Category: e-health

Interview with ZixCorp’s Peter Wilensky

published date
July 23rd, 2007 by
ZixCorp is a leading provider of e-prescribing and secure email services. Peter Wilensky is the company’s VP of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, but he’s a lot more on the ball than your typical corporate mouthpiece. With degrees from Harvard and Wharton and a close relative who ran Medicare and Medicaid, he’s got deep knowledge of health care, technology and business.

Peter and I discussed the benefits and challenges of e-prescribing, the role of health plans in paying for it, and the relationship between e-prescribing and electronic health records.

The interview took place in a noisy restaurant and I didn’t actually expect to get usable audio. But when I listened to the output from my new digital recorder I decided it was good enough for a podcast. Please excuse all the background noise, the less than perfect sound quality, and especially all my little “yeah’s” and “ok’s,” which I wouldn’t have emitted if I’d been thinking clearly!

This is a good start

published date
June 13th, 2007 by

Google is reducing the length of time it retains personally identifiable search data from 24 to 18 months. It’s a response to pressure from privacy advocates and European governments. As I’ve written before (Is Google a threat to e-health?) a full search history could reveal a heck of a lot more about a person than even full disclosure of their medical record. Even if Google doesn’t do anything evil with it, that’s not to say someone else couldn’t get hold of it and do some. My concerns are not eliminated with this latest move but they are reduced a bit.

The docs have it

published date
June 5th, 2007 by

Physicians are popular, at least when it comes to being trusted sources about health information exchange (HIE). A survey by the eHealth Initiative Foundation found that 67% of respondents said they trusted their physician most for information about HIE. Way back in second place were hospitals (8%), followed by the federal government (7%), health insurers (5%), employers (3%), and state government (3%). It’s not exactly surprising to me that people would pick their docs (whom they think of as individuals) rather than institutions.
The survey also found that:

…the physician respondents presented the strongest resistance to health information exchange, citing worries about security of the information, liability (both individual and group), whether the exchange would be uniform…

Could it be that patients trust their physicians because they are skeptical?

Fred Trotter on open source

published date
June 4th, 2007 by

Fred Trotter is  quoted in  the new Government Technology (Miracle Cure?) on the emergence of open source software as a serious alternative for EHR users.

VistA Office EHR (VOE) is at the cusp of achieving a significant milestone in the health IT world, said Fred Trotter, who oversaw AMIA’s Open Source EHR Review project.

VOE arose from a collaborative software development effort funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency, that involved four other federal agencies, the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care and WorldVistA.

Trotter wrote FreeB, an open source medical billing engine, and now works as an open source health IT consultant and helps physicians use open source programs in their medical offices.

The VOE software is being put through a stringent certification process that’s run by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), a recognized certification body that specializes in EHRs and their networks. Vendors voluntarily submit their EHR software to the CCHIT for certification.

“It costs an enormous amount of money for vendors to get certified, and what’s coming ultimately is that — and it’s already happening now — this CCHIT certification is going to be mandatory,” Trotter said. “Probably the top 40 or 50 proprietary vendors have already gone through the process, and are certified. VOE is standing to be the first [general public license] GPL-available project to go through that. Now that is a huge thing.”

Welcome back Micky

published date
May 18th, 2007 by

Micky Tripathi, CEO of The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) and author of its blog is back with news of a possible EHR mandate for Massachusetts physicians and hospitals. If such a mandate is enacted, MAeHC will be well positioned to help physicians comply.