#HIMSS12 Day 3

Actually Day 3 was yesterday, but I’m just now getting around to putting some thoughts on paper.

Best session I attended was Care Coordination in Practice: Managing Data Volume and Data
. The presentation was all about big data and how we’re failing to use it appropriately in healthcare. The slide deck was great. It’s available here if you’re interested.

A couple of things I found interesting in the presentation:

  1. There are approximately 1-2 billion clinical documents produced in the United States each year. That’s mind boggling if you stop and think about for a minute.
  2. More than 60% of key clinical data are not found in coded lists.The remainder of the information is found in free text, scanned documents, etc. That’s a problem because a lot of clinical decision support is based on information in coded lists. So what are we missing? A lot.

The takeaway from the presentation: “Get massive amounts of data flowing, then build structure slowly and incrementally. Don’t wait.” The presenter referred to this as “the Google approach to data”. I’m a fan of all things Google so that works for me.

I had coffee with Pauline Sweetman yesterday (@psweetman). Pauline is a pharmacist from the UK that I’ve been tweeting back and forth with for a couple of years. We had a pretty interesting conversation around the differences and similarities between hospital pharmacy practice in the U.S. and UK. Good stuff.

I also had a great conversation with Dr. Heather Leslie (@omowizard), a physician out of Melbourne, Austrialia that’s doing a lot of work with the openEHR project. During our short visit she persuaded me to participate in their Adverse Reaction archetype review; as a pharmacist of course.She’s always looking for additional help if anyone is interested. It’s a worthwhile project so at least have a look.

I spent more time roaming around the exhibitor area, specifically looking at RFID technology. I’m a fan of RFID, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on in healthcare. There are several reasons why, but we should still be looking hard at it’s application. I’m not sure whether RFID will become important or it it’s a bridge technology to something else. But the only way to find out is start using it and see where it goes.

One product that uses RFID technology that I found particularly interesting comes from a company called MEPS Real Time, Inc. Their product features a dispensing cabinet with real-time RFID driven inventory management to go along with a RFID med tray tracking system. Of course you wouldn’t use RFID for everything because it would be labor intensive and expensive, but for high dollar drugs it might make sense. It was pretty impressive.


#HIMSS12 Day 2

Today was the first real day of action for me at HIMSS12. I attended a couple of sessions and spent some time in the exhibitor area. The education sessions I attended were pretty vanilla. The most interesting of them was the first one I sat in on called “Got Smartphones? Leveraging Physician’s Smartphone Usage in HIT”. Rebecca Kennis and Dr. Afzal ur Rehman from UHS Hospitals described their journey toward building an iOS application for physicians to access clinical information from their HIS.

The application, called iCare, was quite nice. It had a nice flow to it and some pretty solid functionality. It gave physicians access to the patient medical record, medication lists, laboratory results, in addition to allowing physicians to record billing information and generate sign out notes for other physicians. It’s an Apple fanboy’s wet dream.

A few things that I thought were of particular interest:

  • Dr. Rehman said that they didn’t ask for help collecting data from any of their vendors because “they wouldn’t get it [the help they needed]”. That speaks volumes for what UHS thinks of their HIT vendors.
  • Dr. Rehman eluded to the fact that UHS was willing to dummy down their security measures because physicians didn’t like long passwords. Someone from the audience pointed this out and asked how he was able to convince IT to allow 4 character passwords. His response was a bit of a grin and “we had to twist their arms”.
  • UHS has given the iCare application to physicians with iPhones, but will not allow nurses to use it because they feel it is too big of a security risk. I can’t decide exactly what that means. The security risk is the same whether it is a physician or nurse. Are they saying that the number of nurses represents a greater potential for risk, or does it mean that they don’t trust nurses? I didn’t have the opportunity to ask the question.

I attended my first ever Tweepup at the HP booth in the exhibitor area. The event was sponsored by HP and brought together about 10 participants. I was able to meet Dr. Joseph Kim, which was a treat. I read a lot of his blog posts and share his interest in all things tablet PC related. We only had a few minutes to talk, but I enjoyed it.

The exhibitor area for HIMSS12 dwarfs the exhibitor area for ASHP Midyear. I couldn’t see everything today. I’ll have to go back for more tomorrow; maybe even on Thursday depending on how far I get. Two things I took away from what I was able to see today:

  1. It’s all about the data. Everyone had something to say about collecting data, mining it and using business intelligence to put it to good use. There were a number of products on display in the vendor area, including small standalone systems to large integrated solutions from some of the big boys. How important will data be to the future of healthcare? Hard to say, but a lot of people are betting the house on it.
  2. Tablets are pervasive in healthcare. Tablets are the new smartphone. Everyone is carrying one and all the vendors are trying to take advantage of it. Anyone trying to sell any type of EHR, documentation system, imaging system, etc. is pushing the idea of using a tablet. Companies like Panasonic, Motion Computing, HP and Fujitsu had their lineup displayed in full force. To top it off just about every vendor in the place is offering up an iPad2 as a drawing prize. Have we seen the end of the desktop? Hardly, but it’s obvious where we’re headed.

Overall I’d call day 2 a rousing success

#HIMSS12 Day 1

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Conference & Exhibition, i.e. HIMSS12, started today in Las Vegas. Actually a lot of pre-conference stuff started today. I didn’t do much besides get situated, print my registration badge, figure out where everything was, visit the HIMSS bookstore and Social Media Pavilion, etc.

The real action for me will start tomorrow with the opening keynote delivered by Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter at 8:00 am. From there it’s pretty much one session after another until the Exhibit area opens at 1:00 pm, which is always my favorite part of a conference like this. The exhibit area is a place to see what’s going on in healthcare without having to stick to a schedule. There’s a Tweetup hosted by @HPHealthcare at 3:00 pm in the Sands Expo and Convention Center that I’m planning on attending as well. Should be a good day.

The only problem I see is the tough choices I’ll have to make on which sessions to attend; it’s a pretty impressive list.

I’ll be Tweeting off and on all week using the #HIMSS12 Hashtag (@JFahrni).

Defining and Testing EMR Usability

Healthcare IT News: “The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s EHR Usability Task Force has released a white paper focusing on the level of usability in electronic medical records and their implementation at healthcare organizations. “Defining and Testing EMR Usability: Principles and Proposed Methods of EMR Usability Evaluation and Rating” identifies usability of software in an EMR as “one of the major factors and possibly the most important factor hindering widespread adoption of EMRs.” – A copy of the white paper can be found here.

Talking “meaningful use” with our CIO.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is an $850 billion stimulus package passed by Congress aimed at encouraging economic growth in various industries through government spending. If you’re in healthcare, then you may be able to take advantage of $51 billion that has been allocated to the healthcare industry, $19 billion of which is aimed at the adoption and implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), also known as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). The only way to get your share of the money is to demonstrate that you are a “meaningful user” of an EHR system. The problem is figuring out what a “meaningful user” is.

My curiosity about being a “meaningful user” led me to the office of our CIO, where I casually asked him if we were going to qualify for any of the funds allocated by the ARRA. He informed me that “meaningful user” had not been completely defined, and is currently a hot topic of discussion.

Continue reading Talking “meaningful use” with our CIO.