Today myself and a few other bloggers participated in a live conference call with both a short presentation from Peter Neupert and a question and answer session. It was very informative and actually nice to hear voices of other healthcare bloggers on the internet. What I felt made the session valuable as well was the different cross section of bloggers that were represented here, as we all have some specific areas of focus with different geographic locations in the US too, but all came together with health related questions that benefit all.
Earlier this year Mr. Neupert testified in front of the US Senate and more information on his appearance in Washington can be found here.
First off Mr. Neupert gave up an update on the Connected Health Conference in Washington that has been going on this week. There were over 700 attendees and was a nice mix of not only those interested in HealthVault, but also those wanting to learn more about Amalga product releases and developer inquiries he stated. The opening events has several guest speakers to include economists to former HHS Secretary Mark Leavitt, and the one big debated item seemed to level around “a health system, do we have one”.
He stated there was a pretty large representation of developers looking to partner and learn more about not only the HealthVault platform, but Amalga as well.
One big item up for discussion was reimbursement, and was also addressed by the Mark Smith of the California HealthCare Foundation, an independent philanthropy association in northern California. Several other speakers were on the agenda including Steve Shihadeh, VP Microsoft Health Solutions Group who not too long ago was kind enough to take a few minutes out and speak to me about Microsoft Health Services, Amalga and the HealthVault.
Steve Shihadeh, VP Microsoft Health Solutions Group – The Amalga Software Solution for Aggregating Hospital Information (Interview)
While on the subject too, one other interview recently published on the blog was one with Mike Naimoli, Director of US Services for Microsoft Life Sciences, probably one of the most difficult areas of healthcare IT to understand and you can read more here. These are the folks that get down in the trenches for customized and sometimes complicated solutions that make things work.
Back on track from the conference call, one of the big questions is how to bring the large amount of data and information down to the Small Practice Physicians' office. We all pretty much agree that this needs to be at a level where the information is easy to access and use Mr. Neupert stated, and whether it should be more modular in design is still being determined in how to automate the flow of reports.
One example cited in the discussion was the failure in southern California by Blue Cross a few years ago to provide computers to help entice the small practice physicians into starting with e-prescribing, which failed to yield the desired results. It was providing the vehicle, but something else to make the process work was perhaps missing. I happened to remember this well as I received a call from a physician to help him connect his new computer he received from Blue Cross. I was fairly new in healthcare at this time and posed the question as to why did they send you a computer?
He didn’t know, but had it and was going to put it to use, so it was connected. I see this as perhaps maybe a partial victory in the fact that the PC did get out of the box and was used, but the focus of promoting e-prescribing was lost, so in my opinion here the vehicle provided the access, but without further education and helping the cause, the whole idea of e-prescribing and relating and encouraging it’s use was lost.
Another good question arose about the time element for the new AMA/HealthVault application, when will this be available and how will it help the physicians. This is work in progress and there will be more forthcoming soon.
Mr. Neupert also stated that one other big item being actively discussed at the convention related to “how far have we come since last year”. This indeed is a big topic as milestones in many areas have been addressed, along with new challenges. Mr. Neupert also stated he is becoming more active with Health IT security than what he had ever imagined too. There’s not much more to be said about why this is a hot topic if you read the news as it is on everyone’s mind.
I couple other issues I inquired about were the new and upcoming medical devices and how we also bring this information to a physician’s level of reporting to where it can be analyzed and used too. Mr. Neupert stated this is a very active area of development and that the entire Healthcare solutions group is involved with this process, as well as HealthVault and mentioned some pilot programs in effect at the Cleveland Clinic to site some recent examples. Here’s a recent post that explains a little bit more about one of the programs in place, with a truck driver using HealthVault to take his blood pressure, even while on the road and have it stored in his personal health record.
Cross Country Truck Driver using Microsoft HeatlhVault to send blood pressure readings to his doctor (video)
One other item I inquired about with Mr. Neupert was the question of education, I face this myself when in doctor’s office mentioning a PHR and get puzzled looks and questions asked of me “what it that”, which to me indicates we have a long ways to go here. Do we have role models and perhaps who are some of them?
Nr. Neupert mentioned Dr. Oz as a role model and the collaboration efforts Amalga and HealthVault have ongoing at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Combined with role models and effect utilization of data in a user friendly format this can effectively help in the areas of education with healthcare. Dr. Oz is a favorite here as well on the blog as he does bring the world of healthcare to our living rooms in so many ways.
Dr. Oz (as seen on Oprah) Discusses How Electronic Medical Records Improve Care – New York Presbyterian moves forward from pilot program
Overall this was a very informative conference call and I want to say thank to Mr. Neupert for taking time from a very busy schedule to spend time with both myself and the other bloggers who participated. Mr. Neupert also blogs and you can read more here as he updates:
Mr. Neupert stated he spends a great deal of time in Washington, meeting with many at various levels and there’s still a lot of work ahead of us, and we need to keep the vision strong to reap the success of bringing clinical information, science and data together and make things easier for all.
I was in very good company today by all means with fellow bloggers from Health Blawg, BNET Healthcare, HealthTechnica, The Decision Tree Blog, Health Populi and the World Healthcare Blog and you may want to locate their blogs for additional information on today’s blogger call.