Our New Look

Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor , April 10, 2007

This marks the first issue of our newly redesigned--and renamed--weekly electronic newsletter, HealthLeaders IT. If you have been a subscriber to our former e-Healthcare and Technology weekly, you have been automatically enrolled in this e-newsletter.

We will bring you much of the same content as before, including a wrap-up of the top stories in the news. But I'll be adding weekly commentary and columns about top technology trends and stories. Some of you may know me by my monthly writing for our flagship print publication, HealthLeaders magazine.

All of us at HealthLeaders Media want HealthLeaders IT to be more than a summary of news and the opinions of journalists, however well formed. Ultimately, any good editorial product belongs to the readers. So you will notice we have allocated space for reader contributions.

The IT Leaders Forum will serve as a sounding board for opinions, reflections, and analysis contributed by you, our readers. In our first piece, we hear from Doug Smith, CEO of a community clinic consortium that managed to implement EMR technology on a shoestring budget.To appear in this space, all you need is the desire to share your beliefs and perspectives with our 33,000 subscribers. Unlike many of the online newsletters, which target specific "tech" audiences, the readers of this publication work in many different departments at hospitals, medical groups, insurance plans and other businesses in this sprawling industry. So we definitely want opinions beyond the "IT department."

What is your hospital or health plan doing with IT that is new and noteworthy? How are you using information sharing to solve common problems and improve care? What hurdles have you encountered trying to automate the complex chain of events that constitutes care delivery? And how have you addressed them? What help does your institution need before it can deliver on the promise of IT?

I don't know about you, but I find these questions endlessly fascinating. I've been covering healthcare technology since before the days of HIPAA (an acronym which I still struggle to spell correctly), and feel privileged to have witnessed the debate. When I began my career in the early 1990s at the American Health Information Management Association, newsletters like this did not exist. Then, e-mail was in a rudimentary form and not widely used.

Since, then, I've seen the growth of electronic communications and clinical IT in ways no one imagined. The dot-com explosion--and subsequent implosion--were unforgettable. Undeterred, many hospitals are realizing the potential of the dot-com dream.But there is so much more to be done, so many more good stories to share. HealthLeaders IT weekly serves to document the journey. In the weeks ahead, for example, I'll tackle technology's "green issues" (as in environment, not money). And I'll take a look at how one physician uses a personal Web site to connect with patients. Staying connected after all, is what this beat is all about.

Gary Baldwin is technology editor of HealthLeaders magazine. He can be reached at gbaldwin@healthleadersmedia.com.

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