HealthLeaders Media IT - February 19, 2008 | Transparent or Opaque?
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HealthLeaders IT

Transparent or Opaque?
Gary Baldwin, Technology Editor

Surely one of the most pronounced healthcare industry trends is towards "transparency." Hospitals are beginning to post various quality metrics on their Web sites. Patients can study the details of hospitals' performance and outcomes on common procedures. Others are disclosing the likely cost of these procedures. It's a profound shift, one that is long overdue--and needed, when you consider that we consumers will be increasingly asked to foot the healthcare bill in the years ahead. [Read More]
February 19, 2008
Editor's Picks
Study of online medical information urges skepticism
A study by researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas has found breast cancer information was inaccurate or misleading on 5 percent of the 343 Web sites examined. Also, sites that focused on alternative or complementary medical approaches were 15 times more likely to contain problematic information, according to the report. This study raises a problematic issue around online content--namely the willingness of consumers to believe something in print. Just how gullible can consumers be? Very. A story I saw in the Chicago Tribune is not healthcare related, per se, but it raises the same question about the lure of online content. In the story, users of a make-believe virtual world wound up losing real-world money when they invested in phony banks. So it's easy to imagine how product sites touting questionable medical "cures" could draw a crowd. There is one group attempting to address this issue in healthcare: Health on the Net. [Read More]

Prototype allows MR, hysterosalpingography hybrid imaging
This update highlights work in Canada to fuse MRI and radiography modules. The hybrid imaging technique offers hope to better analyze infertility. [Read More]

Candidates' views on health IT
Here's a nice summary of the positions held by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain on the role of IT in reducing healthcare costs. All three recognize the potential. However, "the candidates' plans are still a far cry from the idealized national network that the healthcare IT community has imagined and, of course, there is no guarantee that if any one were elected they would be able to deliver on their proposals. The focus on universal insurance could also overshadow healthcare technology," notes Computer Business Review. [Read More]

Dr. Robot can see you now
A Florida hospital uses a robot to conduct "face-to-face" screenings with patients. It almost seems like the Jetsons, but apparently it is working. By enabling physicians to be two places at one time, the robot technology helps address the labor shortage. I have a difficult time imagining talking to a doctor who appears on a TV screen mounted atop a mobile mechanical man. Yet, if it meant quicker access to medical expertise, I am sure I would get over it. It's an e-visit with a twist! [Read More]
Tech Headlines
CareFirst is investing $1.5 million in electronic records systems
Maryland Daily Record - February 19, 2008

Vegas docs bet on EMRs
Las Vegas Review-Journal - February 19, 2008

Health record privacy rules may get tighter in New Hampshire
Foster's Daily Democrat - February 19, 2008

Laptop stolen with personal data on 300,000 health insurance clients
Information Week - February 19, 2008
Events & Product News
WebMD unloads Emdeon

FDA greenlights first drug-eluting stent in more than three years
Sponsored Headlines From AT&T

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
HealthLeaders February 2008Love Thy Vendor?
Providers and IT suppliers don't get along, right? You can build a partnership of trust with your vendor--and actually get what you pay for. Here's how. [Read More]
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    Audio Feature

    Listen: IT's Safety Impact: Studies that explore the relationship between patient safety and information technology are usually done at a single hospital or health system. Nir Menachemi discusses a study he led at Florida State University that considered IT's impact on patient safety at 98 Florida hospitals.
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