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How I did it

Learn from these journalists how they have covered various aspects of health information technology. They provide valuable tips and sources and explain how they got past the challenges to explain the complex world of HIT to their audiences.

Get beyond the hype to cover health IT at conferences 

April 2017
So your editor wants you to cover health information technology at a conference. Whether it’s a product launch, upgrade or the policy implications of health IT, the prospect can be daunting. Veteran health IT journalist Neil Versel explains how he has covered health IT conferences in the past, including the gigantic HIMSS conference that takes place in Orlando every winter. His tips can help health reporters with little tech background break stories and gain confidence, leading to better coverage when they are back at home.

Companies employ telemedicine kiosks to improve worker wellness 

July 2016
Phil Galewitz has done a few telemedicine stories in the past few years for Kaiser Health News, including a story about telemedicine kiosks being installed at some Rite Aid stores in Harrisburg, Pa., and other cities.

But he was intrigued when heard some employers were setting them up for their workers to use without having to leave the office.

Find out what he learned; it might be a jumping-off point for you to find employers in your area who are doing the same thing.

Drilling down into numbers uncovers Marketplace glitch

Don Sapatkin
Don Sapatkin

April 2014
Ten days before the (expected) close of open enrollment, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the federal exchange's window-shopping tool – the one that the administration encourages everyone to check before applying for Marketplace insurance – was using the wrong year's poverty-level guidelines. Neither the Obama administration nor any health-care consultants or policy experts that reporter Don Sapatkin could find had noticed it and the site was corrected within hours after the story was posted.

In theory, almost anyone going on the site got slightly incorrect information for 35 days. Most seriously affected, however, were people just above the poverty line in states that have not expanded Medicaid. When they put their information into the tool, it responded: “Not eligible for help paying for coverage.” Many of them may have given up right there and not submitted the actual applications (which were using the correct poverty stats and were assessed correctly). It’s impossible to tell from the notification letter whether errors were made.

Finding wide variations in health reform implementation between states

Beth Kutscher
Beth Kutscher

February 2014
Modern Healthcare reporter Beth Kutscher watched the differences in Affordable Care Act implementation in Tennessee and Kentucky, where the state's online health marketplace was enrolling about 1,000 people a day. 

Tennessee was a stark contrast. The state had defaulted to the federal exchange, which meant that even if consumers – and especially younger, healthier individuals who help dilute the risk pool for insurers – had considered buying a plan, there was a good chance they’d log off HealthCare.gov in frustration and not return.

She began to think about what it meant for the hospitals in the two states – and she decided to find out. Here’s how she got her story. 

Race to electronic health records may come with a price

Fred Schulte
Fred Schulte

December 2012
Amid all the enthusiasm over increasing the use of information technology in health, politicians and policy makers paid little attention to the implications of a gold rush sparked when billions of taxpayers’ dollars suddenly came up for grabs. Hundreds of medical technology companies scrambled to sell digital systems — often by promising doctors and hospitals they could boost revenues by billing higher rates to Medicare and other health insurers.

The fallout from those early decisions could be coming back to haunt taxpayers, according to a three-part investigative series from the Center for Public Integrity. The series documented that thousands of medical professionals steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade — adding $11 billion or more to their fees — despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment.

Reporter Fred Schulte explains how the project came about, how the Center did its reporting and provides plenty of background on medical coding, Medicare billing and the potential fallout as health care providers install and use electronic systems.

Experts discuss benefits, dangers of telemedicine

Thomas NesbittThomas Nesbitt

August 2010
Telemedicine, telehealth and teleradiology are bringing patients and physicians together, but problems can arise when there are opportunities to cash on the services that make these broadband connections possible.

At a meeting of AHCJ's San Francisco Bay Area chapter, three experts on the highly subsidized practice of telemedicine and telehealth painted a much different picture about the sustainability of programs directed mainly at poor and underserved patients.

This article summarizes the meeting and includes audio of the complete discussion, but also includes the speakers' presentations and a number of relevant resources.