One of the topics’s that I’ve written most about, and also do a considerable amount of non-clinical consulting work on, is how we can improve health care information technology and electronic medical records. As they currently exist, there are unfortunately many drawbacks to health care IT systems, and they have as yet failed to fulfill their immense promise. I’m not a technophobe by any stretch of the imagination. I embrace technologies and ...

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When my father died three years ago,  my comments at his funeral noted that the greatest aspiration any of us can have is to make a difference in the world.  My father’s life made a difference. I’m always self-critical and analyzing my own life.  I moved to Boston 20 years ago this month.   In those 20 years of service to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard, numerous federal organizations, ...

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The diabetes community has been set ablaze after UnitedHealthcare announced an agreement for Medtronic devices to be the “preferred” in-network, durable medical equipment (DME) provider of insulin pumps. Starting July 1, 2016, UnitedHealthcare patients will be funneled toward using a Medtronic insulin pump instead of offerings from manufacturers like Tandem and Animas. Many diabetes advocates have eloquently voiced their outrage and have been rallying ...

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Among the plethora of emails that I receive on a daily basis, there seems to always be at least one sent from my hospital’s information services department. Usually, I receive alerts about system downtime or notifications about resolved tickets. They all have the same general look and feel, and so I hardly ever question that they are official. And then I come across a communication with the message similar to ...

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Virtual visits are increasingly the rage amongst forward-thinking healthcare providers that want to jump on the telehealth band wagon.  Extending the office visit across distance, using the same technology we use to keep in touch with loved ones (videoconferencing such as Skype and FaceTime), is a safe and logical way for providers to venture into a new tech-enabled world that may still be scary for some. One way to think of ...

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Adding “electronic” means sortable, searchable, bigger attic, more junk. Unfortunately, no one has the guts to actually clean it. Are urinalyses from the 90s still important, or are we just being sentimental? For everything we do in medicine, there are intended effects and side effects. During my emergency medicine residency there was a mandate that attending physicians had to see each patient cared for by their residents. While a hard transition, ...

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A decade ago, electronic health records were aggressively promoted for a number of reasons.  Proponents claimed that they would facilitate the sharing of health information, reduce error rates in health care, increase health care efficiency, and lower costs. Enthusiasts included the technology companies, consultants, and IT specialists who stood to reap substantial financial rewards from a system-wide switch to electronic records. Even some health professionals shared in the enthusiasm.  Compared to the ...

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Evolution is part of life, something we accept as a fact and evidenced by the changes we see and know compared to hundreds of years ago. No one can dispute the great technological advances that have been made; transport has been revolutionized from the animal power of horse and cart to the mechanized systems of train, plane and automobile we have today. Communication systems once reliant upon the written word and ...

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We live in a headline/hyperlinked world.  A couple of years back, I learned through happenstance that my most popular blog posts all had catchy titles.  I’m pretty confident that people who read my blog do more than scan the titles, but there is so much information coming at us these days, it’s often difficult to get much beyond the headline.  Another phenomenon of information overload is that we naturally apply heuristics or ...

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For years, many physicians have complained about the onerous nature of government-certified electronic medical records. However, thanks to the HITECH Act, the rush to digitize medical records has continued. Due to the impetus provided by the ACA and subsequently by MACRA, the mad rush has progressed into a frenzy of data-collecting and reporting activity, all in the name of value over volume. Recently, two objective reports have surfaced demonstrating the futility of ...

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