Photo: Tina Reed, Washington Business Journal
More than 20 people came to the July 14, AHCJ chapter event in Washington, D.C., to learn about how technology affects health and what regulatory issues to watch out for.
The conversation was moderated by Politico Pro’s David Pittman (@David_Pittman), who covers health information technology. Pittman, who proposed the event, invited the panelists for their participation, and pitched the idea to the chapter co-chairs. The panelists were: Continue reading
Brian Ahier, writing for Government Health IT, tells the story of how NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories ended up collaborating with Childrens Hospital Los Angeles on a seven-year project focusing on the detection of pediatric cancer through a “a collaborative approach to the discovery and development of early detection biomarkers.” It sounds like a goofy match but, when Ahier breaks it down, it’s easier to see how and why these strange bedfellows ended up together.
1. JPL presents a paper on a software framework used for planetary science that functions as ” a kind of search engine that allows scientists working with data in one expression or format to find and compare their data with another.”
2. National Cancer Institute representatives involved with the Early Detection Research Network see the presentation, understand the framework’s potential and hire JPL to consult.
3. The project evolves and CHLA’s Virtual Pediatric Intenstive Care Unit joins the effort to “build a distributed data-sharing network to drive the next generation of clinical decision support for pediatric cancer treatment and research.”
Here’s Ahier’s explanation of why the NASA system makes a difference for the hospital:
The VPICU connects emergency rooms, community hospitals and intensive care units worldwide in a virtual network, extending consultations to even the most remote areas. Using (the JPL technology), clinicians can access data from a network of pediatric hospitals to build an evidence-based foundation for research into childhood cancers.
“The variability in patients in a pediatric ICU is enormous with regards to age, weight and other factors,” says David Kale, a research engineer in the VPICU. “So the question is can we build clinical decision support tools that will help clinicians by augmenting their experience by providing data.”
The University of California San Francisco Medical Center has written off more than a third of the $50 million it has spent on a system to digitize patients’ medical records, according to an article by AHCJ member Fred Schulte for the Huffington Post Investigative Fund and American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop.
The hospital started the project more than five years ago but after “persistent technical headaches,” it is has terminated the contractor and will start over on part of the project.
The costly setback pointedly illustrates the challenges health professionals face trying to meet a government mandate to bring American medicine into the computer age.
Doctors and technology analysts are less than enthusiastic about products now available. “Early reports from some American and European hospitals, they say, suggest that some technology may prove unreliable and could even pose safety problems for patients.”
While critics are concerned about patient safetly, U.S. manufacturers say no injuries or deaths can be attributed to software failure. However, as Schulte points out, “companies manufacturing health information technology systems are under no obligation to report injuries resulting from software malfunctions to the government.”
Schulte then cites a number of examples that point to failures or problems with software systems.
The first post on the new Health IT Buzz blog has generated more than 50 comments since it was posted Monday. The blog was launched by David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., the national coordinator for health information technology in the Department of Health & Human Services.
A press release about the blog says it will “allow readers to learn more about health information technology (health IT) and provide a space for consumers, providers, policymakers, and technology experts to share their ideas and concerns regarding health IT.”
That first post emphasizes listening and says it will be a forum for engagement, inviting a wide range of stakeholder to discuss ideas and concerns about electronic health records.
The second post discusses the $80 million in Recovery Act money that will go toward training health IT professionals, saying that it will use community colleges to offer the education resources.
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