Twelve Days of Christmas

I chanced upon this humourous take on the HITECH Act (which is the current ‘hot topic’) with Christmas in context.

The original material can be found here

On the 12th day of Christmas my HITECH gave to me…
Twelve months to finish
Eleven Vendors Calling
Ten Consultants Waiting
Nine Acronyms learning
Eight Nervous Staffers
Seven Blogs a Reading
Six HIPAA Changes
Mean-ing-ful Uuuusssseeeee….
Four HIMSS talks
Three Work Groups
Two HIT Committees
And $19 Billion Dollars to spend….


New Article: Medical Tourism in Korea – Enhancing your outlook in life

Alrighty, this took some time but its ‘finally here’.

Ok, I confess, as mentioned in a previous post, the actual article was deem ready back on the 8th Dec 09 but nevertheless, it is ready now (so I technically kept my promise of having it published before the year is up).

This article examines the medical tourism scene in South Korea and some of the subtle driving factors behind it. I physically made a trip to South Korea and spend time asking the ‘right’ (myarid of) questions so I really hope that this helps you – the reader.

Enjoy the article here

Note: This article is Researched and Prepared for Clearstate


Ramblings: The Fun Theory Award

Dear readers

I’d like to share with you about “The Fun Theory Award”, an initiative by Volkswagen (yes, the company that makes cars).

The award is basically a contest “dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better”.

I also submitted an entry out of pure fun and that the topic of Green Energy happens to be on the top of my mind when I chanced upon the Fun Theory Award’s website.

Here is my entry, do vote for me if you like my idea.

Ramblings: My article on Medical Tourism in Korea

Ok, I got a few emails from readers querying / reminding me that I’ve not done the article on Medical Tourism in Korea, hence this blog post.

Firstly, my apologies for the delay, I’ve actually done up draft one back on the 27th Nov 09 and the final version on the 8th Dec 09. Normally, I’d publish the article once I reach a ‘final version’ but this particular article is being sponsored by an external consulting firm so it is actually waiting for ‘approval’ (hence the slight delay).

So again, I do apologise for the delay and I will strive to have it published before the year is up.


New Article: So, You want to buy an ECG Management System

I was organising the ‘old files’ in my portable hard disk when I came across a research proposal I wrote back in Sep 2008 (for a PhD that never happened). I reread the contents and found it still quite relevant so I ‘dusted’ it a little and trimmed it into a “So, You want to” article.

This article briefly examines some of the considerations one should take note of if they are interested in implementing an ECG Management System, mainly on features selection as ECG Management Systems in general does not require major customisation or enhancement to maximise clinical or operational workflow.

I hope you enjoy “So you want to buy an ECG Management System“.

Microsoft to delve further into health IT with Sentillion acquisiton

Here are some updates from on Microsoft’s recent activities in the Health IT arena.

Microsoft today announced its intention to acquire Sentillion, a privately held developer of healthcare software, for an undisclosed sum.

Redwood, Wash.-based Microsoft said it intends to combine Sentillion’s context management and single sign-on technologies with its Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS), a real-time data aggregation solution.

Both companies’ solutions aim to address the same challenges in healthcare—“integrating vast amounts of clinical, administrative and financial information that flow in and out of disparate information systems and tailoring that information for use by physicians, analysts, laboratory technicians, nurses and administrators.”

Sentillion said it will “continue to sell and support its products to new and existing customers while Microsoft invests in the long-term evolution of the combined portfolio of Sentillion and Microsoft health solutions.”

Sentillion also will continue to operate out of its corporate headquarters in Andover, Mass. The acquisition is expected to close in early 2010.

Better Care by Design

I would like to recommend this article – Better Care by Design  from Imaging Informatics (by Dennis L. Kaiser, AIA, LEED® AP) where it talks about “patient and family-oriented design of imaging facilities responds to changing demographics and can help build business”.

Personally, I like the concept he mentioned in A Patient- and Family-Centered Department section where all imaging equipment (of all the specialities) within a hospital are located in one single department to enable better workflow (I made the same suggestion to a hospital I work for about 6 years ago but it didn’t take off).

I hope you enjoy the article 🙂

New Singapore hospital to deploy “mini-EHR”

This news article is written by a good friend of mine (from FutureGov) and it covers a very interesting concept – a combination of a private hospital and a hotel- catering for medical tourism.

The Connexion, conceived and built by Singapore Health Partners (SHP), is comprised of three main entities: a 220-bed tertiary hospital, a specialist consultation centre with 189 medical suites as well as a 230-room hotel, which is equipped with a conference centre and retail space.

James Woo, SHP’s Vice President for Information Technology explained that the hotel will have rooms ranging from four-star to six-star standards. “This is to make sure that the facility caters to the different needs of our clients,” he says.

Woo was formerly the deputy CIO of Ministry of Health Holdings (MOHH) and CIO of National Health Group.

Expected to open by 2011, Connexion is expected to have 40 to 60 per cent medical tourists among its clientele. SHP, which was formed in 2006, has 44 shareholders, including 40 doctors, one architect and several foreign investors.

“It is the first private hospital to be built in Singapore for many years,” Woo says, stressing a lot of planning is required to make Connexion different and competitive. “We went in with a patient’s perspective to envision what a hospital of the future should be like.”

He explains that in a normal private hospital in Singapore, specialist consultants are like tenants who run their own systems, with little or no sharing of medical or administrative information between each other or with the management of the facility. These specialists often use one system for consultation and another to talk to the hospital, and the two are not interconnected, according to Woo.

“If I go to see doctor A, I have to register myself,” he explains. “When I go to see doctor B the next time, I have to register again even though they are in the same facility.”

SHP has recently signed a five year agreement with Microsoft to deploy the latter’s Amalga Health Information System into both its hospital and consultation suites.

Drawing from his previous public sector experience, Woo explains that he is envisioning Connexion to be like a mini-EHR. Each consultation suite will be allocated certain space in the central data base for detailed medical information, while certain important information such as allergies, active medication will be shared across Connexion, with a single master patient index.

“Integration of two systems will never work as well as an integrated system,” says Woo. “And we don’t want to maintain a large IT department to weave everything together.”

The option of having a single billing system between Connexion’s medical facilities and its hospitality business is also on the drawing board. “We still have to be very mindful,” says Woo.

The adoption of the system is not mandatory for specialist consultants. However, Woo says SHP will try their best to incentivise the uptake. “The system is essentially free for them, they don’t have to worry about license or maintenance,” he explains. “And by adopting the system, not only do they benefit from data sharing, they can also receive our statistical reports to see how well they perform and how they can make improvements.”

“We just want them to focus on patient care rather than worry about administration or anything else,” says Woo. “Our strategy is to help them to turn around more patients with better quality, and by that we will have happy tenants and increased revenue.”

As a green field facility, SHP plans to use internationally available statistics such as reports published by the WHO as a benchmark for the medical results achieved with the help of its IT system.

“WHO says that the chance of you getting harmed while seeking treatment is one in 300, which is very high considering that the ratio for civil aviation is one in 1.1 million,” Woo says. “We need to demonstrate that we can do much better than this.?”

Source : FutureGov

RSNA: Practical informatics for rads includes PACS ‘Prenup’

I also got this off an email from and I think its a funny but very much needed topic (it goes to show what stage we are at in the world of Imaging Informatics)

“CHICAGO–There can be a number of reasons in changing PACS, including the original vendor going out of business, no longer having a product that supports the work being done or a change in administration within a healthcare facility or a corporate decision, according to Steven Horii, MD, in a session titled “PACS Divorce” at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual conference on Monday.

PACS migration is becoming more commonplace as systems are becoming obsolete very quickly, noted Horii, director of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

According to Horii, while change is inevitable, certain factors can be noted as the most problematic. These include the question of what to do with the old hardware, such as MR machines, database migration conflicts, interface problems, missing the changeover schedule and having migration run too frequently.

“Database migration is the biggest problem we noticed,” said Horii. Names and reports that are matched up incorrectly and duplicate names within the system create conflict because they require manual intervention or additional software to correct, he said.

Interface issues were also noted by Horii as being a potential conflict during PACS changeover. “Your PACS is connected to a lot of different information systems and interfaces, which have to be tested on the new system,” he said. “There may be a new round of interface licensing fees involved.” For example, if the RIS and PACS are two separate systems by different companies, a fee would most likely be charged by the existing company to interface its system to the new PACS.

When entering into an agreement with a new PACS vendor, there is the potential for the timed migration estimate by the new vendor to be off-schedule, said Horii. “In their calculation, they assume that they will have access to your whole database 100 percent of the time. You cannot let the migration run 24-hours a day,” he said.

Among the recommendations in easing the PACS migration pain was considering vendor-independent storage solutions, an idea that is becoming increasing acceptable to vendors, said Horii.  “The idea is that you change the other parts of the PACS, but the database only needs minor changes, such as re-mapping database tables,” he said.

Further recommendations included having realistic estimates of data migration time, as well as contingency plans if the time limit is not met, and being prepared for legacy system failure before the implementation of a new system.

“Instating a prenuptial agreement from your PACS vendor” was the central solution offered by Horii.

“You want guaranteed access to your database and your data. You may own the data, but you do not own the schema — that is, how it is organized. That’s a problem if you are trying to migrate.”

Horii suggested that should a vender go out of business, the database should be obtained for the new vendor and details of all inter-system interfaces must be learned. Additionally, Horii discussed the option to continue service contracts on a month by month basis with the old vendor. However, he noted that the same service terms should be kept as the old system still will be in use clinically.

Moreover, Horii said, “You should get the new vendor to agree to work with the old vendor on the details of how to do the migration.” However, this takes time as it may involve contracts and non-disclosure agreements between the two companies