Big Huge Opportunity for Education

The 800-pound gorilla in the patient’s waiting room, with a rolled-up version of the healthcare reform act in one hand is … an opportunity for you.

Here’s the deal…

The following article is the best of many I’ve read in the past few days outlining the real vision that President Obama has for healthcare in this country. It may be, as it’s detractors say, many things unpopular. But one thing no one can argue about – well they can but it would be a stupid waste of time (or is that what politics is all about?).

The very new foundation of the healthcare reform act is to bring doctors and hospitals and healthcare companies as quickly as possible into the 21st century Knowledge Economy.

To misquote Bill Clinton, “It’s all about technology, stupid!”.

I must say that I think Republicans are Luddites who would throw a monkey wrench into a works just because that’s what they do. And the majority of that minority calling themselves the “Tea Party” couldn’t even turn on the President’s smartphone. So they just don’t get it.


It’s like that infamous CEO of a now long-gone and once very successful high-tech company who said that no one would ever want a personal computer, and even if they got one it would end up in the closet with the rest of their never used exercise equipment.

Okay, moving right along …

I find that more than funny since I’m writing this on my wireless laptop as I’m walking on my treadmill. So here’s the deal. The following article from Fast Company sums it up better than I could, and points out two important elements of the healthcare act.

First, technology is in the President’s DNA. We finally have a leader who sees a future that we need to get to as fast as possible. And it’s a digital future firmly set in the new Knowledge Economy. And he gets it. So healthcare reform is not just about the way it will or will not impact upon the patients, doctors, hospitals, healthcare companies. Not to mention the Republican Luddites.

It’s about the way it will change the face of medicine in this country forever.  It’s a glimpse at the way the French use Carte Vitale. It’s a look at small software companies that have incredible programs like BioClaim and iSALUS just waiting to get started.

And behind all this technology is THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU. Everyone in the chain, from patients to nurses to doctors to hospitals to healthcare companies will need to learn how to make the best use of all this technology. And that means they all will need a raft of education and training.

So here’s the article, and an attached whitepaper, that you might want to read if you want to get in on the game. The focus is financial, but the implications for us are awesome. It’s the topic almost no one during the debate mentioned for a simple reason: most people have no idea of what healthcare will be or look like when it gets hit with the digital tsunami that has been unleashed.

And if you think this is pie-in-the-technology-sky you have no idea how crafty the President has been. One of the key provisions, as you’ll read, is that all this starts within his circle of influence , with the newly created (before the healthcare act was even in the news) department called the Health Information Technology department (HIT).

And here’s the kicker. The new law devotes an entire section to HIT enrollment standards and protocols. And I quote: “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this title, the Secretary, in consultation with the HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee, shall develop interoperable and secure standards and protocols that facilitate enrollment of individuals in Federal and State health and human services programs.”

In other words,  this new world of digital Knowledge Economy healthcare starts in the  Presidential backyard. And the people who are in the know, are fully aware of the savings of dollars that will result from this one change alone.

As pointed out in another great blog Social Media 101 , “Vastly improving the wireless bandwidth accessibility and speed in the country, from New York to Google, Kansas to Silicon Valley, suddenly starts to make sense with regard to healthcare reform.  There’s a BIG plan here for the future if you know where to look!”

… and we need to be part of that plan to help make it work …

Who’s Cashing In on Health-Care Reform?

By: Marie-France HanMarch 23, 2010

Obama Health Care

If the health-care bill signed into law by President Obama today delivers on its promises, it’s likely to down as the first ripple in a tidal wave of health-care information-technology innovation.

It buoys last year’s economic stimulus act, which slotted almost $20 billion to expanding health information technology (HIT). The new bill puts an even greater emphasis on electronic medical records and payment systems, for example, as the keys to successful health care reform.

And while the government is overhauling its own health care agencies first and foremost, its effects on the use of medical technology will certainly impact the private sector. According to a recent report from Accenture, for example, almost 60% of U.S. physicians in smaller practices who don’t use electronic medical records (EMRs) intend to purchase an EMR system within the next two years. That would be a leap from today’s 6%. The biggest reason for the change? Federal legislation, which includes federal penalties for non-adoption.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act makes repeated references to health information technology, which was already a key theme of last year’s economic stimulus act (ARRA), and focuses specifically on HIT as a key component of patient data collection and a way to share research findings. It makes repeated references to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and devotes an entire section to HIT enrollment standards and protocols: “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this title, the Secretary, in consultation with the HIT Policy Committee and the HIT Standards Committee, shall develop interoperable and secure standards and protocols that facilitate enrollment of individuals in Federal and State health and human services programs.”

In other words, government agencies are going to start developing safe, inviting uses of this technology–and soon.

For tech companies, this could be a bounty. Here are a few to watch:

  • Listed health IT specialists. The impact of the bill could already be felt on companies specializing in health IT such as McKesson, whose stock hit a 52-week high on Monday. Other names such as eHealth and Athena Health were bandied about by investors as potential big beneficiaries, too.
  • Google Health and Microsoft offer personal health record services. Could these platforms get a boost and enter mainstream use? (The Hippocratic Oath, “Do no harm,” is frighteningly similar to Google’s corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.”)
  • Smaller IT companies. Among those recently making news are: Biometric Technologies of Florida has developed BioClaim, a “software product specifically developed for the detection of fraudulent health care claims;”
  • Indiana-based iSALUS is selling OfficeEMR, a web-based EMR, scheduling, billing, and collections solution;
  • Sweden’s Catrel sells a “Mobipen Care digital pen” that turns handwritten documents into digital data that can be stored in computer systems.
  • The health care overhaul screams for the introduction of a smart card such as the “Carte Vitale” used by France’s national health-care service. Proponents of the smart card tout the fact that cards reduce useless and repetitive paperwork, cutting waste and minimizing human errors. Can it become the norm in the U.S. too? Much still needs to be done to decide what kind of information will be stored on those cards and how compatible they will be across the massive and fragmented U.S. health care market.

And here’s the whitepaper that outlines more about the reason that the new healthcare plan is less about socialized medicine that social media. (Note: Tea Party Wannabes, Luddite Republicans afraid of any change, Sara Palin and her band of merry followers,  and especially Rush Limbaugh who will be blogging from Costa Rica, wake up!)

And here’s that paper you can read for more background and examples of what this Brave New World of healthcare will look and feel like.

The Information Technology Future of Healthcare

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