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Intelligent Healthcare Information Integration 2/24/11

February 24, 2011 News 1 Comment

HIStalk Practice Empowers Providers

Many of you who read HIStalk Practice are industry folks, people who work on the vendor side of healthcare information technology. That is greatly appreciated, but my recent trip to HIMSS11 has me feeling the need to make a pitch to the providers out there, my colleagues-in-arms, as to why they should read – and contribute commentary to – HIStalk Practice. The value of what the good folks from HIStalk provide us providers was driven home (with a sledgehammer!) by my experiences at this year’s HIMSS.

A brief background: A little over two years ago, the lovely Inga somehow found a blog I had only recently created where I was just, literally, playing around, writing for myself. I had not told anybody about it and had no expectations that anyone would ever read my ramblings. She asked if I would consider writing for HIStalk’s recently-started offshoot Web site, HIStalk Practice, which was created to try to reach providers such as myself more than the vendor world that HIStalk.com mainly addresses.

Jump forward to 2011 and they are still posting my pseudo-regular blatherings. The HIStalk sites are about “IT News and Opinion.” I write mostly on the “Opinion” side with the occasional “News” item wafting in. The inscrutable Mr. H, fashionista Inga, and the new CMIO-type Dr. Jayne handle the HIT news stuff better than perhaps anybody in the business. They keep it easy to read, entertaining, almost completely all-encompassing, and do so with awe-inspiring regularity.

As a “grunt in the trenches opinionator,” I sort of look at myself as more of a cheerleader, a voice on the sidelines of this gigundo HIT world who wants to see the perspective of us little guys kept in mind as the HIT snowball rolls all of us providers toward digitization. I firmly believe that what works in the big centers doesn’t play the same for us grunts.

I occasionally gripe or bitch about some plan or some company when I see something I think is wrong, but I don’t really like bitching, especially if it isn’t followed up with constructive suggestions for improvements. I think I add more value providing support for things that look smart from my little corner of the healthcare world. I try to look at all things HIT with an eye for what I and other providers like me might find useful, of value, helpful.

I’m not paid as a writer for the HIStalk pages. I’ve thought about it a lot, and we’ve discussed a few options along those lines, but the freedom to say what I want, to be beholdin’ to no one, has a very powerful draw for me. I’ve decided to forego further considerations of that because of the following, which is also why I hope more providers will join in this choir:

At HIMSS11, Mr. H, Inga, and Dr. Jayne held a “thank you” luncheon for their sponsors. As they are anonymous, Ed Marx and I agreed to be their stand-in body doubles to do things they couldn’t do without blowing their covers. The event was attended by big wigs from across the HIT vendor world spectrum. It was an amazing turnout.

Ed kicked off the luncheon with a few remarks, a great little story of the relevance and power of HIT in enabling improved care for someone near and dear to him. But, when he first started, he introduced himself and me and we got an unexpected, and larger than I would have ever imagined, round of applause from all these big wig, HIT muckety mucks.

As surprising as that was, what was even more surprising was the number of folks who approached me, both there and on the conference and exhibition floors, who took the time to stop and say “Hello,” to mention that they enjoyed reading my stuff on HIStalk/HIStalk Practice, and to ask my take on this or that HIT-related issue.

Remember, I’m truly a “grunt in the trenches” pediatrician for Nowhere, Ohio, who was just lucky enough to be “discovered” by Inga. I know there are lots of my colleagues out there who have great opinions and insights who could be having their views seen by the vendor folks who are building out this new HIT world. If they’re paying heed to my banter, how much more powerful could it be if more “grunts” provided their takes on how this HIT stuff impacts their worlds?

Thus, my plea: if you’re a provider, or if you know of a provider you could direct this way, I stronger want to encourage any and all to add your provider voices to these now infamous pages. If they’re hearing me, just think how much more of an impact we could have if they were hearing more of “us!” (Just look at what the grunts did in Egypt.)

From the trenches…

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader

PS – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the real “wow” at the HIStalk Sponsors’ Lunch came when, for the first time ever, Mr. H, Inga, and Dr. Jayne showed up, live and in-person, though in disguise, and addressed the attendees. It was so fun!!!

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician, directs the “Pediatric Office of the Future” exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council for ModernMedicine.com. More of his blather…er, writings…can be found at his blog, practice web site or directly from doc@madisonpediatric.com.

Comments 1
  • Great idea to invite clinician input, but it’s been my experience that your peer “grunts” don’t typically read HISTalk so perhaps vendors can assist by taking the time to ask their best, and not-to-best, customers to help out and help the cause. RECs could help out with this too! I’d like to believe that physicians and nurses providing some real-world feedback might just help this EHR/HIT adoption really take-off! Thanks for what you do, Dr. Gregg!

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