Archive for May 2008

The Funniest Satire on Interoperability You’ve Ever Seen (Trust Me)

There is nothing better than a good satire to capture certain (uncomfortable) truths – just ask any of the presidential candidates after an episode of Saturday Night Live. So check out this hilarious spoof on information technology interoperability.As Captain Kirk said to Bones, “have you lost your mind?” Hilarious? Interoperability? But really, check it out. It is very funny.Now for those deep truths. When my friend David Brailer became the first federal IT czar, I think most people expected him to focus his attention and bully pulpit on promoting CPOE and EMR implementation – a “chicken in every pot, a computer in every office” strategy using incentives, regulations, and more. Yet David, who is one of the smartest and savviest people I know, focused much of his energy on the seemingly arcane and stultifyingly boring topic of interoperability – creating a common language so that the computers of different vendors…

Google Health: A View From the Inside

Google Health launched on Monday, which sent the world’s Google-watchers into a tizzy. I serve on Google Health's Advisory Council – which met all day Tuesday – and so here’s a bit of inside dish, along with my impressions of the site and the company.FYI, my work on the Council is covered by a Non-Disclosure Agreement, so I won’t reveal anything that isn’t publicly known regarding Google’s products or intentions. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I am compensated for my Google service. (No stock options, darn it.) With that as background, here’s the scoop. Google began working on its version of the personal health record a couple of years ago, after the company realized that a remarkably high percentage of searches were for health information (I know, if that’s going to be how priorities are set, you’re wondering if Google Sex is next). Google…

The “Technology Hype Cycle”: Why Bad Things Happen to Good Technologies

Fresh on the heels of my recent bar coding epiphany comes another “unintended consequences” article. It turns out that the whipsawing that accompanies the adoption of new technologies is completely foreseeable, the “why doesn’t this thing work right?” phase as predictable as the seasons.Thanks to Dr. Mark Wheeler, Director of Clinical Informatics of PeaceHealth, for introducing me last week to the “Technology Hype Cycle” concept. The Cycle, originally described by the IT consulting firm Gartner, is comprised of an all-but-inevitable series of phases that technologies tend to traverse after they are introduced. The five phases are:"Technology Trigger" – the initial launch; a new technology reaches public or press attention."Peak of Inflated Expectations" – A few successful applications of the technology (often by highly selected individuals or organizations) help catalyze unrealistic expectations, often aided and abetted by hype driven by word of mouth, the blogosphere, or vendor spin. "Trough of Disillusionment"…

Oprah, Obama, Putin, Springsteen… and Pronovost

Last week, Time Magazine named the 100 most influential people in the world. Among the luminaries was Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins. I thought it was an inspired choice.The modern patient safety field has been blessed with a number of important leaders and visionaries. A few examples: Lucian Leape, the Harvard surgeon who introduced the idea of systems thinking to mainstream medicine; Don Berwick, whose passion found form in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which has helped thousands of healthcare personnel learn safety skills and implement safety practices; Liam Donaldson, who catalyzed the safety field in the UK and then elevated it to a world stage; and David Bates, whose studies have helped us understand the role of information technology in patient safety.But the most important leader in safety today is Pronovost, the Hopkins anesthesiologist and critical care physician who has done more than anyone to bring scientific rigor…

Should Hospitals Install Bar Coding or CPOE First? Why I’ve Changed My Tune

This is one of the most commonly asked questions in IT World, and my answer has always been “CPOE first” – largely because that has always been David Bates’s (the world’s leading IT/safety researcher) answer. But I’ve changed my mind. Here’s why.Before I start, I promised that I’d let you know if I ever blogged on a topic in which I have a financial conflict of interest. On this, I do: I serve as a paid member of the Scientific Advisory Board of IntelliDOT, a company that makes a stand-alone bar coding system. If that freaks you out, stop reading. But recognize that if you had asked me the “bar coding or computerized provider order entry?” question last week, I would have answered “CPOE”.That’s because the evidence supporting CPOE is substantially stronger than the evidence for bar coding. For example, a search of “CPOE” on AHRQ Patient Safety Network (AHRQ…