affect all Healthcare IT leadership, the Healthcare CIO of today will be one of those that takes this as par for the course. No more can you say “well, we did this decades ago and it didn’t work”, the circumstances and the external environment back before the Affordable Care Act was passed was different. Whatever your political stance is, being able to upgrade our ‘n’er to change’ healthcare technology was step towards re-invigorating our national pride and innovation.

Mark your calendars! This week is National Health IT Week in the United States.

This week is the 3rd annual National Health IT Week and there will be several webinars that CMS will host to mark it. Keep your eye out for tools and resources that will help you and providers to participate in ehealth programs.

Watch out for a webinar or education session near you!

Is your hospitals’s infrastructure in the 21st Century?

Healthcare can make a significant technological leap forward by focusing on infrastructure and the backbone of the technology needs to be brought up to the 21st century standards. The understanding of that infrastructure and technology, if you were to compare the infrastructure of Healthcare Provider organizations these days to even just a yesr or two ago, it would be like comparing Lincoln logs to granite slabs. They have just become so much better due to the HITECH Act.

Much more than just a network operations these days, new healthcare infrastructure is the central technology hub for the storing and monitoring of data, systems and applications. It is the vital nerve center for what network and systems departments do these days. Ultimately, there will be a need to store all of the healthcare data and that will be when a cloud based vendor will be able to dominate the market with a safe, reliable and fast storage and retrieval system and delivery of the data to and from hospital locations.

Remember our lost heroes and friends today

For our Emergency Responders who were there when we needed them, Medical Personnel who worked tirelessly to save lives and Military Veterans who sacrificed for the safety and security of our nation after that.

We will never be able to thank you enough for your service and sacrifice on this day of remembrance. We are truly honored by your service to our nation. Let’s not forget the sacrifice many of you made this day, 2001. We will never forget how hard you worked to save lives that day and every day.

Geo-fencing’s role in preventive and e-health care

As healthcare changes, providers are trying more and more to grab the attention of their local and regional populations. One way of doing that is through geo-fencing. A geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries, like inpatient or outpatient boundaries. When you walk into a hospital, say for a diabetes appointment, the hospital wants to be able to push information to your smart phone telling you about seminars that may be useful for preventive care.

In an article published in Technorati titled “Google Bets On Geo-Fencing” in May of 2013, it talks about when Philips announced that it was partnering with Apple on a smart LED light bulb that featured geo-fencing technologies and that the “Hue” lighting system will allows it’s users to control wireless-enabled LED light bulbs inside their homes with an iOS app. Most interesting of all is how Philips is utilizing geo-fencing technology by allowing lights to turn on or off depending on the location of an individual.

Both patients and Care givers also have the ability through a vibrate, text or email ‘alert’ to assist long term care patients by knowing their whereabouts if the patient steps outside a certain boundary for care through a geo-fence.

Keep your eyes open for geo-fencing capabilities at a healthcare facility near you when your smart phone gets connected to your healthcare provider’s network. A boon also for healthcare marketing careers.

A Data Scientist walked up to me at a party and…

Ok, well,it wasn’t exactly a party, but I did meet a Data Scientist, a new profession that didn’t exist even a couple of years ago, who worked for one of my favorite companies; Linkedin. I asked him what he did and he said he basically “made complicated data seem simple to understand”. The concept of Big Data has been used a lot in healthcare to make sense of the huge volumes of information that comes in and out of EMR and other clinical systems these days.

A data scientist represents a natural paradigm shift in thinking from the traditional role of a data or business analyst in that both their backgrounds are similar and need a good foundation typically in math and computer science, data modeling, statistics and analytics. A true data scientist has strong business analysis skills and the ability to communicate findings to both operational and information technology teams in a way that can direct healthcare organizations on ways the most pressing business and clinical challenges can be solved. Understanding what the underlying data really means and how healthcare provider organizations can leverage that data for lower cost and higher quality outcomes gives an opportunity for a Data Scientist in our industry to achieve great things.

New jobs and new opportunities do exist in healthcare. Analytics to understand the impact of ICD 10 codes and terms, reviewing why patients get re-admitted and reducing those rates, understanding the relationship between certain seemingly variables. Labor Day gives us something to think about indeed.