Tag Archives: health i.t.

How journalists found that some telehealth startups share patient information with social media trackers

From left to right: Katie Palmer of STAT, Todd Feathers and Simon Fondrie-Teitler of The Markup

In September 2022, I wrote about how journalists with The Markup found that many hospital websites were sharing patients’ medical information with Facebook through a tracking tool called the Meta Pixel. Then in December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that entities covered by HIPAA can’t use pixel trackers if they transmit protected health information without patient consent or if they don’t have a signed agreement with the technology-tracking vendors, Becker’s Health IT reported.

In a follow-up story published in December, The Markup/STAT investigative team found that websites run by dozens of telehealth startup companies also contained tracking tools that shared users’ potentially sensitive health information with big tech organizations.

Continue reading

Health IT editor shares top trends to follow in 2023

Colin Hung

What health IT trends should reporters look out for in 2023? I spoke with Colin Hung, chief marketing officer and editor of Healthcare IT Today, for insight. 

This year, look for hospitals to roll out the red carpet in efforts to woo patients back into their physical spaces, and a rightsizing of telehealth, Hung said. His comments may spur additional story ideas for journalists.

Continue reading

Vesely to lead newest AHCJ core topic effort: health information technology

Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely, an independent journalist based in San Francisco, will lead AHCJ’s newest core topic on health information technology.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of health information technology through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of healthjournalism.org will feature a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more. Continue reading

Experts disagree on value of electronic health records #ahcj13

<span class="credit">Photo by Pia Christensen</span>Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., the national coordinator of health information technology, advocated that the nation's investment in health information technology is necessary to fix the health care system.

Photo by Pia ChristensenFarzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., the national coordinator of health information technology, advocated that the nation’s investment in health information technology is necessary to fix the health care system.

Electronic health records are a tool, the bottom floor on creating standards to move from mere billing and data collection into a platform to change the way health care is delivered, the way it is paid for, and the manner in which patients are engaged, according to Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., the national coordinator of health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mostashari’s optimistic view of EHR implementation, presented at Health Journalism 2013 in Boston, was challenged by Stephen Soumerai, Sc.D., professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. Soumerai that the government’s investment of $1.6 trillion in building the health information technology infrastructure is unsupported by any research that it will create the predicted return on investment, citing the recent Rand Corporation study that said cost savings would not occur. The investment was being made without any evidence that changes in delivery, outcomes, quality and cost savings can be achieved. Continue reading

Essential component of reform will require more staff, training

When we think about the growing demands health reform will place on community health centers (assuming that we are thinking about community health centers at all – and we should be) we tend to think about the shortage of primary care doctors in underserved communities, and the increasing numbers of soon-to-be-insured patients needing such care.

Joanne KenenJoanne Kenen (@JoanneKenen) is AHCJ’s health reform topic leader. If you have questions or suggestions for future resources, please send them to joanne@healthjournalism.org.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, about 20 million patients get their primary health care needs at more than 8,000 U.S. locations. I’ve seen various projections of how that will grow under health reform (depending on fun ding and other factors) but the NACHC says it could double, to 40 million, within another five years.

There’s another aspect to the community health center workforce – one that, frankly, I had never thought about until I got a release about a set of grants a few weeks ago from a small foundation that focuses on community health. The clinics don’t just need doctors and nurses. They need people who can just run the places – who can make appointments and keep records, and do the coding and billing, and handle the health IT, and do health outreach in the community, and the case management. And they need people who speak a bunch of languages and be culturally sensitive. In other words, they need all kinds of people who can do the work necessary for these clinics to become effective “medical homes.”

So the RCHN Community Health Foundation recently announced grants of about $150,000 to $200,000 each to five very different community health groups, in five quite different settings. (On the foundation’s home page you can find links to some of the coverage it has gotten.)

  1. Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center, Clarksdale, Miss.
  2. Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, New York
  3. Penobscot Community Health Care, Bangor, Maine
  4. Seattle Indian Health Board, Seattle
  5. Wai’anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Wai’anae, Hawaii

The details vary, but they are developing training programs (which can be done during the work day), partnerships with local schools, community and four-year colleges, internships, outreach to potential entry-level workers who hadn’t thought of this career path, worker retention programs – with an eye both toward their own needs, their workers’ future advancement, and job creation in their communities, including veterans. In some cases, they will be designing their resources and programs with a clear eye toward having them spread, to be available and useful to other clinics, other communities.

Chances are, you won’t be covering these five specific clinics. But the challenges these grants are aimed at exist everywhere and are ripe material for covering:

  • How are clinics in your areas preparing – not just expanding physically (there was a lot of money in the 2009 stimulus package for that), but how are they expanding in other, qualitative dimensions?
  • Have they begun the transition to medical homes?
  • Have they installed electronic medical records? (They are doing so at a faster pace than many more resource-rich practices.)
  • Who is working for them?
  • How are they being trained – and retained – for the coming changes in the delivery and financing of health care?

You – and your reader, listeners, and viewers – may be quite surprised by some of the innovative, change-embracing answers.