Book: How “Healthcare Informatics” is Different

As part of a fund-raising initiative for binaryHealthCare, I have authored a book titled “How Health Informatics is Different” (ISBN : 978-981-07-4588-2).

“How Health Informatics is Different” is written for individuals (especially management consultants) who wants to understands the ‘idiosyncrasy’ of healthcare Informatics.

This book contains the core essence that is absolutely required to better understand the unique perspective of this industry and in the process, uncover much sought after answers to critical puzzles like;

  • Is Healthcare truly different from other industries?
  • What are the complexities in Healthcare? Or is it merely misunderstood?
  • Why Health IT solutions are not ‘portable’?
  • Why “Clinician Driven” EMRs are never “Clinically Sufficient”?
  • Why are Healthcare IT budgets so low when compared to other industries?
  • What is Semantic Interoperability and why is it so difficult to achieve?

If you are ready to embark on a journey to understand the core complexities of healthcare informatics, then take a seat, relax and enjoy the insights presented by “How Health Informatics is Different.

Watson to train with Cleveland Clinic med students

Before I comment on anything, I’d like to first invite you to read the actual article (reproduced below from Clinical

Cleveland Clinic and IBM are collaborating to advance the use of Watson in medical training. The IBM team of researchers that created Watson will work with Cleveland Clinic clinicians, faculty and medical students to enhance the capabilities of Watson’s Deep Question Answering technology for the area of medicine.

Watson’s capability to analyze the meaning and context of human language and quickly process information should help find answers hidden amongst the vast quantity of collected healthcare data.

Watson has been gaining knowledge in the field of medicine and interacting with medical students should help expand its knowledge. Since medical students can no longer be expected to memorize everything contained in text books and medical journals, they must establish new ways to use available information to diagnosis and treat patients.

This process of considering multiple medical factors and discovering and evidencing solution paths in large volumes of data reflects the core capabilities of the Watson technology, according to IBM. Medical students will interact with Watson on challenging cases as part of a problem-based learning curriculum and in hypothetical clinical simulations. A collaborative learning and training tool utilizing the Watson technology will be available to medical students to assist in their education to learn the process of navigating the latest content, suggesting and considering a variety of hypotheses and finding key evidence to support potential answers, diagnoses and possible treatment options.

Students will help improve Watson’s language and domain analysis capabilities by judging the evidence it provides and analyzing its answers within the domain of medicine. Through engagement with this education tool and Watson, medical students and Watson will benefit from each other’s strengths and expertise to both learn and improve their collaborative performance. The collaboration also will focus on leveraging Watson to process an EHR based on a deep semantic understanding of the content within an EHR.

Over time, the expectation is that Watson will get “smarter” about medical language and how to assemble good chains of evidence from available content. Students will learn how to focus on critical thinking skills and how to best leverage informational tools like Watson in helping them learn how to diagnose and treat patients.

Personally, I think its a great experiment but what is really cool is that Eliot L. Siegel is pictured in the original article (he is a prominent figure in the world of medical imaging informatics).

Health IT makes ECRI Institute’s annual top 10 hazards list

It would appears that “Health IT makes ECRI Institute’s annual top 10 hazards list” (original article can be accessed here).

I thought the title was kind of interesting so I dived deeper into the article, which goes like this;

For every problem that health IT might solve, it seems it introduces a few new problems as well. The ECRI Institute, a nonprofit patient safety organization, has released its sixth annual report listing the top health technology hazards for the coming year. This year’s report includes several technology advances that have the potential to cause patient harm.

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards List for 2013 names the following as potential hazards:

1.  Alarm hazards;
2.  Medication administration errors using infusion pumps;
3.  Unnecessary radiation exposures and radiation burns during diagnostic radiology procedures;
4.  Patient/data mismatches in EHRs and other health IT systems; and
5.  Interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems.

The hazards included in the 2013 list, published in the November issue of ECRI Institute’s Health Devices journal, met one or all of the following criteria: it has resulted in injury or death; it has occurred frequently; it can affect a large number of individuals; it is difficult to recognize; it’s had high-profile, widespread news coverage; and there are clear steps for hospitals to take now to minimize these risks.

ECRI Institute also offers its web-based Health Technology Hazard Self-Assessment Tool, which provides a facility or department risk factor ratings of low, medium or high related to each of the top 10 hazards. Healthcare organizations can then use the information to help prioritize their efforts to address the hazards. The tool also provides facility- and department-specific recommendations for mitigating the risks associated with each of the top hazards.

Access the complete report online.

While there are some bearings to the report, I think ERCI missed the point. What has been listed are obviously bad implementations of healthcare IT and when you apply technology in a snobby manner, you get bad implementations, that doesn’t mean the technology is bad, it may be complicated, it might actually require high IQ and analytical abilities to implement it properly but that doesn’t necessary translates to the technology being bad.

Replace the technology with fire, nuclear, hydro, cars (driving), cooking.. anything (seriously, anything) and apply them ineffectively and it too would be deem as a hazard.

In other words, its  the execution that is wrong – its that simple, and if one cannot see the real problem, then one cannot fix it.

Makes sense?