• The promise and peril of health IT

    The first rule of the health system seems to be, if you build it, they will reimburse. To that, add health IT and what happens? To learn more, read my latest post on the AcademyHealth blog.


    • Just a note on how behind medicine is in adopting useful IT and even conventional, modern productivity enhancing tools. In setting up our Meaningful use program, I discovered that our hospital network does not collect patient emails. Neither do any other local hospitals. Noe of the local surgicenters, meaning within about a 45 mile radius collect or use them. All contact with patients is by phone or snail mail. Mundane billing issues. Follow ups, you name it.


    • C. Horthcote Parkinson proposed his law in 1957: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” It was based on his position as an accountant for the British Admiralty. More recent use of his Law often substitutes the word ‘resources’ for ‘time.’ The profound problems associated with the justly accessible attributes of our nation’s healthcare require investments in social capital, community by community. It is unlikely that purely economic structures will be successful without it. The contributions of Professor Elinor Ostrom apply regarding the preservation of a defined resource having multiple users.

    • I wonder if a good analogy is the affect of the Iphone/Smartphone on the cell phone industry. Before the Iphone it was common for a consumer to pay less than a $100 for a phone with a plan, or even receiving a free phone when signing a plan. The introduction of the Iphone raised that cost norm for many to now paying approx, $300 for the phone when signing a contract. We can say that the advent of the Iphone had a drastic increase on the average cost for access to the cell phone market. But, the Iphone also drastically increased the amount and type of services available when entering the cell phone market, revolutionizing how the consumer uses their cell phone and the role it plays in everyday life. I wonder if Health IT will be somewhat similar, where, yes, it does raise the initial cost for incorporation into the larger industry, but it has the potential to eventually revolutionize how we practice medicine and could in the long run reduce the cost for what we are able to receive.

      That’s a little bit of an anecdotal statement, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some more in-depth studies looking at that.