News

Lost in the Signal...Is Most Healthcare Spending Being Wasted?

I finally got around to reading Bryan Caplan's The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money. In it, Dr. Caplan, an economics professor at George Mason University and self-avowed libertarian, argues that, aside from basic literacy and numeracy, our educational system serves less to educate and more as a way to signal to employers who might make good employees. Oh, boy did this book make me think about our healthcare system.Dr. Caplan's views on economic signaling are by no means out of the mainstream, although his application of it to education may be. Think of it this way:

Read More »

ONC Releases New NPRM on Interoperability: How Might it Affect Public Health?

On February 11, 2019, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released its latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to Improve the Interoperability of Health Information. Referred to by some people as the "Information Blocking NPRM," since this was the primary topic anticipated, the document actually covers a host of other topics related to interoperability driven primarily by requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. Besides the initial text of the NPRM, ONC also released a set of summary slides and fact sheets to help explain the document.

Read More »

Getting started as a GitLab contributor

GitLab's open culture is one of its strongest assets and the main reason I use GitLab in DevOps transformations. The community edition's code is open source and the paid version makes its source code available for contributions. These are valuable factors rooted in the company culture its CEO has diligently maintained over the years. It doesn't hurt that its tools are great, too. I believe GitLab's sales and marketing team is the best of any company out there. They have included me as a user, customer, and friend over the last few years, and they are genuine and caring people. This was underscored last year when I wanted to contribute a feature, and GitLab's team went to extraordinary lengths to help me succeed. Here's the story of making my first contribution to GitLab.

Read More »

Machine Learning in Healthcare: Part 1 - Learn the Basics

This article is the first in a three-part series that will discuss how machine learning impacts healthcare. The first article will be an overview defining machine learning and explaining how it fits into the larger fields of data science and artificial intelligence. The second article will discuss machine learning tools available to the average healthcare worker. The third article will use a common open source machine learning software application to analyze a healthcare spreadsheet. Part I was written to help healthcare workers understand the fundamentals of machine learning and to make them aware that there are simple and affordable programs available that do not require programming skills or mathematics background...

Read More »

So I Survived HIMSS19…

This was perhaps more of a fete than it initially seems. The conference was massive, with over 40,000 attendees. It centered around a trade show exhibit hall that spanned multiple football fields in length. In some ways, it was so big that I felt somewhat discouraged from attending some educational sessions because they were located so far from where I was hanging out that I could get back and forth in time. So I spent most of my time at the Interoperability Showcase since HLN was participating in two of the use cases: Immunization Integration & CDS, featuring our ICE open source immunization evaluation and forecasting system...

Read More »

Closing the Referral Problem in Distributed Care Networks

There have been any number of people and companies working tirelessly to solve healthcare's interoperability challenges. Hospitals, EHR software companies, Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), Federal and State governments, payers, and others have developed, tested, and implemented many in-house or vendor-built solutions to try to clear this hurdle. Recently, consumer technology vendors and patient-centered innovation programs have begun to make significant strides on directly expanding patients access to their own records. This is great news for patients, but when I am a patient, I also want my doctors and other caregivers to be able to communicate about me when needed. So, making me responsible for stewarding pieces of my record between them doesn't solve the challenge. Especially if I have received care in three or four different places or worse yet, become incapacitated.

Read More »

Analysis of 2018's 14 Separate Billion-Dollar Disaster Events in Context

During 2018, the U.S. experienced a very active year of weather and climate disasters. In total, the U.S. was impacted by 14 separate billion-dollar disaster events: two tropical cyclones, eight severe storms, two winter storms, drought, and wildfires. The past three years (2016-2018) have been historic, with the annual average number of billion-dollar disasters being more than double the long-term average. The number and cost of disasters are increasing over time due to a combination of increased exposure, vulnerability, and the fact the climate change is increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters.

Read More »

Fax Technology is the Cornerstone of Interoperability. Here's Why.

Fax is the dominant information exchange technology in U.S. healthcare, outpacing secure direct messaging 25-to-1. Most of that is exchanged using inefficient and unsecure machines. With the emergence of cloud-based fax technology to facilitate secure system-to-system document transfer, the use of cloud fax needs to be part of every CTO's/CIO's digital strategy...The evolution of fax from paper-based to cloud transmission and storage - Cloud Fax Technology (CFT) - is a key step that enables providers to comply with HIPAA and other regulations. Further strengthening CFT as a key component in Healthcare Information Systems (HIS) is its evolution into Direct Messaging platforms, enabling the seamless exchange of Patient Health Information (PHI) between the diverse data and document management systems used by labs, pharmacies, doctor's offices, hospitals, and billing providers. CFT supports and contributes to the goal of interoperability...

Read More »

HIMSS19: What to Look Out For

The 2019 HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition is in many ways a daunting event. Upwards of 40,000 people will likely attend this combination of educational experience, trade show, and overall shmooz-fest. But many people who go to this conference have a tough time: its sheer size can be quite overwhelming. There are pre-conference symposia, popular and important keynote speakers, educational sessions along with a myriad of topical tracks, and a massive exhibition hall that runs the full length of the Convention Center. Here are some of the things I'll be looking for this year to try to focus my activities...

Read More »

We Don't Need No Stinking Batteries

The problem with many IoT devices, though, is similar to with our other devices: what happens when the battery runs low? It's not easy to get a charger into our gut to repower smart pills, and for anyone worried about the ecological risks posed by computer or smartphone batteries, well, imagine tiny versions of those toxic batteries floating around in your body. We'll need sensors to track the damage done by our other sensors' dead batteries. Not with rectennas. Rectennas are powered by Wi-Fi signals, like the kind you use in your house or at Starbucks to get internet access. This is not a new concept, but what is new is that MIT researchers have been able to harvest enough power to make them useful, in a device only a few atoms thick.

Read More »