A Politico editor mines tech expertise for real-world tale

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Arthur Allen’s piece, The ‘Frequent Flier’ Program That Grounded a Hospital’s Soaring Costs, ran recently as part of Politico’s What Works series. Allen leveraged his IT expertise to report out a broader piece on health information technology efforts in Texas.

Like many journalists in Washington, D.C., Arthur Allen knows his jargon.

As the editor for Politico’s eHealth, Allen is all too familiar with the trappings of Congress and the resulting litany of regulations and rules that follow any major health-related legislation, including a 2009 bill that aimed to encourage doctors and hospitals to invest in information technology.

The former wire service reporter was well-practiced at picking up things quickly and soon got to work burrowing into the wonderful world of “meaningful use.” The author of three health-related science books, he also knew how to weave a tale.

And so it was that he was able to combine both skills into a magazine long-form piece for Politico that examined how such technology-related health programs were impacting the lives of real patients and providers.

“Sometimes my accumulated knowledge allows me to churn out a larger tale for the wider public that goes beyond the beat into other drivers of health care,” he wrote in an essay for AHCJ.

That tale, “The ‘Frequent Flier’ Program That Grounded a Hospital’s Soaring Costs,” recently ran as part of Politico’s What Works series, which takes in-depth dives into unique urban policy solutions.

The project allowed him to get outside of D.C. and focus on a program in Dallas, examining the impact of an approach used there and it’s broader potential.

How did he do it? Read about it here.

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