Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Healthcare Reform and Computing - I'm on my way.

Healthcare reform has got to be one of the most contentious topics of the previous year. If it weren't for the BP Oil Spill, which pulled many people away from the healthcare debate, I think we'd still be duking it out publicly. Well, reform is still in the air, reform legislation was passed, and reform is on the way. Oh - the duking is still going on, just less visibly.

Computing professionals in the healthcare industry are already impacted by changes and for someone in the computing-health care field, it must be quite exciting. Out with the old (by most accounts unwieldy and inefficient) in with the new.

Most of us in computing who are on the lay side of health care, talk mostly about Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) - issues of privacy, security, who gets to see what.

If you want to see the latest information on standards setting for EMRs, there is a wonderful blog that I follow, written by a CIO/Physician John D. Halamka, MD  who, according to his URL blog name, calls himself a "geekdoctor". How cool is that? He has information for you on his posting today about hot off the press standards (and more). If you aren't versed in medical IT terminology there is a steep reading curve, but it is worth it if you want to know the latest about what is happening in IT healthcare.

But there is yet something else exciting afoot. Digital Images - you know, the results of those MRIs, CT scans, Mammograms, etc. Personally, I'll never have an MRI because I have metal in my head and have no desire to be either permanently glued face first to the wall or made into a bloody shredded mess.  But I bet many of you have had an MRI, perhaps several. Or one of the other digital images, too numerous to list. And that is where some of the really interesting computing work is going on in healthcare. Computing professionals are hard at work on new and creative systems to deal with all these digital images.

I'm excited because I'm going to go have a good look at how one hospital is breaking new ground in this area.  I'm off tomorrow to visit The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and to learn first hand about how Radiology and IT are changing their systems to improve patient care.

I expect to be blogging about some of my adventures in Philly over the next week. I'm also told that there is going to be a little "surprise" in store for me too. I'll keep you posted.

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