New Article: Challenges in EHR Adoption – Data Protection

Dear friends,

I’d like to share a new article (a commentary piece) that raises awareness on the topic of Data Protection in national wide implementations of Electronic Health Records (EHR) solutions.

The co-author of this paper is a Visiting Associate to binaryHealthCare’s Thought Leadership program – Ms Vicky SHI, an assistant manager in Deloitte Consulting SEA with close to 6 years of experiences in Consulting, Audit & Assurance and Financial Advisory Service.

Vicky serves as a functional expert in Data Privacy & Protection field in Deloitte Consulting South East Asia, driving the overall market and providing breaths of services that developed in line with the compliance of Personal Data Protection Act since its inception in Malaysia in 2010.

This commentary – Challenges in EHR Adoption – Data Protectionserves as the teaser to a series of whitepapers on the topic of Data Protection in eHealth.

Till the next whitepaper 🙂

More healthcare IT professionals needed for health IT adoption

While the job market is good for us in Healthcare Informatics (nope, working as a helpdesk or maintaining servers in a hospital does not count), I didn’t know that it was this good.

“As the healthcare system in the United States moves toward wider IT adoption, approximately 40,000 additional health IT professionals will be needed, according to a study presented to the House Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare Informatics.

The results showed the “overall IT staffing ratio to be 0.142 IT FTE [full-time equivalent] per hospital bed. Extrapolating to all hospitals beds in the United States, this suggests a total current hospital IT workforce size of 108,390 FTEs.”

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Yahoo rejects Microsoft deadline as tech battle intensifies

Seems that the courtship between Microsoft and Yahoo is not exactly smooth sailing 🙂

” Yahoo on Monday rejected a three-week deadline from Microsoft to accept a 44.6 billion dollar takeover, as the battle between the two technology titans heated up.  Yahoo however said it was open to a sweetened bid from the software giant or another bidder.”

So the question is not if Yahoo is for sale but rather, the asking dollar.

If you are interested, read the original article here.

Agfa, ICW, Sun Microsystems form open-source eHealth initiative

Thats right, Agfa HealthCare, InterComponentWare (ICW) and Sun Microsystems have joined as foundation members of the new Open eHealth Foundation, an open-source initiative for the healthcare IT arena.

The objectives of the Foundation (as stated in their web site) is;

“To develop software components and reference implementations as free Open Source software that can help achieve a high level of semantic interoperability in the eHealth field. The software components can be used in existing or newly developed products to increase their interoperability and to integrate them into the new, networked eHealth world with little expense and effort.”

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Wal-Mart partners with hospitals to rapidly expand in-store clinics

USA: “Wal-Mart recently announced plans to partner with community hospitals across the country to open up 400 new retail clinics inside its stores by 2010, in addition to the 55 it already houses. Thirteen of those are owned and operated by hospital systems.”

I personally think its a great idea, in addition to being a ‘Hyper Mart’, one can now not only buy almost everything needed but also visit the Doctor while you are at it! I think its a neat idea, definitely brains at work for this one (don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its without flaws but still, its a good idea)

More details on the article here.

Google Tool Could Search Out Hospital Superbugs

An article at NewScientist talks about utilising Google’s PageRank algorithm to help focus preventative measures more accurately by identifying key routes of infection and transmission. This in my opinion is an effective utilisation of existing proven technology as an enabler. 🙂

There are tons of technology out there that could be adopted by healthcare, sometimes, all we need is a little innovation, as well as co-operation from the physicians. Physicians have no time waste in participating with technology trials that may not necessary translate to an immediate clinical benefit, this is understandable (its like me hating to talk to my financial advisor) but it is a ‘necessary evil’ as they are one of a key adopters of healthcare informatics.

Anyway, one particular sentence in the article caught my eye “While studies have taken samples to discover how particular objects, like doctors’ neckties, can harbour infection“. Back while I was working in a hospital, I raised the question of why we have to wear ties when it serves as a carrier of germs (do you wash your tie?) only to be told that it is required as a ‘Professional” (since when was professionalism measured by wearing ties?).

This reminds me of situations where IT departments have purchasing decisions on behalf of clinical systems, they harp on all sort of ‘what if’ situations (mostly due to ‘threats’ from their existing infrastructure) and make you spend 90% of your time fixing those ‘problems’ when the whole idea of implementing these systems is to improve patient care and save lives.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned about IT issues (mind you, I’m a true blue techie) but sometimes, the objective gets clouded in the process.

Ah well, thats enough for now, till my next post. “)

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New Article: Excuse Me, Are You a PACS Administrator?

I wrote this article for the Singapore Society of Radiographers (SSR) back in October 2007 but could only release it now as I had to wait for SSR to publish it in their newsletter.

This article is my second “Excuse Me” article, it examines the role of the modern day PACS Administrator and some related issue. The first “Excuse Me” article was on IT Professionals and the next piece in this series is “Excuse Me, Are You a Consultant?” (which is in the queue of my ‘to write’ list).

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PACS users complain of Repetitive Stress Symptoms

The ‘dangers’ of Repetitive Stress Injury are real and it is of little amazement to me that modern day radiologists are facing this problem as well – because they are now spend long hours in front of a computers.

Now ergonomics (the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use) is not a new concept, so why is it that millions of IT professionals, clerical staffs, students and now – modern day radiologists are still being subjected to pain and inconveniences cause by poor human factors engineering?

I feel its due to ‘poorly’ designed furniture (are your tables adjustable by height?) and lack of awareness. In my previous life as a PACS Administrator, I’ve been ‘summon and yelled at’ by radiologists and clinicians about the poor design of their furniture / chairs (and even the fact that there were fingerprints on the monitors, I wonder who left those there….. 🙂 )  Much as I wished that my PACS budget includes money to replace the entire hospital’s furnitures  (and employ a cleaner to wipe their non-touch screen monitors), the sad fact is renovations and fittings don’t exactly fall under the ‘juridistion’ of the ‘almighty’ PACS administrator 🙂

Problems cause by ergonomics issues tend to cause a ‘snowball effects’ on PACS adoption, people usually associate it with it as a PACS problem (well it was’t an issue before they had PACS right?)

Maybe ergonomics should be included in the CBOK (core body of knowledge) in PACS Administrators Certifications eh?

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PACS simulator preps residents for call

This article from PACSWeb caught my attention, allow me list down a few points of the article to illustrate my thoughts (please read the article in case I take it out of context);

  • “residents practice in reviewing and interpreting call-like cases independently, without placing patients at risk of misinterpretation”
  • “this approach is a step toward a competency-based practice of radiology”
  • “the simulator could also standardize resident education”
  • “by using the simulator, each resident can interpret a case and learn of the specific findings”
  • “to gain competency for new modalities such as cardiac CT, and to test oneself”
  • “this is the most important aspect of the simulator because it allows the user to interpret the entire case in a manner identical to typical practice”

It seems like PACS has finally passed the stage of being ‘an integral part of radiology’ to becoming part of ‘the fundamentals’ of radiology!

Exciting  times indeed mates, I can foresee PACS vendors rushing off to develop / polish up their teaching PACS (as well as sales strategy), there is a huge market opening up for PACS – Medical Universities.

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Effective Project Management – Tracking my life story

I just embarked on a mini personal project – compiling the timeline of my ‘life story’ starting from tertiary education, this is how it got started.

I just finished an article on how to select a Cardiovascular PACS (I’ll post it up later, its 2:30 am in the morning of 28th Dec, passion can only motivate me this much 🙂 ) and was about to resume my MSc Computing’s project when my wife asked me if I will ever stop studying (I was trying to convince her that I should started on another Post Graduate Diploma in May 2008) and I pause to think of about what I have been doing over the years (and mind you, I’m not that old).

So I started to dig for documents pertaining to my education, career, housing, marriage, web portal and some other special events etc etc and I was amazed with the amount of information I’ve managed to gather in such a short time, this is the advantage of running all aspect of my life like projects!

While I do not have a gnatt chart for my life (yes, that is impossible, even for me), I do have timelines (with milestones) and priority listing for most of the stuff I did (after tertiary education), as I compile the timeline, I started to reflect on how things could have been done better but overall, I am rather please with the progress / results (versus my lofty goals).

As with all projects, some didn’t make it to completion, like my Phd (but that is classified as low priority) but some just got rescheduled (effectively) in order to deliver other high priorities, like my driving license. I started the journey for my driving license back in Mar 1999 and had to put it on hold in Nov 2000 (after failing the test a couple of times), but I kept it on my rader and resume it in June 2006. I got my license in Mar 2007. Six years is not too late as driving in Singapore is not really needed (but I’m driving these days :))

Along the way I went on to complete many other stuff (mostly simultaneously) and to be honest, I was very impressed that I had managed to pull off so many ‘time and resources intensive’ high priorities tasks at the same time and yet be relatively please with the outcome (try working as a regional manager of a top consulting firm, do a post graduate course in medical informatics, go for driving lessons, accompany and care for a pregnant wife, maintain a web portal with good readership (this one) and acing it while going about with the rest of the daily activites in life without going crazy 🙂 )

I’m not saying I’m a super project manager or some genius, else I’d be someone rich or famous (or both). So how did I manage to do that, well, I applied basic project management skills to my life, define the scope with a goal in mind, set priorities and resources, review it regularly to ensure things are going on schedule, add resources or manage priorities when necessary etc. While not everything was smooth sailing but things worked out well (so far).

I reckon the timeline will make a wonderful reference if I ever get to write my biography, now all I got to do is compile it nicely after getting some sleep 🙂