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Health IT

COST: Fixing the "Invisible Wiring"

July 2, 2009

The nation’s largest health insurer says we can save well over $300 billion in the health care system over the next decade by streamlining administrative procedures and making better use of technology.

HEALTH IT: The Inter-Operetta

June 8, 2009

The Wall Street Journal's health blog brings us the story of a Health IT guru who made a little musical ode to Health IT and put it up on YouTube... We aren't even going to try to summarize it, see for yourself...

COST: Industry Groups Outline Cost-Savings Initiatives

June 1, 2009

The industry groups that gathered at the White House last month and pledged to bring down health costs by $2 trillion in the next decade followed up with a

HEALTH IT: Redrawing the Cancer War Battle Plan

May 21, 2009

Hundreds of thousands of patients undergo cancer treatment each year, using all sorts of combinations of drugs and treatments and therapies. Not all are in clinical trials—but many of them have something to teach us. We linked to Gooznews touching on this topic a few months ago. Now Merrill Goozner has a longer analysis at Science Progress of how, in part because of advances in health IT, we could tap this untapped pool of knowledge:

A redrawn battle plan—one that focuses on turning the treatment system into a research and learning system that can teach oncologists the best use of the weapons they already have—is long overdue...

…Many of the nation’s 30,000 oncologists are engaged in what could be described as an unobserved and uncontrolled science experiment, especially when it comes to treating the 560,000 Americans who die each year from the more than 100 forms of the disease. As these patients’ cancers advance, their physicians try regimens they read about in journals or hear about from colleagues. The outcomes are never gathered. The data is never analyzed. And the findings are never disseminated.’

COST: Is This What They Went to Med School For?

May 15, 2009

You know all those bad jokes about how doctors are always on the golf course. Wrong sport. Turns out they are jumping through hoops—$31 billion worth of hoops.

HEALTH IT: Legal Challenges in Privacy and Technology (Part 2)

May 8, 2009

We posted an overview earlier this week of the recent O'Neill Institute Legal Solutions in Health Reform symposium. Now we want to talk about the legal framework around Health information technology.

HEALTH POLITICS: Big Names and Bigger Ideas

May 4, 2009

Politico was abuzz today on the subject of health care reform, offering a veritable smorgasbord of big names and big ideas—along with some caveats about caution. There's also a good run-down of the heavy advertising on health care so far this year with much of it promoting a pro-reform, fix it now because all Americans deserve a better, fairer, more affordable, more secure health care system message.

Senator Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat and chair of the HELP committee, reminds us of the tragedy that health care costs can bring upon American families such as the Walkers, who cannot afford health care coverage for their son, a 21-year-old cancer survivor. He calls for five principles of reform: affordable, quality, coverage for all Americans; delivery and payment system reform; an emphasis on wellness and preventative care; sustainable and long-term support for the disabled; and the elimination of fraud and abuse in both public and private health care sectors. "I want Jake Walker and millions of others in his position to know he is in our minds, our hearts and our prayers," said Kennedy. "Most of all, I want to make 2009 the year we end this unacceptable American tragedy."

Latest from the AMA: New Web Platform to Encourage HIT; Obama’s Health Care Principles Receive Endorsement

April 22, 2009

There are a lot of reasons that doctors haven't rushed to install computerized medical records. Among them, it's hard. The American Medical Association hopes to make it a bit easier for doctors to get wired.

HEALTH POLITICS: It's the Other Guy Getting the Unnecessary Care

April 22, 2009

You know all those polls that show Americans distrust Congress—but like their own Congressman (or woman)? Well, here's the health care corollary. About half of Americans now believe that people get unnecessary tests and treatments. But—yep, you guessed it—the tests and treatments they themselves get aren't unnecessary.

Half of those surveyed said we have a "major problem" with unnecessary tests and treatments, and two-thirds said too many patients are "not getting medical tests and treatments they need." But only 16 percent thought they had ever received any unnecessary care. Guess it's the Dartmouth Atlas equivalent of NIMBY.



HEALTH IT: Two Hospitals, One Patient, an Unbridgeable Gulf

April 8, 2009

I recently interviewed a man in his late 60s with three advanced chronic diseases—diabetes, congestive heart failure, and COPD. I'll call him "Jim" because he died unexpectedly before I could get his explicit consent to share his story on this blog. After being extremely sick in the ICU last fall, Jim enjoyed several months of reasonably good health, good enough to tell jokes and golf in Florida and tell me about how well his wife of 38 years took care of him.

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