Can Apple possibly transform healthcare?

As I take my weekly train trek home to Ottawa, I can’t help but notice that early everyone in my car is using a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone (and, in some cases, several of these devices at the same time.) While their activities vary, many are unwinding after a long day by watching a movie or a TV show (the lady next to me is catching up on past episodes of Grey’s Anatomy), reading a book, or listening to music. Each of these industries has been transformed, in some cases quite radically, by Apple. Can Apple do the same for healthcare?

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Hackathons for Health: Useful process or passing fad?

Several people have recently asked my opinion about the value of hackathons targeted at the healthcare market. In each case I hesitated to answer, heeding my mother’s advice “to say nothing at all if you have nothing nice to say.” Making negative comments about an event at which people donate their time just didn’t feel right. Yet, for all the good intentions of those involved, I am not yet sold on the value of hackathons for the Canadian healthcare system, at least as they are currently constituted.

Check out the remainder of this article at Technology for Doctors.



Electronic medical record systems: Does one size fit all?

I love fall! Not only for the changing colours and cool, crisp days but also for the many conferences and trade shows that take place this time of year. At the recent HealthAchieve conference, organized by the Ontario Hospital Association, for example, I learned that there is a growing trend in Canadian hospitals towards a single, enterprise-wide electronic medical record system. Experience elsewhere in the world suggests that this preference for single vendor systems over best of breed environments is fraught with challenges and runs counter to the trend in other industries.

Check out the rest of this Technology for Doctors articles here.


Musings on the next eHealth Ontario CEO

Earlier this year Greg Reed, eHealth Ontario’s CEO, announced that he was resigning his position effective October 2013. Although there was a flurry of media attention when the resignation was announced, mainly focused on Mr. Reed’s severance package, there has been little speculation since then regarding Mr. Reed’s possible successor. Who are the possible candidates for this role?

See the remainder of my Technology for Doctors article here


EMR Productivity – A Work in Progress

In an October 2010 Healthcare Technology Online editorial, Evan Steele, CEO of SRSsoft, is quoted as saying “Any business that is run on paper is highly inefficient.” He further notes that “decisions based on accurate and complete information … improves the level of patient care while increasing productivity.” Does health IT improve productivity? Recent studies suggest that while health IT tools such as EMR systems do indeed enhance productivity they also highlight that there is still considerable untapped potential for further productivity improvements.

Check out the remainder of my monthly Technology for Doctors column here.



EMR – The Next Generation

Recently posted to Technology for Doctors:

In the previous edition of Technology for Doctors Online, Dr. Brendan Byrne, VP of Physician Solutions at TELUS Health Solutions, described a “new approach to EMR” that he calls “EMR 3.0.” A pioneer in the Canadian EMR market, Dr. Byrne has literally lived the evolution of EMRs in Canada and, as a physician and entrepreneur, he possesses unique perspectives on the EMR market and what might lie ahead. 
I was intrigued by his arguments for a next generation EMR and began musing about what the next generation EMR (also referred as an EHR in the U.S.) might look like.

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Farewell Kevin Leonard

I try hard to live my life with few regrets. There are many reasons for doing so, the most pragmatic of which is that it is virtually impossible to know what might have happened along the road not traveled.  Every once in a while, though, there are events in my life that regret. One of these regrets is not finding the time to book lunch with Kevin Leonard after committing to do so when I saw him at eHealth 2013 in Ottawa.

I have known Kevin for close to 10 years.  We first met at an eHealth conference in Toronto in 2005 after I attended a presentation on person health records for citizens (click here to read a review of this presentation by Hans Oh).  I was intrigued by what at the time was the rather novel perspective that patients should have access to their data.   When he mentioned his new book, A Prescription for Patience: A Guide to Improving Our Healthcare System, I made it a point to hang around after the presentation to buy a copy and get him to sign it for me.

Although Kevin and I did not always share the same views on matters related to eHealth, we had mutual respect for each other’s opinions. I always welcomed the opportunity to chat with Kevin and was thrilled when he asked me to guest lecture at one of his courses in the fall of 2012.  It is a highlight of my eHealth career that I will always cherish.

Kevin is a wonderful example of how to effect change.   He didn’t just complain about what bothered him  He took action and encouraged others to do the same.

I regret that I was unable to find the time to have lunch with Kevin before he died.  It is truly a missed opportunity, one that I know I would have enjoyed.