The Recovery Room – 10/11/09

October 1st, Secretary Sebelius releases report on how health information technology can improve health care for Americans living in rural communities. The report examines how the Columbia Basin Health Association in Othello, WA, uses health information technology to improve health care quality and patient safety as well as promote care coordination and continuity. Read the report.

Microsoft launched  it’s My Health Info a new health information manager. The service includes tools and widgets to monitor information, and connects to HealthVault, Microsoft’s electronic health record site.  My Health Info will provide secure storage of health information available anywhere on the web. It is targeted at people dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and for adults managing the health of aging parents and young children.

Monday, October 5th, three Americans, two are women, won the 2009 Nobel prize for Physiology & Medicine. The discovery and research of Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak on how chromosomes protect themselves as cells divide earned them the coveted prize. Their work has inspired experimental cancer therapies and may offer insights into aging. Greider and Blackburn join eight other women who have won the prize since the first in 1901.

Will EHRs of the future be more modular and iPhone application-like? Will they have common APIs? Will the future provide sustainability in HIT? The HIT Platform meeting hosted by Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School took place to discuss just that. Zak Kohane and Ken Mandl assembled 100, dare I say impressive, people and discussed innovative ways to transform the national Health IT system. You can keep informed on this at the National Health IT Forum.

And over on the other coast in San Francisco the Health 2.0 conference was doing it’s part for innovation and HIT. The show boasted 11 new product launches! Read Matthew Holt’s personal review.

And in the middle, Blumenthal speaks in Texas at the AHIMA Convention while Sebelius takes on Kansas City, MO at the Cerner Conference. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) 81st annual convention, was held in Grapevine TX. Keynote speaker ONC David Blumenthal was introduced by the out going CEO of AHIMA, Linda Kloss. Here is a statement from Blumenthal that I had to read twice, “We’re not used to hearing Congress referred to as brilliant”! And he continued, “but inclusion of the meaningful use requirement as a criterion for EHR subsidies was just that”. The law “focuses us on the need to change the sociology” of healthcare delivery. It focuses on improving outcomes, efficiency, patient satisfaction and family involvement, “all of the things that are essential to make a health system better.” For a good recap of Kloss and Blumenthal addresses read Joseph Conn’s article in

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with Cerner co-founder, chairman and CEO Neal Patterson were the keynote speakers at the 24th annual Cerner Conference held in Kansas City, Mo. Sebelius announced the partnering of the federal government and Cerner to monitor the spread of the H1N1 influenza. She also played her part in discussing how health IT adoption could improve our health care system by helping in evaluating treatment efficiency, reducing hospital readmissions, and tracking patient progress.

That’s it for now. Have a good week!