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This article describes how an uninsured man couldn't afford an surgery procedure that removed polyps blocking his nasal airways.  He is a smart shopper, and he shop around and found the cheapest procedure for $33,127.  It's still way too expensive for him.  However, he didn't just stop there, and he went on to UK and found a private hospital to do the same procedure including airfares for $2,930.  That's almost a tenth of the original cost.  

I think there is a great potential that we can leverage the globalization in the Healthcare industry where people can find affordable healthcare.  Obviously, we need to find a good and reliable healthcare providers.  Hey, a private hospital in UK isn't too bad, right?  May be we should utilize the healthcare providers in our neighbor Canada since they don't get much from the public sector.  
I am a true believer of pay-for-performance model rather than fee-for-service (FFS) model. I understand providers order additional tests to rule out diseases and also to mitigate any potential litigation. Nevertheless, many providers just simply order wasteful tests or expensive imaging procedures to earn extra bucks. For example, high-cost technology such as  MRI machines are used to make diagnoses when a simple X-ray would do.  

Retailers and products are well used to be rated for their quality and services. Consumers are willing to pay more for quality services. This principle should also apply to healthcare services, and I also believe this will lead to control healthcare cost. One item that I do cheer for in this healthcare reform bill is to promote pay-for-performance payment model. Although I do not know how this will turn out, I think it is a good start. Being as Healthcare IT Guru, it's so critical that we can create a system to connect a patient's episode and a quantitative outcome. Certainly, we have many tools that we can allow us to query patient session information. However, linking these datas from disparate systems together and present them in a useful way is not easy. In addition, how do we quantify performance? What benchmark should we use when comparing healthcare providers? This information is crucial to create the rules of the system. Stay tune as I will do more research in this area.

If you want to find more information about pay-for-performance model, you can read from this article.
Creative payment reform initiatives

Helpful Resources:
Minnesota Health Information - Since I live in Minnesota, I of course want to compare healthcare costs in the state. This portal provides information to compare healthcare costs in different healthcare providers. I wish the user interface can be better and more user friendly.
One of the big news here in America today is about the bill of Healthcare Reform.  The passing of the Healthcare Reform fundamental changes the health system in America.  It's a milestone step, but I wouldn't comment if it's good or bad.  However, I would like to talk about the impact to me being as Healthcare IT guru.

This Healthcare bill will add about 32 millions of uninsured Americans to the under staff health care system.  Primary care providers are already in severe shortage, and yet they are the first gateway of all the patients who seek medical attentions.  In addition, allied health staffs such as nurses are in shortage too.  How can we care for these additional 32 millions Americans.  We can add 32 millions of Americans in one day, but there is no way that we can even add additional 32 thousands of doctors and nurses in a year.

So, what can we do??  I think this is how innovation comes in.  American Healthcare systems need to reduce medical waste and improve efficiency to delivery healthcare to patients.  People who have both worked in healthcare facility can tell you many ways how one can reduce waste and improve efficiency, and yet these improvements were difficult to tackle due to unwillingness of people and other factors.  Activities, such as TeleHealth, Health information exchange are just some of the technology that we might use to delivery more efficiency healthcare as information hopefully can flow between between medical providers if these technologies are implemented correctly.

I am hopefully and yet caution about how this reform changes the lives of million Americans and an industry accounts for 16% GDP.  I cheer for the pay for performance and simplify healthcare administration, but I am not excited for the potential premiums increased as I might have a so called "Cadillac Plan".  One thing I am certain is that numerous working opportunities being as healthcare IT guru.   Now, may be it's time to polish your skills to acquire an Healthcare IT certification.
Being as a IT guru, I am always amazed with cool technologies.  The latest trends for IT are SaaS, cloud computing and virtualization.  Many of these technologies enable many developers or engineers can run a scalable software companies at their home easily.  Now, have you thought about setting up a wind generator at your home to power your server?   When I used to live in south east Minnesota, the wind was so strong to blow at my house all the time.  I always think it would be cool to have a wind turbine, but it was way overkill for my tiny little house.  Now, I just found out that you can purchase a 400W wind turbine to install at your house.  see Southwest Windpower 400 Watt Wind Generator. Looks like you can DIY easily too.  May be you can qualify as a capital expense for your home business.
I worked in a large multi-disciplinary medical center in mid-west.  That medical center is best known for its EMR records.  In fact, I think they were the one who started the indexing all patient records back in the early 1990s.  I think you probably which medical center that I described about. :).  When I was there, I was responsible the ambulatory system that supports 2000+ physicians and 10,000+ allied health staffs.  Although they have a enterprise EMR system in place, each specialty or groups in the organization do need some special applications or systems to support their unique practices.  Thus, records generated by these silos systems may not be integrated or easily accessible to others.  It's my role to find a way how to integrate all these records together and present such a way that is efficient and useful for physicians to do their jobs.  In this job, I learned that physicians like to use NOC (Number of Clicks) to evaluate the performance or efficiency of a system.  So, remember to try to reduce the number of clicks in your apps!!!.

We have built an app that mainly pull the records from these systems and mesh them into many different widgets that physicians can use.  Think about the app is like iGoogle in which physicians can turn on/off their interested widgets to display the information that they want.  Physicians can position the widgets the way that they want to fit their workflows.  We have many good feedbacks from the users groups which express how the app help them to make faster and better decisions with all the information integrate in one app without going back/forth.
Hi all,

I am really excited to create a new blog again.  It has been a long time since I blog last time.  It was nice that I can share my insights and thoughts about how the the evolution of IT in healthcare. The Healthcare IT field is hot now.  So, stay tune for more updates about HIT and all the funs stuff with EMR and PMR.